That’s Not a van – Ollie’s first trip away – south coast

Road trip

Originally, this site was to describe the trips we took away in our self built camper van. Given the van now has a child seat installed in the back and can’t really exist as a camper with three people in the car, we’ve decided to include other trips away that might be done in a non-van vehicle.

Meet our little Kia Sportage SUV. Not quite a van, but does have the benefit of using less than half the fuel of the Delica.

Kia (not shown, heated seats)

So after Ollie turned up as a Christmas present last year, we’ve been waiting for a time he’ll be able to travel with a minimum of fuss. Plus, we’d been cooped up in Canberra for almost all of summer with the air conditioning on. Little tip, don’t be 9 months pregnant in December in Australia. So we organised a small little trip down to the coast as a birthday celebration and excuse to get away.

Meet Ollie

We headed down south along the Monaro Highway towards Cooma. This was Ollie’s longest drive ever, and he slept all the way like a little champion. We stopped in Cooma for some lunch at Kuma Pies and Pastries where we got an okay pie and some coffee. We did have the pleasure of a small toddler taking great interest in the ‘new baby’, much to Rosie’s discomfort. A quick trip to the Comma Rivers store to buy a jumper and then we were back on the road heading towards Nimmitabel and Bemboka.

We had a great run down Brown Mountain and headed through Bega into Tathra to visit a friend that lives in the area. She’s just made a little fella as well called Max, so most of the talk was about Ollie and Max and their eating habits. We were at Wild Orchid Cafe, which was fine if nothing special, but we didn’t realise almost all of Tathra closes at 3pm on Saturdays.

After hugs and photos all round, we headed south to Merimbula. We stayed at the Ocean Breakers apartments, a bit of a departure from camping, and can recommend them. Nice apartment that’s very close to the beach.

View from apartment, beach across the road.
A bit dated, but a nice place to stay

For dinner we drove into town and had a tasting plate for two with some extra scallops at Ritzy Wine Tapas Bar. Very tasty food, but book ahead as it was very busy. After dinner in which Ollie grizzled most of the time, we headed just next door to Dulcie’s Cottage which we’ve both been to several times before and can highly recommend. Just a single beer there and then Ollie let us know it was time to go home.

That night was spent indoors watching crappy tv with red wine and chocolate. The room came with a spa bath, so the entire family piled in. Ollie gets pretty zen and chilled out in warm water – good to know for later. We made sure to get plenty of photos to embarrass him with later in life.

No bath pics online just yet

The next morning after Ollie had his breakfast I took him down to the cafe next door, Cranky Cafe. Highly recommended egg and bacon rolls and very good coffee were brought back to mum as she had a mini-sleep in.


We were packed up and on the road by 9am, fully intending to spend some time at the zoo that afternoon. We headed up the Tathra-Bermagui Road as a bit of a scenic drive. We’ve been down this area of the world before and its very pretty. We stopped at a random beach so Rosie could get her feet wet – a tradition when visiting the coast.

Embrace the ocean

A quick stop at Bermagui Blue Pools for a feed for Ollie, and I put the drone up while waiting. It was a bit cooler than we’d like for swimming even though the sun was out, so we stayed up in the top area. It looked like a very nice place to swim though when the weather (and water) is warmer.

Blue Pool looking green?

Back on the road, we ended up at Moruya around lunchtime and stopped in at the Adelaide Hotel for a pub lunch. Ollie was a little shit the entire lunch, requiring us to eat in shifts while one of us bounced him up and down constantly. After a surprisingly very good meal, we continued up towards Batemans Bay, but decided in the end not to go to the zoo at Mogo.

Not shown: Zoo, animals, screaming child

Straight up the Clyde Mountain, marvelling at the Kia’s ability to go up hills without angering people behind it, and then through Braidwood and Bungedore back home. All up a 545km trip according to Google, and we averaged 7.6L/100km of diesel. For comparison, the Tall Black Van does a similar trip averaging 16L/100km of 91RON petrol. All up, a great trip trip to see how Ollie deals with travelling (he sleeps through it) and hopefully one of many to come. Maybe next time, camping?

Baby’s take up so much room
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