Did you know Australia has over thirty thousand kilometres of coastline? Famed for its stunning tropical beauty, explore and discover your own little slice of summer-paradise! What are you waiting for?! Grab your bathers and get some of the warm summer sand between your toes, the salt-spray in your hair, and dig into a big bag of fish and chips!
Here's four of our favourite coastal road trips to consider when planning your summer holiday.
The Great Ocean Road
The name says it all, doesn't it? And trust us it certainly lives up to its name. Meander your way along the bottom of Victoria, stopping to explore iconic surf breaks, breathtaking natural landmarks and feast on some of Australia's most delicious food. The enormity of the Twelve Apostles' will blow your socks off. The surrounding area is filled with less well known yet equally impressive formations.
The Great Ocean Road is also filled to the brim with native flora and fauna; see koalas at Kennett River, go whale watching from the dunes of Logans Beach, have a round of golf with the kangaroos at Anglesea Golf Course or watch the playful seals on Lady Percy Island. Wherever you go you're bound to have a brush with a local.
You may not think about Tasmania when planning a coastal road trip, but seriously think about it, it is after all the only state completely surrounded by ocean. Driving around the East and West coast of Tasmania can be comfortably done in ten days, but push it out to a couple of weeks and you can add the Midlands and the Southeast too. Of course Hobart can't be missed as the State's Capital and cultural centre. We don't have to tell you that the Salamanca Markets, the Cascade brewery, Port Arthur and MONA are must do's. From there make your way down the East Coast and marvel at the Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay then up through the Bay of Fires to Launceston. 'Lonnie' is home to the James Boag's brewery another 'must-do' on your itinerary. The West Coast gives adventurers a big dose of wilderness, dotted with snow-capped peaks, trout filled rivers and moss covered forests. Of course you'll also find lots of great picnic spots or a classic counter meal in a country pub.
The East Coast
Yeah we know it's huge, but it's almost impossible to suggest just one section. So here's some highlights. Starting at the absolute Northern tip of Cape York we suggest checking out Cape York Camping, a camping and campervan site that boasts the most Northerly beer tap in Australia. The rest of Queensland makes for campervanning paradise, with highlights like Port Douglas, the whole of the Rainforest Way, and Frasier Island (4WD is a must for beach driving). Enter New South Wales via Byron Bay, lets be honest it's the destination on everyone's itinerary for a good reason.
Wollongong makes the perfect base for exploring the surrounding surf beaches and indeed the crazy nightlife fuelled by university kids. Jarvis bay, Ulladulla, Mollymook, Moruya, Merimbula, Pambula are all highlights of the NSW South Coast, each surround by lush bush and dotted with undiscovered bays and beaches. Victorias main coastal attraction is of course the Great Ocean Road, but don't let that turn you away from places like Bemm River, Cape Conrad, Lakes Entrance, Venus Bay and the stunning Gippsland Region. To sum up, the East coast is huge, you might not have the time to do it all, but concentrate on a manageable section and you can't go wrong.
The West Coast
Oh boy, you thought the East Coast was huge. You'll need some serious time to visit all the incredible beaches, amazing natural landmarks and great lunch spots. Here are our favourites.
The road from Perth heading North to Geraldton cuts through the picturesque Cervantes, Jurien Bay, Dongara, Port Dennison, you'll find it very difficult to make it through without stopping. When you do make it to Geraldton a bounty of seafood awaits you, including the local western rock lobster. Heading further North and with a taste for great local food we suggest following the Gascoyne food trail.
Exmouth makes a good base for exploring the Ningaloo Reef, if you're there between late March and Early July you may even have the once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with a giant whale shark. If you'd rather stay dry you can always take a glass bottom boat cruise to check out the reef. Shark Bay confusingly makes for the best dolphin meeting area; they (the dolphins) are fed here three times a day. Other highlights include Coral Bay (famous for great coral) and Broome.
If you're after a shorter itinerary head south from Perth. The easy trip to Esperence takes in Fremantle, Margret River, Albany and a million great spots along the way. In Fremantle you simply must check out the Little Creatures Brewery, but don't stay too long, because you want to get to the stunning Margret River.
You may think Margaret River is filled to the brim with world-class wineries, restaurants and fromageries , and it is! But, did you know it's also home to some of the world's largest surf breaks as well? It has waves suited to everyone from beginners to advanced surfers.
Albany is home to the whitest sand imaginable and top shelf whale watching. Esperence will feel like a forgotten paradise, due to it's remote location you'll have the most stunning beaches and coastal landscapes all to yourself. It is well worth the drive.
Get out there
To be honest any Australian road trip is about the stuff in between destinations. It's about discovering beaches, tasting the best damn fish and chips you've ever had and taking unplanned detours. You can't go wrong in a campervan, it only adds to your ability to be impulsive and break the itinerary. Wherever you decide to head, be prepared to change your plans and go your own way; that's what makes the perfect road trip.