Take a road trip on the Great Ocean Road – Australia

One of the most stunning coastal drives in the world, the Great Ocean Road is Victoria’s prized possession, an Australian National Heritage site and one that attracts visitors both domestic and international all year round – and it isn’t hard to see why.  With 243 kilometres of winding roads cut into the cliff face, crashing surf and striking rock formations towering out of the sea, the Great Ocean Road certainly earns its name.

Great Ocean Road Photo: nazgulhead of Flickr

A road trip along Australia’s Great Ocean Road

Most people will begin their road trip in Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria. When considering a car for a long trip, comfort is key and Honda cars are always a good bet for example the CR-V is going to give you that extra leg room. As an alternative you could try out a jeep for a safe and reliable ride – especially if you’re planning to travel off the main roads.

The Great Ocean Road officially runs between the towns of Torquay and Warnambool. From Melbourne, a good route is to start at Warnambool (the furthest point on the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne) and work your way back towards the city. You can stop off en route to Warnambool at the Grampians National Park, which offers some beautiful hikes in the mountains.

The Twelve Apostles Photo: M Kuhn of Flickr

The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, Australia

The rock formations along the Great Ocean Road provide suitably convenient stopping-off points so that you can take in the scenery from outside the car and commit some of those memories to camera. The Twelve Apostles are the most famous of the Great Ocean Road sights – although there are actually only eight now; erosion has seen the fall of these huge limestone stacks that sit amongst the surf, just outside Port Campbell National Park about half way along the Great Ocean Road. You can head to the viewing platform for some photographic opportunities, or even take a helicopter ride around the coastline.

Apollo bay Photo: trash world of Flickr

Stop at Apollo bay on the Great Ocean Road in Australia

A useful stop-over point on your Great Ocean Road adventure, Apollo Bay is a pretty seaside town where you can enjoy fish and chips on the beach and explore the shops on the seafront. Keep your eye out for the wild koalas that laze in the tree tops around Apollo Bay and the Great Ocean Road.

Using Apollo Bay as a base, you can head off to the Otway Ranges. Great for walking enthusiasts, you can fill your lungs with fresh air and take a trek around the rainforest and stunning waterfalls that lie just inland from the Great Ocean Road. The Otway Fly Tree Top Walk is built up in the canopy of the rainforest and is the longest and tallest walkway in the world, offering beautiful views of the lush surrounding scenery.

Beginning of the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk Photo: Marie of Flickr

Beginning of the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk

Torquay is the end of the Great Ocean Road. You can try out a spot of surfing here, something for which the coast is famed – Torquay’s Bells Beach is where the International Surfing Championships are held.

Finally, on your way back to Melbourne you might want to factor in a stop at Phillip Island, home to the tiny fairy penguins, or the vineyards of the Yarra Valley.

Yarra Valley Photo: Marcus Crafter of Flickr

Yarra Valley, winemaking in Australia

The Great Ocean Road can be driven as quickly or as slowly as you like – the highlights can be done in a day, but if you’ve got longer then there is plenty to explore along the way and many peaceful seaside towns in which to stopover and spend a couple of relaxing days.

Our thanks for this article, brought to you by CarSales.com.au – Australia’s No.1 Auto Website offering a variety of Jeeps for a safe and reliable ride – especially if you’re planning to travel off the main roads.

Photo credits: Great Ocean Road by nazgulhead, The Twelve Apostles by M Kuhn, Apollo bay by trash world, Otway Fly Tree Top Walk by Marie, and Yarra Valley by Marcus Crafter .

For other road trip adventures:

Alice Springs – the Australian Outback
Perth, Australia – an unexpected gem
Wilderness camping on Hinchbrook Island, Queensland

This article is first published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

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Wilderness Camping on Hinchinbrook Island – Queensland, Australia

Located just off the province of Queensland, this tiny island paradise recalls Australia’s primordial past. Craggy mountains ringed with mangrove swamps meet sandy shores licked by clear ocean waves. The untrammeled depths of the island can only be reached on foot; there are no roads. For all of you adventurers looking to find a remote and peaceful getaway, Hinchinbrook Island delivers seclusion, beauty and the feeling of having traveled back in time to an era of primordial simplicity.

Hinchbrook Island Photo: Tourism Old

Hinchbrook Island

South of Cairns, the township of Port Hinchinbrook is the site of a ferry that travels to the island. The ideal time to visit Hinchinbrook Island is during the winter season, from May through October. The temperatures are balmy, with cool nights and warm, sunny days. When the monsoon season sets in during the summer months Hinchinbrook Island Ferries reduces regular ferry service to the island or even halts it entirely. The only resort on the island, the Cape Richards Resort, also closes from February to March.

Self-sufficient camping

To maintain its pristine state, Hinchinbrook advocates certain guidelines for camping either on its beaches or in its interior. Campers must carry in all items intended for use and then carry them out again. This includes drinking water, as the only sources on the island, rainfall or water in creeks, cannot necessarily be counted on as a steady source as these are seasonal.

Camping on Hinchbrook Island Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Camping on Hinchbrook Island

Ideally campers will plan for three or four days in which they are entirely self-sufficient. This includes sources of heat by which to cook, as open fires are not permitted at any time on the island. Campers must also bring enough food and the gear required in order to enjoy their trip safely. There are no shops on the island, but the Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge does keep basic supplies on hand. While there is one resort on the island, the Richards Bay Resort, adventurous campers can simply pitch a tent or just unroll their sleeping bags and lie out under the stars.

