Why Take A Self-Drive Holiday In Australia?
Road-tripping is generally a great way to vacation, it suits the scheduled pre-planned traveller as much as it does the spontaneous one. However, Australia makes an especially perfect road trip destination, given the huge distances between its’ towns and attractions, as well as the enjoyment of picturesque landscapes en route.
By taking a self-drive holiday in Australia, rather than flying between cities and staying in single locations, you will gain the opportunity and freedom to experience much more of this country’s diverse offerings.
Due to convenience, comfort and often affordability, many travellers combine their transport, accommodation, kitchen and bathroom amenities by choosing to rent a campervan. This means unpacking only once and provides the choice to extend your time in a new-found favourite location, minus the inconvenience of organising last-minute lodging.
Once you have decided on a road trip, the hardest part can be narrowing down your itinerary! With any luck, these suggested self-drive itineraries will both assist and inspire your next Australian adventure.
Melbourne To Adelaide
This journey begins in Melbourne, and it’s not one of Australia’s most frequented cities by chance, but thanks to its cultural diversity and rich history. The variety of experiences on offer in this city makes it appealing to almost any traveller.
Victoria’s state capital boasts many impressive features, including Australia’s largest shopping complex, a plethora of world-class cuisine, exceptional museums, first-rate sporting stadiums and outstanding theatre venues. If metropolitan happenings are not your fascination, you have only a short drive out of the city limits to indulge in natural wonder.
The drive between Melbourne and Adelaide takes in an assortment of charming coastal towns, remarkable ocean views and plenty of fresh food and wine to enjoy. It also includes the famous “Great Ocean Road” drive, renowned for its spectacular scenery along the southern seaboard. Great Ocean Road begins at Torquay and ends in thedubbo town of Allensford, spanning 243 kilometres (150 miles) in total. The trip takes in the sights of Bell’s Beach at Torquay, the iconic Twelve Apostles rock formation and London Arch.
Over the border in South Australia, your road-trip continues via the Limestone Coasts town of Mount Gambier, famous for its naturally occurring bright blue lake.
Heading north to the town of Joanna, you must make the time to stop at Naracoorte Caves – Wonambi Fossil Centre. Take a guided tour of these amazing caves or simply explore the area at your leisure. The Fossil Centre’s collection of skeletal remains from animals large and small will have you intrigued about the history of Australia’s megafauna.
As you get closer to Adelaide, you can’t pass up the opportunity to see the Bunyip, the Aboriginal folklore of a beast that inhabits the Murray Rivers reedy lagoons.
For something less hair-raising, stop into the small town of Hahndorf. Famous for its German heritage, you will be enchanted by the old-world architecture and authentic stores found in its pretty streets. Be sure to arrive hungry, you will be sure to enjoy a beautiful meal in one of their many restaurants.
By heading a short drive south, you will arrive at the sea-side town of Victor Harbor. Wildlife enthusiasts will adore Granite and Kangaroo Islands, both nature reserves where you can see fairy penguins, and many other animals, in the wild. Granite Island is easily accessible on foot across the bridge, and Kangaroo Island is a short ferry ride away.
Once arrived in the quaint Capital city of Adelaide, notorious for its cosmopolitan culture, the holiday is not yet over. Whilst here, enjoy one of the many events that gave this city its nickname of “The Festival City”. Enjoy the main street of Rundle Mall, or catch a tram to nearby sea-side suburb of Glenelg for some handcrafted gelato.
Brisbane To Sydney
The South-East city of Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, is our jumping off point for this inland drive to Sydney.
Although the coastal route is a quicker, more direct route… the charming country towns scattered off the New England Highway are absolutely worth the extra travel time. As the saying goes, it’s not about the destination, but the journey.
After departing Brisbane, Tenterfield is three and a half hours away, but you may not make it here as scheduled, because this route takes you via the Granite Belt’s town of Stanthorpe. You could easily be side-tracked by the vineyards, year-round Christmas tree farm or the Truffle Discovery Centre.
Once you do make it to Tenterfield, you have a variety of natural and historical attractions to choose from. Bald Rock National Park and Mount Mackenzie Nature Reserve are both perfect for an outdoors adventure. For the history lover, try the Railway Museum or the Tenterfield Saddler.
Several hours and a few photo stops along the way, including the Big Lamb and Thunderbolts statue, will see you arriving into Tamworth, home of the Golden Guitar.
Tamworth in well-known for its Australian Country Music Hall of Fame, which is a museum of memorabilia related to Australian country music artists. If you are passing through in January, it’s a great opportunity to attend the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Further south-west and we come to Dubbo, where one of the top attractions is the Western Plains Zoo. This zoo was taken over by Taronga Conservation Society Australia some years ago, and they aim to continually improve habitats whilst keeping conservation at their forefront. The zoo is home to a vast assortment of animals, both exotic and native.
For some local history, it is worth stopping in at the Old Dubbo Gaol, a state heritage listed location. The prison operated for nearly 120 years, starting in the mid 1800’s. You can take a guided tour of the gaol, or just view the collections of original penal paraphernalia.
Last stop on the journey to Sydney is Katoomba, which also happens to be the most visited town in the Blue Mountains National Park. Once you arrive, you will quickly understand why it is so popular; given that it is the gateway to so many phenomenal landscapes. The Katoomba Falls are a great start, especially if there has been a recent downpour of rain. Admire the panoramic view as the water cascades down the rocky bluff and into the stunningly beautiful valley below.
Visit “Scenic World” which boasts the world’s steepest railway, but if you prefer another mode of transport to soak up the mountain scenery, you could instead opt for the cable car or cableway. From here you will have a birds-eye view of the famous three sisters rock formation, which can also be admired from the well-known Echo Point Lookout.
Hopefully, amongst this assortment of sights and activities, you have found some assistance (or at least a little bit of inspiration) to help get you on the road and heading towards your amazing self-drive Australian escape.
Leila was lucky to have the opportunity to travel from a young age, and has visited over 20 countries,
including Oceania, Asia, Pacific, Europe and USA. After finishing her Tourism studies in 2000, she
began her adventure in the travel industry, where she first worked for an International Travel
Agency. In 2014, Leila joined the team at Discovery Rentals, this current role corresponds perfectly
with her passion for road-trips, eco-tourism and self-drive holidays.