857 miles, 17 Koalas, 11 Kangaroos, 8 nights, 5 beaches, 1 pit stop…. Sydney to Melbourne via the coastal route… 

No sooner had we set off on our next road trip (The Grand Pacific Drive) than we were being flagged down by a dude in a Ute… our back tyre was completely flat! Luckily – we were still in Sydney … just… so a few km later and we stop at a petrol station… Adam pumps up the tyre – only to find a bloody big screw in it! Uh oh… disaster we think…. but 40 minutes later we are at Jax tyre place a few minutes further up the road getting the keys back after they’d fixed the tyre… awesome service… and we’re back on the road again!!

We stopped off at Kiama Blowhole for a short break in the journey… G was weirdly transfixed by it and insisted we went back for another look after our ice cream in the cafe…. Adam & I were delighted her interest had extended further than chickens!
We were only going to be in Nowra for 1 night (I usually try & book 2 nights min, to give the kids a break from travelling, maintain our sanity & to properly visit the places where we stay). I had accidentally 😬 mentioned, within G’s hearing, the motel we were staying in had a pool…. poor Adam was therefore made to go in a freezing outdoor pool… in the rain… when we arrived at 5pm!!

It turned out that there was a severe weather warning for the next day… and we wondered whether we should set off ASAP in the morning rather than our usual routine of some morning activity, lunch, then set off (which means we can usually count on a nap &  around an hour’s peace in the car!!). Once we’d got through breakfast and tortured G with sun cream… Adam and I decided that we would risk rain & flood if we could have an hour’s peace in the car… and so we headed to Shoalhaven Zoo. I’m not a big fan of zoos in general…. but this small private place seems to be very well run and its animals were clearly well cared for. It absolutely chucked it down…. we got wet… we bought over-priced umbrellas…. we were the only people visiting in the pouring rain… we had a fab time!

To our surprise, as we drove on, the sun came out & next we stopped off at the oddly named Pebbly Beach… no pebbles but lots of kangaroos hanging out! It was about 10km off the main road down a rough track – thank goodness we had a 4×4 and got that tyre fixed.  Then, later, we arrived at our place in Dalmeny near Narooma during a massive down pour! Our host was outside in the rain, soaking wet… a giddy gardener that hadn’t seen rain for months!

We were very grateful for a big box of Duplo the next day… lent to us by the hosts…. so we could alternate between the beautiful Dalmeny Beach & Duplo during the changing weather!

Next we moved on to Mallacoota… we had a beautiful view over the inlet, and as a bonus of having small children, got to see the sun rise over it! 😂

We enjoyed kite flying on the beach (at least G and I did… Adam spent an hour fighting with and swearing at his cool dual control kite!! )
That evening we went to a recommended restaurant for our dinner…. one of the best meals we’ve eaten! Amazing Chinese at Lucy’s… G insisted on using chop sticks but then happily ate everything 🍜

The next morning… it was raining (again?!) so instead of the playground – we went to the tourist information centre… where they had a few toys (and wifi – which we didn’t have at our place for the first time… didn’t realise how reliant we are on it!) G & F were perfectly happy playing with a few random toys… didn’t want to leave 😂😂😂

Our next accommodation was Jetty Road Retreat – just outside Metung – it had amazing reviews on Booking.com… we were a little underwhelmed when we arrived with the accommodation, but couldn’t argue with the view . . . …. the longer we stayed – the more we appreciated it. It was on a steep hill so it was a bit like being in a tree house – the birds on our terrace were amazing – colourful and confident! We’d booked a dinner to be there when we arrived – The Beef Rendang was delicious and made a real change. We visited Metung which was lovely…. and had a couple of beers overlooking the water and wandered around the jettys… as everything else was closed…. funny little town.

The next morning and we were off again!! Fate was obviously determined for us to visit a place called Raymond Island…. first we read about it somewhat accidentally in the accommodation blurb… then while on the way randomly stopped for petrol and had the most helpful petrol assistant in the world – clearly a frustrated tour guide – really enthusiastic about her area, her country & wildlife. She encouraged us to go there without us even mentioning it to her … It was amazing … we caught the 3 minute free ferry from Paynesville (quite why there is not a bridge I do not know… I’m guessing maybe to keep predators out??!) and then we went on the almost unadvertised ‘koala walk’. Raymond Island is also known as Koala Island and it certainly delivers on that name. We saw around 17 wild koalas hanging about (mainly napping) in trees. Half the fun was wanting around staring at trees trying to spot them.Adam and I cooed in wonder…. G just wanted to get to the playground she’d spotted at the beginning of the walk! After a whizz on the playground (now known as a ‘PG’ in Adam and my cunning code language). We then caught the ferry back & had some of the best Fish & Chips either of us had eaten… another recommendation by our now favourite petrol station attendant. “Have the Flake and Chips” she said “Then you can tell people you have eaten shark!” She was right Flake and Chips (a.k.a. Gummy Shark) was delicious!

Then we were back on the road heading on to Buln Buln Cabins – just outside Wilson’s Promontory – or ‘The Prom’.

We were soooo pleased with our choice of accommodation here – it was a gorgeous, spacious cabin…. but they also had their very own Wendy house / climbing play cabin full of toys so G was in heaven!

Could have easily spent a week there – made pizzas & cooked them in their pizza oven, had a BBQ… taken picnics to 5 different beaches in ‘The Prom’… done so many beautiful walks… but as it was we had just a day…. so headed to ‘Squeaky Beach’. Why is it called Squeaky Beach  . . if you hit the sand, beautiful white quartz sand – it really squeaks!! The horse flies were a bit of a pain – but we generally enjoyed digging holes ‘all the way to England’ . . . . and stamping on the sand obviously!

We woke knowing it was the last leg of the journey… we would arrive in Melbourne later that day & then be staying for a week which we were looking forward to! We decided to head to Anderson Inlet at Inverloch to wear out the G monster before the main journey. There was an aborted attempt to go to a Dinosaur fossil thing in Inverloch that was mentioned on TripAdvisor – but it had a useless website with no info… after going to the tourist info place it seems to be a pop-up/ad-hoc sort of thing… and we would need to come back at Easter 😂. Anderson Inlet itself had a fabulous beach – with acres of shallow water & no waves as such – so it was relatively safe & G wasn’t scared of the the waves ‘getting her’….

After lunch it was time to get on our way to St Kilda, Melbourne!

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