There’s nothing easy in choosing the routes for your road trip in Australia: this vast land offers plenty of spectacular roads to drive along and admire the magic of its varied nature and enchanting coast.
This is why, today, I decided to narrow it down to the routes that will be particularly appreciated by gourmet people, those who want to taste some good wine and food and by those who would like to have a walk in very special and unique settings. I’m talking about road trips for contemplative people, who wish to walk and “live” a long way admiring natural beauty and enjoying the best of human activity.
What you need for the itineraries I’m going to illustrate you:
- A car: you can easily rent a car no matter where you go but, another very clever way to have the car that is most suitable for you for your Australian experience, and that many travellers take into consideration, is buying a second hand one (you can have a look at this website to get the best offers and occasions). After your road trip you can sell it before leaving.
Buying a second hand car is a great option also in case you are thinking about staying in Australia for a while after your “initiation” road trip.
- Maps and Gps (I know paper maps are far more romantic, but let’s face it all like we do in 2018)
- Comfortable shoes
- If you book an accommodation to sleep over in advance it’s better, mainly when it comes to wine areas and tasting experiences (you don’t want to start driving again after you drink, do you? Well, don’t do it)
- Flashlights (these routes can be very dark at night and in case you need/want to get out of the car it can be crucial).
- Your camera and tripod
Now let’s see 7 amazing car routes for your Australian contemplative experience.
The Great Ocean Road
Let’s start with the most traditional one to recommend.
Nobody can talk about road trips in Australia without mentioning the Great Ocean Road, stretching along the south coast of Victoria State.
This about 250 km road (from Torquay, a city 100 km from Melbourne, to Allansford) will show you one of the most stunning Australian coastlines.
First tip: the speed limit is quite low and I truly suggest you respect it both for your safety and to best enjoy every little single step of the way (and because fines will reach you no matter how far you’ll go. A true story).
Along this magic route, a true passage rite down-under, you’ll see a spectacular rainforest, breathtaking cliffs, shipwrecks and the former Twelve Apostles; only eight of these monumental rocks are still there today since the others crumbled over the past years because of erosion.
The Yarra Valley
With over 70 wineries, some of them awarded and very appreciated by experts from all over the world, the Yarra Valley has far more than wine cellars to offer.
You can start your itinerary heading to the Maroondah Highway and have a stop in Coldstream and Healesville to visit the local boutique cellars (where you’ll access through very instagrammable tiny doors).
Then, you can take the Maddens Lane Trail of wineries to St Huberts Road to visit the best local wineries and, above all, dive into local warm hospitality in the local farmhouse where you can also sleep.
In these places you can taste some good local cheese – the best place to do it is at Yarra Valley Dairy.
As I anticipated, you can enjoy much more than food and wine here. For instance, you can cuddle your romantic spirits waking up very early in the morning to watch a balloon ride over the Valley (you can see the balloons as you wake up from your window or you can be on a balloon yourself, booking your own air balloon flight experience).
Then, you can help J.K Rowling find fantastic animals visiting the Healesville Sanctuary. Here you’ll meet the rarest protected species that you can see nowhere else in the world.
From McLaren to Barossa, passing through Adelaide
If you still want to see and know more about the beauty of wine areas and valleys, let me point out the area of McLaren and Barossa, two wine production areas one hour and a half drive from each other in the state of South Australia.
McLaren Vale has an official Geographical Indication (GI) since 1997 that captures the area from Hallett Cove, across to Clarendon, and then roughly south then south-west along the ridge of the foothills until it meets the coast at Sellicks Beach.
This area offers pristine beaches, fresh food markets, organic products suitable for those who love sustainable production.
Other than this, contemplative souls as we are, we will love the puzzling and perfect shapes and patterns of the wine yards at sunset.
McLaren Vale is only 40 km from Adelaide, where you must stop for a few days because this city is a great Australian hotspot.
Then, go into the wild again heading up to Barossa Valley, all along the Barossa Valley Way.
Barossa Valley is one of the largest wine regions in the world, with over 150 wine yards and 80 wineries.
Barrossa Valley, just like McLaren Vale, is not only a great destination for those who love wine tasting but also for people interested in wine production and for those who are into the wine making business: if there’s a place in the world where you can learn about wine production, together with France and Italy, you’ll find it in these majestic Australian areas.
Now, we are done with the “easy rides”, let’s go on with some more challenging road trips.
2 ways to reach Uluru (Ayers rock)
You can reach the Outback by the Stuart Highway from Alice Spring or, instead, you can consider taking the scenic route along the Red Centre Way and discover its unusual landscape, canyons, hiking trails of the West MacDonnel Ranges.
It’s impossible to describe the vibes of this area, one of the most surreal in the world.
The Savannah Way
If you want to enjoy the best of Australian wild nature and biodiversity, you can choose to drive all along the Savannah Way, connecting Cairns in Tropical North Queensland with Broome (about 3700 kilometres).
By driving along this road, you’ll meet 15 national parks – give a chance to the Boodjamulla National Park, so spectacular with its gorges and colourful landscape, ancient fossils and orange sandstone cliffs – 5 Unesco world heritage areas, and a huge variety of microclimates and biology: from the tropical rainforest to grassy plains, waterfalls and ancient rock art.
For advocates of sustainable tourism, environmental protection and biodiversity as you are, I suggest you read more about the Savannah Way Green Trail Responsible Tourism facilities, in northern Australia.
Tasmania’s East Coast
The road trip that best combines both a huge load of breathtaking wildlife and gourmet products such as wine, cheese and great seafood, is perhaps the route from Hobasrt to the Bay of Fires, following St Helens coast, Swansea and Bicheno, i.e. Tasmania’s East Coast.
Along these routes you can enjoy great guided walks on cliffs and beaches; among them, give a chance to Wineglass Bay, with its white sand beach, cobalt blue water surrounded by heavily wooded forest cladding granite peaks.
I also suggest you plan a Freycinet Experience Walk, a very complete guided tour taking you through the pink granite Hazard Mountains and rich coastal forests, and the purest of white sand beaches including the world-renowned Wineglass Bay.
Which one of these road trips would you start with?