The Road Trip. These words alone conjure up visions of dusty roads off the beaten track, discovering hideaways and finding out ‘who you really are’. Well, if you’re into that kind of thing. Truthfully, road trips are simply one of the best ways to see a country on your own time, without the company of a hundred other pushy tourists.
Australia is notorious for it’s many stunning drives, unsurprising really for a country bigger than Europe. With so much to see, the real question is where to begin, and so to save you the trouble, I’ve compiled a wonderful list of the top trips you have to take when you’re Down Under…
The Great Ocean Road (Victoria/South Australia)
Easily one of Australia’s most famous drives, the Great Ocean Road spans from the small beach town of Torquay all the way through to South Australia’s Warrnambool. Now there are many variations of this trip, and you find different people telling you it ends in different places, but this is the core of the GOR drive. This has to be one of the the most sensational ocean drives in Australia, if not the world, hence why it’s my number one Aussie Road Trip. It will take you through national parks home to some incredible waterfalls and walks, down to chilled beaches, big rocks, and the opportunity to see more wildlife than you can shake a stick at. And don’t forget the ‘I’m driving next to an ocean with my hand out of the car window’ picture. Classic.
Snowy Mountains Drive (New South Wales)
So who would have thought that Australia had snow? Or even mountains? Well, luckily for you winter bunnies, it has both. The Snowy Mountains drive takes you around Australia’s highest mountains, showing you a side of the country you most likely never would have thought you’d see. Take your time to enjoy the views (and the snow) as you tour the area; just make sure to plan it well, as unlike the GOR it’s not just one long road, and it can sometimes take a while to get from one destination to the next! But hey, it’s all about the journey right?
Nullarbor Plain (South Australia/Western Australia)
Fun fact: This road was named in 1867 from the Latin words “nulls arbor”, meaning “no trees”. Standing true to it’s name, this tree-less road will take you all the way from Norseman to Ceduna, though it’s not for the faint of heart, as with a distance of 1201 kilometres between these destinations, you’ll have to be in for the long haul. As the road is incredibly flat, it does make for great driving though, and you’re bound to catch some amazing wildlife in their natural habitat. Ever wondered what Skippy the Bush Kangaroo did after retirement? You can probably ask him. Also, make sure to check out the Great Australian Bight – with the longest cliff face in the world it’s got to be worth a visit.
Fraser Island (Queensland)
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and it’s great to drive on. Why? Because on this terrain you can only get around in a 4×4. It’s pretty awesome. You will need to get on a tour to make the most of this one as there are no real roads, and joining others to drive a 4×4 is much cheaper than renting your own. Oh, and there are dingos. Don’t forget the dingos. But it’s still pretty rustic as far as tours go – you’ll spend 3 amazing days camping, driving along beaches and swimming in the bluest fresh-water lakes in the world. Not too bad at all.
The Great Tropical Drive (Queensland)
This is another drive that seems to be different lengths depending on who you speak to, but if you fancy a short(ish) trip I would recommend you do the drive from Cooktown down to Townsville, around 8 hours of straight driving that can easily be spread over 4-5 days. This really will give you a great insight into the tropical side of Australia, as this drive will take you through rain forests, past waterfalls, and most likely, through some of the most amazing storms you will ever see. It’s a great drive, and if you’re really enjoying it you can continue and do the whole loop back up to Cairns, a total journey length of 2080 kilometres and around 12 days to complete.
All that’s left to say is…happy driving!