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Roadtrip - Sydney,NSW to Bowen,Qld

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Nothing I love more than a Tesla roadtrip in my 2021 Tesla Model 3 LR, and this is a 5000km round trip (2000km each way + excursions) from Sydney to Bowen in the north of the Whitsundays. He's a quick diary....

Day 1:


Pouring rain as we left Sydney. On board for this trip was my lovely wife and our dog, Jawa. The boot was packed with luggage as we were away for about a month, and a full sized spare wheel, plus two electric scooters which we aren't legally allowed to use in NSW (boooo), but QLD will be like a scootering paradise.

Full charge overnight to 100%, gets us to Port Macquarie with about 20%, but the rain had us worried. But even though the estimator lost about 5-7% on route due to the weather, we were still comfortably on track. However, I thought the tesla router would take us to Cassigrain winery superchargers where there was no lunch food for us, because the restaurant was closed on Mondays, so we diverted early to the Taree South Service centre for Subway lunch and to charge on the two Evie chargers there.

This turned into a debacle for two reasons. One, my credit card I use for the Evie chargers had been expired, so until I updated it in the Evie app, I couldnt charge, and at the exact same time, my ALDI mobile data plan had expired. Apparently you have to "renew" every year. So I had no data to update the Evie app. We decided to grab the subway and head on to the Tesla chargers.

The day took an unexpected turn for the better when the Tesla routed us to the new Thrumster chargers. Nearer the highway. More chargers, a paddock for the dog to do its ablutions, and next to a nice new shopping centre. We didnt need subway after all!. One of the best chargers around. 5 stars!

We then pushed on to Maclean where we had booked a tiny house to stay in on a farm. Booking accommodation with a dog is not always straight forward, but this was pretty cool. Still bucketting down, and we got in with 13% battery to spare. So this was a full day's driving with only 1 stop for charging! We had dinner at the Harwood Pub next to the Harwood superchargers, and topped up to 90% while we ate. The Harwood pub is..... rural.
Day 2:


Still raining, and there is nothing in Harwood resembling breakfast, so we head up to the next Cafe on the highway the "New Italy Cafe" 30km north. Odd little place, nice enough bacon and egg roll, but the coffee didnt seem to meet the "italian" standard.

Driving through the gold coast and brisbane is a nightmare of roadworks and heavy congestion. I dont know how people put up with it, but with the 90% charge from Harwood the night before we comfortably get all the way to North Lakes superchargers in the north of brisbane. Its in a home-maker style shopping centre, so not the cute cafe's we were after for lunch, and cant really take a dog into the main shopping centre, so after charging we do a small diversion to a cafe near the bay for lunch.

After a full charge to 100%, we then can continue on to Harvey Bay where we had an AirBnB booked a block away from the beach. Again, only a 1 charge day.

Harvey bay is deserted. Its definitely the offseason with the cool weather, and the whales arent about. We were here for a couple of nights so we set up the car on a slow trickle charge from a 10 amp plug in the carport. It rained a lot, but we did get a chance to do a bit of guilt free scootering in the breaks in the weather.

Day 3: Stayed in Harvey Bay.
Day 4: Harvey Bay to Tannun Sands


Short day today as Beef Week is on in Rockhampton and there is literally no accommodation in or around Rockhampton, so we take a punt on Tannun Sands Discovery caravan park just outside Gladstone because it looks nice on the web site, and isnt far off the highway.

We managed to top up to 100% at the Harvey Bay AriBnB, so there was no need to charge today. We stopped at the legendary Gin Gin Bakery, and then headed on to Tannun Sands. Its still raining, so not a lot happening. We rented a cabin at the caravan park, and went to the local surf club for dinner. The caravan park was quiet, so I asked at the reception desk if I could charge overnight on one of the 15 amp caravan points. They said no problem, so was able to top up to about 85% overnight. As is the case sometimes, the UMC plug didntfit into the 15 amp outlet, but I had a 10m 15amp extension cord, so I used that. Charging was free!
Day 5: Tannun Sands to Airlie Beach


No problem getting up to Rockhampton super charger in the morning about 1.5 hours north after our charge overnight at the caravan park. The Rockhampton supercharger could be about the best in Australia. Its on the north side of Rocky, and is literally 15m from a cafe. We had breakfast at said cafe, and then pushed on..

We were now leaving the super-charger network, with the next supercharger in Bowen, some 600km away, to far for even the most leisurely hyper-mileing. There are two Evie chargers at Proserpine which is our target, but at 500km is still just beyond our range at highway speed. (I have now updated my Evie credit card!), so we still had to use a single stall QESH Tritium changer for a quick topup either at Marlborough (plugshare says unreliable), Carmila or Mackay (plugshare says unreliable), so we opt for a strategy of plan A to stop at Carmila, and if that fails, try Mackay.

Still raining as we pull into Carmila, and the charger is free, we plug in, cross our fingers, and luckily the right sounding clicks and weers and we are changing. Take the dog for an ablution stop, and the BP for some very basic lunch. But just happy to get this slightly risky charge done.

Head on to Proserpine and top up to about 75% at the Evie chargers there because we dont think we can charge at our AirBnb in Airlie beach, and there isnt a DC charger in Airlie beach, so 75% should get us around town for the next few days.

Day 6: Around Airlie beach
Day 7: Airlie beach to Bowen


After a magnificent boat cruise around the whitsundays we head off to Bowen in the evening, still with plenty of charge in the car from day 5's charge at Proserpine. We arrive into Bowen on a sunday evening, and lets just say the town is a little underwhelming, and we wonder what we are going to do with out 2 weeks stay here in our AirBnB, but Bowen has a supercharger so at least we wont be short of electrons

2 weeks in Bowen

Ok, first impressions were wrong. Bowen is a bit of a hidden Gem. We found just enough to do in our 2 weeks around horseshoe bay, but one of the highlights was trips out to Cape Glouscester Resort Bay. We went there twice. Had dinner at every pub in Bowen, swam at every beach, and went on some great bush walks..... and gave the scooters a good workout.

