The continent of Australia, the sixth biggest country in the world, looks like it was made for road trips. The great expanses, the scenic roads, and the plethora of attractions and gorgeous landscapes all awaken wanderlust even in the most stubborn homebodies. But how do you decide on a route? After all, Australia has it all. Ocean drives? Check. Mysterious deserts? Check. Ancient rainforests? Check. Busy cities? Check. To help you make a choice, we will present to you a few of the most gorgeous scenic drives in Australia, concentrating, at least this time, on the gorgeous east coast of Australia – the stretch between Cairns in the north, and Sydney in the south.
Hunter Valley: photo from Flick cc by leGuik
This is it. You are definitely leaving Sydney and hitting the road. Before you start driving, make sure that your car is in top condition. Australia is a huge and sparsely populated country, and having a mobile mechanic check out your car is a wise move. If you are leaving from Sydney, Hunter Valley should definitely be one of your first stops. This popular destination might add another layer to your perception of Australia. The Valley is most famous for its delicious wines, produced from the grapes grown in the vineyards on the fertile banks of the Hunter River. Australia produces some of the best wines in the world, and Hunter Valley is one of the major wine regions of the country. Wine is not the only reason to visit though. You can explore the gorgeous landscape from a hot air balloon in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, or get pampered in one of the many spas.
The Gold Coast
Gold Coast: photo from Flickr CC by Michael Dawes
If you love the beach (and who doesn't), the very name of this stretch of the coast should offer you the promise of bliss. The golden sands at Surfers Paradise, one of the most famous beaches in the world, are the stuff dreams are made of. But the Gold Coast is more than just perfect beaches. With its theme parks and slightly weird attractions like the Big Pie in Yatala, and the Big Golf Ball in nearby Broadbeach, and even gorgeous rainforests if you head inland, Gold Coast is a place you shouldn't miss.
Brisbane: photo from Flickr CC by Lenny K Photography
If you are roaming the coast, take at least a few days to explore Brisbane – the most beautiful coastal city without a beach. How is that even possible, you might ask? Well, the third most populous city in Australia was built on the floodplain of the Brisbane River, and the mangrove ecosystem doesn't exactly lend itself to lovely beaches either. So, if you are looking for a few days of tanning, snorkelling and surfing, you should go to one of the nearby beach towns. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to see and do in one of the country's oldest cities. Brisbane has the perfect weather all year round. Art lovers will be impressed by the Art Deco architecture, as well as the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art and The Institute of Modern Art. Designer boutiques, markets and shopping centres promise a first-rate shopping experience, and the myriad of wonderful bars, cafes and restaurants will satisfy even the pickiest of foodies.
The boho chic of Byron Bay
Byron Bay: photo from Flickr CC by Indigo Skies Photography
White sandy beaches, blue waters brimming with dolphins, green hills hugging the coast – that's Byron Bay. Is it any wonder it's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia? But what gives it its special appeal and sets it apart from many other seaside destinations, is its laid-back, bohemian feel. Byron Bay is a mecca for surfers, yogis, health freaks and spiritual travellers. This suspiciously hippie crowd is exactly what gives the town its specific flavour and what attracts visitors from all over the globe. The town is also home to several festivals, like the Bluesfest, or the Byron Bay Writers Festival.
From Queensland to New South Wales, you must admit, the Pacific coast has more to see than feels possible on just one trip. Fill up your tank, pack your bags and head out for your great Australian adventure.