Australia’s magnificent coastline has some of the most scenic coastal driving routes in the world. Here are some of our favourites.
Jun 13, 2014 5:01pm
Australia's magnificent coastline has some of the most scenic coastal driving routes in the world. Here are some of our favourites.
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Melbourne: Great Ocean Road
Australia's most famous coastal drive, the Great Ocean Road, is a cliffside black-top memorial to those who died in WWI, hewn from the rock by returned soldiers using picks, crowbars and shovels. Beginning just three hours' drive away from Melbourne, the road winds its way along the rugged south-western Victorian coastline between Torquay and Warrnambool and features dramatic rock formations and lush rainforests.
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Melbourne: Bunurong Coastal Drive
In theory it should only take around 15 minutes to drive the 14km between Cape Paterson and Inverloch east of Melbourne, but it's impossible not to keep pulling over to admire the views along the way. Known as the Bunurong Coastal Drive, it's one of the most scenic short drives in Victoria, hugging the cliff-edged coastline the whole way.
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Sydney: Grand Pacific Drive
The aptly named Grand Pacific Drive packs in a lot of variety along its 100km length between Sydney and Wollongong, including the thrilling cantilevered Sea Cliff Bridge that curves around the cliffs 50 metres out to sea. Explore Royal National Park, take a dip in a rockpool, eat fish 'n' chips on the beach and stroll through the rainforest.
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Launceston: The Bass Coast
Tasmania's northern coastline is an unsung treasure. It is a place of rugged beauty, where fertile farmlands spill into the wild waters of Bass Strait. From the boulder-strewn white sand beaches of the Bay of Fires, just a two and a half-hour drive from Launceston, to the wild wilderness of the west coast, the main route across the top of the island is a spectacular seaside drive.
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Hobart: East Coast
Tasmania's scenic eastern seaboard is a long, ragged strip of peninsulas, islands, channels and windswept beaches, flanked by rugged mountains enclosing gorges, waterfalls and forests. One minute you are driving through bucolic farmland and quaint convict-built villages or along the course of a twisting, shallow river, and the next you find yourself in dense, lush rainforest. The drive from Hobart to The Bay of Fires in the northeastern takes approximately three hours.
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Cairns: Captain Cook Highway
The Captain Cook Highway between Cairns and Mossman is one of the country's most beautiful stretches of road. It rides the coastline for most of the 67km ‑ the views of the rainforest spilling down the mountain to meet the sea in a necklace of deserted white beaches are magnificent.
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WA: Margaret River
The Margaret River region, a wild knob of land jutting into the sea off the bottom corner of WA, crowned in the north by Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in the south, is famous for its food and wine, but it also has a much wilder side. Situated 280km south of Perth, highlights include Boranup Karri Forest, great surfing beaches, whale watching, limestone caves and road-side wildflowers.
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Perth: Indian Ocean Drive
The west coast has some of the most picturesque beaches in the country, with dazzling white sands lapped by turquoise seas. The 418km Indian Ocean Drive from Perth to Geraldton follows the coast the entire way and highlights, beyond the beautiful beaches, include wildflowers, the Pinnacles, and the ghost town of Greenough.
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South Australia: Bowman Scenic Drive
The Bowman Scenic Drive is a short but dramatic coastal drive that sweeps around the beaches and dunes south of Beachport around halfway between Adelaide and the Victorian border. Don't miss the Pool of Siloam, a salt lake seven times saltier than the sea and reputed to cure all matter of aches and pains.
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Adelaide: Yorke Peninsula
Flanked by the calm waters of Gulf St Vincent to the east and Spencer Gulf to the west, almost every road on the boot-shaped Yorke Peninsula, just a couple of hours from Adelaide, is a scenic one. The best "sea-forever" views are those on the South Coast Road running along the foot of the peninsula, between Innes National Park and Edithburgh.