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Melbourne to Sydney via Destination Charger

WARNING: This post contains images of a Tesla charging 🥱

After having had numerous holiday plans cancelled over the past couple of years, we decided that this time the best way to plan a summer holiday would be by making it a road trip. My partner loves to plan holidays, I prefer a less structured approach that leaves plenty of room to be spontaneous and see what pops up by random chance. As this was going to be the first major road trip in the SR+, I had to change my slap dash approach and prepare for the trip by understanding all of the different charging options on the expected route. In trying to understand how I could best accommodate for the Tesla’s needs, I accidentally uncovered an opportunity to have a return trip home that worked for both of our preferences.

I proposed that for our return leg from Melbourne to Sydney that we go by Tesla Destination Charger, whereby I supply a list of all of the possible places we could stay overnight (in order from south to north), and then let my partner plan and pick where we would go. With my proposal accepted and the tedious task of selecting where to stay based on ratings, availability, location etc etc offloaded, I happily surrendered to a random trip of discovery knowing that the Tesla’s charging requirements would be (mostly) taken care of. (As an aside, on the way down from Sydney to Melbourne neither of our hotels in Canberra or Albury had charging facilities, but both went out of their way to save a parking spot near a power point so I could charge overnight with the UMC. Nice.)

Bendigo
Leaving Melbourne I spotted another homemade “Speed Camera Ahead” sign, the third in ten days. The policing of speed in Victoria, usually by unmarked mobile speed cameras parked on suburban streets, has resulted in the locals making up their own street side signs to warn other motorists of the dangers exceeding the suburban speed limits by more than 3km/hr. Hitting the open road was a relief as the traffic thinned out, however the freeway to Bendigo is almost entirely made of coarse asphalt which is good for traction in poor weather, but not so good for cabin noise in a Model 3. In this situation a speed sensitive volume control (speeds goes up, volume goes up) would be a handy feature, and probably easier than loading up the Model 3 with more sound deadening.

IMG_6181.jpg

We arrived at our first accommodation Alexandra Place near the centre of Bendigo, which on the Tesla website claims to have two destination chargers, but only found one charger; however it was always available during our stay. The charging location is like the hotel, well located, and we left the car charging whilst we walked to Bendigo’s centre and wandered the funky laneways with gin bars and restaurants. Bendigo was bigger and funkier than I’d anticipated, and the local council has reclaimed some roadways to allow al fresco dining which made it easier to relax and enjoy the city.

The hotel staff were super friendly in the way that you often find out of the big cities, our accommodation was best described as clean and humble, however the Tesla was well looked after with an always available charger and plenty of undercover parking.

Wagga Wagga (Hume Hwy)
Leaving Bendigo we headed east across flat agricultural land, with over an hour of classic 100km/h Australian two-lane highway which the Model 3 was seemingly built for. Overtaking across the highway centre line is effortless, as the instant acceleration allows you to dispatch the car in front and quickly get back on to the safe side of the road. Even with more than a few bursts of overtaking and the a/c battling against 37c heat, running at 100km/h using TACC saw the SR+ averaging 128wh/km before we joined back onto the Hume Hwy to head north. Just before crossing the NSW/Victoria border I decided to stop at the Wodonga Superchargers to top up and get enough of a buffer that in the event of any issues with the next destination charger (I knew that we’d be staying in the middle of nowhere) that I had enough charge to at least get to the Gundagai Supercharger. WIth 65% battery we headed north, stopping for lunch at “Saludos”, a superb restaurant with a Spanish trained owner / chef in Albury.

IMG_6184.jpg

We stayed at Hillview Farmstay, which is located just off the Hume Hwy almost exactly half way between Sydney and Melbourne. Upon arrival there were two vacant destination chargers, and I plugged in whilst stretching my legs after doing the 427kms from Bendigo. Almost all of the trip along the Hume Hwy was done using Autopilot, and across this entire trip I found that doing longer distances in general is a lot less taxing due to the Driver Assistance and the best seats that I’ve found outside of a Volvo.

IMG_6187.jpg

The accommodation itself was a comfortable self contained cabin, and as it’s located far from civilization we’d ordered ahead everything that we needed for a DIY BBQ on the cabin deck. The meat (lamb chops, bacon for brekky) are sourced locally and were noticeably better than what you’d get at your local supermarket. Whilst the DIY BBQ dinner and brekky was enjoyable, I’d recommend that you come prepared to BYO coffee and alcohol as the choices are limited. In the morning we fed the animals and did a buggy ride tour of the farm, which was a good way to finish our stay before departing north.

