Going on a road trip is the best way to see Australia. You’ll be amazed by the variety and diversity of the landscapes you’ll encounter as you cruise the blacktop, from isolated desert to lush rainforest, the stunning scenery home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife. It you’re feeling adventurous, you could even go road tripping in the outback, which isn’t as daunting as it might sound, given that you’ll find regular gas stations, restaurants and motels with a friendly welcome on the way,
Great Barrier Reef Road Trip – Cairns to Cape Tribulation
Take a 140 kilometre journey up the coast in far-north Queensland, stopping off in old style towns or luxurious resorts to take in staggering views of the Great Barrier Reef. The lively tourist town Cairns, with its stylish restaurants and buzzing bars, is your gateway to the adventure of a lifetime, where you could be snorkelling or diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
Head inland to Kuranda for for rainforest walks and street markets, or take a detour to picturesque Millaa Millaa Falls, or a rainforest hike in Wooroonooran National Park .
On Cairns’ northern beaches, take a photo-op with the spectacular Great Barrier Reef views available from Rex Lookout. Port Douglas is well worth a visit– a friendly laidback town where two World Heritage sites meet – the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
At Mossman Gorge, the tropical forest enshrouds the photogenic Mossman River: take a guided walk and cool off in a waterhole, or go on a crocodile-spotting cruise on Daintree River. Last stop is Cape Tribulation, an unparalleled fusion of rainforest and reef, which quite simply is paradise.
Brisbane to the Gold Coast
One of the east coast’s most popular trips is from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, starting at the bustling boomtown on the river. Explore the city’s vibrant bears and riverside restaurants, and check out their excellent modern art gallery GOMA, or performances at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Then head south for the Gold Coast – it’s only an hour’s drive away. Surfer’s Paradise is the most famous location, a brassy, buzzing destination for the ultimate beach party.
Real surfers head for Burleigh Head, where there’s a steady supply of waves to supply surf action, and is Coolangatta, home of the legendary Superbank and the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Surfing championships. If you’re not a surfer, there’s still so much to do here. Coolangatta may be the last stop on the trip, but it’s by no means the least, with its stunning seascape views, wildlife reserve and retro festivals.
The Great Beach Drive – Sunshine Coast – Fraser Island
Looking for adventure? Travel the Sunshine Coast in southeast Queensland – you’ll find it lives up to the name, Explore the rugged, volcanic Glass House Mountains, which offer outstanding opportunities for rock-climbing in breathtaking panoramas. From there it’s a short stop to Australia Zoo, which has become an institution since being opened by Steve Irwin’s parents).
Visit Mooloolaba, a long stretch of coast with perfect beaches where you can sample fresh catches of local ‘Mooloolaba King’ prawns. A half hour north is reach Noosa, a national park that’s home to wildlife including koalas), river kayaking and some excellent restaurants.
Head north for Rainbow Beach, an idyllic hidden secret with excellent opportunities for surfing fishing and hiking. This is the gateway to Lake Fraser, home of the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, the largest sand island anywhere.
Looping south, the historic town Maryborough was the birthplace of Mary Poppins author PL Travers; nearby Tin Can Bay is the perfect place to get up close to sea turtles, dugongs and Australian humpback dolphins.
So there’s three great Australian road trips – we’ll be looking at some more soon!