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Digital art for the tele

The best road trips in NSW and beyond

As the states continue to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases and NSW welcomes travellers from across the country, holidaying interstate is seeming like less of an impossibility.

Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagged domestic travel could open up soon after last Friday's National Cabinet.

"As the borders fall internally, Australians can hopefully return to domestic travel and travel around the country more widely, particularly with school holidays coming up in July," Mr Morrison said.

Scott Morrison said travel may be possible by the school holidays. Picture: Rohan Thomson/Getty Images
Scott Morrison said travel may be possible by the school holidays. Picture: Rohan Thomson/Getty Images

While Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said their border may stay shut until September, this will be reviewed at the end of each month - so there is still hope borders may open by school holidays.

While South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania do not have completely closed borders, non essential travel is still very much banned. However restrictions are predicted to ease soon, and with the Prime Minister's announcement we may be able to visit our interstate friends soon enough.

When restrictions ease, road trips in regional areas are a great way to help boost towns hit by drought and fires. Photo: iStock
When restrictions ease, road trips in regional areas are a great way to help boost towns hit by drought and fires. Photo: iStock

Peter Khoury from the NRMA said taking the family on a holiday on Australian roads, once the restrictions ease, is one of the best things Australians can do.

"There are two ways we can rebuild regional communities, one is investing in road infrastructure and the second is us going for a road trip," Mr Khoury said.

"We know these communities are getting ready, preparing for opening up again. Once we have an opportunity as a country to get out and have a holiday, pack the family in a car, eat at a local restaurant, stay local and spend local that is the most effective way to get your family through the crisis and help Australia rebuild," he said.

Now that we can take holidays in our own state, we've highlighted the best roadtrips in NSW (and interstate) for your next family getaway.

 

NEW SOUTH WALES - Blue Mountains and South Coast

NSW is a large and diverse state, we've got the most famous beach in the world and stunning mountain landscapes.

What list would be complete without the Sydney to Blue Mountains trip.

You can make this as long or short as you want, making it perfect for a weekend away.

Katoomba is home to the iconic Three Sisters rock formation, and that's where you should head on day one.

The Three Sisters are one of NSW most iconic natural beauties.
The Three Sisters are one of NSW most iconic natural beauties.

Stop off at the popular Faulconridge for some art and culture and make sure to visit Wentworth Falls for a stunning walk.

When it reopens, make sure to visit Scenic World and jump on the world's steepest train for views of the Blue Mountains.

If you want to make a good few days of it, drive towards Orange and stop off at the Jenolan Caves, and even further you can drive out to Bathurst.

If the beach is more your style the south coast is a perfect place for a road trip.

Travel as far as you like, but to really make a holiday out of it you should make your way to the far south coast for the road less travelled.

Of course, start by heading towards Wollongong, stopping at the Royal National Park, the Symbio Wildlife Park, and driving over the beautiful Sea Cliff Bridge.

Stay the night in either Wollongong or Kiama, and then hit the road towards Murramarang.

Wollongong is a great spot for a dip and dine. Picture: Destination NSW
Wollongong is a great spot for a dip and dine. Picture: Destination NSW

A must visit is Mogo Zoo, which fought hard to save their animals during the bushfires - in fact, exploring the whole region near Batemans Bay is a great way to support local businesses that are coming out of a devastating season.

From here go as far as you like; there are plenty of beachside stops, bustling villages and nature walks to keep the family entertained.

 

QUEENSLAND - The Great Tropical Drive

While it may be a while before we can travel north, there's no harm in planning ahead for when the Sunshine State reopens for business.

While there will always be debate about who has the best beaches, there is no denying Queensland has one beautiful natural spectacle that is unparalleled - the north Queensland tropical rainforests.

If Tropical North Queensland sounds like the perfect post-COVID holiday for your family, the best way to see all the region has to offer is by cruising the Great Tropical Drive.

Magnetic Island makes the perfect start to a Tropical North Queensland drive. Picture: Matt Taylor
Magnetic Island makes the perfect start to a Tropical North Queensland drive. Picture: Matt Taylor

Connecting 13 different short trips, the two week drive can be customised however you like for those with less time to explore.

Starting in Townsville - where you can take a short ferry to Magnetic Island to start your trip on a high - drive north towards the historic town of Paluma and visit Crystal Creek rainforest.

Before tackling some kayaking and fishing in the Hinchinbrook Island National Park, make sure to stop off in Ingham, Queensland's Italian hub.

On the way to Port Douglas, drive through countless rainforests, beaches, waterfalls and historical towns, and get immersed in the state's indigenous history.

On the way, make sure to visit one of Australia's most precious land marks, the Great Barrier Reef.

