The Great Barrier Reef Drive, Far North Queensland
Stretching from the busy far north Queensland town of Cairns all the way north to Cape Tribulation, the Great Barrier Reef Drive is 140km of jaw-dropping vistas around every corner. If you fly from interstate, hire a car or a campervan and when you hit the road, you’ll know you’re somewhere really new, with lush, green mountains and sugar cane fields surrounding you on all sides as you cruise out of town.
Aside from the stunning scenery, what makes this drive a big hit with families is that you can take your time, because there’s so much to see and do along the way. Most of the drive runs parallel to the Coral Sea, so you’ll find beautiful remote beaches to stretch your legs, two World Heritage areas and the world’s oldest rainforest to explore. Stop off for a bite to eat or a night at Mossman, where you can learn about Aboriginal culture and swim in the gloriously cool, fresh water of Mossman Gorge.
Visit Port Douglas for its laidback café culture and resorts or book a day cruise out to the reef. Back on the road, visit a croc sanctuary, meet a cassowary and head north to Cape Tribulation, where you can stay, relax and explore before heading back to Cairns and ticking off the sites you missed on the way up.
The Grand Pacific Drive, NSW
Hugging the NSW coastline south of Sydney with its breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the picturesque Grand Pacific Drive starts in the Royal National Park less than an hour south of Sydney’s CBD. Winding 140km gently through subtropical rainforests, over the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge and through the city of Wollongong and coastal townships of Shellharbour, Kiama and the wider Shoalhaven, it’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ kind of drive.
Catch some waves at one of the many patrolled beaches, watch the clifftop hang gliders, have fish and chips at a local pub then decide whether to make your way back to Sydney via the rolling hills of the Southern Highlands, stop at Jamberoo water theme park for an adrenaline-pumping afternoon of action or head further south towards Eurobodalla and the Sapphire Coast.
Melbourne to the Mornington Peninsula, VIC
The Mornington Peninsula is famous as a luxurious destination for Melburnians to get away from the hustle and bustle, but it’s also a fantastic spot for day-tripping families. Just 90 minutes out of Melbourne, it’s easy to get to and has plenty to keep littlies entertained, such as feeding the kangaroos and hanging out with the koalas at the Moonlit Sanctuary. You could also try ziplining (for bigger kids), or exploring the Enchanted Adventure Garden and Maze.
There’s plenty to keep the parents happy (and caffeinated), too with cute cafés and boutiques to browse and the Mornington Peninsula hot springs, which has a family-friendly bath house so everyone can enjoy a dip.
Perth to Margaret River, WA
From Perth to Margaret River is an easy drive of around 3.5 hours, but you’ll cover a fair bit of ground and see a lot in that time. You could do it in a day, but with kids it’s a better idea to break it up because what makes the drive so enjoyable are all the great stops you can make along the way for swims on pristine sandy beaches, fascinating Indigenous experiences and the chance to see some local wildlife, the adorable little woylies.
Stop at Bunbury and pop into the Dolphin Discovery Centre, then have lunch at Bunker Bay. If you want to stay, there’s a great range of quality accommodation to suit every budget. The other benefit of breaking up the trip is that it gives the mums and dads the chance to sample some of the Margaret River region’s acclaimed red wines.
Wherever the road may take you
So, what are you waiting for? Get your gang together and start planning your road trip! Then all you have to do is wait until the day comes to hit the road. But be warned, there are some things you can’t wait around for, like Hyundai’s amazing seven-year warranty currently available on a range of their top selling models. If you’re in the market for a new set of wheels, it’s only available until December 31st 2019 so this is one you can’t afford to wait for!