With most (if not all) of our travel plans interrupted since COVID-19 hit our shores, globe-trotting getaways have become a distant dream. While our future travel plans are starting to look a little brighter (with some countries opening their doors to vaccinated travellers), if you just can’t wait that long we bet there are still plenty of local options to keep your wanderlust alive. Last year we shared a few of our favourites in Hit the Road This November, and with some borders remaining closed, we wanted to focus on our favourite destinations within your state. If you can hop the border, you’ll be spoiled for choice!
The Sapphire Coast (NSW)
While New South Wales may be home to one of our most vibrant cities, it’s nature that’s calling us when it comes to local getaways. With Byron and Jervis Bay already covered, this time we’re exploring different pastures. The Sapphire Coast is a road tripping spot where coastal calm meets coastal charm, offering the opportunity to chill out and dip your toes in glittering white sand, kayak the tranquil Towamba (Kiah) River or visit quaint towns like Mollymook, Merimbula and Eden. There’s plenty to do, see and eat, so we recommend a long weekend at the very least.
The Great Ocean Road (VIC)
It’s not often that a stretch of road becomes a destination, but cruising the iconic Great Ocean Road is just that. While it’s a mecca of vistas and experiences, there are some hidden treasures dotted along the way which further compliment the already spectacular scenery. Our picks are the lush, fern-filled Hopetoun Falls, the golden cliffs and golden sands of Loch Ard Gorge, and an inland detour to stretch your legs in the redwoods of Beech Forest. Already ticked the Great Ocean Road off your bucket list? Find more road trip itineraries around Victoria here.
Namadgi National Park (ACT)
Head about an hour southwest of central Canberra and you’ll be transported back to nature in its most rugged and pure form. Within the National Park sits the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve – a special spot where kangaroos, koalas, cockatoos, and emu’s flourish. If you’re feeling like a hit of cardio, tackle the 8.2km Gibraltar Peak walking trail and be rewarded with sweeping views across the National Heritage listed Australian Alps. If you want to make a night of it, the charming, historic and off-the-grid Nil Desperandum 2-bedroom cottage nestled in the mountains is available for private hire.
Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park (TAS)
Natural beauty rules in Tasmania, with about 40% of the island covered in protected national parks, reserves and UNESCO World Heritage areas. In the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area lies Cradle Mountain; a spectacular year-round destination and idyllic spot to recharge. Abundant ancient rainforests and pristine glacial lakes form the backdrop for wildlife to flourish – so don’t be surprised to encounter Tasmanian devils, quolls, platypus, echidna, wombats and more. Whether you’re keen to lace up the hiking boots or go for a more leisurely stroll, the well-formed tracks offer everything from 80km, 5–6-day adventures to 1km, 20-minute circuits that are accessible and suitable for kids. Cradle Mountain will have you captivated from the moment you arrive and refreshed by the time you’re ready to leave.
Litchfield National Park (NT)
While this area’s not known for its coastal swimming and sunbathing spots (box jelly fish and crocs rule this out), it’s the tropical vibes, inland plunge pools and cascading waterfalls within an easy reach of the city that make taking a dip so unique. Head an hour and half south of Darwin City to Litchfield National Park, and spend a day gliding through clear pools at Wangi Falls, floating in the cascading Florence Falls or soaking in the tiered flowing waters of the Buley Rockhole.
The Kimberley (WA)
As one of the most sparsely populated areas on earth, The Kimberley is destined to be a road-trip favourite – just make sure you bring (or hire) a 4WD. If you’ve got time up your sleeve, the 12-day Gibb River Road is a truly unique, unforgettable Aussie outback adventure that travels through the heart of Kimberley (all 660-kilometres of it). The road winds from the outback town of Broome and well off the beaten path through jaw-dropping gorges, sparkling waterholes destined for a dip, and vast outback stations offering both luxurious and traditional accommodation options. The road trip ends in Kununurra, where you can shop for a pricey souvenir – one of their famous Argyle pink diamonds.
The Great Tropical Drive (QLD)
This rainforest to reef road trip allows you to pick your own path through a web of thirteen interconnected drives. Stretching north from Townsville, past Cairns and the Daintree Rainforest, through to Cooktown, the Atherton Tablelands and Savannah country to the west, the only problem you’ll have on this adventure is choosing where to stop!
Kangaroo Island (SA)
Think you can’t travel overseas? Wrong! Hop on over the seas to Kangaroo Island and feel a world away in an instant. As Australia’s third largest island, much of its beauty is in the unspoilt greenery and abundant sea life – all this with a side of small batch wines and gourmet local cuisine, yes please! For the wildlife enthusiast, you’ll easily spot sea lions, echidnas, wallabies, goannas, koalas, and pelicans – and kangaroos of course. Plan your island getaway here.
Remember to check with your local State or Territory Health Authorities before planning any travel locally or interstate. COVID restrictions may impact your travel plans and we recommend putting your health and safety first and to always consider the communities you’re planning to visit.