5 of the best Aussie roadtrips (that aren't the Great Ocean Road)

By: Sophie

Great Ocean Road - take a backseat. Don't get us wrong, we love you: you've got (almost) 12 Apostles, many a stunning beach and a bunch of massive redwoods. But you're just always stealing the limelight from other (also very good) roadtrips. And once we've ticked you off our bucket list, where do we go from there?

Here's where.

  1. Fraser Island, QLD

    Can't commit to a longer jaunt? On Fraser Island you can crack one of Australia's best roadtrips in a couple of days. Experience the unmatched insanity of 4x4ing across the world's largest sand island, with its narrow 'roads' made from the peaks and troughs of sand dunes and a 75-mile beach that doubles as a highway.

    Once you hit the beach, you'll pass everything from the Maheno Shipwreck to wild dingoes and the magical Eli Creek, before finishing up at natures best jacuzzi - the Champagne Pools.

  2. Sydney, NSW to Jervis Bay, ACT

    Okay, so Sydney gridlock might not be the most idyllic start to your rip-roaring roadtrip, but trust us when we say the slow start will be worth it. After leaving the bright lights of the city behind, you'll cruise through the Royal National Park - home to the exceptionally Insta-worthy Figure 8 Pools and the perfect spot for a hike and a mid-drive dip.

    From there, don't miss out on the Kiama blowhole and taking the Lawrence Hargrave Drive, a stretch that includes the oh-so scenic Sea Cliff Bridge. It goes one better than beachside, taking you up over the ocean as it hugs the cliff face.

    And if all of that weren't enough, in a couple more hours you'll be relaxing on the world's whitest sand at Hyams Beach.

  3. Cairns to Cape Tribulation, QLD

    A relatively short but spectacular journey, this Tropical North Queensland escape makes it almost impossible to resist the temptation to pull over at every scenic lookout along the way. And there are heaps. If you're travelling between May and October, keep an eye out for migrating whales. And for longer breaks, both Port Douglas and Palm Cove are a haven for every kind of traveller.

    Further north, go croc spotting as you cross the Daintree River before disembarking into the midst of the world's oldest rainforest. With an estimated 180 million years under its belt, there's plenty to see in the Daintree, including trees that defy belief and the prehistoric cassowary (if you're lucky). It's also the only place on earth where you can stand on one World Heritage site and look out at another (the Great Barrier Reef).

    If you've got a couple of days spare on your way back, take a detour south of Cairns into the labyrinth of waterfalls and swimming holes that is the Atherton Tablelands. The Lake Eacham, Millaa Millaa Falls, Josephine Falls and Babinda Boulders circuit in particular is a must-do.

  4. Great Alpine Road, VIC

    Beach drives not your bag? Then definitely forget 'Ocean' and give the equally great 'Alpine' a whirl instead. Starting in Wangaratta, your tour spans 339 kilometres of Victoria's high country, where wineries, snow-capped mountains and chocolate box towns, like Bright, are par for the course. Travel in autumn to see the landscape ablaze with colour or make your way up in the winter if you're keen to hit the slopes at Mount Hotham.

    Just bear in mind, you'll need the obligatory snow chains if you're travelling during snow season (June to October).

  5. The Hobart Loop, TAS

    A journey of many landscapes, this Tassie trip starts out with an easy drive up the east coast, where you can admire the perfect curvature of Wineglass Bay, Bicheno's wild blowhole and the burnt orange beauty that is Bay of Fires.

    The route also takes in the less travelled and more rugged North West. You'll be greeted by the looming mass of Cradle Mountain, with neighbouring Dove Lake a great place to stretch your legs on a walk. From there, venture on via Queenstown's concrete slalom. With over 90 bends, it's not for the faint-hearted.

    To finish up, cruise along a highway nestled between two national parks before pulling back into Hobart. Presumably for a good feed and a trip to MONA.

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