Sarah and Colin traveled the east coast of Australia from the ACT to TAS, over 2800 km round trip. Read on to find out about their experience.
Our family of four headed out the door at 6.45am on the 8th of January, 2022 for a three week adventure around Tasmania. This was our newly acquired 62kwh Nissan Leaf’s first road trip. We made it to the ferry terminal in Melbourne with three charging stops. We could have reduced to two, but were keen to stop for coffee in Jugiong. The time to charge varied from 40 minutes to an hour, depending on a range of factors. To help work out the most efficient charging spots, we used an app called ABRP (A better route planner) that provides useful guidance as to where to charge for the most efficient outcome. We used the stops as an opportunity to have something to eat, take a break from driving and even kick the footy with the kids, to shake off the boredom of a long trip. One of the really lovely benefits of the charging stops was the great conversations we had with other EV drivers charging their cars. We had discussions with people from up and down the East Coast, driving a variety of different EVs. We were all in complete agreement about how much we loved our EVs. We drove onto the ferry and coincidentally found ourselves between another Good Car and a Tesla.
Our first charging stop at Jugiong.
Having arrived in Devonport, we drive off the ferry and charge up at the fast charger before making our way to Tullah, on the West Coast. My husband, Colin’s son, Alex has never driven an EV before so we let him have a go. He loves the regenerative braking, the smooth driving and control and we don’t get the steering wheel back until he heads back to Melbourne a week later. Tullah is a really small, lakeside town but charging wasn’t a problem. While we charged the car from a regular powerpoint at our accommodation (as we did for most of our trip), there was also a free charger available in the town.
Our next stop on the West Coast is Queenstown. Colin and Alex are keen to explore the new mountain bike trails on Mt Owen. Queenstown has a fast charger in the centre of town, next to the historic railway. We used it once and had another great chat with an EV driver. A farmer from NSW who was really enthused about the benefits of EVs.
After a great stay in Strahan and a night on The Storm Breaker, a yacht that takes you up the Gordon River, we headed South. This was the longest leg of our Tassie driving. We stopped to charge at the Derwent Bridge, had a snack and the continued on our merry way. We charged up at a fast charger in Hobart before continuing our trip to Southport. It was so lovely to be staying on the beach, a real novelty for us landlocked Canberrans. The kids shrieked with joy and swam and kayaked like they’d never seen water before.
Easy charging at our Southport accommodation.
Having fully charged the car up overnight, we took off to Cockle Creek, as far South as you can go by car. The Leaf had no trouble on the long dirt road and returned from our day trip with plenty of charge. Both the car and the kids.
Wishing we had given ourselves a bit more time at Southport, we headed back to Hobart for four nights. Lots of great stops along the way, including the Hastings Caves, a walk to Duckhole Lake – a great recommendation from a Southport local – a fresh fruit stop from a local farm where we bought up big on delicious and cheap fresh fruit and a stop at Geeveston for the kids to hit the lolly shop and for us to check out Masaaki’s well known sushi shop, where we had a great chat with Masaaki. There is a charger in the carpark at Geeveston but we didn’t need to use it.
We spent our four nights in Hobart staying at a motel and this was the only accommodation for our holiday that didn’t have an accessible powerpoint for us to charge overnight. This is something we will be sure check before our next holiday accommodation is booked. Even so, we were always able to charge using the fast charger or free slower chargers at the waterfront. We particularly loved the free slow chargers, not so much because they were free, but because they gave us access to excellent parking at no cost!
Fantastic parking/charging spot at the wharf near Salamanca Markets.
We loved our time in Hobart. There was so much to see. MONA was incredible and we loved the view from the top of Kunanyi (Mt Wellington). We were also impressed that the car had 8% more charge in the battery once we had driven from the top of Kunanyi to our accommodation in Sandy Bay. We left Hobart, taking the Midlands Highway, heading for St Marys. Knowing nothing about Campbell Town, we stopped there solely to use the fast charger. What a great find. Such an interesting town and we had the best ice-cream we’ve ever eaten. Faba Gelateria is definitely worth a visit. While charging the car, a man came up to ask us how we found the charging experience. It turns out, he is the engineer that designed this particular charging station! He lives in Sydney and was thrilled to be seeing it for the first time in person. His daughter was with him and is studying engineering. She was excited at the opportunities that renewable energy is creating in her field. On our recommendation they were off to sample the delights of Faba Gelateria.
We spent the night in an old, converted schoolhouse near Avoca and were surprised to see train tracks in the backyard. I was feeling pretty confident that we were pretty unlikely to see a train during our stay, much to the kids’ disappointment. Much to my disappointment, I was wrong and at 4.30 am a very long and very loud freight train transporting coal from Fingal roared through our backyard. I’m sure the neighbours will be pretty pleased to hear these trains a little less often as we reduce our reliance on coal.
We are near the end of our circumnavigation of Tassie. Today we cruise from the North East coast to Hawley Beach on the North Coast, not far from Devonport. It is nice to have a few quiet days at the beach before beginning the journey home.
Time to head home. The car is fully charged as we leave Hawley Beach for the ferry. Once in Melbourne we drive for an hour and a half, staying at an Air B&B to break the back of the long drive home. The owner of our accommodation is fascinated to see us charging the car from a regular power point and makes note to advertise that her accommodation is EV friendly.
Finally, the long drive home. We charged twice, once at Wodonga and then at Jugiong, where we were down at about 15%. A delicious late lunch at the Long Track Pantry and then the last leg home.
So, our reflections on road tripping in an electric vehicle. The drive was comfortable and there were ample charging opportunities for all the places we visited. With only one exception, we were able to freely charge at the places we stayed. We certainly took great pleasure in driving past petrol stations, particularly when we saw the ever-increasing petrol price. We discovered a friendly community of electric vehicle drivers and enjoyed the opportunity to have a chat when we charged. We also felt good about supporting local businesses when we stopped to charge, much preferring to spend money on coffees and lunches than petrol. Our charging costs ranged from 0 to 60c per kwh and we estimate that we saved around $600 in fuel costs overall. Can’t wait to get out on the road again.