An Australian Travel Guide: Top 4 Road Trips You Must Experience
23 Sep 2019
Australia might be the smallest continent covering some 5% of Earth’s land area but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have anything to offer to the traveler. In fact, from its East Coast to the other side of the world’s largest island, adventurers and tourists can find over 10.000 beaches, most of which are ideal for surfing. But let us stop here, as wave surging, boomerangs, and kangaroos are just the tip of the iceberg (ironically) of Australia’s natural wonders.
In order to experience the continent in the best possible way, you need to get off the tour bus or the airplane, rent a car, and start the ultimate Aussie road trip! Because of the topography, Australia is crisscrossed with roads and federal highways that will get you to any city you like. However, you’ll need to get off the beaten track during one of the 4 top road trips you simply must experience if you visit The Land Down Under.
The Great Alpine Road in Victoria
This trip will take you from Victoria’s northeast, from Wangaratta to be precise, some 500 kilometres through the heart of Victorian High Country. The road ends in Metung in the Gippsland Lakes area featuring a network of lakes, lagoons, and marshes covering an area of more than 350 square kilometres. The peculiarity of this road is that it takes you through a mountainous region which is not a typical Australian landscape. You will drive across mountain ranges, go down deep valleys, and through wine regions ending with the lake district of Gippsland, with Lake Wellington, Lake Victoria, and Lake King as the largest bodies of water.
On the route, you will find historic towns of Bright, Beechworth, and Omeo as well. If you happen to be visiting Victoria during wintertime, then be sure to check out some of the trekking and skiing paths near Mt Hotham. On the other side, don’t forget to stay safe by fitting wheel chains to your car and driving carefully. The last thing you need is becoming part of the bleak traffic accident statistics on Australian roads.
The Savannah Way
Some 3.700 kilometres long, the Savannah Way is one of the longest road trips you can take. The Savannah Way takes you across three states, from Broome in Western Australia, across Katherine in the Northern Territory, all the way to Cairns in Queensland. While driving through Katherine, you can take a detour to visit Darwin, a former frontier outpost that is now a state capital.
If you have ever seen a wildlife documentary from the plains of African, then you’ll love the Australian Savannah. There are numerous alternative paths to that let you explore the countryside along the Highway 1 that forms the backbone of the Savannah Way. The route cuts across 15 national parks and 5 World Heritage area so there is no shortage of places to visit. Apart from the savannah, the road goes through lush tropical rainforests, grassy plains, and gorges featuring many natural waterfalls.
Although you’ll get a chance to visit Boodjamulla National Park, one of the natural pearl of Queensland where new extinct species have recently been discovered, you still need to be careful on the road. You are going to be driving through the infamous Outback which presents a real challenge both for man and machine. For once, renting a 4WD jeep is more than recommendable, because your typical 2WD passenger car is going to have trouble navigating the dirt roads. Furthermore, don’t hit the road without a radio, because mobile networks are inaccessible in some places along the way.
Ah, those Aussie roads
Before mentioning the rest of the amazing road trip, we must say something about Australian roads. The truth is, they are not perfect. Highways and paved roads are in excellent shape in most places, but dirt roads are the ones that will take the biggest toll on your vehicle.
That is why a trip to the mechanic’s before the road trip should be mandatory because there aren’t many auto repair shops once you enter the Australian wilderness. If you happen to be passing through an urban settlement like Sydney, head to the nearest car shop, such as Carlingford auto repairs to give your vehicle a complete checkup before continuing the journey. In fact, the next road trip, The Big Lap, takes you straight through Sydney and other major Australian cities.
The Big Lap
We’ll just throw a number out there: 15.000 kilometres! That’s the distance the famous Big Lap covers while it circumnavigates the whole country. Although this trip might seem wild, you are actually going to travel through all the major cities: Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne, and of course, Sydney, the capital of New South Wales that offers plenty of urban sightseeing.
You might have guessed by now that this is not a trip that takes days, not even weeks to complete. In its most extreme format, the one where you venture deep into the Outback, the journey takes whopping 16 months to complete! However, you get to see Alice Springs and the world-famous Uluru sandstone monolith. This road trip is epic, there is no doubt about it but it is rewarding as well because you get to see an entire continent. How many road trips in the world offer such an all-encompassing experience?
The Great Ocean Road in Victoria
Leaving the savannah and closing in on the coastline, the Great Ocean Road is perhaps Australia’s most famous section of road. It begins on the southern coast of Victoria, from Torquay to Allansford further to the southwest of the state. The 240 or so kilometers of The Great Ocean Road winds along the stunning coastline, with rainforests and red cliffs forming the backdrop. Oh yeah, the route will take you past the famous Twelve Apostles (although there are only 8 left standing). Trust us, the scenery is so nice, that you’ll want to pull over your car to enjoy the scenery and take a picture (or make an Instagram story) every couple of miles.
These were only the top 4 road trips in Australia. The continent is so versatile that exploring new road trip routes would take decades. It’s so easy to fall in love with Australian folk and landscape.
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