Australia

Getting around Australia without flying

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Forget boarding a plane, exploring some of Australia’s most amazing locations is best done by road or rail. Whether you’re travelling in style in a campervan (hello #vanlife!), taking in the sights by train, or cruising along in the comfort of your own car, these iconic road trips will satisfy your wanderlust and make you glad you left home.

Road Trips

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

If you only plan to tick off one road trip this year, put this one at the top of your list. It’s not just one of Australia’s most jaw-dropping drives, it ranks right up there among the world’s best! This 243km stretch of road hugs the wild coastline between Torquay, just over an hour from Melbourne, to Allansford. There are lookouts dotted along the route, including a viewing platform at the 12 Apostles for that all-important selfie.

 

Hunter Valley, NSW

Why go all the way to Europe when there’s droolworthy food and wine to be devoured less than two hours from Sydney? Skip the drinking and driving, the ‘very easy’ 24km Hermitage Road bike path passes by 20 of the region’s best wineries and cellar doors. You can bring your own bike or hire one (there’s no shame in hiring an electric bike) in Singleton, and start wherever you like on the loop. Whatever wines you try and decide to buy can be sent back to your accommodation or home address. No bike basket required!

Blue Mountains, NSW

With a World Heritage-listed national park on their doorstep, it couldn’t be easier for Sydneysiders (or visitors to Sydney) to head up to the mountains for a weekend getaway. But there’s more to the Blue Mountains than meets the eye, especially if you give yourself an extra couple of days to explore. The 220km Greater Blue Mountains drive takes you through the wonders of Blue Mountains National Park for escarpment views and waterfalls, and on into the scenic Lithgow Valley to Jenolan Caves. Go apple picking at a Bilpin orchard before heading back via the farmland around the Hawkesbury River.

Great Eastern Drive, Tasmania

Why fly when you can drive? Take your own car on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne, or hire a car or campervan when you reach Davenport 11 hours later. Getting away from it all takes on a whole new meaning in Tassie, so give yourself plenty of time (at least five days) to take it all in as you make your way from Hobart to the showstopping Bay of Fires via some of the most spectacular beaches you’ve ever seen. Hot tip: Take a detour to Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, for blow-your-mind walks and lookouts.

Train Trip

The Ghan, Adelaide-Darwin

Whether you go north from Adelaide to Darwin or head in the opposite direction, this train ride of a lifetime is one you’ll be raving about for years to come. The three-day, two-night journey takes you through the heart of Australia, with a choice of off-train activities in Katherine and Alice Springs along the way. You’ll feast on regional food and wine (put your credit card away, it’s all included) and kick back in style in sleeper cabins that convert to lounge areas by day. There’s no easier way to travel.

Renting a car for your Aussieland adventure?

The TID Domestic policy automatically includes rental vehicle insurance excess up to $4,000 with the option to increase it. You’ll still need to take out insurance for the vehicle, but you don’t have to pay the hefty daily rates to the car rental company to reduce your excess.

Find out more here about what is and isn’t covered.


Author

I grew up in the US, Germany and Australia, so it feels more foreign for me to stay in one place than to move around. Since then, I’ve called Boston, London, Seattle, Brisbane, Madison and Sydney home for study and work as a journalist, travel writer and photographer. I specialize in adventure travel, social issues and interiors/architecture. Home is now an 1890s cottage in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I traveled to my seventh continent last year – an action-packed expedition to Antarctica – and have memories galore of my travels. Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, galloping with gauchos in Chilean Patagonia, trekking through Japan, and camel riding in Jordan are among the most memorable. My least favourite travel hiccup was being stranded in Cameroon when I should have been winging my way to Paris for a little me-time. You win some, you lose some.

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