And where you can score Velocity Points along the way.
Here at Velocity, we love to fly (obviously). Having said that, we’re also quite fond of the occasional road trip. Windows down, tunes up, the endless splendour of the Aussie landscape ahead – it’s a feeling that’s hard to beat. If you’re looking for some inspo for your next cross-country jaunt, we’ve put together the perfect itinerary for an East Coast adventure – starting in Melbourne and ending in Brisbane.
Kick off your adventure in Melbourne’s Footscray, home to a staggering array of cultures. Catch some live music at the storied Reverence Hotel, or toast to the beginning of your journey at Back Alley Sally’s – Jerome Borazio’s (of St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival) western suburbs venture. Before you set off you’ll need to fuel up for the trip, so stop by BP on Whitehall Street and grab a famous homemade sausage roll or two (and some fuel, of course).
Leaving Footscray in the rear-view, follow the Hume Freeway for about two hours until you find yourself in Shepparton. This historic railway town is home to the Shepparton Arts Museum which houses one of Australia’s most impressive ceramic collections – including pieces made by colonial convicts.
If you’re a keen bargain hunter it’s hard to pass by the SPC Factory Store while you’re in town. A backbone of the local economy, expect to find pallets of canned goods for a fraction of regular retail prices. Meander out of town via Pat and Tina’s BP Service Station on Numurkah Road, one of the few remaining servos that will give your car the royal driveway service (including window washing). Pat and Tina will welcome you (and your Velocity card) with open arms.
From Shepparton, it’s about 80 kilometres to Glenrowan – the home of Ned Kelly’s last stand. Drive up the main street in town to visit a six-metre statue commemorating Australia’s most notorious bushranger, clad in full armour. You can also visit the site where the Glenrowan Inn – the location of the Kelly gang’s demise – once stood.
Re-join the Hume and follow it right over the state border into New South Wales. Just shy of two hours into the state you’ll find Gundagai – a charming country town with a population of under 2,000 people.
Gundagai plays an equally important role in the lore of both white and indigenous Australian cultures, featuring heavily in oral tradition and recorded print works. Hang out and see what captured the imagination of so many over the years. Immerse yourself in the literary energy of country Australia, maybe try your hand at some poetry – whatever feels right.
Leaving Gundagai behind, head towards the coast for a few hours until you find yourself in Wollongong. If you’re keen to get acquainted with the locals, set a course for Symbio Wildlife Park for a close encounter of the adorable kind. Otherwise, explore the local botanic gardens – or head a little out of town to the shores of the majestic Lake Illawara.
Jump back on the Hume, and head north for another 200 kilometres – bypassing Sydney – until you arrive at Broken Bay. Here you can enjoy pristine beaches and picture-perfect views in every direction. This is also the site where the wreckage of M-24 – a Japanese submarine involved in the WWII attack on Sydney Harbour – was discovered in 2005.
From here it’s just a hop, skip, and jump (relatively speaking) to Newcastle. Once an industrial city, Newcastle has shed its former steelworks identity and bloomed into a bustling mini-metropolis.
Nestled near the Hunter Valley, this beachside town is the perfect place to pass some time and soak up the vibes. Take in the stunning views from the Newcastle memorial walk, and don’t forget to stop by the local cafes for excellent coffee.
It’s time to say goodbye to Newy and get back on the road. The destination, Coffs Harbour. The reason, the Big Banana.
One of the original fixtures of the uniquely Australian phenomena of ‘big stuff’, the BB was forever immortalised on a stamp in 2007 – and that fact alone is reason enough to make a stop off. Is it high art? Kitsch? Or just a really large banana? You be the judge.
As the banana shrinks in your rear mirror, it’s time to divert your attention to Australia’s unofficial capital of bohemia – Byron Bay. If Burning Man ever launches an Oceania-specific satellite event – there’s no doubt that it’ll be hosted in Byron.
Mill around on the surf beaches with backpackers, or head into the Nightcap National Park to explore the rainforest. Make sure you sample some of the local organic produce while you’re in town, it’s not to be missed.
Head out of Byron on the M1 towards Brisbane. You’ll probably need to refuel by now – so swing by BP Hastings Point on Coast Road. You’ll recognise it thanks to the huge selection of fresh fruit and vegetables out the front. Don’t forget to swipe your Velocity card before you get back on the road.
Or, if you miss the Hastings Point stop – head a little further down the road to BP Tugun on Golden Four Drive. The Byron influence is strong here. You can pick up some fresh vegan and gluten-free food for the drive, as well as a few bottles of kombucha to wash it down. Oh, and don't forget about their freshly baked muffins - made from scratch daily. Your traditional highway servo, this certainly is not.
From here, you’re only an hour out of Brisbane. Congratulations! By our calculations, you’ve covered around 2,000 kilometres – no small feat by any stretch of the imagination. Make your way into Queensland's capital and head to West End, stopping off at the excellent Gunshop Café for a meal, then moving just up the road to Archive Beer Boutique for a well-deserved local craft brew.