As an Aussie transplant in New York, I confess to regaling my friends with tales from Down Under on the regular. I started waxing sentimental over cocktails last night, recalling scenic drives through Oz, complete with the occasional kangaroo encounter.
A distinct childhood memory is the quintessential Australian cross-country drive along the Nullarbor Plain, back when it was nothing more than a dirt road dotted with a few tiny motels. My family would drive from Melbourne to my home town of Kalgoorlie and Esperance to visit the rellies. Nothing (not a tree, person, nor building) to see for miles — just desert — and then all of a sudden a kangaroo would hop out of nowhere, and everyone was seconds from near-disaster.
Needless to say, these days I like to add a bit of glamour to my road tripping. Now it’s a much more pleasurable drive, with luxury spots awaiting in fab Melbourne.
I adore the Great Ocean Road, a stunning, winding road along the Southern Ocean, spanning from Geelong to Portland. It’s really a gorgeous coastal cruise showcasing the diversity in the Southern Australian landscape, with golden beaches, mountain ranges, rainforests and Aboriginal sites. Be sure to get a shot of the Twelve Apostles, which are eroded limestone stacks appearing to stand in the middle of the Southern Ocean.
The Red Centre Way in the Northern Territory is perfect for exploring the Outback — you can take a camel trek around Uluru and see the most breathtaking sunset. Trust me on this one.
For the wine-lovers among us — guilty as charged — the South Australian Loop is a must. It features all the stunning sights and cultural significance of other drives — with the bonus of imbibing incalculable amounts of vino (driver required).
Queensland’s Great Sunshine Way is amazing for exploring the Gold Coast and is perfect for adventure-seekers looking to experience the lush Fraser Island. Also, it ends in Bundaberg, which is known for its rum production (I’m sensing a theme here…) and proximity to the Great Barrier Reef.