Fitzroy Falls
Our final destination involved a change to the committed “travel by destination charger” plans as a friend invited us to stop by their farm in Fitzroy Falls in the southern highlands. This leg of the trip was largely uneventful except for a 10km stretch where a Chrysler 300 Highway Patrol decided to follow the Tesla closely. Using TACC as I had across almost the entire trip, I knew that the car was travelling at exactly 109km/h. Across the entire trip the TACC demonstrated that it was extremely accurate at maintaining the selected speed, with a +/- variation of no more than 1km/h on only a handful of occasions. Whilst overtaking ICE cars on cruise control on downhill sections of freeway I would find them gradually pulling away as the regen kept me at my selected speed, whilst on any uphill sections the Tesla would consistently pull away due to the accuracy afforded by instant torque. After some downhill sections where the TACC ensured a digital level adherence to the road rules, the Chrysler cop flew past and only for us to pass him again after he’d pulled over a Corolla further up the Hume.

Having left Hillview Farmstay on 100% we easily did the 300kms to Fitzroy Falls on a single charge, and we arrived at my friends farm silently enough that it was the first time he’s ever had a car get up the driveway to the house without alerting his dog. I plugged into his garage using the 10A UMC to get to the 35% SoC that we’d need to get home to Sydney, and turned my driving skills to mowing his lawn using his John Deere 455. Figuring out the most efficient route to mow the lawn whilst trying not to get bogged was great fun, and sitting on top of the agricultural diesel was a handy reminder of the enhanced joy that can be delivered by the noise, vibration, and pulse of an ICE.

IMG_6197.jpg

After being greeted by a foggy morning we set off for Sydney, upon which we'd completed a total of 1079kms en route from Melbourne, at an average of 146wh/km, for a total cost $12.75 from the stop at the Wodonga Supercharger. I can’t think of a better car for doing the traditional Australian road trip family holiday along the eastern seaboard, and for this trip the Destination Chargers provided a useful reference for a new Tesla owner to plot a trip of discovery whilst maximising the convenience of departing each leg with 100%.

IMG_6199.jpg

 
WARNING: This post contains images of a Tesla charging 🥱

After having had numerous holiday plans cancelled over the past couple of years, we decided that this time the best way to plan a summer holiday would be by making it a road trip. My partner loves to plan holidays, I prefer a less structured approach that leaves plenty of room to be spontaneous and see what pops up by random chance. As this was going to be the first major road trip in the SR+, I had to change my slap dash approach and prepare for the trip by understanding all of the different charging options on the expected route. In trying to understand how I could best accommodate for the Tesla’s needs, I accidentally uncovered an opportunity to have a return trip home that worked for both of our preferences.

I proposed that for our return leg from Melbourne to Sydney that we go by Tesla Destination Charger, whereby I supply a list of all of the possible places we could stay overnight (in order from south to north), and then let my partner plan and pick where we would go. With my proposal accepted and the tedious task of selecting where to stay based on ratings, availability, location etc etc offloaded, I happily surrendered to a random trip of discovery knowing that the Tesla’s charging requirements would be (mostly) taken care of. (As an aside, on the way down from Sydney to Melbourne neither of our hotels in Canberra or Albury had charging facilities, but both went out of their way to save a parking spot near a power point so I could charge overnight with the UMC. Nice.)

Bendigo
Leaving Melbourne I spotted another homemade “Speed Camera Ahead” sign, the third in ten days. The policing of speed in Victoria, usually by unmarked mobile speed cameras parked on suburban streets, has resulted in the locals making up their own street side signs to warn other motorists of the dangers exceeding the suburban speed limits by more than 3km/hr. Hitting the open road was a relief as the traffic thinned out, however the freeway to Bendigo is almost entirely made of coarse asphalt which is good for traction in poor weather, but not so good for cabin noise in a Model 3. In this situation a speed sensitive volume control (speeds goes up, volume goes up) would be a handy feature, and probably easier than loading up the Model 3 with more sound deadening.


We arrived at our first accommodation Alexandra Place near the centre of Bendigo, which on the Tesla website claims to have two destination chargers, but only found one charger; however it was always available during our stay. The charging location is like the hotel, well located, and we left the car charging whilst we walked to Bendigo’s centre and wandered the funky laneways with gin bars and restaurants. Bendigo was bigger and funkier than I’d anticipated, and the local council has reclaimed some roadways to allow al fresco dining which made it easier to relax and enjoy the city.

The hotel staff were super friendly in the way that you often find out of the big cities, our accommodation was best described as clean and humble, however the Tesla was well looked after with an always available charger and plenty of undercover parking.

