Camping at Thora, NSW
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An EV Roadtrip from Northern Rivers to the Northern Tablelands of NSW

By Bridie Schmidt

This is an adaptation of a post shared on the "I ruined the weekend" group on Facebook. You can check out the group here.

In early December I got the chance to "ruin", as the tongue-in-cheek vernacular goes, the better part of a week in the Model Y.

The plan was to try it out for camping “lite”, sleeping in the back except for one night stopover at a girlfriend’s in Inverell.

Because I forgot to charge to full up before leaving home, my first stop was the Evie Networks charger at Tyndale. There I talked to a couple who were trying to work out how to charge their MG ZS EV which they had owned for a week. I talked them through downloading the app and confirmed the CCS2 plug was the one to use, for which they were grateful. I charged up 42kWh in 31 minutes, then headed onto the Supercharger at Coffs Harbour before a little detour to check out Urunga then on to Bellingen.

After that I spent the night at Thora, a free campground next to the well stocked general store. The next morning, I headed up the mountain with about 76% charge to Dorrigo.

I have added screenshots of energy usage going up the mountain to Dorrigo: I actually managed to save 3.7% energy mainly due to stopping for roadworks. While I originally thought not running air con saved a lot, the widget shows very little energy is used by air con. It’s really only a consideration for very long trips where destination SoC is very low.

After that things got a little hairy. I realised that the NRMA fast charger at Armidale was out of order (it is fixed now!) so I was going to have to head overland via Guyra to Glen Innes to use the free NRMA charger there.

I was originally projected by the Tesla energy consumption widget to arrive there with 13%. Winds up on the plateau meant that at one point this dropped to 5%, so I slowed down between Ebor and Guyra to 70km/hr. From Guyra it’s more or less downhill so I could speed up a bit, but it was a great example of how useful the new Tesla energy consumption widget is. I like the visualisation that in a way gamifies it.

I got to Glen Innes with 8% state of charge. I’ve downloaded the route from ABRP (A Better Route Planner app) and adjusted some of the values to match my driving experience. The trip to Inverell from Glen was easy peasy of course and also "ruined" with the view of wind turbines. I’ll never tire of seeing that!

So after spending one night at the free camp spot at Thora, and one night in Inverell, I ended up at Dangar Falls campground in Dorrigo (not the National park near Armidale) for the third night and at Urunga caravan park for the last night.

Both are stunning spots and I highly recommend them. The owners at Dangar graciously let me plug in for no extra cost (I paid a caravan fee). I haven’t added them to Plugshare because they were a little unsure about how the charging would go and I didn’t see them again before I left.

That said - I was the first person who’s asked to plug in an EV - they said they were aware there is a change coming and expect to be asked the question about charging again.

They have 15amp outlets. It’s a no book site but I recommend making contact about charging before arriving. The first plug dialled down to 7amps after about 15 minutes, so I changed to another plug and that was ok. I was back to 100% by morning, allowing me to explore the mountain (aside from the Rainforest Cente and a walk to Tristania Falls, Griffiths Lookout is well worth a visit too.)

I was also the first person to ask at Urunga Reflections Park if they had a policy for EV charging. They didn’t, but were happy for me to plug in, and also acknowledged a change is coming. As it happened, the outlets didn’t allow enough room for my UMC plug - would take an extension cord also next time.

I didn’t really need it though as I could easily get to the Coffs Supercharger the next day. Going home was even better after a quick massage at the shopping centre there after two nights of not sleeping flat (because I have seat covers in the back, my back seats don't go down flat) 😅

It was only four nights, but that was enough to work out that if I were to do it again, I need to 1) take off the aftermarket seat covers in the back so they lie flat! And 2) invest in a decent mattress, our spare foamie in the garage doesn’t cut it for my hips 😅 I would also consider removing the bottom of the back seat next time.

My only “furniture” was a camping chair with a lift up table on the side. This was ok - as long as I could put it under the shade of a tree or in the shade of the car (there’s quite a bit with the tailgate up). I’d also probably get a mozzie net for next time, and I like the look of the fitted tent extensions around online.

My Waeco fridge fitted perfectly in the storage beneath the back cargo area. It was a little awkward getting food and drinks in and out but worked a treat. I didn’t take cooking equipment, just ate sandwiches and fruit and greatly appreciated how close Urunga Pub was for a hot dinner on the last night 😍

There was also plenty of storage in the car to pack things like my fold up chair and clothes bag on the front seats at night when locking up. I bought a long rectangular mop bucket for kitchen items and washing up which fit in front of one of the back seats. The frunk had the cables and other sundries.

Quick breakdown
- 1043km driven
- $69 charging (would have been $44 if I’d remembered to charge to full at home the night before lol)
- $102 accomm
- $25 massage haha

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