5 great Aussie road trips

Australia is made for road trips. And these five classics will make sure you experience everything this vast country has to offer

Insider Secrets
19 September 2015

1. The Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Arguably Australia’s most famous road trip, this 250-kilometre drive along the southern coastline reaches its climax at the Twelve Apostles, the sandstone stacks that feature in every tourist ad for Australia.

That’s not to say that the rest of the drive is boring, though. Torquay boasts the world’s largest surf museum and the iconic Bell’s Beach. Lorne and Apollo Bay offer a lively cafe scene, backed by the Great Otway National Park with its soaring manna gums and mountain ash. But the coastline is the undoubted star, with each corner along the winding road revealing a new vista of cliffs, islands and a pounding sea.

2. Gibb River Road, Kimberley, Western Australia

The Kimberley is one of Australia’s most iconic – and empty – regions of Australia. Tucked up in the north-west corner of Australia is a wild, arid area of plateaus and gorges where cattle stations measure in the millions of acres.

The only road across the Kimberley is the Gibb River Road. Originally a cattle track, the 660-kilometre road runs from Kununurra to Derby. The highlights are the gorges, where water brings the parched landscapes to life. Manning Creek on Mount Barnett Station is a favourite with drivers, with its large rock pool lined by pandanus palms and dotted with water lilies. Gibb River is dotted with gorges too, each offering a blissful respite after a long, hot day of driving.

4WD essential. Car Hire offices in Kununurra and Broome offer one-way rentals.

3. Sunshine Coast Hinterland Drive, Queensland

This stunning drive takes inland from the stunning beaches and resorts of Noosa, past vast pineapple plantations and Australia Zoo, to the Blackall Ranges, where waterfalls tumble from escarpments into subtropical rainforest.

Look out for the Glass House Mountains, steep-side volcanic peaks that are the cornerstone of local Aboriginal lore with short, sharp bushwalking tracks that will leave you gasping for breath. For a more relaxing experience, stop a while in Montville, a pretty village perched in the Blackall Ranges with cafes, views across the coast and reserves where you’ll spot wallabies, bandicoots, whipbirds and bowerbirds.

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