We deliberated for a long time over what to do with the rest of our time in Australia. In the end, we chose to hire a campervan, which has turned out to be a great decision (so far!). It's been (almost) hassle-free, we've been able to camp much more often than if we had a car and a tent, and most importantly we're having so much fun!
Here's our new home (and photographic evidence of Colin's tea addiction):
And here's our route (Melbourne – Lake Eildon – Beechworth – Canberra – Wombarra – Sydney):
We set off from Melbourne in the afternoon and just about made it to Lake Eildon before dark, where we camped in the national park. It was basic, there were birds flying around the bathrooms and no power, but the lake was beautiful and once it got dark, there were more stars in the sky than I have ever seen.
The next day we set off to Beechworth, our next stop on the way to Canberra. We chose the inland route as the rest of our journey up the east coast will be packed with beaches, and the road took us through valleys, passed rolling hills and lakes.
Beechworth is a gold-rush town that was built in the 1800s. The buildings are perfectly preserved and it felt like a film set, although we did see a few locals, so apparently people do actually live here.
And then it was on to Canberra. There's no getting around it, Canberra is a bit of a weird place. All of the museums and 'sights' are scattered around Lake Burley Griffin and it feels like a show city. We visited the Australian Parliament, the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian War Memorial. All interesting, but after two days of exploring we still had no idea what Canberra was about. Where was everyone? Thanks to the leaking coolant in our van, we had an hour to kill while a mechanic looked over it, and so we spent some time wandering around Lonsdale Street, where we found vintage shops, cafes and restaurants. Canberra did have more to offer than we originally thought, but it wasn't the most exciting place.
Our favourite thing in Canberra? The tiny Aboriginal Embassy set up by activists in 1972 on the lawns of Parliament.
Buoyed by success at the mechanics (which meant that we didn't have to stay in Canberra for the long weekend), we raced up to Wombarra, a small village on the east coast with the most amazing rock pool. A great free camping spot that we found through the app WikiCamps (if you're road-tripping around Australia, download this right now, it will save you so much time).
There was no one else there when we arrived so we were a bit apprehensive, but we weren't moved on and we had a great night listening to the crashing waves as we fell asleep. If you're brave, there's a freezing sea-water swimming pool to dip into (guess which one of us went in...).
Wombarra is just a short drive to Sydney (1.5 hours), where we stayed for five days to explore and get some work done. We ticked-off the tourist sites (Bondi Beach, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Museum of Contemporary Art) and spent time in the suburbs (Marrickville farmers' market, King Street in Newtown), but our highlight was the tasting menu at the Red Lantern in Surrey Hills, the restaurant of our food hero Luke Nguyen.
We're now on three flat whites a day and it's time to hit the road...
Catch up on the rest of our Australian adventure here.