We recently travelled from the Gold Coast to Melbourne with our Tesla Model Y RWD. While we had previously done some shorter day trips, this is the first large road trip we have taken the EV on since we got it. I was excited to see how the vehicle would perform, and a little nervous as colleagues and friends had taunted that they’d seen massive lines at charging stations.

Before leaving I had plotted our trip using both the Tesla website and the ABRP app to ensure that the trip was possible. I had also checked in with other EV owners in Facebook groups so I was pretty confident it was going to be a smooth ride.

We left home at about 3pm on. Friday afternoon and got caught in school traffic on the way to pick Gideon up from Childcare. We were fairly close to a full charge when we left home on the Northern end of the Gold Coast.

We lost an hour crossing into NSW due to daylight savings. 

Harwood Tesla Supercharger

Harwood Tesla Supercharger
Harwood Tesla Supercharger

Our first stop was at the Superchargers in Harwood, just across the river from Maclean just after 7:30pm. These chargers are in the Carpark of the Harwood Hotel, which looks like a great little place to enjoy some delicious food and have a drink. We were traveling on a budget this trip though, so it was sandwiches in the car park for dinner, then inside for a quick toilet stop and nappy change before getting back on the road again. Hoping to enjoy a meal at the pub on our return trip!

Recharged 41KWH for $28.70 which took 28 minutes.

Coffs Harbour Tesla Supercharger

Second charge was at Coffs Harbour Superchargers at the Big Banana.  I think I must have missed the turn off as it took me a strange way and the chargers were a bit hard to find. I later realised there were chargers the other side of the M1 which I think is where we were meant to be.

Instead, we charged at the two chargers at the Big Banana which are all the way at the top of the hill – it’s a little eerie at night up there when it’s raining, but I hear it has a great view during the day. There were no bathrooms or other facilities that I could see available late at night. If we stop there during the day on our return trip, I’m definitely getting a choc dipped frozen Banana (I think a vending machine for these by the chargers for after hours would do a ripping trade).

Recharged 28KWH for $19.60 which took 28 minutes.

It was getting quite late and we were both pretty tired, so we did have to stop at a petrol station to get a caffeinated drink. I think this is where charging stations are missing out on an opportunity. Most chargers bring in a benefit to the surrounding businesses but a charger with its own vending machine or store could bring in additional revenue and provide convenience for drivers.

Alabaster Motel Tesla Wall Charger

We had pre arranged an overnight stop in Taree at the Alabaster Motel. It was a little off the road but the rooms are newly renovated and free charging is provided! We arrived very late – around midnight. The manager had left the key in the drop box and we got on the road again around 6:30am so it wasn’t a full nights sleep but it was enough to charge up the body and the car! 

Thanks for the legend in the Tesla Facebook group who suggested this one! 

Not sure how much we recharged here, but it got us back up to 100% over about 5 hours. 

At both chargers on the Friday night we were the only ones charging.

Central Coast (Tuggerah) Tesla Supercharger

Central Coast Tesla Supercharger
Central Coast Tesla Supercharger

After driving for a few hours in the morning, we stopped at the Central Coast Superchargers at the HomeCo. mall. These chargers were a little difficult to locate as there was very little signage and you had to drive around the back then onto the top car park. Once we located it though, there was plenty to do. There was a Bunnings and in the mall, a playground for Gideon to stretch his legs. There were clean bathrooms, and a coffee shop. We had our homemade almond butter and jam sandwiches for morning tea.

Recharged 42KWH for $29.40 which took 41 minutes.

Goulburn Tesla Supercharger

Goulburn Gardens Near Supercharger
Goulburn Gardens Near Supercharger

Our next stop was meant to be the Exeter Superchargers. As we were on our way there, they must have become busy as our navigation automatically updated to Goulburn saying that it was rerouting us to a quieter supercharger.

We ended up at Goulburn. The chargers in Goulburn are located at the visitor centre. They were a bit of a drive off the freeway but great location across the road from a park with playground and toilets. Also an RSL club if you wanted to buy lunch. We had our sandwiches so sat in the park while Gideon played on the playground.

Recharged 51KWH for $35.70 which took 45 minutes.

Holbrook Tesla Supercharger

Holbrook Tesla Supercharger
Tesla Supercharger in Holbrook
Holbrook charger requiring cleaning
Holbrook charger requiring cleaning

In the afternoon we pulled into Holbrook. We first came to the NRMA charger which is in a better location at Submarine Park which has a playground, the iconic submarine and toilet facilities. There is just the one charger. Despite NRMA being an owner of the Chargefox network, their charger was not listed on the app but runs on its own network. Being from outside NSW, I did not have the NRMA app. We chose to go to the Tesla Supercharger around the corner. I didn’t particularly want to waste time waiting to download another app and go through the process to set it up..

The Holbrook Tesla chargers are located at the RSL / Bowls Club, which is great if you want a meal and a drink. As it was mid afternoon we just wanted to charge and have a bathroom break then keep going. Unfortunately, the facilities at the RSL are only available for patrons. We had to charge then stop at the petrol station on the way out of town. Again, I think this is a missed opportunity for Tesla. Adding some facilities at super chargers would be a great convenience for drivers.

The chargers themselves were also in need of maintenance. They were covered in leaf debris, spiderwebs and ants. I’m not an expert but I’d be concerned about a fire risk. All that being said, we only had to stop for a short while before we were ready to go again. 

Recharged 44KWH for $30.80 which took 33 minutes.

Euroa RACV Chargefox Chargers

Danielle had the car at this point as I’d taken a rental car to a work conference. She had been in Mount Beauty for a week so had charged there. She stopped to charge at Euroa on her way to Melbourne. Though there is a Tesla charger in town she was stopping for lunch and had some extra time to charge so was happy to use the RACV Chargefox Charger located at the Shell Service Centre. This also saved a bit of money as it’s slower but cheaper!

Recharged 32KWH for $17.45 ($19.39 with a 10% RACQ discount) which took  41 minutes.

Total Trip Cost

Over our trip, charging at super chargers or fast chargers took 3.6 hrs and cost $161.65. Estimates with a new equivalent medium SUV combustion vehicle show fuel cost at $2 per litre having a total fuel cost around $285 for this trip (but we saw fuel prices at over $2.20 in some locations).

3.6 hours might seem like a long time, but for a day and a half of driving, I’d expect with meals and other breaks we would normally stop for roughly the same amount of time. I actually really enjoyed each break and it gave us time to stretch and stave fatigue. 

I do think that the Tesla charging network is fantastic. It just needs additional facilities like toilets, rubbish bins, the ability to clean the windscreen and even a convenience store or vending machine. Without those amenities, 70cents per KWH seems overpriced given they don’t have to pay for attendants, cleaners, logistics and all the other costs associated with a normal petrol station.

That said, I definitely think that a road trip between the Gold Coast and Melbourne is doable and enjoyable. I can’t wait for more chargers to be installed to make other parts of Australia more accessible for EVs!

What’s been your road trip experience with your Tesla or EV?

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