Jun
07
2011

Something dark and a little spooky – a ghostly road trip out of Sydney

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

Angela De Lyon grabs a rental car in Sydney and heads down a notorious road offering not only spectacular views but also some dark and spooky history. THE steep descent from the upper Blue Mountains at Mount Victoria into the Lithgow basin has always been a notoriously hazardous one, with more than its fair share of accidents, particularly among truck drivers. But could the high fatality rate on Mount Victoria Pass be due to more than just dodgy road conditions and speed? According to legend, this strip of highway is haunted by a rather nasty spectre – the Lady in Black. Since the mid-19th century, travellers have spoken of a mournful figure dressed in black that clings to the back of vehicles, causing drivers to plummet to a fiery death. Immortalised in Henry Lawson’s poem, The Ghost at the Second Bridge, the phantom is believed to that of Caroline Collits, a local lass from the Hartley Valley whose beaten and…

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Nov
11
2010

Broome to Cape Leveque

By Australia / Broome / Darwin / Northern Territory / Perth / Western Australia /

A HOLIDAY in Broome and the far north coast of Western Australia requires more commitment than any other destination in Australia. This sunny, sparkling city is more akin to an island resort than a bustling hub – totally isolated, surrounded by wilderness, and possessing that chilled ‘manana’ attitude that pervades the South Pacific. Getting here is not only a chore, but it’s expensive. You either have to take the long haul up the coast from Perth – ideal if you want to take your time and have the luxury of a campervan rental campervan rental in Western Australia – or trek across the Gibb River Road from Darwin via Kununurra: once again, the perfect adventure for 4WDrivers with plenty of time on their hands. But what if you only have a week of precious vacation, yet still want to see something beyond the town itself? While Broome is a pleasant distraction for two or three days, once you’ve thawed out on…

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Aug
14
2010
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Brisbane to Bundaberg, and a swim with the loggerhead turtles

By Australia / Brisbane / Queensland /

The strip of coastline between Brisbane and Bundaberg is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of natural treasures – glorious beaches, pristine patches of wilderness hopping with wildlife, and humpback whales breaching offshore during the winter months. But we’re here to see another endangered and fascinating marine creature – loggerhead turtles, who choose the beaches south of Bundaberg to perpetuate the cycle of life each summer. Mon Repos Beach is one of the two largest turtle rookeries in the South Pacific, which means it’s one of the best places to see them up close as they lay their eggs in the sand, with the babies hatching several months later. To capitalise on all this area has to offer, having secured a great deal on our Brisbane Campervan Rental with DriveNow we are driving north,  so we can feel at one with our stunning natural surrounds. That’s the beauty of life on the road – you can pull up where your whim leads you, and…

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Jun
14
2010
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Daylesford Delights – a road trip from Melbourne to Daylesford

By Melbourne / Victoria /

BEING Sydneysiders, we didn’t want to visit another city on a romantic getaway from work and children, but after a friend’s big recommendation we hopped on a cheap flight to Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne after snapping up a hot last minute  Melbourne Car Hire deal from www.drivenow.com.au. The escape from Melbourne’s hustle and bustle was a breeze for a great Victorian driving holiday  – we picked up the Western Ring Road off the Tullamarine Freeway and followed all signs to Daylesford and an hour and a half later we entered the sleepy country town in Spa Country. It was Saturday morning so there was a gentle hum about the place, busy, but not hectic. The moment we set down our gear at Campari, our accommodation, the R&R truly kicked in. About 200 metres from Lake Daylesford, and easy walking distance to town, Campari is well priced and cosy. We spent the first day poking around Daylesford’s quaint shops and sampling…

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May
18
2009

Driving holidays – the Outback (Queensland)

