Need to escape the big smoke for a day? Here are the best daytrips from Australia’s capital cities.
May 28, 2014 4:47pm
Need to escape the big smoke for a day? Here are the best daytrips from Australia's capital cities.
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Melbourne: Great Ocean RoadLorne, around 140km (two hours drive) south-west of Melbourne via Geelong is smack bang in the middle of some of the most scenic stretches of the Great Ocean Road. Getting there is half the fun, as you hit the coast near Torquay and follow it for 50 km to Lorne.
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Melbourne: Black SpurThe Black Spur Drive from Healesville to Marysville through Yarra Ranges National Park and on to Lake Mountain winds through towering mountain ash and lush green fern forests. Although the area was affected by the 2009 bushfires, much of the forest is green with regrowth and it still rates as one of the country's best scenic drives.
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Sydney: Grand Pacific DriveGrand Pacific Drive is a breathtakingly scenic route that meanders along the coastline south of Sydney to Wollongong. A highlight is the cantilevered Sea Cliff Bridge that curves around the cliffs 50 metres out to sea. Explore Royal National Park, swim at one of the many beaches and visit Nan Tien Temple, the biggest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere.
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Sydney: Cliff Drive
It's one sublime view after another when you take Cliff Drive along the cliff tops between Leura and Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Highlights include Leura Cascades, intriguing formations such as Mount Solitary, the Ruined Castle, Katoomba Falls and Cascades, and of course the Three Sisters at Echo Point in Katoomba.
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Brisbane: Scenic Rim
Just one hour from Brisbane, and half an hour from the Gold Coast, is an altogether different world of mountains, rainforest and world-heritage wilderness. Known as the Scenic Rim, it's a chain of craggy mountains and rich, fertile river valleys. Head west from Boonah - across rolling hills, past rainforest and pretty villages - towards Killarney and Queen Mary Falls.
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Hobart: Port Arthur
An easy day drive from Hobart, the convict ruins at Port Arthur are one of Australia's most significant historical sites, added to the World Heritage list in 2010. But it's not the only thing worth seeing on the Tasman Peninsula. The coastline features pristine beaches, rugged wind-swept headlands and fantastically-shaped rock formations.
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Adelaide: Adelaide Hills
In the Adelaide Hills, less than half an hour's drive from Adelaide, the rugged hill-top scenery, vineyards, art galleries and history in Hahndorf - Australia's oldest surviving German settlement - makes for a great day drive. It's the perfect place to snack on traditionally made wursts or indulge in a German teacake or strudel for afternoon tea.
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Perth: Pinnacles Desert
Thousands of huge limestone pillars rise out of a stark landscape of yellow sand in the Pinnacles Desert near Cervantes, around a two-hour drive north of Perth. In places they reach up to three-and-a-half-metres tall; all of them are surreal and the last thing you expect to find within a stone's throw of the sea.
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Darwin: Litchfield National ParkLitchfield National Park, around two hours south of Darwin, has a little bit of everything that makes the Top End so special - wetlands and lily-covered billabongs, thundering waterfalls, prolific birdlife, gigantic termite mounds, weird and fantastic sandstone formations, and an abundance of that Top End rarity: crocodile-free swimming holes.
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Canberra: The Poachers Way
Follow The Poachers Way through ACT's wine country - around Canberra and the surrounding regions of Hall, Murrumbateman, Gundaroo and Yass - for an indulgent day of fine wine at dozens of winery cellar doors, good food made by passionate artisans and great art, as well as some of the region's prettiest rural scenery.