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Our Favourite Australian Road Trips To Explore The Country

Wineglass bay photography: Matt Donovan

Our Favourite Australian Road Trips To Explore The Country

The list is out! Here are Australia's favourite road trips as recommended by the experts themselves at Tourism Australia. Now that our holiday options are kept much closer to home, and we are still practising social distancing, a road trip has great appeal.

Our Favourite Australian Road Trips To Explore The Country

Phillipa Harrison, Managing Director of Tourism Australia said “We know people still want to travel and that they want to get out and explore. Our recent consumer research showed over 60 per cent of Australians are keen to travel around Australia once restrictions ease”.

“And while taking a road trip to a local region might not seem like much when compared to big extended break, each time you choose to explore and spend locally you’ll also be helping regional tourism businesses and communities to get back on their feet after what has been perhaps the most challenging period the industry has ever faced.”

Day-trips from Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

GOOD TO GO: Travel between and throughout the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales is now permitted.

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS ROAD TRIPS

There is something distinctly ‘old England’ about the Southern Highlands, where pretty towns modelled after quaint English villages are set amid green landscapes. Drive out of Canberra for a round trip, visiting the quaint small towns filled with quirky antiques and historic buildings. Stop in at Bungendore known for its art, craft, antiques and restaurants. Continue north to Mittagong in the heart of the Southern Highlands and check out the town’s famous antiques and art and craft stores before driving the short distance to Bowral, at the foot of Mount Gibraltar. Stretch your legs in Moss Vale with a walk around Leighton Gardens and Australia’s oldest jail. Stop by the award-winning Gumnut Patisserie, before cricket buffs visit The Bradman Museum, or visitors go to spot platypuses on the river in Boorowa. Learn about the town’s Irish history on the Shamrock Heritage Trail before heading back to Canberra.

THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS ROAD TRIPS

The Snowy Mountains are a year-round paradise for enjoying the outdoors. Take a road trip from Canberra to one of the region’s towns, like Jindabyne, Thredbo, Tumut and Perisher. Tumut, a 2.5-hour drive from Canberra, is the perfect mountain escape where visitors can explore the mountainous terrain as they bike, hike, fish and golf. Don’t miss a stop at Tumut River Brewing Co for a range of local craft beers and pub-style meals (booking essentials or take-away is available).

Weekend beach getaway or support a bushfire affected community from Sydney, New South Wales

GOOD TO GO: NSW residents can take a holiday anywhere in NSW with intrastate travel restrictions lifted.

HEAD NORTH FOR A ROAD TRIP TO THE BEACH

Depart Sydney city and drive for an hour northeast to Palm Beach, situated at the top of a long peninsula and surrounded by clear waters and leafy, mansion-studded streets. At the far end of the beach, take the 800-metre (0.5-mile) walking trail to Barrenjoey Lighthouse and lightkeeper’s cottages for panoramic views over Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Drive another 2.5-hours to Newcastle, Australia’s second-oldest city. See why it’s a world-famous surfing destination with a swim at Merewether Beach, or enjoy some more leisurely laps at heritage-listed ocean pool, Bogey Hole.

EXPLORE THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

Earlier this year over 80% of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area burned in Australia’s summer bushfires but since the area has started to burst to life with new greenery as the bush regenerates. A great day trip from Sydney it is about an one hour drive from Sydney before you start to climb up the mountains. Locals know that the most scenic trip up the mountain is via Bells Line of Road stopping in at Bilpin for friendly faces and 100% mountain-grown apple ciders. Further along, visitors can get back to nature at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden before choosing from a plethora of quaint towns to stop into. Also don’t miss the Three Sisters which is usually the highlight of any Blue Mountain trip and a must see stop.

Wangi Falls, Tourism NT Stephanie Lai

Outdoor adventure loop from Darwin, Northern Territory

GOOD TO GO: The designated biosecurity areas in the Northern Territory will be lifted for residents on 5 June 2020, including East Arnhem Land. However, there are still travel restrictions in place for interstate and overseas visitors.