By Australia / Queensland /

STRANGE LIGHTS AND DINOSAURS As winter approaches, my thoughts don’t turn to snow-capped mountains and log fires, but rather red dirt plains and wide blue skies. The cooler months are the ideal time to explore Queensland’s outback, and hitting its dusty roads is the only way to get to fully appreciate the scale, complexity and beauty of this rugged, wild and bizarre landscape. After flying into Mount Isa, we pick up our four-wheel drive camper and despite the kids’ pleas to don hard helmets and mining suits and venture underground (my idea of hell!) we press on, keen to embark on the first 300 kilometres of our journey. Signs stating “G’day” and “Welcome to the Min Min Byway” announce the theme of our journey; ahead lies a long flat stretch of tar, disappearing into infinity with nothing but scrub and red dirt on either side. This is hauntingly beautiful country; massive outcrops loom from nowhere, red boulders stacked randomly as…

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Apr
14
2009
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Driving holidays – Fleurieu Peninsula (South Australia)

By Australia / South Australia /

It’s the holy grail of travel destinations – a place combining perfect weather, idyllic beaches, great food and world-standard wine. So why aren’t more people flocking to South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula? Southern treasure I guess I should be delighted that this hidden treasure south of Adelaide hasn’t become the Australian version of California’s Napa Valley, overrun by tourists and subsequently overblown and overpriced. Instead, it’s South Australia’s little secret, one which they seem quite happy to share with just a select few. And for those in the know, it’s quite a find. A driving holiday is the best way to experience this ‘Land of Milk and Honey’. After picking up a campervan from DriveNow, we headed south on the Fleurieu Way via the Southern Expressway, the road opening to glorious rural vistas within half an hour of the city. There is 170 kilometres of coastline to meander along – stunning beaches pounded by the Southern Ocean offering sublime surfing, sun-worship…

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Mar
23
2009
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Driving Holidays – Cairns (Qld)

By Australia / Cairns / Queensland /

The old adage “it’s a big country” certainly rings true in Far North Queensland, where distances between sights are great and the only way to experience them is by road. But that’s what makes the region north of Cairns such a great place for a driving holiday, with the open highway a journey of discovery and wonder. When you’re deciding on a vehicle, keep in mind that the further from the Big Smoke you get, the rougher the roads – you may require a four-wheel drive if you are venturing north of the Daintree or up into Cape York. The journey After settling on Toyota Camry from Budget at Cairns Airport we began our trip north to Port Douglas on the Captain Cook Highway. This 68 kilometre stretch of road must be one of the most scenic drives in Australia, winding its way through Cairns’ beautiful northern beaches, with great vantage points at Rex’s Lookout and Yule Point back down…

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Mar
14
2009
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Driving Holidays – South Coast (NSW)

By Australia / New South Wales /

As a kid, I used to make frequent trips down the South Coast of NSW with my friend’s family. Two things are etched into my mind: the lame jokes of my friend’s father about cows with two legs shorter than the others (from standing on steep hills) and the horror of car sickness. The old coast road from the southern suburbs of Sydney to Wollongong was a spectacular roller coaster, never failing to reduce my Maccas happy meal to a not-so-happy pile of goo on the side of the road. But it was all part of the holiday fun, the rising tide of nausea signalling the start of a great weekend away. A “Grand” new drive And so it was with this happy memory that I picked up my DriveNow Britz camper and headed south through the Royal National Park to Stanwell Tops, and the start of the new Grand Pacific Drive. This 140km coastal route has cut out many…

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Mar
10
2009
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Driving holidays – Lower Hunter Valley (NSW)

By Australia / New South Wales /

I have a dream of owning my own rural patch of heaven, 30-odd acres of paddocks and bushland where I can keep horses, run a few chooks and write the great Australian novel. And I know exactly where this Tree Change will take place – Wollombi. This quaint little hamlet 140 kilometres north of Sydney in the Lower Hunter Valley is my secret weekend getaway. There’s nothing I love more than picking up a camper and heading up the F3 freeway, relaxation beckoning with every passing kilometre. I’m not sure if it’s a psychological thing, but as soon as I turn off at the Calga exit at Peats Ridge, I visibly relax, drawing a deep breath and filling my lungs with the pure mountain air. It’s then a leisurely hour or so through picturesque countryside, lush horse studs and hobby farms flanked by dense eucalypt forest on rolling hillsides. Wollombi rolls into sight like something from a Tom Roberts oil…

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