Adelaide to Canberra: 1200 km over 3 days

Driving 1200 km over some long, very straight roads from Adelaide to Canberra. Over the three days of using eight fast chargers, we didn’t once have to pay for charging.

We decided to break the 1200 km drive to Canberra into three roughly equal stretches. This trip relied on access to fast chargers (installed by NRMA) all the way. With the trailer, we only have the range to go from one fast charger to the next, so there was the risk that if any charger was unavailable, we would need to spend up to two nights at a caravan park to recharge enough to reach the next one.

Murray River at Berri, SA

The first charger of our trip is conveniently located just behind Tanunda’s main street of in the Barossa Valley. We arrived here to find the charger already in use. An interstate Tesla was already plugged into the single charger there. We waited around half an hour before noticing the owner had left their mobile phone number on a charging adaptor. Once contacted, he was happy to unplug as he’d charged to 94% by then. After a friendly chat, he drove on towards Sydney. As the number of EVs increases, we can expect to encounter occupied chargers more often.

So what to do when another car is already plugged in to a charger you need to use? One option is that everyone could leave their mobile number on display when charging, but not everyone (including us) would be comfortable with that. Alternatively there are two apps that can be used to make contact. The Plugshare app allows you to ‘check in’ to a charger so others can see that you are there, and can message you via the app. The NeedToCharge app lets you simply put in the the registration number of the blocking car, and a message will be sent to the driver (assuming they have registered for the app). We are regular Plugshare users, and also signed up for the NeedToCharge app while we waited in Tanunda.

Luckily for the rest of the trip to Canberra, all the other chargers were unoccupied when we arrived at them. We used NRMA chargers at Tanunda, Berri, Mildura, Balranald, Hay, Narrandera, Wagga Wagga and Jugiong. Most of these chargers are located close to amenities and cafes. NRMA have done an awesome job of installing these chargers at manageable distances, and in attractive or convenient locations.

Clockwise from left: NRMA chargers at Mildura, Narrandera and Hay.

Some of the scenes on the three day drive are challenging to photograph. The Hay Plains for example, which is one of the flattest places on Earth. Some of the trip highlights were …

Lunch by the Murray River at Berri – there was no space for the trailer at the charger, so we parked it in a nice spot
Mildura riverfront park by night
Balranald Discovery Centre, next to cafe and visitor info centre
Old school house at Balranald. The teacher lived in one half of this building!
Swing Bridge over the Murrumbidgee River at Balranald
Hay streetscape

Tom Moore exhibition at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery just across the road from the NRMA charger.

Jugiong NRMA charger opposite the Long Track Pantry produce store and cafe

6 thoughts on “Adelaide to Canberra: 1200 km over 3 days

  1. We are to do a presentation to our local Probus club on owning and driving electric vehicles (I have a Hyundai Kona and my partner has a Tesla 3). Even before we have put together the presentation the naysayers are commenting that they may be okay to drive locally but they would be no good in the outback or on long trips. We plan to drive to Broken Hill in one of our cars in September and I have already taken the Kona from the Central Coast of NSW to Bacchus Marsh in Victoria. Would you please allow us, in our presentation, to use a photograph of your Kona and camper van charging at the NRMA chargers?
    Great photographs of your trip.
    Margaret McDonald
    Erina. NSW.


    1. Hi Margaret,

      Certainly!! Thanks for asking, but that’s exactly what motivates us to write our blog. If you would like us to email you any photos or a map of our routes that you can use, please let us know. Otherwise please use whatever you like from the blog.
      We have contemplated going via Broken Hill back to Adelaide, but with the approx 200km range when towing the camper at speed, and lack of fast chargers, it would take us longer than we want at present.
      Cheers David and Conny


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