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By Russell Calvert
Matching some of the most scenic coastal drives worldwide, the east and west coasts of Australia through to the north and south sides can go road to road even with the most splendid Amalfi coast of Italy. So, if you’re ready for the drive of a lifetime, check out these 5 must drives of the Australian coastlines.
The Great Ocean Road
Coming in at number one is the renown Great Ocean Road along the southern coast of Victoria. This cliff hugging road was built by returning World War One soldiers between 1919 and 1932. Considered as the longest war memorial in the world, the rugged coastline can be enjoyed between Torquay – a beautiful beach site in its own right – to Warrnambool.
There are plenty of stops to be had, the Otway rainforests to enjoy and the famous Twelve Apostles to delight in, during sunset. This drive is guaranteed to give you one of the most memorable drives of a lifetime. Without your own mode of transport, it can be difficult to get around. If this is the case,
then it’s recommended you join a tour of the Great Ocean Road.
The Great Ocean Road
Photo Courtesy: Paradise In The World
The Legendary Pacific Coast – NSW
Moving to the neighboring state, New South Wales and you will find the 950 kilometer Legendary Pacific Coast drive. It is somewhat of a ‘legend’ among Australians who have the yearn for long journeys and Australian landscapes.
This drive will take you from the capital city of Sydney through to Byron Bay and finishing at the Gold Coast’s Brisbane. Along the way you can stop in at Coffs Harbour; Newcastle; Port Macquarie for its seaside; Port Stephens; explore the national parks and cruise through the coastal towns, soaking up the multitude of vistas as you go.
With 48 national parks along the way and several state forests, there is something for the fussiest of traveler along this great stretch.
Stockton Sand Dunes near Newcastle
Photo Courtesy: PacificCoast.com.au
The Pacific Coast – Queensland
If the Legendary Pacific Coast drive in New South Wales isn’t enough to keep the travel bug at bay, try the 6 day drive between Brisbane and tropical Cairns.
This drive will take you through some of the more well-known landmarks of Australia, including the coastal areas of World Heritage listed Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef. For the truly adventurous driver, hire a four-wheel drive to cruise off the beaten track and discover Lake McKenzie and the cliffs of the Cathedrals.
Photo Courtesy: ATN
The Coral Coast
Moving to the other side of Australia, the Coral Coast along Western Australia’s coastline is equally impressive.
You will start in the capital city Perth and drive north through to Exmouth. Leave plenty of time for this minimum 14 hour drive, which can easily take over a few days, if you want to soak up the best Australia has to offer.
Rivers, gorges and typical Australian terrain will only be half of this highlight. World Heritage listings such as Shark Bay, along with national parks, and the dolphins at Monkey Mia are some of the must sees along this 1268 km stretch.
If that isn’t enough to entice the explorer in you, the captivating blue seas of the Indian Ocean crash into the landscape along the way, will surely grab your attention.
Feeding the Dolphins at Monkey Mia
Photo Courtesy: Parcuriosos
Coast to Coast, Tasmania
Finally, a drive along the coastline of Tasmania. Often missed by tourists, this far southern island is a treasure of rugged lands, rainforests, pristine beaches of white sand and undulating farmlands. Historically, it is also a treasure trove with the Port Arthur site not far from the capital city, Hobart.
This coast to coast driving holiday, particularly around the northern coastline, has all that its mainland counterpart has to offer, and then some. Starting at Stanley at the northern tip and making your way east bound through to Devonport, St Helens, and to the east, where the pink granite peaks at Freycinet National Park majestically stand, you can then follow down to the south point where the historic Port Arthur will pop into view.
This easy coastline drive has something to offer for every member of the family – young and old. Take 3 days or take a week. Tasmania will never fail to disappoint.
Freycinet National Park
Photo Courtesy: Sailfreycinet.com
About the author
Russell Calvert is the operator of Bush To Ocean Road Tours. He runs small private day tours of the Great Ocean Road in Australia.