I tried charging the car at a powerpoint at the AirBnB but due to a (probably) corroded socket, my UMC downgraded itself to 5/5 amps. Must have got too warm at the plug. So most of the charging for day to day driving was at the Bowen supercharger. I only ever saw one other car charging there, a Polestar, so could be one of the most under-utilised chargers in the world.

On the last day at the AirBnB I discovered two 15 amp plugs at the switchboard which much be used to power any caravans who stay at the house. I used that to top up to 100% the night before we left.
Day: 21 Bowen to Tannum Sands


Fast 3 day trip back to Sydney, so we aim for Tannun Sands again since we know its dog friendly and a good days' drive.

We are charged up to 100% overnight, and our plan through the supercharger gap to Rockhampton is similar to before. We will first try Mackay, and use Carmila as a backup. We get to Mackay in time for a late breakfast, but some clown is already using the single DC changer and is doing a 100% cycle or some BS. Means he will be there for an hour. We try to use the Type 2 connector but cant get it working even with a call to chargefox to reset it.
Decide to push on, getting some McDonalds bacon and egg McMuffins on the way out of Mackay.

Cruise into Carmila, and a BYD is already charging on the one DC charger, but luckily she has only 10 or so minutes to go so we take the dog for a walk and then charge up. We get a charger disconnect about 20 minutes in, but a reconnect gets us going again. I dont think these tritiums like continuous use. We only need another 15 minutes to get to Rockhampton with 15% so wait it out. Another tesla pulls in just as we are finishing up.

The delay in Mackay of about an hour has stuffed up timing a bit, so we arrive in Rockhampton supercharger after 2pm when the cafe is closed, so just before arriving, we stop off at Subway for takeaways while we do the charging. Charge up to 90%, because we have many options at Tannum Sands, either charge up again at the caravan park, or duck out to the superchargers at Calliope next morning.

Again, able to charge up on a spare caravan socket at Tannum Sands. Get to 85% overnight.
Day 22: Tannum Sands to Kingscliff


At 85% charge overnight we probably have just enough to get to Gympie Superchargers with about 7 or 8 % spare, so we head off. We decided to stop off at the Gin Gin bakery again, and since the QESH charger is just around the corner we take the chance to do a top up charge while we have breakfast and take the dog for a walk. Gained about 30-40% and we are off again.

Pull into Gympie supercharger, the most cramped supercharger in the world, and manage to squeeze into the only available spot for a charge. Since this is open to all cars, and Gympie is about to get bypassed, this could be a good candidate for a new supercharger station with more chargers if Elon will let any new ones be built.

Have lunch at an old Queensland pub in Gympie, and then we are on our way to our hotel in Kingscliff just inside the NSW border. Managed to negotiate the Brisbane/Gold Coast highway ok this time, and decide to drop into the Tweed Heads super charger to fill up just before checking into our hotel, so we have plenty of charge for tomorrow push onto Sydney. Charge to 90%.
Day 23: Kingscliff to Sydney


This is a trip we have done many times, so totally confident in the chargers and the tesla navigation from this point on. Its a long day, but the roads are dual lane carriageway all the way. First stop is Harwood again for a quick top up. Then on the Port Macquarie. The tesla routes us to Cassigrain winery, but we know better and go a couple of km down the road to Thrumster and lunch at the great cafe's there. We top up to 100% which allows us to get all the way home without a further stop. Interesting that it let us because on the way north, Thrumster chargers were limiting to 80%. I guess it wasnt as busy today.

All in all, 5000 km round trip. Tesla model 3 LR is one of the great GT (Grand tourer) cars for traversing this big brown land. 5 stars!
And I suspect the number of cars with combustion engines that could get that kind of efficiency on a 5000 km highway trip = 0.

My recent trip to Brisbane and back cost 7.87c/km.
I think mine was a bit lower because I got a few free charges at caravan parks and Airbnb's.

Id guess a similar sized hybrid or diesel car could probably get around $12/100km, so roughly double what my EV trip cost.

But the model 3 is the most efficient EV, and so if you used a less efficient Chinese EV, and only DC charged, the cost difference between it and the most efficient fossil car wouldn't be that much
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Awesome write up, thanks for sharing it!
Its been a while since ive been up that way (apart from lately FIFO Brisbane), will have to put it on the bucket list to do it again albeit a little longer from rAdelaide :)

When i lived in Townsville (for a short time, way too hot and humid for us southerners!) I drove from Adelaide to Melbourne then right up the coast to Townsville. In my still shiny '88VL Turbo :) Some beautiful country up there and even sang along to the gangajang song haha

Out on the patio we'd sit,
And the humidity we'd breathe,
We'd watch the lightning crack over canefields
Laugh and think, this is Australia.

QLD is a strange place, the football is an odd shape, everything seems to run a bit slower (not a bad thing!), cars reverse park at 45 degrees, and even though many people seem to wear short "origin" shorts which didnt leave too much to the imagination, they were generally friendly and probably had a good laugh at my expense as i sweated bullets and tried to not get eaten by crocodiles.

The furthest north i went was Scherger (Near Weipa) and while i was there we drove up to the tip. That was an awesome experience, got to meet a lot of locals and got to see and get immersed in a beautiful culture and lifestyle (when every animal and insect wasnt trying to kill you)...

haha Thanks again,
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