By Shell on Jul. 15, 2020
The sheer quantity and variety of roads means you don’t have to settle for a boring, arrow-straight cruise down the highway if you don’t want to. But if you do choose to navigate picturesque and often challenging roads, always remember to watch your speed, pay close attention to what’s coming next and be careful to drive to the prevailing weather conditions.
Still keen for a drive that’s simply unforgettable? In no particular order, pencil these classic Australian routes into your next road trip.
1. Black Spur Drive, Victoria
Victoria has an abundance of amazing roads – including the justifiably named Great Ocean Road and Great Alpine Drive – and this snaking 30km stretch of blacktop that weaves through forests of towering mountain ash north-east of Melbourne ranks right up there with them. Its proximity to Lake Mountain Road, Reefton Spur and many other of the state’s most spine-tingling roads seals its status.
2. Grand Pacific Drive, NSW
This 140km journey south of Sydney through the Royal National Park twists an exhilarating path through some of the most picturesque forest and coastal scenery you’ll see anywhere in the world. It includes a run across the remarkable Sea Cliff Bridge into Wollongong.
3. Gillies Range Road, Queensland
Once you’re done blissing out on Far North Queensland’s famous reef and rainforest, hire a car and drive south and inland of Cairns towards Atherton. This road over the Gillies Range climbs approximately 800m in just 19km and has more than 250 corners, interspersed by amazing views of the tropical landscapes stretching out below. Driving nirvana, in other words.
4. Gormanston Road (Lyell Highway), Tasmania
This six-kilometre mountain road in and out of Queenstown is colloquially known as ’99 Bends’ and is a staple of the famous Targa Tasmania tarmac rally. It serves up enough cornering action to test even professional race drivers and the eerie lunar-like post-mining landscape it runs through is no less memorable.
5. Gorge Road, SA
The Adelaide Hills are known for their great roads and this 20odd-km route connecting Campbelltown and Chain of Ponds serves up thrills and challenges in equal measure as it winds and undulates through the rugged scenery of the Torrens River Gorge locale.
6. Caves Road, WA
This twisting, undulating 111km run between Busselton and Augusta on Western Australia’s south-west coast takes you through majestic karri forest and picturesque bushland and agricultural areas. Skirting Margaret River, it also packs plenty on the epicurean and cultural fronts and – as suggested by the name – access to one of the world’s great cave systems.
7. Paddys River Road, ACT
Australian smallest territory might not have as many roads as other regions but this short run south of the Stromlo State Forest is a cracker, offering a breathtaking mix of twists and turns through rolling hills and pine forests towards the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex.
8. Red Centre Way, NT
It’s more suitable for a Prado than a Porsche, but things are always a little different in the Territory. This 700km drive between Alice Springs and Uluru is longer than the more common route but eschews arrow-straight tarmac for twisting, challenging dirt/tarmac roads. It also takes you past the West MacDonnell Ranges, Kings Canyon and other must-see Northern Territory attractions. Just remember: you’ll need to purchase a permit to travel the Kings Canyon to Gosse Bluff section.