5 Australian coastal drives that you haven't put into your GPS
Whether you’re after a weekend away or want to spend a month circumnavigating the coast, Australia has a selection of drives that are the envy of the world.
But while everyone knows about the Great Ocean Road, there are a number of drives that make for just as an incredible experience but for whatever reason never seem to find their way into a traveller’s GPS.
We’re going to take a look at some of Australia’s less-frequented coastal drives. But don’t let the lack of traffic fool you. These routes are a traveller’s dream.
Indian Ocean Drive, Western Australia
You could spend a lifetime exploring the hidden gems of Western Australia, but if you don’t have quite that much annual leave up your sleeve the Indian Ocean Drive is a pretty good alternative. The road trip takes you from Perth to Geraldton and is a great way to help you become acquainted with Western Australia’s Coral Coast. If your timing is flexible, it’s best to plan your trip to fall between July and September. This is the time of year when the local wildflowers start to blossom and they really put on a show along the highway.
Great Eastern Drive, Tasmania
On the other end of the spectrum there’s the Apple Isle, which is just as good a part of the world to find yourself lost for a few days. The Great Eastern Drive is the perfect way to sample everything good about Tassie, and there’s a little bit of something for everybody. Nature lovers will relish the opportunity to explore the region’s inspiring national parks while surfers will find the endless, pristine white beaches irresistible. History buffs have no shortage of historical sites to explore while foodies (and just about everyone for that matter) will love treating their taste buds to some of the best food and wine in the country.
Captain Cook Highway, Queensland
The Captain Cook Highway is relatively short in comparison to some of the other routes on this list but the stretch of road that links Cairns to Mossman can be just as beautiful to drive down at its best. Many tourists take this route as they’re heading up to Port Douglas, and as the scenic road winds up north with the Daintree Rainforest on one side and Pacific Ocean on the other, there are many spots where it’s hard to not find your breath taken away.
Bowman Scenic Drive, South Australia
Not enough tourists (or locals for that matter) take the opportunity to explore the rugged coastline of the Southern Ocean, but there’s plenty of rewards for those willing to make the effort. Starting at the roundabout at the junction of Railway Terrace and Beach Road, Bowman Scenic Drive is a great way to get acquainted with this part of Australia without the pressure of committing to an extended trip. There’s no shortage of beaches to pull over for a stroll, swim or surf (even scuba diving) but take care as some have dangerous undertows.
Great Southern Way, NSW to Victoria
Okay, to be fair this drive isn’t as much of a secret as some of the other ones on the list, but a list of the coastal drives in Australia wouldn’t be complete without this dazzling 1,100km route. You’ll have a chance to appreciate the the dazzling waters of the Pacific Ocean, the Tasman Sea and the Bass Strait. Exquisite national parks, seemingly untouched beaches and charming coastal towns greet you at every corner along the way. Whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to do some whale watching on your way down and if you’ve got the time a slight detour to visit the penguins on Phillip Island won’t be one you regret.
Ben Squires is a freelance writer based in Sydney interested in all things travel, finance and comedy.