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Driving holidays – Port Augusta to Adelaide (SA)

By Australia / South Australia /

From Port Augusta to Adelaide on the banks of the beautiful Spencer Gulf, it’s just gorgeous. It’s only a leisurely two-hour drive and all easy going, big open roads.

Port Augusta has some  unique attractions including the “spook hill” or Gravity Hill, near the Flinders Ranges where you face your car up this hill and put it in neutral and you somehow get pulled up the hill! It’s all true and is a fairdinkum optical illusion and very much worth the drive out there.

We enjoyed the the Champagne Cruise out onto the Spencer Gulf itself and went diving for the rare Razor fish (see picture). The water here has 7% more salt in it and you float really easily, but it makes it tougher to dive down for the Razor fish. This really is a place where the Outback meets the ocean and you won’t find a more photogenic place.

Port augusta outback centreAlso take in a visit to the Wadlata Outback Centre, another attraction that is second to none. Heaps of time and effort has been put in and you will easily spend three or four hours here.  We stayed in the Big 4 in Port Augusta and they have the best pool … especially after spending six long days on the Nullarbor.

After cruising down through Port Pirie (not much here, but still worth dropping into for morning tea) we reached Adelaide. Don’t fret about driving around the city with your rig as Adelaide is very easy to get around and navigate and its roads are really tow-friendly if you happen to have a caravan or vehicle attached to the back of your camper. Just be careful of the enormous hill when leaving Adelaide and be prepared for a long struggle!



Driving holiday – Sydney to Melbourne (NSW/Vic)

By Australia / Sydney /

I’ve always preferred to drive to Melbourne than fly – I just like my independence, the freedom of the road and the convenience once I get there.

The direct route down the Hume (highway) can be a little tedious, just as well I’m comfortable behind the wheel! A new touring route has officially opened, however – the Sydney to Melbourne Touring Route. It’s not a new road, just a new slant on familiar territory, opening tourists’ eyes to what’s special in the states of NSW and Victoria.

Keen to try out the multi-day ‘Mega Drive’, I arranged campervan hire through DriveNow, picking up my camper in Sydney. After meandering through Sydney’s southern suburbs, we diverted through the gorgeous Royal National Park, emerging at Stanwell Tops and the start of the spectacular Grand Pacific Drive. This new road skirts the spectacular Wollongong escarpment, with a bridge hovering above the pounding ocean and offering spectacular views down the coastline.

I’m always blown away by the beauty of the south coast beaches, particularly where the emerald green countryside edges onto cliffs and beaches. Gerringong and Gerroa are particular favourites; and further south, I’m totally in love with the villages of Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba, famed for antiques, history and, of course, cheese!

As you edge towards the border, the beaches keep getting more and more enticing – Narooma, Merimbula and Pambula.

Eden, once centre of the whaling industry, is now a great place to spot these marine giants; and make sure you stop off at Ben Boyd pub for a real blast from the past.

Over the border, Lakes Entrance is a great place for boating, fishing and beachside recreation. After this, the drive heads inland, emerging onto the Great Alpine Road at Bairnsdale. As much enamoured with mountain scenery as we are with beaches, we deviated a little for the Alpine villages of Dinner Plain and Mt Hothambefore heading to Anglers Rest for a stop off at our favourite pub, the Blue Duck. Up the road from there is The Willows, a lovely rural property featuring historic cottages and brilliant horse riding through spectacular High Country scenery.

The touring route then scouts north again, reaching the mighty Murray River and the historic towns of Echuca-Moama. Here we jumped on board a paddlesteamer, reliving the romance of colonial days.

Then it was south again through Bendigo, where more gold was found between 1850 and 1900 than anywhere else in the world. This history is all showcased at a family favourite, Sovereign Hill, our final stop before hitting the road to Melbourne.

It may have taken a little longer than the usual 10-hour haul, but the drive gave us new appreciation of some of the most fantastic parts of two great eastern states.


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Driving holidays – Esperance to Port Augusta (WA)

By Australia / Western Australia /


The great vastness of the desert …The Nullarbor. What  a drive! We set off early in the morning thinking we would get a big day of driving in. Silly idea. The amount of wildlife playing on the road was bordering on being ridiculous. Certainly, this provided terrific photography opportunities, but not a particularly safe environment when towing a 4000kg road beast in their path.

The Nullabor is deceiving and almost every person we bumped into (not literally!) along the way, which wasn’t many mind you, had a great yarn about their journey. And make sure you experience the Nullarbor Roadhouse, which is a real treat. There is an old bike there that some silly dude rode on for the entire Nullarbor Plain back in the 1950s. There isn’t much there, however. In fact, there isn’t much anywhere along the plain. We were very lucky to run into not one but two herds of camels. They are such beautiful, mighty creatures.

One thing we had totally forgotten about was the Great Australian Bight. And, boy, what a sight that is. We sat in awe for almost two hours admiring how untouched and magnificent our southern coastlineesperance4 is. I never knew it was quite like that and I never knew that it ran for such a great distance. Be sure to call into every lookout along the way – there are five – as each one offers a totally different aspect.

The photo opportunities along the Nullarbor are absolutely magic. There is a stretch of road that is 114km
in a completely straight line. No joking, you could almost lock the steering and take a nap! The road is perfect and in great condition, but one thing you won’t see a lot of is people. We drove one day for almost seven hours and only passed three vehicles. Not sure if that’s because of the time of year – we actually did it in mid-January – or whether people are put off by the sheer length of it. But here’s some sound advice: don’t be put off! It’s a fantastic trip and we will most definitely do it again. Just remember to stock up on petrol and water every chance you get, because it’s a long way between drinks – for you and your car.


(catch Peter and family exploring Australia on the Great Australian Doorstep on Foxtel)


Driving holidays – Geraldton to Busselton (WA)

By Australia / Western Australia /

Well what a trip this one was! We were told by many avenues – one being a good map, the others by mouth – that our trip from Geraldton to Busselton would take approxiamately five hours … 9 1/2 hours later, we finally see the “Welcome to Busselton” sign! At first I thought it was a mirage.

Geraldton is a must-stop place. It’s under-rated from what you read about it as it really is a place with so much going on that you do really have to stop and stay a while. Built on the successful seafood industry, it’s a buzzing and vibrant place. And it’s refreshing to see the local council is pumping heaps of cash back into the community with the absolute best-ever kids play area right on the foreshore.  The HMAS Sydney tribute (below left) will take your breath away; absolutely stunning and quite humbling. If you’re up for a quiet ale try the Camel Bar – its has 175 different types of beer from throughout the world.

geraldton-hmas-sydney-tribute2The drive down the coast is easy, just don’t hit Perth at 4.30pm on a Friday long weekend like we did!  The south coast of Perth is magical, with its white sandy beaches and crystal clear water (see photo above).  When you reach Busselton and it’s enormous pier, make sure you take your lunch and maybe a sleeping bag too as it’s a 2km round trip! But a trip certainly worthwhile. There is tonnes for the kids to do and some great little restaurants for mum and dad. A really relaxing beachy place, everyone is happy and helpful and, to be honest, there’s nothing you will really be disappointed with. Just make sure you don’t go out in the bush where there are snakes aplenty!


(catch Peter and his family exploring Australia on the Great Australian Doorstep on Foxtel)