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Cheap Road Trip Down the South Coast

Home > Sydney > Travel | Outdoor | Fun Things To Do | Escape the City | Cheap
by Rota (subscribe)
Still out and about
Published June 17th 2013
Drive yourself happy
I know that, like me, you have felt the itch-to-ditch the city and get a serious change of scenery. That being said, the thought of spending the bulk of your weekly salary on accommodation and food can definitely come between you and your perfect weekend.

That's where plan 'Cheap Roadtrip' comes into play.

It all starts on Friday evening, with packing enough for a single night and two days.

road trip packing
Don't skimp on packing, it can all go in the boot anyway!

Take along cereal and healthy packaged food to throw together interesting sandwiches, and you will save yourself a fortune on food. Pack litre bottles of water, cutlery, plates, and a sturdy backpack - you will need it. Then get an early night, you will need that too.

Saturday morning, prepare yourself a generous picnic lunch. Then hop in the car and head off to the first stop on your budget getaway - the Royal National Park.

Hit the road

If you are adventurous, you can camp here for the weekend, but failing that, there are walks for every endurance level, so go exploring. Check out the excellent Wildwalks site or consult one of a number of information boards at the park itself.

information boards royal national park
Take your pick of walks at the Royal National Park

marley beach walk
Marley Beach Walk - explore the nearby Marley Lagoon, or take a rod and fish for flathead

royal national park
Winifred Falls Walk- one of a number of excellent picnic spots in the National Park

After your explorations, evening will bring you down the coast to 'Cheap Roadtrip' worthy accommodation - the Thirroul Motel and Ryan's Hotel are both perfect for a budget overnight stay.

The main street of Thirroul provides for a gentle stroll after the exertions of the day, while the best eateries include the ambient Gringos Mexican and the bistro at Ryan's Hotel. There is also a wonderful place - Thai Chillout - that do a great beef stir fry and a hearty Massaman curry.

Next day rise at the crack of dawn. Now I know its the weekend, but look at the sunrise you can expect.

sunrise on the coast
Fiery scenes to lose yourself in

Enjoy an alfresco brekkie at the beach while you watch keen surfers arrive, but rug up, as it's chilly on the coast whatever the time of year.

Then head to Wollongong and explore the Nan Tien Temple, one of the largest Buddhist temples in the Southern hemisphere. Entry is free to this majestic space where you are at liberty to take in the superb architecture and spiritual aura of the complex.

nan tien temple
Nan Tien Temple. Image Credit: Tim Gillin - Wikimedia Commons

Alternatively, spend the day at any of the beaches on the South Coast - there's one every few kilometers, and most have fresh water taps and open public toilets. These include beaches at Coldale, Austinmer, Bulli and the popular South Wollongong beach - the last of which is patrolled by lifesavers all year round.

Take a dip or just watch the world go by

Later in the day, head back up the coast and take in the impressive views at the Sublime Point Lookout at Bulli Tops, or visit Bald Hill - where hang gliders launch, and a cute little ice cream truck usually parks.

bald hill view of stanwell park
Stanwell Park - where the hangliders land - is seen from Bald Hill. Image credit: Klaus-Dieter Liss - Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps, visit the Otford Lookout and take a stroll along the Cliff Track. Werrong Beach is accessed from a trail leading off this track; perfect if you are in the mood-to-go-nude. The secluded spot is specially designated for unclad bathing - but be prepared for a very challenging trek down to the beach, and then back up the steep slope again afterwards.

It will then be time to make the lazy drive back home, but before you set off, be sure to take in the majesty of the Sea Cliff Bridge.

Lawrence Hargrave Drive
The picturesque Sea Cliff Bridge

More than just a strip of road, the bridge takes you above breathtaking sites of the bay. Whales can sometimes be spotted from the bridge, a few kilometres from shore during their yearly migrations.

Lawrence Hargrave
Take in the view at this whale watching spot

There's plenty to do and see on the South Coast during your 'Cheap Roadtrip' weekend. A little planning and a lot of packing and you will be well on your way to a weekend your wallet will thank you for.
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Why? Because you can only cope with the city for so long
When: That weekend when you just have to escape
Where: The South Coast
Cost: $11 per vehicle entry per day at the Royal National Park
Your Comment
You have some spectacular photos there. Love the tips for doing a road trip on the cheap :)
by Katy Holliday (score: 3|1133) 3556 days ago
Thankyou very much. I did the very same road trip myself and found it so enjoyable - yet so affordable, it was essential that I share it!
by Rota (score: 2|717) 3555 days ago
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