 

Crystal Creek Rainforest is just one of the many stunning nature walks.
Crystal Creek Rainforest is just one of the many stunning nature walks.

 

VICTORIA - Great Ocean Road and Great Alpine Road

What list of great roadtrips would be complete without the iconic Great Ocean Road.

The trip taking in one of the most Instagrammed coastlines in Australia, starting off from Melbourne and stopping first at Bells Beach, arguable Victoria's most famous beach.

Watch surfers tackle major waves (or jump in yourself if you're brave) and visit the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie for some sweet treats for your journey.

Take as long as you want on the drive to Apolla Bay, and make sure to stop in at all the small beaches and falls.

The jewel of the trip is, of course, the 12 Apostles.

The Twelve Apostles are a must see.
The Twelve Apostles are a must see.

The limestone stacks formed from erosion are a must see landmark for every Australians, and the surrounding areas including volcanic lakes and plains.

Since the Great Ocean Road is so famous, here's a lesser known honourable mention - the Great Alpine Road.

Just south of Albury, this four day drive from Wangaratta to Bright is perfect for outdoorsy typed and foodies.

The Ovens River in Wangaratta looks straight out of the tranquil English countryside, and makes for the perfect breakfast spot before starting off.

Along the drive are a bunch of delicious highlights including Milawa, where you can enjoy cheese tasting and visit the Brown Brothers winery.

Spend the night in historic Beechworth and explore on bike, before heading to Myrtleford for a day of hiking and dining.

Mount Buffalo National Park is the perfect family friendly playground in all months of the year, and can turn your road trip into a ski trip in the winter.

Finish the drive in Bright, a leafy town with plenty of walks and food destinations, and particularly stunning in Autumn.

 

Bright lives up to its name. Picture: Visit Victoria
Bright lives up to its name. Picture: Visit Victoria

 

TASMANIA - Great Eastern Drive

With some of the most diverse and picturesque landscapes in Australia, Tasmania is the perfect state to visit if you want to pack a lot of exploring into a small amount of time.

The Great Eastern Drive takes five days, and spans from Hobart up to the famous Bay of Fires.

Along the way you'll traverse stunning beaches and eat some of the world's best sea food along the east coast in the state's most popular trail.

Journeying to the historic Orford and Maria Island, you can visit the old convict trail and see the ruins of the Darlington convict site.

The Wineglass Bay is essential to any east Tasmania road trip.
The Wineglass Bay is essential to any east Tasmania road trip.

North to Swansea is the perfect place for lunch and a cheeky wine, home to some of the state's best vineyards.

Wineglass Bay is a must visit, being one of Australia's most photographed beaches. The unique shape and clear blue water makes for a great swing (and Instagram photos).

Speaking of Instagram, the magnificent Bay of Fires is the perfect way to end this road trip, and makes for a fantastic afternoon beach trip.

Ian Rankine, Chief Executive of TasVacations, said the Eastern Drive was a great way to get a taste of Tasmania for first time visitors.

"In what is a very compact area you can have the wilderness experience without having to travel extensively, plus the wildlife, whiskey, wine, food - Tassie has got it all," Mr Rankine said.

Mr Rankine said Tasmania is essential one big road trip, with all areas easily accessible from your car.

"When mainland people come here for a touring holiday their average length is 12 days and in that time you can travel a really diverse landscape, from highlands or the alpine areas and the beautiful world heritage wilderness to pristine beaches," he said.

 

The Bay of Fires is known for its bright red rock contrasted with stunning blue water. Picture: Tourism Australia
The Bay of Fires is known for its bright red rock contrasted with stunning blue water. Picture: Tourism Australia

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA - Adelaide to the Wineries

Home to some of Australia's most famous wineries, South Australia is the perfect destination for foodies.

The Adelaide to the Wineries road trip, recommended by the NRMA as one of their favourite trips, takes you from the city to the country while stopping to sip on some delicious vino.

At four days, this trip is perfect for those with a spare week off work to get out in the fresh air.

South Australia is a wine lovers paradise, just make sure you’re under the limit if you’re road tripping.
South Australia is a wine lovers paradise, just make sure you’re under the limit if you’re road tripping.

Outdoorsy types can get their fill at the Mount Lofty summit on the first day of the trip, and also make sure to visit the Cleland Wildlife Park for a koala cuddling session.

Spend your first night in Hahndorf, a German village in the sprawling Adelaide Hills.

Next up is the iconic Barossa Valley, where you can enjoy cheese tasting, craft beer tasting, and even visit Jacobs Creek.

From there, more beautiful scenery, wine tasting and culture can be enjoyed in the Eden Valley and Clare Valley.

 

Originally published as The best road trips in NSW and beyond


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