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“Are we there yet?” the Grey Nomads

With its vast distances, Australia is perfect for long road trips.

And  extensive drives along the country’s magnificent coastline or through the emptiness of the Outback continue to be perennial favourites with senior travellers.

‘Grey Nomads’, as they are affectionately known to Aussies, are a common sight on the roads – often embarking on trips of several months or more.

Sometimes driving a camper van or towing a caravan behind the car, they criss-cross the countryside year-round.

A lengthy trip ‘around Australia’ has almost become a rite of passage for newly-retired seniors and   popular road trips include:

Highway 1

This highway runs right around the rim of Australia. To complete this trip fully covers more than 25,000 kilometres and can take nine months.

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The Great Ocean Road

The 244-kilometre Great Ocean road from Torquay to Portland around the country’s south-eastern coastline. Built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to those killed during World War I, the road is the world’s biggest war memorial.

Winding through varying terrain along the coast, the road provides access to several prominent landmarks, including the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations.

Doing Tasmania

A popular road trip involves circumnavigating the island of Tasmania via Hobart, the East Coast, Launceston and the West Coast.

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Darwin to Uluru

Another popular road trip route runs through the  Northern Territory between Darwin and Uluru (Ayers Rock)

The main route  is via the sealed Stuart and Lasseter highways – a distance of 1,956 kilometres.

This goes through remote areas and requires a sound, recently-serviced  vehicle, with a spare tyre, tools, plenty of extra fuel, food and  water. There are long distances between towns and facilities , so it’s important to thoroughly plan the trip before setting off – try to travel in groups and ensure you tackle it at the best time of year.

Inform family or friends of your intended route and expected arrival time. You may also consider hiring emergency communications equipment like a satellite phone or an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPRIB) device.

Crossing the Nullarbor

Crossing the vast, treeless Nullarbor Plain on the Eyre Highway, where the Southern Ocean strikes the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight on one side of the road, and the desert stretches to infinity on the other.

While this is a sealed road, it also travels through extremely remote areas and requires the same precautions and thorough preparation as the Darwin-Uluru trip. You need a 4WD vehicle to venture off the highway.

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The Blue Mountains

Exploring the natural attractions of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, just west of Sydney is always popular.

This area includes seven national parks and a conservation reserve. The Greater Blue Mountains Drive includes 18 discovery trails that branch off the main route.

Along The Sunshine Coast

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has famous beaches and coastal resorts – and a cool, moist hinterland featuring the Blackhall Range, which is ideal for a scenic road trip.

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The south-west of the west

Western Australia’s south-west region features a 200-kilometre drive from  Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin.

Midway along this coast, a detour inland leads to the Margaret River area, one of Australia’s premier winegrowing regions. There are about 130 high quality wineries in the area.

The legendary Pacific Coast

The Legendary Pacific Coast covers 900 kilometres between Sydney to Brisbane. It includes the city of Newcastle, superb beaches, green hinterland and a host of iconic Australian holiday resorts.

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The Grand Pacific Drive

In the other direction, the Grand Pacific Drive stretches from Sydney starts in the Royal  south along the coast to Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama.

This drive runs through rainforests and past seaside villages along a strip of stunning coastline.

And, that’s just a sample.

 

About Ian Roberts (255 Articles)
Ian Roberts is a veteran Australian journalist, PR man and writer/reviewer on accommodation and travel. Over many decades, Ian has travelled widely reporting and recording his experiences. His newsy columns - including Memorable Destination - have gained a big following among people seeking suggestions and objective information about accommodation, travel and destinations world-wide. Along with wife, Sue and her camera, Ian has taken up a particular challenge to help budget conscious seniors 50 and upward with travel and accommodation ideas - including suggestions for holding family reunions. Readers in Ian's home city of Newcastle Australia may also be aware of his travel and accommodation column in a local newspaper.

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