At some point or another we all crave adventure, a chance to get away from the common, routine and mundane. The road trip journey provides a chance to get away from this normality and visit small towns, quirky stores, unpolluted bush and dirt roads – places you never knew existed with names you could never think to invent. The strange mixture of delight and uncertainty at what you will find next is what makes road tripping such a unique and exciting opportunity. During the summer holidays, why not consider journeying regional NSW and enjoy the discoveries of road travel?
Driving via the New England Highway is a great place to start. Begin your journey in the Hunter Region and you'll start to experience the vast, open and clean land of the country. Drive beyond Maitland and this landscape begins to feel endless, like you could drive for days and still be captured by the sheer scale and beauty of the country. As you drive the Great Dividing Range lengthens beside you, with pasture land stretching around it. The best view of this scene is driving down the highway into Maitland, the descent providing panoramic views of the colossal, yet eroding mountain range.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of regional road trips is stopping at the local country towns, where you can find authentic historic charm in the colonial architecture, homemade bakes and handmade crafts. Uralla holds its own treasure trove of second hand books, local ceramics and small cafes. And at Stanthorpe there're fresh apples from the fruit farms, along with just about any apple associated food you can think of. It's a delicious reminder of the rich farmland that sustains us.
Making each road trip unique are the daily and seasonal changes in the landscape. Like when the late afternoon flicker of sunlight beams through pale trees on the New England Tablelands, and young wallabies roam between huge rocks on either side of the road. Peculiar sculptures such as bright yellow motorbikes and Tenterfield's well dressed scarecrows signal your exciting journey through local regions.
Driving down from the New England Tablelands is also rewarding as the windy road descends like the deep gorge, beside rocky cliff faces and lush gum trees. River water glistens and for a moment the landscape feels unspeakably precious and ancient, as you share the same path this river must have taken for hundreds of years.
Travelling inland does provide some pleasant discoveries, especially if you're a coastal dweller. Ideal holiday destinations can be found not just by our dazzling beaches and state cities but in the regional countryside. The combination of open spaces, unusual towns and limited phone reception is oddly refreshing, an opportunity to appreciate anew the vast, beautiful country we call home.