Australia’s famed driving routes are not confined to boys’ trips or romantic getaways — they are equally great holiday options for families that want a whole new experience together
Bring back the nostalgia of childhood vacations through scenic drives as you embark on some of Australia’s famous driving routes. While you wind through stunning marvels of nature, pristine beaches and panoramic vistas, your children will make their own memories to last a lifetime. Plus, an Indian driving license is valid in Australia, so all you need to do is pick up a car and drive!
Sydney, New South Wales, to Gold Coast, Queensland
Along the eastern edge of Australia is one of the most scenic routes in the world — the Legendary Pacific Coast. The best way to experience it is to head north from vibrant Sydney to the adventure-packed Gold Coast, over the course of a week.
Stop to bushwalk, canoe, surf, waterski or sailboard at the Central Coast before heading to sample the fine wines of Hunter Valley, some 160 kilometres from Sydney. Once done with your wine tours, you can hand-feed kangaroos at the local zoo, hop on a hot air balloon ride or play a round of mini-golf.
With its 26 beaches on offer, spend the day at Port Stephens frolicking in the water and enjoy a pampered night in one of its many well-appointed resorts. En route to the beautiful resort town of Coffs Harbour, make stops along the way at Seal Rocks, Forster and the capacious beaches of Nambucca Heads.
Experience the unique Gondwanan rainforest in Dorrigo National Park about an hour’s drive from Coffs Harbour, before looping back around to the Pacific Coast and the hinterlands and beaches near the coastal town of Byron Bay.
Spend the last leg of your Pacific Coast journey on the Gold Coast in Queensland, discovering your inner child along with your kids as you jump from one adventure theme park to the next!
Hobart to Launceston, Tasmania
If a week-long road-trip doesn’t fit your agenda, a drive through the Freycinet National Park in Tasmania is as short as it is magical. Set out from Hobart towards Freycinet on your first day and enjoy the azure views of Great Oyster Bay and Maria Island.
At Freycinet, get ready for a family adventure as you kayak under the red granite cliffs of the Hazard Ranges. Spend the night in Coles Bay or better yet, camp under the stars at designated camping areas.
Start your next morning with a highly recommended swim at St Helens and indulge in fresh seafood. Ride towards the rugged Mount William National Park, past the impressive boulders of Bay of Fires Walk, and through the tin-mining town of Derby. To the north of the state, in Launceston, cross the suspension bridge over Cataract Gorge or ride on the world’s longest single span chairlifts before heading back to Hobart.
Great Ocean Road, Victoria
A coastal drive poised to literally take your breath away, the Great Ocean Road Drive begins a little over an hour west of the capital city, Melbourne, at the town of Torquay. The drive spans 243 kilometres of beachside vistas, ocean-soaked history, delicious local produce, and nature at its pristine best.
Torquay’s windswept shores are a great place for the entire family to indulge in some water sport adventures before travelling on to Lorne under the spell of the bitumen first carved out of the rocks by WWI veterans. After a relaxed night at Lorne’s luxury accommodations, drive along the Apollo Bay as dense forests plummet into rocky beaches around you. Here, you will witness the magnificent limestone towers of the Twelve Apostles as you steer your way above the notorious Shipwreck Coast towards the dainty village-town of Port Fairy.
Throwing the coast behind you, you will now wind north into continental Victoria and the craggy hills of the Grampians National Park. Driving through its sandstone ridges, you will arrive at Halls Gap for a stay enriched by walking explorations and aboriginal history.
From here, loop north towards Australia’s erstwhile goldfields and prepare for a trip down history with period-inspired architecture and quaint village stays near Bendigo and Ballarat. You will arrive back at Melbourne with a true Aussie experience under your belts.
Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Queensland
This 140-kilometre drive is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. The Great Barrier Reef Drive is a route filled with untouched beauty and lofty panoramas of Queensland’s finest.
Kickstart your journey through rainforests, beaches and alluring coastlines from Cairns. Once you have explored all of the town’s cafes, restaurants and beaches, drive north towards Port Douglas to enjoy its relaxed vibe. From here, venture into the Great Barrier Reef on a boat before shifting gears back on the mainland to experience the Daintree Rainforest. Driving along the Daintree River you will arrive at the oldest rainforest in the world. Take in its 150 million years of wonder from the foliaged vistas of Alexandra Lookout.
Drive down to Thornton Beach, Noah Beach or Coconut Beach and spend a day or two unwinding on untouched stretches of sand. End your journey at Cape Tribulation, which truly lives up to its name with ocean safaris that let you swim with turtles along the reef, which makes for a fitting end to a family trip.
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