By Jeremy Rochow
Published: Thursday, December 2, 2021
Updated: December 3, 2021 at 12:22 pm
Whether you’re a grey nomad hitching your caravan or a family piling into a people mover, Australians love a good road trip. And with so many spectacular places to visit, it’s easy to see why.
From the Great Ocean Road and Red Centre Way to the Savannah Way, we’re spoilt for choice in Australia. So, we’ve chosen three road trips we love, and a few things you should do along the way.
RAA partner SIXT has also jumped on board to help us choose the right vehicle for each road trip.
1. Road trip around Tassie with the family
Vehicle choice: Mazda CX-8 or Toyota Kluger
Touring Tasmania with the family has never been easier with either of these two seven-seat mid-size SUVs. There’s plenty of room for the whole family and space for your luggage.
Once the children are strapped in and your bags are loaded, explore the Apple Isle and experience everything it has to offer, from beautiful landscapes and national parks to spectacular food and historical sites.
See: Learn about Tasmania’s convict history at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site.
Port Arthur is about 90 minutes from Hobart and will transport you back to the 19th century when British convicts were housed on the Tasman Peninsula.
Explore the 30 historic buildings, ruins and heritage gardens and visit the Port Arthur Gallery where you’ll find interactive exhibits and displays.
Tickets also include a 20-minute harbour cruise and introductory walking tour. Who said history couldn’t be fun for the whole family?
Do: Go ziplining with the family at Hollybank Wilderness Adventures and soar like an eagle above the treetops. Only 20 minutes east of Launceston, this adrenaline-filled activity comprises of six ziplines totalling almost 1km.
While you zip from tree to tree, you’ll learn about Hollybank Forest’s unique ecosystem. The activity is fun for the entire family, with children as young as three able to ride.
If you’re looking for more adventure activities, you can explore the mountain bike trails or attempt the treetop rope course.
Eat or drink: When it comes to wine, whisky, and fresh produce, you’re spoilt for choice in Tasmania, but if you’re looking for a family-friendly food experience, Tamar Valley is the answer.
Holm Oak Vineyards is a nice spot to stop for wine tasting. Meanwhile, the kids can grab a bag of apples and feed Pinot the pig while they wait.
If you’re in the region during summer, visit Hillwood Strawberry Farm to pick your own punnet of strawberries. Don’t forget to grab a strawberry ice-cream as you leave.
2. Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges via the Clare Valley
Vehicle choice: Mitsubishi Pajero 4WD
Hire a 4WD and explore our very own backyard. From Adelaide, make your way through the beautiful Clare Valley wine region before heading north to the Flinders Ranges.
Eat: It takes about five hours to drive to the Flinders Ranges, but there’s no need to rush. Stay the night in the Clare Valley and stop at the Watervale Hotel for a Six Senses Farm Tour and Degustation Dinner.
First, you’ll visit the biodynamic Penobscot Farm to learn about permaculture and how it can impact the flavour of food.
Then, Watervale Hotel chef Nicola Palmer will put this philosophy into action with a six-course degustation meal.
Dishes include fresh vegetables picked on the day as well as relishes, sauces and ice-cream made from local produce.
RAA members save 5% when they book the Six Senses Farm Tour and Degustation Dinner.
Do: In the heart of the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park you’ll find Wilpena Pound – the crowning jewel of the region.
Home to the Adnyamathanha people, this natural amphitheatre is full of epic canyons and gorges which are popular among beginner and experienced hikers.
The most difficult hike is a 12km trek to the top of the Rawnsley Bluff – the grind is worth it though.
As you approach the summit, you’ll reach a fork in the path. Take the right and you’ll reach the Rawnsley Bluff, where you’ll be able to look out over the Chace Range.
Looking for something a bit easier on the knees? Hike from the Wilpena Pound Resort to the Old Wilpena Station.
On the 3.2km self-guided walk, you’ll learn about self-sufficiency and survival in the remote and isolated pastoral settlements of the Flinders Ranges.
For those wanting a birds-eye view of Wilpena Pound, take a scenic flight over the Flinders, where you’ll be able to truly appreciate the beauty and size of Wilpena.
RAA members looking to take to the skies can get a discount on several scenic flights in the Flinders Ranges and surrounding areas.
See: If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about copper mining, the tiny town of Blinman in the Flinders Ranges is just the place for you to visit.
Boasting a pub, hotel and general store, this town was once home to more than 1500 people.
To learn about its history, you can take a personalised guided tour of the Blinman mine, featuring an interactive light and sound show.
Just 30 minutes from Blinman, you’ll find the tranquil Blinman Pools. Spend the day swimming in these beautiful spring-fed creeks bordered by rugged scrub and cliffs.
3. Drive the Great Ocean Rd in Luxury
Vehicle choice: MG HS
Hire an MG and navigate the spectacular Great Ocean Rd. You’ll be mesmerised by the sweeping ocean views, steep cliff faces and dense rainforest as you make your way along this National Heritage-listed road.
Eat: When it comes to fresh produce, you’re spoilt for choice along the Great Ocean Road. From fresh strawberries at Berry World in Timboon to fish and chips on the beach at Apollo Bay, there’s something for everyone’s tastes.
Warrnambool is one for the foodies, with plenty of options from rustic pub grub to cellar-door meals and locally stocked providores.
For an exceptional dining experience combined with stunning scenery, check out Basalt Winery. On arrival, you’ll be met by Babydoll sheep and flocks of ducks and chickens. Sip wine from the bespoke bar made from a recycled bowling alley and enjoy food from the seasonal menu. Basalt has more than just wine though.
You’ll also find finely crafted cocktails and a selection of Cuban cigars.
Do: Experience the lush rainforest and sweeping bends of the Otways. Turn off to the Cape Otway light station and take a tour of the oldest surviving lighthouse in mainland Australia. Climb to the top, 90m above sea level, and see where the Bass Strait meets the Southern Ocean.
For those wanting to explore the Otways a little more, visit Wildlife Wonders. Here, you can enjoy a 75-minute guided walk through bushland and learn about the local wildlife and conservation.
See: There’s wildlife aplenty along the Great Ocean Rd. Head to the Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, 15 minutes from Warrnambool, and take one of five self-guided tours. Weave your way through the inactive volcanic crater past old lava flows, geological formations and Aboriginal heritage sites. Along the way you’ll see Kangaroos, emus and koalas.
If you’re touring the Great Ocean Rd during the cooler months, you may be lucky enough to spot pods of southern right, humpback, blue and the occasional orca whale, which return to the Southern Ocean to breed, birth and raise their calves.