Winter normally marks the start of grey nomad adventures, with over-60s packing up their caravans and heading north in search of the warmth and sunshine.
This year, things have looked a little different and any travel plans have been put on hold, but there’s hope on the horizon. States and territories are slowly beginning to ease restrictions and allow travel within the region, with the next step to open borders and allow interstate travel.
While no official announcements have been made as to when this will happen, travellers have their fingers crossed that it will be sooner rather than later. And what better way to soothe that travel itch than to start planning for your future trip? Australia offers some incredible road trip adventures, from the Great Ocean Road to the Red Centre Way, and if you’re yet to tick these off your bucket list, now is the perfect time. The bonus is that you’ll be supporting local communities which have suffered significantly during the pandemic.
“While taking a road trip to a local region might not seem like much when compared to big extended breaks, 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,” Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said.
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most famous road trips in Australia, with people coming from across the globe to see the beautiful landscape. While usually you’d have to fight with overseas tourists to grab the perfect photo of the Twelve Apostles, now the road will be looking fairly quiet, so it’s the perfect time to explore the Victorian coastline if you haven’t already.
The 243-kilometre road offers many ‘wow’ moments, with gorgeous scenery around every bend. From the spectacular sea views to shipwrecks, migrating whales and lush patches of rainforest, you certainly won’t get bored. And it’s best not to rush the drive, taking stops wherever possible, whether it be to marvel at the landscape or grab a bite to eat at a cute cafe.
Most people take a few days at least to explore the Great Ocean Road, however, you can extend the trip by staying a night or two at towns along the way such as Lorne and Apollo Bay.
The great thing about Australia is that the countryside is so vastly different depending on where you go. In the south, you’ll find rolling green hills and gorgeous beaches, while in the very centre there’s red dirt for kilometres on end.
And the best part is, now is the perfect time to visit the Northern Territory. During summer the heat can be overwhelming, but in the middle of the year, the temperature sits comfortably in the 20s and low 30s. For your red centre adventure head to Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon and the stunning West MacDonnell Ranges, where you can cool off with a refreshing dip in the swimming holes.
The cities in Australia can be quite built up, but in other parts of the country, there are vast open spaces and stretches of straight road. Each year many people travel the Nullarbor Plain to experience this long and flat region in Western Australia.
In Latin, Nullarbor actually means ‘treeless’, which makes sense because unlike other areas of Australia, there’s barely any in sight along the Nullarbor Plain. You will, however, find heaps of interesting little towns, roadhouses and restaurants dotted along the stretch of road.
There’s also caves, old gold mining towns and the longest golf course in the world – 1,365kms to be exact. All up you can expect to spend three or four days on the road when travelling the Nullarbor Plain which will take you from Perth to Adelaide.
Meanwhile, if the Nullarbor Plain drive doesn’t take your fancy, but you still want to travel through WA, Travel at 60 has a great deal which could be the perfect option – especially if you don’t have a campervan of your own. The package includes 11 days hire in a 2WD vehicle with unlimited km’s, entry to some great attractions, plus much more!
While lots of Aussies tend to head north in winter to escape the cold, it doesn’t mean you have to follow the pack. If you can brave the chilly weather, Tasmania has a lot to offer visitors, especially for the history buffs and photographers among us.
The Great Eastern Drive will take you from Hobart to the Bay of Fires in the north of Tasmania where the scenery will leave you breathless. From the crisp, white sand to the crystal clear water, the beaches are no doubt some of the most beautiful in the country.
Along the journey to the Bay of Fires, you can explore the World Heritage-listed Port Arthur convict settlement, take a trip over to Maria Island and explore the national park and meander through the Wineglass Bay region. If you’re looking for a fancy evening with your loved one you could even stay a night at the award-winning hotel Saffire Freycinet.
Sunny Queensland attracts visitors from right across the globe each year, but it’s also a favourite destination for Aussies wanting to holiday within the country. And what better place to soak up the sunshine than tropical Cairns and Port Douglas?
It may not be a long drive between the two cities – at just 140kms – but you’ll certainly be wowed by what you see. From the Great Barrier Reef to the Daintree Rainforest, the Far North Queensland region is simply breathtaking. You can take a tour of Mossman Gorge, see crocodiles and cassowaries in their natural habitat – from a safe distance of course – and explore the underwater world by snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. Then once you reach Port Douglas, you can sit back and relax by the beach.
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