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Greatest road trips of Australia

Mar 24, 2017 | Insights

Want to go off the beaten track for the day? This is easy living only hours from urban life.

Around 53 million driving holidays are taken in Australia every year. Australia’s coastline is 25,760 kilometres round trip. When you think about it, that’s a hell of a long way, but it sure isn’t impossible to travel around. In fact, many grey nomads and adventurers alike circumnavigate the country along Highway 1 everyday as a way of experiencing their own backyard in the confines of (hopefully) a sturdy vehicle. But if you’re not up for a trip of that magnitude, there are certainly more than a few day trips on offer which still boast our beautiful landscapes.

If you live in Brisbane…

Queensland’s south-east is littered with day trip destinations away from the big smoke. You can drive up to the Sunshine Coast (just under 2 hours) and go for a dip in the ocean followed by a trip through the Hinterlands for bookshop and antique store roaming (Montville and Maleny are musts). If you’re not up for wandering around your own state, drive south across the border into NSW territory and embrace the tie-dyed lifestyle of Byron Bay and its Shire. Think highway driving is for you with a bit of time on your hands? Then it’s time to head north to Rockhampton (7 hrs), the Whitsundays (12.5 hrs), Townsville (15 hrs), or even Cairns (19 hrs).

If you live in Sydney…

Valley is a go-to for vineyard hopping and relaxed, scenic walks and just a 2 hours’ drive from the city. Wine tasting not your thing? Well hiking could be if you head to the Blue Mountains! It’s a staple day-trip for any Sydney-sider and you can explore the road less travelled on the Bells Line of Road from Richmond to Mount Tomah. More of a crashing waves, white sand kind of holiday-maker? Check out Jervis Bay on the southern News South Wales coast. With the whitest sand in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s a ‘can’t miss’ in your lifetime.

If you live in Canberra…

You could always take a day trip from Sydney to explore Australia’s capital city, but the ACT & NSW has a lot to explore on the outskirts. Snow lovers rejoice as Australia actually has somewhere for you to relax, explore, and hit the slopes. Just a short 2.5 hours and you could be speeding down Mt Kosciuszko in the cooler months. Also travel around the cosy townships like Jindabyne, Adaminaby, and Tumut. Inland towns like Milton and Mogo on the NSW South Coast are also on offer for boutique shopping and café hopping.

If you live in Melbourne…

One of the most iconic and breathtaking drives in Australia is just down the highway from Melbourne and Geelong. Great Ocean Road boasts the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and the London Arch. It’s 243km in length, but it is completely worth racking up a couple k’s on your car (even if it is only to Lorne and back). The Yarra Valley also boasts some pretty impressive winery’s if that’s the kind of thing you’re into… keep in mind the kids would love the Puffing Billy Steam Train if you head that way.

If you live in Hobart…

You can basically get anywhere within the day in Tasmania, so your options are really quite vast! Head north for about 4 hours from Hobart to Cradle Mountain for some hiking and sightseeing – you might even spot a Tasmanian Devil at your destination. You can also stop in at Launceston on the way and take a peek at the Cataract Gorge. Take a detour from Launceston to Cradle Mountain and you could be in the presence of the Bridestowe Lavender Estate. Nature isn’t for you? Take a historic trip to Port Arthur – it only takes 1.5 hours!

If you live in Adelaide…

Fleurieu Peninsula is only an hour south of Adelaide. It’s a quiet place for fishing and beach fun, but you could also discover some pretty cool caves in Second Valley. Keen to stay a bit closer to home? Check out Port Adelaide for its streets lined with heritage buildings and if you’re lucky, dolphin spotting from the shore. The Adelaide Hills are also a quick drive from the city for a rural escape and can even bring snow in the coolest of winters. In just under 4 hours, you could explore Australian wildlife at Kangaroo Island – it’s also got some pretty accommodation if you want to turn it into an over-night stay.

If you live in Perth…

As the Perth Highway stretches across the city, you can get from one end to the other with several stops along the way and avoiding suburban detours. Head from Fremantle to Rockingham taking in the views, or travel to the Avon Valley for hot air ballooning or a taste of country cuisine. Take the Perth to Pinnacles trip along the coast and you’ll be able to explore the limestone formations in under 2.5 hours. Although you can’t necessarily drive to this one, you can’t really miss Rottnest Island if you’re in the Perth vicinity…

If you live in Darwin…

Kakadu National Park is as Aussie as you can get! You’ll be able to take a Yellow Water Cruise, adventure tour, or setup for the night in the campground or Crocodile Hotel. A 3-hour drive south from Darwin could get you to explore the hidden waterfalls and swimming holes of Katherine. Litchfield National Park is only 100kms south-west of Darwin, so it’s a must see for another round of waterfalls and crystal clear pools.

So, no matter what city you’re in, you now know that a getaway from the hustle and bustle is just a quick car trip away! Fuel up the tank, pack some snacks, and create a road trip playlist to be on your way in no time. Enjoy exploring your own backyard!


The information contained in this blog is accurate only at the date of publication. 

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Makala Elliott

Makala is the Marketing Manager at Finance One. She has worked in the Finance and Lending industry for over 10 years, gathering a wealth of experience. She is passionate about helping Australians get back on track with their finances by passing on her knowledge.

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