GREATER LITCHFIELD LOOP

Take your time exploring the Greater Litchfield Loop to discover its incredible landscapes, cascading waterfalls and tropical walking trails. Starting in Darwin make your way to Litchfield National Park, known as the ultimate outdoor playground. Most areas in the park are open so make sure you check out Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole for a swim amongst the cascading pools and if you’re keen on camping, pitch your tent at Wangi Falls. For a rewarding detour, stop in at Dundee Beach for world-class fishing and great camping options before heading back to Darwin.

Getaways under 150kms in Queensland

GOOD TO GO: Recreational travel of a maximum of 150kms within your region for day trips is currently permitted in Queensland.

LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK

For those based in Brisbane, a quick play around with Google Maps will reveal that the countryside is within less than 100-kms reach including Lamington National Park. For an area so deliciously named, we hate to let you down – there are no actual lamingtons here. Instead, you’ll find a rainforest worthy of World Heritage-listed status. This is Gondwana country, folks. In the Binna Burra section of the park, the walks range from short 30-minute circuits, right through to 8-hour treks – catering to bushwalkers who are as green to hiking as the landscape here. Find more day-trip from Brisbane inspiration here.

Adventure out from Adelaide, South Australia

GOOD TO GO: There are no current restrictions on intrastate travel within South Australia.

FLINDERS RANGES

Travel to nearby regions for short overnight stays is now allowed in South Australia, so hit the road and enjoy the journey. Drive to Flinders Ranges which takes you into the heart of this dramatic mountain range. From Adelaide it takes five hours to reach Wilpena Pound, a natural phenomenon that looks like a giant crater in the heart of the Flinders Ranges. If you have a 4WD vehicle of your own, explore the network of gravel roads through ancient gorges and over rocky, weathered peaks.

Cross the whole island of Tasmania

GOOD TO GO: Tasmanians are permitted to take day trips within the state though will not be able to take overnight trips until 15 June.

DAY TRIPPING IN TASSIE

Visit Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay on a day trip from Hobart, where visitors can take in stunning views and enjoy scenic walks in the world’s cleanest air. Drive through the seaside towns of Orford, Triabunna and Swansea enroute to Freycinet National Park. Savour fresh oysters or abalone for lunch from Freycinet Marine Farm (open for takeaway), or at the dockside seafood punts at the fishing centre of St Helens.

Drive on the Great Alpine Road, Omeo

Get out and explore Victoria

GOOD TO GO: There are no current restrictions on the distance you can travel within Victoria and travellers can stay in a holiday home or private residence, as well as tourist accommodation, including caravan parks and camping grounds, where there are no shared communal facilities.

EXPLORE THE GREAT ALPINE ROAD

Visitors can wind their way along Victoria’s Great Alpine Road, from Wangaratta in the north-east across to Metung on the jaw-droppingly beautiful Gippsland Lakes. The 340-kilometre adventure along Australia’s highest year-round accessible sealed road leads visitors through diverse landscapes, from lofty mountain ranges, down plunging valleys, into lush forests, and past rolling vineyards to sparkling coastal waterways. Dine on fresh local produce and award-winning cool-climate wines, or catch lunch by a mountain stream or lake.

From sea to lakes, visit the open national parks, Western Australia

GOOD TO GO: Travel restrictions are lifted, excluding travel to biosecurity zones within the Kimberley region, parts of Shire of East Pilbara and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku and remote Aboriginal communities.

PERTH TO ALBANY ON THE ROAD 

Take the scenic route from Perth to Albany. If you’re into art, drive along the PUBLIC Silo Trail, to view a series of world-class murals. Head to Rockingham, about 45 minutes south of Perth, for a close-up encounter with resident bottlenose dolphins. Stop in to explore the Margaret River Region, nip into a whisky distillery or sip your way around a few wineries. Stretch your legs with a walk through Torndirrup National Park, and see the spectacular wave-carved rock formations including Natural Bridge. Alternatively, stop for a walk along Little Beach at Two People’s Bay Nature Reserve – regularly voted one of Western Australia’s best beaches.

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