Canberra (ACT) – the Capital of Australia was our next point of call after spending an action-packed week in Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
To read about everything we got up to last week including scaling the Harbour Bridge, watching a show at the Sydney Opera House, visiting Bondi and Manly Beach as well as a heap of other cool stuff, click this link.
Day 48 – Floriade (Canberra) & Contiki Catch Up
Like Bern, Ottawa and Wellington to name just a few, I’m sure Canberra is another capital that tricks many because the population is just shy of 450,000 – tiny compared to Melbourne and Sydney which both have over 5 million inhabitants.
After a long 208-mile drive from Katoomba to the Capital of Australia, we dropped our bags at the AirBnb and then walked to Floriade – a flower and entertainment festival held annually for one month in Commonwealth Park – described as being ‘Australia’s Biggest Celebration of Spring.’
Not my sort of thing, but Mum and Emily enjoyed looking around. (The flowers were nearly all dead with it being the last day of the event).
Later in the evening, Emily and I met up with Ashleigh – a friend who we had kept in touch with whilst on Contiki’s Canada & The Rockies Tour.
She took us to Assembly The People’s Pub and Tipsy Bull for drinks and then to Grease Monkey for a bite to eat. It was a really enjoyable evening catching up with her over some drinks and reminiscing over so many fond memories.
Day 49 – E-Scootering around Canberra
Instead of exploring the city on foot, we decided it would be a good idea to hire E-Scooters with Neuron. Once we mastered them they were fine, but these were lethal to begin with!
We checked out the Captain Cook Memorial Jet, the Australian Parliament Houses and then cruised six miles around Lake Burley Griffin.
The only problem we encountered was that the magpies didn’t like our white crash helmets. We had been warned about magpie attacks, but luckily we hadn’t come across any that wanted to attack us…until today.
That all changed when we were scootering up Capital Hill. Out of nowhere, I was attacked because I’d entered into the territory of a magpie who was protecting her young. It was quite a scary experience. Emily recorded my Mum cycling back down and she too was swarmed on!
Day 50 – Lakes Entrance – The best Crazy Golf Course Ever
I can’t believe this is now the 50th day of eight-week East Coast Australian Road Trip. It only seems two minutes ago since we landed in Cairns.
It was another arduous 260-mile drive from Canberra to the coastal town of Lakes Entrance in eastern Victoria. Driving in Australia, Canada and the USA really puts into perspective just how small of a country the U.K. is!
There wasn’t much of interest here other than the Gippsland Lakes and Ninety Mile Beach, which Mum walked along after we all took part in the best game of crazy golf ever.
The 18-hole course at the Footbridge Mini Golf, Lolly Shop & Ice Cream Shack was so unique. In the end, I drew with Mum but I’d argue that I won because I got three hole-in-ones compared to her two. No one will ever be able to get rid of the competitive side of me.
(Emily lost by a country mile).
Day 51 – Raymond Island, Tarra-Bulga National Park & Phillip Island Penguin Brigade
Em and I have seen our fair share of koalas now in the wild, but we wanted to share the same experience with my Mum.
Raymond Island was only an hour away from Lakes Entrance and we had heard there was over 200 koalas situated here along the two-mile Koala Trail. Collectively, we managed to spot eight koalas sleeping high in the trees. Not too shabby!
After catching the ferry back to the mainland, we headed a further 110-miles west to check out the Corrigan Suspension Bridge and to the Tarra Valley Rainforest Track in Tarra-Bulga National Park.
Eventually, we arrived at Phillip Island after driving for nearly another three hours. Being a lover of penguins, Em jumped at the chance of seeing the smallest penguins in the world waddle home from the ocean at Summerland Beach to their burrows in the Penguin Parade.
We paid $65 (AUD) / £36 p/p for ‘Penguin Plus’ tickets. I’m glad we decided to pay that bit extra because you wouldn’t have been able to see much from the Grandstand of the General Viewing tickets at $28 / £16 p/p.
Photos and videos weren’t permitted, but we managed to sneakily get some footage along the boardwalk on the way out where we saw two penguins mating! He was finished in under a minute…make of that what you will!
Day 52 – Drive to Yarra Valley
I was extremely tired today because I was up at 5:45 AM watching Hull thrash Blackpool 3-1 at Bloomfield Road. I haven’t missed watching a game this season, but the early mornings for the night matches are hard going.
We were supposed to be starting the drive along the Great Ocean Road today, but our plans changed when we received a phone call from Go Wild Ballooning – the company in Yarra Valley we had booked to fly with in a few days time saying that a flight was more likely to go ahead tomorrow morning.
It was a difficult decision because it meant changing our plans and refunding some of our AirBnb bookings, but we decided it was for the best. With nothing else planned here, we quickly had to think on our feet to find something to do.
We decided to head to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery for a bite to eat which had been recommended by a friend and afterwards we went on a gin tasting tour at Four Pillars in Healesville where we got to sample four flavours on a paddle.
Day 53 – Hot Air Ballooning over Yarra Valley
Another experience I can tick off the bucket list.
The 04:00 AM alarm was tough, but so worth it! The morning sky was a little overcast, but more importantly the weather conditions were calm so everything was able to go ahead.
We were treated to spectacular views of mountain ranges and vineyards below with views of Melbourne in the distance. I’ll let the photos and video recordings do the rest of the talking…
In the final post of this eight-part East Coast Australia Road Trip series, we’ll spend two nights in Apollo Bay on The Great Ocean Road before ending our epic adventure in Melbourne.
As always, if you’d like to keep up-to-date with our adventure, you can either enter your email at the bottom of this article to receive instant notifications every time I post a new blog; click the Follow ‘Al’ Around The World link, or drop me a follow on Twitter at @AlecW95 or on Instagram at @AlecW95 or @alatw95.
Alternatively, you can follow Emily on her travelling TikTok account at @emstraveladventure.
Thanks for reading, until the next time…
One thought on “East Coast Australia Road Trip – Canberra, Lakes Entrance, Phillip & Raymond Island + Yarra Valley (Part VII)”
glad you enjoyed Sydney Alec, we are due in Sydney in 3 weeks and are counting down the days if you can get to Tasmania its well worth the visit, myself and Judith would like to wish you a very happy 27th birthday on Sunday have a gun un and have a pint for us