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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Nine Incredible Road Trips to Take to Explore the Country at Your Own Pace

Hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back till you've explored rugged coastlines, lush rainforests and arid outback tracks.
By Hudson Brown
July 01, 2021
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By Hudson Brown
July 01, 2021
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in partnership with

Under current COVID-19 restrictions in Australia, there are various interstate border restrictions in place. Up-to-date information on restrictions are available at your state's health websites (click through for NSW, Victoria and Queensland). Of course, even border closures don't mean you can't start dreaming — bookmark this for when you can explore freely once again.

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There's something special about getting behind the wheel for a long drive, whether you're summiting Australia's soaring mountain ranges or rambling your way up the coastline. There are fascinating adventures awaiting in every corner of the country, so forget about setting a breakneck pace. Just pick out a few waypoints along the way and pull in wherever you please.

When you spot a stunning hike or a sandy beach that simply has to be experienced, slide the new Sonos Roam — featuring ten hours of playtime and a drop-resistant design — into your daypack and let the perfect playlist soundtrack your adventures. Exploring Australia has never sounded so good.

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Lisa Kuilenburg, Tourism Tas

GREAT EASTERN DRIVE, TASMANIA

Don't think that you can get away with ignoring Tassie for much longer. The entire state deserves to be explored but, if time is of the essence, the east coast boasts a particularly scenic drive overflowing with stellar restaurants, wineries and landscapes. The fun starts in the island's northeastern corner at the Bay of Fires with its striking orange lichen-cloaked boulders. Heading south, you'll find windswept delights in coastal towns like Binalong Bay, St Helens and Bicheno before arriving at Freycinet National Park and experiencing spectacular views across Wineglass Bay.

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Ensay Winery, Visit Victoria

GREAT ALPINE ROAD, VICTORIA

Victoria offers some wonderfully diverse landscapes with the Great Alpine Road carrying you through some of the best. Stretching for 339 kilometres from Wangaratta to Metung, this adventure sees you cruise through granite mountain ranges and venture into lush rainforests — with dozens of great stops to make along the way. Consider taking a detour into Mount Buffalo National Park to experience the incredible views from The Horn or cool off in the Eurobin Falls. You can also sample eco-conscious wines at Ensay Winery or swing by Bruthen's Bullant Brewery for top-quality beers and a feed that showcases delicious regional flavours.

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Cape Paterson, Visit Victoria

BASS COAST, VICTORIA

You don't have to travel far from Melbourne to get amongst some of the state's most scenic locations. Just an hour's drive from the CBD is the stunning Bass Coast region, which encompasses everything from Phillip Island to Inverloch. Catch views of the jagged coastline and sea-bird nesting areas from San Remo before scooting along the coast to charming towns like Kilcunda, Wonthaggi and Cape Paterson. This unforgettable coastal cruise bounces from one relaxed village to the next with outstanding spots for surfing, snorkelling and dining at every turn.

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Cape Tribulation, Unsplash

CAIRNS TO CAPE YORK, QUEENSLAND

Completing the 1000-kilometre trip from Cairns to Cape York is a tropical adventure like no other. Featuring some of Australia's wildest landscapes, this road trip will take you on a tour of pioneering history via lowland rainforests and sweeping landscapes. Pause at Mareeba to discover why 70 percent of Australia's coffee is grown here before experiencing the reaches of the Daintree Rainforest at Port Douglas and the pristine Mossman Gorge. While much of the Cairns to Cape York route is sealed, having a 4WD to overcome some unexpected obstacles is a good idea.

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Tourism and Events Queensland

75 MILE BEACH, QUEENSLAND

Scout out the sights of the world's largest sand island — K'gari (Fraser Island) — and its breathtaking 75 Mile Beach. When the tide is right, you're welcome to take your four wheels onto the white sand beach to live out the summertime getaway of your dreams. Plus, there are more than 100 freshwater lakes found across K'gari — be sure to take a dip in the red waters of Lake Boomanjin. You can also explore the SS Maheno Shipwreck, which ran aground in 1935, before pitching a tent beneath the enormous ferns of Central Station's open rainforest.

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Geoffrey Rhodes, Flickr

ANCIENT OUTBACK MOUNT ISA LOOP, QUEENSLAND

Pack plenty of water and sunscreen because a multi-day drive through Queensland's remote northwest is bound to get a bit warm. This trip departs from the mining capital of Mount Isa, taking you east past the rugged Selwyn Ranges. Onwards to Richmond, you'll come across Australia's best-preserved dinosaur skeleton at Kronosaurus Korner, while Winton, about 230 kilometres to the south, is believed to be the birthplace of 'Waltzing Matilda'. Ahead of finishing the loop, experience cinematic history by stopping for a drink at Crocodile Dundee's favourite pub, the Walkabout Creek Hotel, in McKinlay.

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Destination Port Stephens

PACIFIC COAST, NEW SOUTH WALES/QUEENSLAND

The road from Sydney to Brisbane is peppered with remarkable attractions. You'll need about a week to experience the top-notch locations along the 1000-kilometre route. After leaving Sydney behind, the first unmissable stop is Lake Macquarie's sparkling rock pools and world-class fishing. Just up the coast, choose any of Port Stephens's 26 stunning beaches for an idyllic picnic and break out the snorkelling gear at Coffs Harbour's Solitary Islands Marine Park. Following a stop in Byron Bay, it's time to cross the Queensland border and experience the Gold Coast hinterland en route to Brisbane.

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Broken Hill, Trevor McKinnon, Unsplash

BROKEN HILL AND THE OUTBACK, NEW SOUTH WALES

See both sides of New South Wales as this sweeping road trip transports you from Sydney's bright lights to the frontier town of Broken Hill. You have a variety of fascinating backcountry communities to explore with Dubbo the first major landmark on this adventure. Prepare yourself for the wide open landscapes to come by visiting the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. After you move through historic mining towns like Cobar, Wilcannia and White Cliffs, you'll soon arrive at Broken Hill. Relish a cold drink at the famous Palace Hotel, then head out for an unbeatable sunset surrounded by the sandstone sculptures at the Living Desert & Sculpture Symposium.

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Women mountain biking in Thredbo

Tourism Snowy Mountains

ALPINE WAY, NEW SOUTH WALES

Australia might not be best known for its snow-capped mountains, but our alpine region is about as scenic as they come. The Alpine Way links one mindblowing destination to the next with this road trip beginning at the laidback community of Cooma and heading deep into the Snowy Mountains. Learn your local history by paying a visit to the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre, then make tracks to the picturesque town of Jindabyne for a dip in the lake (weather permitting, of course). As the altitude increases, the isolated town of Khancoban provides the perfect launchpad to explore Kosciuszko National Park's hikes and adventure activities.

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Find out more about the new Sonos Roam at the official website.

Top image: Bay of Fires, Spencer Chow.

Published on July 01, 2021 by Hudson Brown

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