Trek or kayak to beautiful beaches

Hinchinbrook Island is noted for its exemplary beaches, of which there are several. Most are best accessed by the sea, but a few of them can be reached by following trails such as the Thorsborne Trail. The most popular beach, Ramsay Beach, is a gorgeous expanse of black sand that makes an excellent site for a base camp. The Hinchinbrook Island Resort is close to two very beautiful and secluded beaches, Orchid and North Shepherd beaches.

Travel around the island is best accomplished by sea kayak; however, there is a trail that follows the coastline of the island, known as the Thorsborne Trail, which requires a permit in order to trek its 32-kilometre length. Because the number of hikers is limited at any given time, reservations made months in advance are the best way to ensure a place on the trail when travellers wish to visit. Any trekkers wishing to climb the heights of Mt. Bowen must register separately for a permit to hike that trail.

Hinchbrook Island Photo: Australian Tourist Commission

Hinchbrook Island

For misty volcanic peaks, lush mangrove swamps filled with saltwater crocs, kilometres of isolated beaches and the opportunity to view some of the most beautiful expanses of scenery in Australia, Hinchinbrook Island makes the perfect camping adventure.

Photo credits: Hinchbrook Islan by Tourism Old and Australian Tourist Commission

For more adventures down under read:

Perth, Australia – an unexpected gem
Alice Springs – the Australian Outback
White sand beaches, sheep and Maori Culture – A Motorhome adventure through New Zealand

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

Perth, Australia – an unexpected gem

Of all the possible destinations for an unforgettable holiday, Perth, the capital and most populous city in Western Australia, may be among the very best on earth. A mildly temperate climate, over 3000 hours of sunshine yearly, a broad pairing of world-class luxury with pristine Outback adventure, a meeting-place of cultures from every corner of the planet and a relaxed native lifestyle – Perth offers all of this and more.

Getting there is simple, though the trip may be longer than most due to the city’s remote location. Many major carriers fly to Perth, although the best deals are often to be found through Qantas, the national airline. A car hire at the airport is recommended; all the familiar companies are represented, and rates are reasonable.

The Perth Skyline Photo: Ole Reidar Johansen of Flickr

The Perth Skyline

Accommodation, whether in Perth’s Central Business District or farther afield, come in every variety and price range. Prepare to be surprised, however, as luxury is often available in the wilderness, just as inexpensive hostels can be found in the urban landscape. Bed and Breakfasts are also available throughout, at several levels of pricing.

Art, culture and history in the city

Perth is noted for world-class shopping and dining, as well as for the very best among musical, artistic, and cultural events, but this region has an amazing array of truly unique sights and pastimes to offer the more discerning international connoisseur. Kings Park, for example, near the center will satisfy, with its dizzying display of native wildflowers and legendary views of the skyline and the Swan River. Also featured here is the Lotterywest Walkway, seemingly suspended among the old-growth trees and providing a series of breathtaking vistas.

The 19 local white-sand beaches offer any number of leisure and athletic activities, to be sure, but for a more intimate and family-friendly escape, take the ferry out to Rottnest Island. Only bikes are permitted for travel here, making this an ideal spot to bring a picnic, spend the day in lazy comfort, and truly “get away from it all.” Or, for a more romantic flavor to the holiday, you might want to take a cruise along the Swan River. Short excursions to several river towns will add historical perspective to your wanderings.

Perth's Walkway Photo: Scotticus_ of Flickr

Perth’s Walkway

Exotic experiences in the Outback

But the best argument for a car hire lies outside of town, and during slightly longer stays. Heading north along the Coral Coast, you’ll find exotic experiences, from witnessing a nearly untouched reef up close at Monkey Mia to swimming with whale sharks (the largest fish of them all!) at Ningaloo. A few hours south of the city is Margaret River, one of the premier wine-growing regions of the continent, and if you continue to the west, you’ll come across a wilder version of the Lotterywest Walkway in Walpole. Known as the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, it also seems to float in the canopy, providing both a less invasive trek and some truly stunning views of the old-growth forest.

Lake Ballard Photo: Tamsin Slater of Flickr

Lake Ballard

If art is your thing, the options are extensive, from European-style galleries in the city to more unusual sites in the Outback. One example of the latter is located near Menzies, on the salt flats of dry Lake Ballard. Called the Antony Gormley Sculptures, these metallic structures are set at even intervals along the basin, representing villagers from the artist’s memory. A car trip will take quite some time, but for the enthusiast this could be a truly perfect encounter.

Far to the north is another unique chance, and whether you take a flight or drive to Broome and the Kimberley, seek out the Bradshaw Paintings. These are some of the oldest rock paintings on Earth, dating to at least 60,000 BCE, and you will be astounded by their beauty and complexity. The Mowanjum Art Centre is a good place to start.

Rock-art of Australia Photo: Robin Hutton of Flickr

Rock-art of Australia

From the city to the wonders of Western Australia, you won’t be disappointed for choosing this as your holiday destination.

This article is brought to you by Skedaddle Car Hire, where you can find some great deals on car hires in Perth. If you’d like to know more about Perth, they also have a great destination guide to the Western Australian capital, as well as many other destinations within Australia.

Photo credits: Perth Skyline by Ole Reidar Johansen, Perth’s Walkway by Scotticus_ , Lake Ballard by Tamsin Slater, and Gwon Gwon Gallery by Robin Hutton.

More tales from exotic locations

My charity visit to India – Podcast
Coastal beauty and adventure in New Zealand
Bungee jumping and an elephant safari in Zimbabwe

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

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