Having just completed a 2,500km journey from Brisbane to Adelaide in a Tesla Model X, we’re here to tell you that the network of Superchargers to make that possible for any Tesla owner is well and truely ready for you.
It’s no mean feat to setup a location and install Superchargers for Tesla. There’s the space, the build, the power – lots of power. So you’ve got to give them credit for getting the network to this point – where Melbourne and Adelaide are linked, as are the entire East cost major metro areas.
What we learned very fast during this experience was that you didn’t simply look at a map and find the 400km mark to think about charging. Brisbane to Newcastle is around 800km, so a charge half-way at Coffs Harbour is perfect – right?
Wrong. It’s more efficient for your own time to charge more frequently. Short charging bursts of 20 and 30 minutes made a remarkable difference. And it didn’t feel at all like wasting time – mostly.
You’d almost never dive 400km without stopping, nor should you, so timing your “stop revive survive” stops with the Superchargers makes total sense.
We set off from Brisbane an “range anxiety” soon kicked in, so we decided we would check out the first Supercharger at Knockrow, the famous Macadamia Castle
Macadamia Castle, Knockrow, NSW
This site is one of the best in the country, because there’s lots of space, but also a great spot for Coffee or Lunch. We chose lunch and we can highly recommend the burgers and milkshakes.
Like many Tesla charge locations, many of the “Tesla” spaces were also marked as 60 minute pubic use parking spaces.
Overall, this is one to take in and enjoy.
Big Banana, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Sadly, your next stop takes it down a notch – or ten – I drove into the Big Banana looking at the car park spaces and couldn’t see anything.
Behind the Big Banana and the main visitors centre is a huge hill, covered in Banana trees – the Car Park actually covers several levels built on the base of the hill behind the main building.
But the Supercharger isn’t there. We followed the map to the meter, and found it up the very top of the hill.
A strange setup, which we soon discover is what Tesla describe as a “Sled”. The two Superchargers are sitting on a removable metal base, and connected to power.
We suspect the building where the Supercharger is located is the only place where you can get the power required on site.
Tesla tell us this is still a temporary location. Put in place to ensure the “network” is available for drivers, this Coffs Harbour stop is critical. Without it, it would be an almost 400km drive from Knockrow to the next stop at Port Macquarie.
Unfortunately, while the walk down the hill to the Big Banana might be easy to grab a coffee, the walk back up would be a killer.
Our recommendation is to get a quick charge of 20 minutes or so, enough to give you breathing room to make it to Port Macquarie.
Cassegrain Winery, Port Macquarie, NSW
That’s more like it, once again a professional installation, several bays well layed out at the Cassegrain Winery, just off the main freeway.
While the Winery might have a cellar door, it’s a lonely place to chill out waiting for your charge. So, another good chance to stretch the legs, munch on some pre-purchased snacks and get ready to roll again.
Motto Farm, Heatherbrae, NSW
The Superchargers within the Country Comfort Motto Farm Hotel near Newcastle are a must stop.
Not because if the sightseeing, not because of the food. In fact, this is a must stop because you really need to ensure you have 100% battery here if you want any hope of making it to Goulburn.
If you’re running a Tesla 75 not 100 then you might struggle. A trip to St Leonards in Sydney might be required.
We made it to Goulburn with 11%, though the computer predicted during the trip it might go as low as 6%, our first real taste of range anxiety.
Visitor’s Information Centre, Goulburn, NSW
The original and the best. Goulburn was an important first stop for Tesla and has aged well.
Eight bays for charging, this stop opens up large parts of NSW to Tesla owners.
Perhaps the best thing is the Paragon Cafe, a famous Goulburn food stop just a block’s walk away. Huge park and play area for the kids adjacent and everything in Goulburn’s main street a short walk, this was the first time I’d stopped in town since the Bypass went in – well worth it.
It’s easy to find and is within a larger car park itself.
Oliver’s, Gundagai, NSW
You might look at the range predictor and the map and think Albury is a straight drive from Goulburn, but in reality, no-one is driving four hours straight. So break up your journey with a stop next to the Dog on the Tuckerbox.
Oliver’s is a nice stop with lots of food options and facilities, and again a simple 10 minute top up will take away any concerns you might have about range.
Wodonga Library, Wodonga, VIC
Hop across the border to Victoria and Wodonga have a great six bay Tesla Supercharger.
We chose this for an overnight stay, putting Adelaide within a day’s drive.
A delightful little town, we originally thought of this as a top up spot before Ballarat.
Instead, we enjoyed a great Breakfast in town, and got a full charge from the site.
This allowed us to duck inland off the highway via Puckapunyal. The navigation still wanted us to go through Ballarat, but soon after getting inland a reset of the Nav and setting Adelaide as the destination wiped an hour off the predicted travel time by heading for Horsham direct.
Gateway Centre, Horsham, VIC
Yet another strange one, the Supercharger is located behind the Gateway shopping centre (Target) in town.
Blisteringly hot on the day we arrived, we walked into town.
Word of warning, everything in Horsham closes at 2.30pm, so don’t expect a feed at 2.32pm. Instead, be aware that on the other side of town on the main highway are fast food joints if you’re desperate.
As you can see, this is another “sled” installation, but looking around you can imagine Superchargers being installed into standard parking bays soon.
Given it’s remote location, Keith’s Supercharger is an Oasis in the desert.
Installed on a side road parallel to the main highway there are four bays.
Not much right nearby, but a short walk to the main street with some basic shops – again though, not very active at the end of the day.
Adelaide Central Bus Station, Adelaide, SA
Perhaps a sign of how progressive Adelaide is when it comes to future energy solutions this Supercharger is bloody impressive.
Located at the main bus depot, there are several Tesla Superchargers, as well as some generic ones too where BMW, Mitsubishi and others can charge. We saw a total of five other cars charging when we did, three of them were Tesla’s (Goulburn, Euroa, Adelaide) along with a Mitsubishi and BMW in Adelaide.
Very central, right in the heart of the city – a great location, and when fully charged the Barossa is an easy drive there and back with power to spare.
Tesla has come a long way in just a few short years in Australia. While the cars aren’t as common as many others on the road, you’d have to think the infrastructure they are building gives them the head-start on anyone else when it comes to our electric future.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.