By Laura Docherty, University of New South Wales, Australia
Having been in Sydney for over a month now, I have really started to settle in and get to grips with life down under! I wanted to make sure I use my free time as wisely as possible whilst I’m here and go on as many trips as I can; the first of which was a road trip down the coast to Jervis Bay.
On coming to Australia I had read that legally you have to be 21 and have had your driving licence for 3 years in order to rent a car/van, but that was not the case! I am 20 and have only been driving 2 years and there were no queries at all – plus the van we hired was an automatic so was much easier anyway! We used a company called Jucy to rent a campervan for 4 days for our road trip, which I would highly recommend. If you can get your driving licence before coming to Australia you definitely should, as I think that you will miss quite a lot of the country if you are reliant on public transport (it’s not great here). Split between 4 people the campervan itself only cost £73 plus fuel, so all in all about £90 for the weekend, which I think is amazing value considering how much we saw and did.
Firstly, I drove about an hour south of Sydney to our first camp spot – Stanwell Tops. With amazing views across the ocean we parked up here, had dinner and tried to get a good rest before waking up to watch the sunrise. Just to note – you can legally park and sleep in your vehicle anywhere in New South Wales unless specifically stated, so any car parks that don’t have signs saying ‘no camping’ are fine to camp in. The next day, we made our way down the coast along the famous sea cliff bridge to Kiama, which has a world renowned blowhole and a beautiful sea-pool. We spotted pelicans and some huge stingrays here, so we did not stray far from the shore!
We continued beach hopping down the coast and made sure we went in for as many swims as possible; luckily, despite it being winter here there was a heatwave which made the water a lot more enjoyable! After quite a long day of driving and swimming we made it to Hyams beach – world famous for its incredibly white sand. This is where we stopped for the night after grabbing some dinner from Woolworths. One of the highlights of the trip was being able to wake up and watch the sunrise on the beach which we did in Jervis Bay the following morning. On this day we drove through Booderee National Park to Cave beach where we spotted lots of wild kangaroos! One of them was very interested in our bright green Jucy van…
On the final day we had to make our way back up to Sydney, but we made sure to stop off at Kelly’s falls on the way. A word of warning – there was no path down to the waterfall and we ended up having to almost abseil down some rock using a rope that had been left by other travellers! In the end we made it and it was definitely worth the descent.
All in all the road trip has definitely been my favourite experience in Australia so far and I can’t recommend doing something like this highly enough. I think it’s so important to be smart with your time here and to not let amazing opportunities like this pass!