While overseas borders may be slowly reopening, expensive airfares may keep them a distant memory for most of us. The good news is, there are still plenty of amazing sights to explore right here in Australia that won’t cost the earth. Hitting the open road and getting away from home can help you leave your worries behind, improve your mental wellbeing, and help satisfy your need to travel.
Luckily, we live in a country filled with spectacular landscapes and locations, making driving holidays the perfect alternative to an overseas vacay. Here, we look at some of the best Aussie driving holidays.
Cairns to Cape York, Qld
Not for the faint-hearted, this 1000-kilometre tropical road adventure starts at the gateway to the Barrier Reef in Cairns, and winds its way through the Daintree Rainforest to the mainland’s northern most point, Cape York.
Why do it?
Definitely one for experienced 4x4 drivers, you’ll travel through truly amazing landscapes where two World Heritage areas converge and ancient rock art abounds. The drive will take you along endless red dirt tracks, through lush rainforests and croc-infested river crossings.
Experience local culture and rock art thought to be over 30,000 years old at the Quinkan Galleries at Laura.
You’ll need a 4WD to take the scenic coastal route via Cape Tribulation, the Daintree and the Bloomfield Track. The inland route offers a less bumpy journey on the fully sealed Mulligan Highway.
The Grand Pacific Drive, NSW
This picturesque 140-kilometre coastal drive will take you past scenic lakes and through rainforests, over the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge and through charming coastal townships, including Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven.
Why do it?
Prepare to be amazed by some of NSW’s most beautiful beaches and spectacular cliff faces.
The Kiama Blowhole is a must, as powerful blasts of water shoot high into the sky.
Pack your sense of adventure!
The Great Ocean Road, Victoria
This bucket list road trip is one of Australia’s most iconic driving adventures, winding along Victoria’s rugged and spectacular southern coast from Torquay to Allansford.
Why do it?
Every Aussie needs to experience the 243 kilometres of postcard views on offer. The trip takes in some of Australia’s most diverse landscapes, from the famous Twelve Apostles (now eight) and stunning coastlines, to rainforests, sunburnt cliffs and historic shipwrecks.
Port Campbell National Park is home to the Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge – the site of a 19th-century shipwreck and the cliff face Gibson Steps.
Starting in Torquay ensures you’re on the ocean side of the road, allowing you to pull over for the lookouts along the way.
Gibb River Road, WA
Take a 4WD along this 660-kilometre, old cattle transport route, through the heart of Western Australia’s Kimberley – from Derby to Wyndham.
Why do it?
For keen 4WD adventurers, this unique road trip showcases the very best of the stunning wilderness of the Kimberley. Experience outback cattle stations, our pioneering heritage, breathtaking gorges, cascading waterfalls, along with Indigenous sacred sites and cave art.
Well worth the trouble getting there, Bell Gorge features spectacular multi-tiered waterfalls flowing into several pools that are perfect for cooling off.
Carry what petrol you can as fuel is expensive on the Gibb River Road, with only two roadhouses at Imintji and Mt Barnett. Be aware that only the Mt Barnett roadhouse sells petrol – both sell diesel.
Whatever driving holiday you decide on, just make sure your vehicle is fully serviced and you have up-to-date roadside assistance. Of course, if you’re keen to upgrade your 4WD to something new, there are some really competitive car loans packed with great features to get you out on the open road quickly.