By Shell on Dec. 16, 2019
Pinning down the right destination, however, can be tough. Children need to be kept entertained, not just clocking up hours in the back seat, and there’s got to be something in it for Mum and Dad, too. Then there’s Australia itself, a vast land with a no-less vast array of possibilities. Where exactly should you point the compass?
Here are three trips guaranteed to leave every member of the family with cherished memories.
Red Centre Way, Northern Territory
Grab the caravan, hire a campervan or a 4WD, pack some swags, and head out for an unforgettable 1100km-plus loop through the Red Centre.
Starting and finishing in Alice Springs, this drive takes you into Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park for a close-up look at arguably Australia’s best-known natural landmark, the colossal red rock at its centre, before venturing onto Kings Canyon and the West MacDonnell Ranges.
Hire a bike, venture out on a camel or even jump out of a plane for an unforgettable view of the big rock. Witness the beauty of Kings Canyon on a sunrise walk, swim in one of the West MacDonnells’ bracing freshwater swimming holes or experience the unabashed outback culture of the Erldunda Roadhouse.
With Alice Springs offering a multitude of natural, cultural and entertainment possibilities, make sure you schedule a few extra days in this lively town.
Pacific Coast, NSW
This 818km drive from Sydney to Tweed Heads takes in stunning beaches, sleepy seaside villages, vibrant coastal cities and World Heritage wilderness while tempting travellers with all kinds of pursuits. Go jetboating or kayaking on Lake Macquarie. Delve into maritime history, fill up at a harbourside eatery or enjoy a thrill at TreeTop Adventure Park in Newcastle. Chill out at the beach at Port Stephens or meet local wildlife at Port Macquarie’s Billabong Zoo. Snap a family selfie at Coffs Harbour’s famous Big Banana and explore the rainforests and waterfalls of Dorrigo National Park.
Throw in Byron Bay and the Northern Rivers region - and all of their natural, cultural, gourmet and other attractions - and the possibilities are practically endless. You also finish up just minutes away from the Gold Coast and all its activities for the young and young at heart.
Great Alpine Road, Victoria
This 339km journey takes in beautiful valleys, lush forests and magnificent mountain scenery before depositing you amid the dazzling coastal vistas and lakes of Gippsland in Victoria’s east.
Starting in the bustling regional centre of Wangaratta, it takes only minutes to reach the gourmet wine nirvana of Milawa and an hour to reach the vibrant alpine centre of Bright, home to mountain-bike trails, swimming spots and a multitude of other outdoors activities, as well as quality restaurants, breweries, a distillery and fantastic lolly shop. From Bright it’s up onto Australia’s highest year-round accessible sealed road before a rollercoaster run down to the coast, finishing in lovely lakeside Metung.
With historic Beechworth, Mount Buffalo National Park and other attractions just short detours from the main route, your kids can regularly be ejected from the back seat and kept occupied.