Great Australian Road Trips
 
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COASTAL DRIVES
 

Great Ocean Road: Top of any list of great Australian drives is Great Ocean Road. Built between 1919 and 1932, the cliff-hugging road winds its way along the rugged south-western Victorian coastline between Torquay and Warrnambool, where wild seas and unmerciful currents earned it the name of the Shipwreck Coast.   Highlights include the Twelve Apostles rock formations, the Otways rainforest, Bells Beach, historic villages and seaside resort towns.

How long? 250 km
More: www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au

 

Watch the video: Beyond the Great Ocean Road

Sea Cliff Bridge

Grand Pacific Drive: NSW’s answer to Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, the Grand Pacific Drive, runs along a man-made cliff-hugging ledge between the pounding surf and towering escarpment wall north of Wollongong. A higlight is the 665-metre-long multi-span balanced cantilever bridge that curves around the cliffs 50 metres out to sea. Explore Royal National Park, check out the view from Stanwell Tops, stop for a swim at any number of surf beaches and eat fish and chips at the fishing harbour in Wollongong before visiting the spectacular Nan Tien Temple, the biggest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere.

How long? 71 km
More: www.grandpacificdrive.com.au

Coffin Bay

Eyre Peninsula: One of the best kept beach secrets in the country is the Eyre Peninsula, the triangle of land jutting into the sea between Adelaide and the Great Australian Bight. If you like empty beaches, this is the place to go. On this drive from Whyalla to Ceduna via Port Lincoln you’ll find beach after beach, visited only by the occasional fisherman and screeching seagulls.  Highlights are oysters and fresh seafood, the stunning five kilometre cliff drive at Elliston, fishing from town jetties, four-wheel driving in Lincoln and Coffin Bay national parks and swimming with sea lions at Baird Bay.

How long? 580 km
More: eyre-peninsula.aspx

 

Watch the video: The Eyre Peninsula's wild side

Cooktown

Captain Cook Highway: Victoria’s Great Ocean Road might get all the glory, but every bit as stunning, and a whole lot warmer at this time of year is the Captain Cook Highway from Cairns to Port Douglas.  The road hugs the coastline and the views are magnificent as the rainforest spills down the mountain side to meet the sea.  Continue north through the Daintree rainforest; if you’ve got a 4WD take the track through Cape Tribulation, or cut across from Mossman to the now-sealed Mulligan Highway and head to Cooktown which still has a last frontier feel to it.

How long? 330 km
More: www.greattropicaldrive.com.au

Cape to Cape: The Margaret River region, a wild knob of land jutting into the sea off the bottom corner of WA, crowned in the north by Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in the south, is home to some of the finest white wines (and plenty of terrific reds) produced in Australia.  The town of Margaret River is more or less on the half-way mark of Caves Road, which runs cape to cape and is the best way to explore the area.  Highlights include Boranup Karri Forest, great surfing beaches, whale watching, limestone caves, road-side wildflowers, quality art galleries and lots of wineries.

How long? 110 km
More: www.margaretriver.com

 

Watch the video: Exploring the wilder side of Margaret River in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.

Thirsty Point, Cervantes

Indian Ocean Drive: A new road has made touring the coast from Perth to Geraldton even easier. The new Indian Ocean Drive linking Lancelin and Cervantes means, you never have to leave the coast until you get to Geraldton, making it one of the best coastal road trips in the country. Highlights include watching the sun set in the Pinnacles Desert at Nambung National Park near Cervantes, wildflowers, vast stands of banksias and the ghost town of Greenough along with Geraldton’s excellent shipwreck gallery at the museum and the hll-top memorial to HMAS Sydney .

How long? 268 km
More: www.indianoceandrive.com.au

 

Watch the video: Driving through the Pinnacles

Watch the video: Kalbarri National Park

Edge of the World lookout

The Bass Coast: Anywhere in Tasmania makes for a great driving holiday, but the northern coastline is an unsung treasure.  It is a place of rugged beauty, where fertile farmlands spill into the wild waters of Bass Strait.  From the boulder-strewn white-sand beaches of the Bay of Fires, the main route across the top of the island travels through beautiful rainforest, some of the state’s best wine producing areas, along the spectacular coastal Bass Highway past pretty fishing villages to finally reach the wild wilderness of the west coast at the aptly named Edge of the World lookout.

How long? 450 km
More: www.discovertasmania.com.au

Central Tilba

Southern Gourmet: The stretch of coastline south of Sydney between Nowra and Merimbula is a foodies paradise.  Every village seems to have its own fishermen’s co-op selling fresh catches of day, the lush dairy farms in the hills produce some fantastic cheeses and the fertile fields yield an amazing array of fresh fruit and vegetables and some very good wines.  So grab yourself a blanket, an empty picnic basket, and head south for one of the best gourmet drives NSW has to offer. 

How long? 315 km
More: www.eurobodalla.com.au

 

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