Escape your everyday lifestyle with these great Aussie road trips.
There are three vital elements you need to make a driving holiday a great success. Firstly, a car that promises to go the distance without exploding. Secondly, choose your travelling companions wisely. I suggest you leave your mother-in-law, aged grandfather, best friend's rebellious two-year-old and the pet Alsatian with a bladder problem at home. And lastly, but certainly not least, choose a driving route that transports you to a better place.
There is something about hitting the open road that leaves other holiday options in the dust. Sure, it's easy to jump on a plane and wake up on the other side of the world, but for me, it's the journey there that can make all the difference. Watching the landscape change outside your window, feeling the sense of time pass and the release of your worries - the wind in your hair, the music playing, your feet warm on the dash board. Even the anticipation that comes with knowing you're on your way - it all adds up to being an integral part of the trip.
So if you're itching to hit the road, here are my top four Aussie road trips for your 2017 bucket list.
1. GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VIC
Anything with the word 'Great' in its title clearly has a lot to live up to. But in my opinion, the Great Ocean Road could easily have been named the Magnificent Ocean Road and it still wouldn’t do it justice. This is the road trip that almost every international visitor to Australian shores is instructed (not just advised) to explore and is considered one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives.
Stretching almost 250 kilometres between Victoria’s sleepy towns of Torquay and Allansford, and following the country’s South-Eastern coast, road-trippers can expect to encounter the gobsmacking 12 Apostles, waterfalls, breathtaking rock stacks, world-class surf breaks and heritage-listed National Parks. Take your bathers, your picnic rug, your walking shoes, your go-pro camera and your convertible. Leave your facebook and your worries behind.
2. GRAND PACIFIC DRIVE, NSW
The Grand Pacifc Drive, which starts from Sydney in the Royal National Park, along NSW's south coast is one of Australia's most spectacular driving routes. While Wollongong has been dismissed by some as a holiday destination, it's time for a rethink, especially when you take into account the string of gorgeous coastal towns, beaches and national parks surrounding her.
Gliding across the famous Sea Cliff Bridge at Stanwell Park is truly magical and reminiscent of something very futuristic. There's no guessing why this is one of the most photographed bridges in Australia and a favourite for classic car, sports car and motorcycle enthusiasts. I also suggest you stop to look up occasionally, as you'll most likely glimpse one of the many daily paragliders floating down from Stanwell Tops. If you're feeling super adventurous you can give it a go yourself!
Image: Sea Cliff Bridge, NSW
3. ATHERTON TABLELANDS, QLD
Never heard of it? Good! Isn’t there something so great about a breathtaking road trip, that’s not overwhelmed by thousands of other cars and campervans attempting to find the same thing?! While Queensland itself has an abundance of picturesque journeys you could take, one that never fails starts and finishes at Cairns, which is why it’s also known locally as the Cairns Highlands.
Think tropical. You’re sitting 90 kilometres south-west of the Cairns Ranges and up to 1280 metres above sea level. If you like tropical food, then you’re in luck because it is also known as the fertile food bowl of the far north. Quaint country towns and enticing sites such as Crystal Caves and waterfalls dot along the route as you pass through towns such as Mareeba, Atherton and Innisfail. And with the all the incredible local seasonal produce on the menus, be sure to balance out the trip with some good old-fashioned hikes and swims whenever possible! And no, your Hawaiian shirts are not required.
4. ADELAIDE HILLS, SA
Vastly different to the city of Adelaide itself, the Adelaide Hills region has consistently been a favourite travel destination for those seeking the ultimate escape - and it’s not just the rolling hills that provide it. The wineries scattered far and wide between the Barossa and Clare Valleys are world renowned. More than 150 wineries and 80 spectacular cellar doors await your taste buds in and around towns like Tanunda, Angaston and Nurioopta.
If you can still pronounce the town names by the end of the day then you should also move on to the Clare Valley, also well respected for its heritage towns, boutique wineries, museums, galleries, restaurants and trails. I guess you could say this is a road trip where, once you arrive, you won’t actually need your car a great deal!
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