Wagga Wagga (Hume Hwy)
Leaving Bendigo we headed east across flat agricultural land, with over an hour of classic 100km/h Australian two-lane highway which the Model 3 was seemingly built for. Overtaking across the highway centre line is effortless, as the instant acceleration allows you to dispatch the car in front and quickly get back on to the safe side of the road. Even with more than a few bursts of overtaking and the a/c battling against 37c heat, running at 100km/h using TACC saw the SR+ averaging 128wh/km before we joined back onto the Hume Hwy to head north. Just before crossing the NSW/Victoria border I decided to stop at the Wodonga Superchargers to top up and get enough of a buffer that in the event of any issues with the next destination charger (I knew that we’d be staying in the middle of nowhere) that I had enough charge to at least get to the Gundagai Supercharger. WIth 65% battery we headed north, stopping for lunch at “Saludos”, a superb restaurant with a Spanish trained owner / chef in Albury.


We stayed at Hillview Farmstay, which is located just off the Hume Hwy almost exactly half way between Sydney and Melbourne. Upon arrival there were two vacant destination chargers, and I plugged in whilst stretching my legs after doing the 427kms from Bendigo. Almost all of the trip along the Hume Hwy was done using Autopilot, and across this entire trip I found that doing longer distances in general is a lot less taxing due to the Driver Assistance and the best seats that I’ve found outside of a Volvo.


The accommodation itself was a comfortable self contained cabin, and as it’s located far from civilization we’d ordered ahead everything that we needed for a DIY BBQ on the cabin deck. The meat (lamb chops, bacon for brekky) are sourced locally and were noticeably better than what you’d get at your local supermarket. Whilst the DIY BBQ dinner and brekky was enjoyable, I’d recommend that you come prepared to BYO coffee and alcohol as the choices are limited. In the morning we fed the animals and did a buggy ride tour of the farm, which was a good way to finish our stay before departing north.

Fitzroy Falls
Our final destination involved a change to the committed “travel by destination charger” plans as a friend invited us to stop by their farm in Fitzroy Falls in the southern highlands. This leg of the trip was largely uneventful except for a 10km stretch where a Chrysler 300 Highway Patrol decided to follow the Tesla closely. Using TACC as I had across almost the entire trip, I knew that the car was travelling at exactly 109km/h. Across the entire trip the TACC demonstrated that it was extremely accurate at maintaining the selected speed, with a +/- variation of no more than 1km/h on only a handful of occasions. Whilst overtaking ICE cars on cruise control on downhill sections of freeway I would find them gradually pulling away as the regen kept me at my selected speed, whilst on any uphill sections the Tesla would consistently pull away due to the accuracy afforded by instant torque. After some downhill sections where the TACC ensured a digital level adherence to the road rules, the Chrysler cop flew past and only for us to pass him again after he’d pulled over a Corolla further up the Hume.

Having left Hillview Farmstay on 100% we easily did the 300kms to Fitzroy Falls on a single charge, and we arrived at my friends farm silently enough that it was the first time he’s ever had a car get up the driveway to the house without alerting his dog. I plugged into his garage using the 10A UMC to get to the 35% SoC that we’d need to get home to Sydney, and turned my driving skills to mowing his lawn using his John Deere 455. Figuring out the most efficient route to mow the lawn whilst trying not to get bogged was great fun, and sitting on top of the agricultural diesel was a handy reminder of the enhanced joy that can be delivered by the noise, vibration, and pulse of an ICE.


After being greeted by a foggy morning we set off for Sydney, upon which we'd completed a total of 1079kms en route from Melbourne, at an average of 146wh/km, for a total cost $12.75 from the stop at the Wodonga Supercharger. I can’t think of a better car for doing the traditional Australian road trip family holiday along the eastern seaboard, and for this trip the Destination Chargers provided a useful reference for a new Tesla owner to plot a trip of discovery whilst maximising the convenience of departing each leg with 100%.

Enhanced joy from riding an ice? Were you drinking too much at that point?
 
  • Like
Reactions: David Sowden
If you are not in a hurry to get from A to B then it is the way to go, wake up in the morning with a full car battery. It would be good if there were more destination chargers, more people will be including their presence or otherwise in their decisions about where to stay. Even if the owners decide to charge a fee to cover power it would still be more convenient.

On our recent trip to Adelaide we used AC charging a lot (Mildura motel destination charger, Broken Hill cottage destination charger, Peterborough caravan park 15A, Jamestown Council destination charger). That plus free NRMA chargers on the Sturt Highway meant the trip over cost $30 for energy.
 

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