Amid coronavirus travel bans, we are embracing the good old Aussie road trip
With travel bans and limited flight options both domestically and overseas, more Australians are planning a road trip for their next holiday. Make sure you always follow your local Coronavirus lockdown rules, but if you are free to get out on the road here are 5 of Australia’s best road trips to inspire you.
A recent survey showed a huge 70% of us plan to travel by car for our next holiday. It’s not surprising. With our enormous backyard, Australia has one of the biggest road networks in the world. According to https://www.roadtraffic-technology.com/ we have a whopping 823,000km of roads – and Highway 1 is the world’s longest national highway at 14,500km. And let’s face it, a road trip is one of the best ways to see Australia. It can be a cheaper way to travel, gives you total freedom and access to breathtaking scenery that’s off the beaten track.
Best road trip from Sydney: South Coast NSW
Following last summer’s devastating bushfires, many of us want to support affected communities through tourism. The TravelCard team saw the impact on South Coast towns firsthand when we visited with our brand ambassador Catriona Rowntree in February.
We loved visiting Mogo Zoo, the Original Gold Rush Colony, the Growers Market in Moruya and the shimmering ocean pool at Bermagui. But without a doubt the highlight was meeting – and supporting – business owners in Batemans Bay, Cobargo and Merimbula. We all came away with some fantastic local purchases and enjoyed the local conversations, advice, food and unique shopping.
There is so much to do in this beautiful part of New South Wales, making it perfect for kids. And with the annual whale migration in full swing, now is a great time to visit. If you’re starting from Sydney, make sure you take the Grand Pacific Drive. It offers unbeatable ocean views beginning with the Sea Cliff Bridge just an hour’s drive away.
Experience one of Australia’s best road trips without the tourists
Is there a more iconic Australian road trip than Victoria’s Great Ocean Road? The crashing waves of the Southern Ocean, the crumbling beauty of the Twelve Apostles, the famous break at Bell’s Beach… The only problem is, we aren’t the only ones to have realised how good it is, meaning usually you could just as likely expect to find yourself sharing that perfect selfie spot with a stranger. Every year, around 250,000 overseas visitors visit the Great Ocean Road. With our borders closed due to coronavirus, this could be a great time to see an Australian icon without the crowds. Just make sure the area is safe to travel before you embark on your trip.
Although the Great Ocean Road is famous for its breathtaking views and beaches, it’s home to some other Australian icons. Stop in the small town of Kennett River and you won’t have to walk far for a chance to see koalas in the wild, as well as plenty of native birdlife.
For a road trip where you spend more time out of the car than in it: Tasmania’s East Coast
Tasmania’s East Coast is stunning and one of Australia’s best road trips, perfect for a long weekend. Just a couple of hours’ drive from Hobart, you’ll find unspoilt beaches, great food and endless opportunities to stretch your legs. Coles Bay in the Freycinet National Park is a great place to stop if you’re looking for outdoor activities. You can hike to the Wineglass Bay lookout, try sea kayaking, and visit the stunning Friendly Beaches. At the end of a day’s activities, reward yourself with a glass of wine and beautiful view at Devil’s Corner Winery*.
Best road trip for wine lovers: Barossa Valley
It’s a well-worn trail, but there’s a reason it’s so popular. The Barossa Valley is often compared to Europe, with its pretty valleys and historic villages. And from Adelaide to Tanunda is just 148km, making it an easy weekend road trip with time to savour the local produce. As well as trying the region’s wines, pick your own strawberries at the famous Beerenberg Strawberry Farm from November-May. If you’re visiting in the autumn, stop in photogenic Stirling, famed for its dazzling show of autumnal colours.
Best road trip with kids: Outback New South Wales
Brave enough to take on a road trip with kids? The drive from Bathurst to Broken Hill is one of the best road trips for families. There’s no shortage of things to do, and it’s educational too. Whether it’s gold mining history, the Royal Flying Doctors Service or Dubbo Zoo, the kids are sure to learn something.
If you have time, stop by the historic gold mining town of Hill End – once NSW’s largest inland town. Kids will love the kangaroo mobs that bask on the grass all over town and there’s an excellent small museum. And if you’re feeling energetic, you can also head down an old mine shaft (buy tickets at Northey’s Store).
And if you’ve heard “Are we nearly there yet?” one too many times, you can always enjoy Mudgee’s cellar doors on the way home*.
Why you might need domestic travel insurance for your road trip**
- If you’re hiring a car, domestic travel insurance could cover you for the insurance excess – and is another option if you prefer not to buy excess cover as an add-on from the rental company. There’s nothing worse than ending up on an unpaved road in a hire car, terrified of chipping the windscreen.
- If you have to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances, like sickness or injury, domestic travel insurance could cover you for the loss of any non-refundable deposits such as hotel bookings. Bear in mind though that most travel insurance policies (including TravelCard) exclude epidemics & pandemics, including coronavirus, so you won’t be able to claim for anything relating to COVID19.
- To cover your luggage and personal belongings if they are lost, accidentally damaged or stolen (provided you haven’t left them in an unattended vehicle).
Travel insurance can be just as important if you’re holidaying here in Australia as when you are travelling overseas. Just don’t forget that travel insurers often stipulate you must be more than a certain distance away from your home to be covered. To be covered by TravelCard’s domestic policy, your trip must be at least 100km from home and include an overnight stay.
*Always remember that travel insurance won’t cover you if you’re affected by alcohol in a way that breaches the law.
**Benefits and covers subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions and limits (including sub-limits) of the insurance policy. Please refer to the PDS & the TravelCard Terms & Conditions for more information.
 COVID-19 Travel & Leisure Insights, Tourism & Transport Forum, June 2020
 https://www.choice.com.au/travel/money/travel-insurance/review-and-compare/domestic-travel-insurance, as at 22 October 2019