Lush forests, rocky cliffs, windswept beaches and barren deserts – a road trip through Australia’s diverse, wildlife-rife landscapes could be the road trip of a lifetime. With an ideal exchange rate and world-class destinations and service, Australia is a great place to book your next escape.
The Eyre Peninsula
Wit hits bountiful sea life, a leisurely road trip across the beautiful stretch of land connecting Western and South Australia is nothing is not spectacular. In Whyalla, snorkel alongside giant cuttlefish and its family friendly dolphins, then head for Cowell to sup on fresher-than-fresh oysters, served whichever way. At the peninsula’s southernmost peak, Port Lincoln offers an amazing swimming experience with great white sharks. Then head in to town for whiting fillet or western king prawns, a specialty of the area. Wrap up the journey in the charming surrounds of Streaky Bay to get a look at the imposing pink granite boulders of Murphys Haystacks or to cast a line at a number of sublime angling spots.
The Savannah Way
Adventurous traveler will relish the opportunity to hit the 3,700 km route linking Cairns and the historic township of Broome. Along the way, stop at the rainforest-fringed village of Kuranda, home to a variety of wildlife sanctuaries brimming with colorful birds, butterflies and reptiles. In and around scenic Mareeba, indulge in a steaming cup of freshly roasted coffee, straight from the plantation, or get the ultimate bird’s-eye view of the awe-inspiring Atherton Tabland aboard a hot air balloon. Watch the dramatic waterfalls and glimpse Lumholtz’ tree kangaroos at Tully Falls National Park then visit the Caranbirini Conservation Reserve for stunning panoramas of weathered sandstone pillars and a bucolic watering hole well-populated by kingfishers, brolgas and herons.
Red Centre Way
Wind your way southwest from Alice Springs for a once-in-a-lifetime road trip across some of the country’s most iconic landscapes. Witness the peaceful quietude of the sheltered gorges and picturesque swimming holes at West MacDonnell Range National Park, and spot black-footed wallabies on its rocky slopes. Behold quintessential orange sunrise vistas of Uluru, Australia’s spiritual heart. Not far, visit the majestic Olgas, or Kata Tjuta, a colossal rock formation made up of 36 domes reaching heights of more than 1,000 meters. Make a pit stop at the Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve, the land site of a massive meteorite some 4,7000 years ago.
A desolate, 1,700 km stretch along the Eyre Highway, it’s a lonely dusty, journey from Norseman in Western Australia to Port August in South Australia. Latin for “no trees,” it may come as a surprise that this barren brush landscape harbors within it a wealth of stunning attractions, form the stark beauty of the Murrawijinie Caves, with their crystal-clear pools and ancient aboriginal artwork, to the Konnalda Homestead, an eerie car graveyard-cum-campsite in the middle of nowhere. Next to rare glimpses of wild camels, dingoes and emus, the head of Bight offers a stellar perch from which to observe southern right whales calving each winter.
The Pacific Coast
Departing from the buzz of the city in Sydney, it’s an impressive odyssey up the sunny Pacific Coast to Queensland’s humming capital, Brisbane. Gourmands will want to make a delicious stopover in Hunter Valley, where you can pick up exquisite cheeses and handmade olive oils, or indulge in seasonal fare at the world-class eateries peppered across the region’s rolling green hills. Meanwhile, animal lovers will welcome a sidestep to Port Stephens for a look at its 200-strong colony of bottlenose dolphins, or Port Macquarie for its world-renowned Koala Hospital; the actively included shouldn’t pass up a chance to surge the superlative waves at Scotts Head, or to kayak and snorkel at Byron Bay, Australia’s boho-chic backpacker’s hub.
Gibb River Road
The one-time cattle route spans 660 km through the abundant Kimberley countryside. Not far from the diminutive village of Derby, with its boab-tree-fringed streets and photogenic wharf, crocodile-spotting along Lennard River is the order of the day at Windjana Gorge National Park, whose freshwater pools are perfect for refreshing dips after drawn-out walks through its fossil-lined gorges. The warm waters of Zebeedee Springs offer similarly rejuvenating swimming opportunity in the shade of towering palms trees and oversized rock formations, while the striking waterfall at Emma Gorge is a postcard-worthy spectacle you won’t soon forget.
The Top End
The siren call of the Top End, at the crest of the Northern Territory, is a loud one indeed. Kick off the adventure in the slow-moving town of Darwin, where an abundance of can’t-miss experiences – from cruising the harbor at dusk and crocodile-watching to carefree evenings in the lively suburb of Nightcliff – await. It’s a slower-paced scene at the UNESCO-listed Kakadu National Park, whose millenniums-old rock art galleries and wildlife-rife wetlands are a major draw. Further inland, Katherine’s traditional bush tucker dishes, hot springs and the formidable Nitmiluk Gorge are on the menu, as it riverside angling for barramundi or strolling through a rarified labyrinth of fascinating flora at Jurassic Cycad Park, whose namesake plants are living remnants of the prehistoric era.
Source: Departures magazine