Park your wheels and hit the trails – after all, those boots were made for walkin’

By Australia / New South Wales / Queensland / South Australia / Sydney / Tasmania / Victoria /

From wheels to walking, it’s easy to head off in your Australian campervan rental for some of Down Under’s most magnificent outdoor walking trails.

What better way to see some of natural wonders this summer than by foot. Here are five to ponder during your Australian road trip adventure.

The Pinnacle Lookout, The Grampians, Vic (a three hour drive north west from Melbourne on the Western Hwy) – Magnificent views await you along this 5.5km circuit. Cross rivers and pass amazing rock formations in this walker’s paradise. Park your wheels: Halls Gap Caravan and Tourist Park, powered campsites starting from $34 a night.

Emmagen Beach and Creek, Daintree Rainforest, QLD (a two and a half hour drive north of Cairns along Cape Tribulation Rd/Captain Cook Hwy) –Start your 5 hour journey from Cape Tribulation, passing through the oldest living tropical rainforest on earth, before being mesmerised by the stunning Emmagen Beach. Park your wheels: Cape Tribulation Camping, powered sites starting from $40.

Cradle Mountain summit, TAS  (a two hour drive north of Queenstown along A10) – An eight hour return hike for challenge-seekers. Starting at the marvelous Dove Lake, pass through Cradle Plateau before experiencing sweeping views from the summit. Park your wheels at Discovery Holiday Parks – Cradle Mountain, powered sites starting from $49.

Sacred Canyon Walk, Flinders Ranges National Park, SA (a six hour drive north of Adelaide along National Hwy A1) – a short walk, but you could spend hours admiring spectacular rock formations and Aboriginal art carved into this picturesque landscape. Park your wheels: Big4 Hawker Holiday Park, powered sites starting from $26.

Katoomba Falls walk, Blue Mountains, NSW – (a one and a half hour drive west of Sydney along the Great Western Hwy/National Route 32). This 2 hour return walk treats you to several small waterfalls cascading for 55 metres into the Jamison Valley. Park your wheels: Katoomba Falls Caravan Park, powered sites start from $36.




Grab some bargains online before setting off on your Aussie summer road trip

By Australia /

The road trip’s looking good – you’ve done the groundwork, booked the Australian campervan rental, assembled the essentials, but a few last-minute items are still on the agenda. Why not avoid the Christmas crowds and click on convenience by shopping online before that next big summer road trip.

Here are a few ideas:

The Great Australian Doorstep TV Show’s clearance sale: DriveNow’s regular guest blogger Peter “Spida” Everitt’’ not only discovers Australia AND records a TV show, he also finds time to pack his website with a heap of bargains.

The Little Book of Big Discounts ($2.95) contains 36 vouchers for holiday parks, cruises and day tours, accommodation, camp gear hire and car hire. The exclusive Great Australian Doorstep Sherrin footy, at $89 (usually $195), is perfect for booting around the campsite. Throw in a deck of cards ($2.55) and a silver key ring bottle and can opener ($3.95) and you’ve bagged yourself some great value. You can also snap up some DVDs of the series.

AGFG online store: If you are away in your campervan rental for the festive season, it’s handy to have a hamper tucked away – you’ll never be short of a box of choccies or gourmet pickles for that relative, friend, or the bloke who helps you fix a flat tyre.

The brand new AGFG online shop, part of the Australian Good Food and Travel Guide’s general portal, features a first-class selection of hampers from top name brands and chefs, including a Christmas range (from $50, see a $99 one pictured). Of course, it’s nice to keep a few luxuries for yourself. How about some Maggie Beer stock (beef or chicken), Luke Mangan BBQ rub, a bit of Peter Kuruvita Chili Salt and a jar of Duck Creek honey choc macadamias to keep your camp dinners interesting? Top it off with the Original Hot Chocolate Company “chunks on a spoon”, it’ll  keep the kids amused as they stir it in hot milk by the fire, or savor one yourself while watching the sun go down.

When hitting the road after you have hired a campervan in Australia, barbecue is the undisputed king of camp cooking, but imagine surprising the family with a roast, stew or dessert? Jo Clews’ Australian Camp Oven Cooking (Boiling Billy Publications, RRP $34.99) provides recipes, as well as info on different types of camp oven cooking gear, menu planning and building the right type of cooking fire.



Coastal cruisin’ with five Sydney road trip aquatic adventures

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

SPRING is in the air and the sun is shining, so what better time to cruise the NSW coastline in your Sydney car rental and catch some aquatic attractions along the way.

Here’s DriveNow’s top five coastal road trip suggestions from Sydney:

1) Jervis Bay, 200km along Princes Hwy/National Route 1 (about a three-hour drive). Spring is one of the best seasons to spot whales in this picturesque bay, where the magnificent creatures rest during their southward migration journey. Dolphin Watch Cruises boasts the best whale watch cruise in Jervis Bay, with multiple tourism awards and five viewing decks.

2) Montague Island near Narooma, 350 kms from Sydney along Princes Hwy/National Route 1 (a five-hour drive). This paradise island has the largest colony of Little Penguins in Australia. Learn about its history and conservation programs with the Eurobodalla’s evening Penguin and Whale Watch Tour – the perfect time to see the furry little creatures returning to their burrows.

3) Nelson Bay, 200 kms from Sydney along F3 Sydney-Newcastle Fwy/National Hwy 1 (a three hour drive). The Bay is a popular destination for dolphin watching, with tours running every day of the year. Sea’scape cruises to popular dolphin watching areas, while also giving travellers the exciting opportunity to travel alongside dolphins in their natural habitat on Sea’scape’s underwater boom net rides!

4) Coffs Harbour, 530kms north of Sydney along National Route 1 (a six-hour drive). The always entertaining Pet Porpoise Pool in Coffs Harbour is home to several dolphins, seals and other marine animals. Be sure to not miss the chance to get up close and personal, and even score a kiss from one of these friendly sea creatures.

5) Byron Bay, 770 kms north of Sydney along New England Hwy (a 10-hour drive). Paddle alongside whales, dolphins and turtles with a Cape Byron Kayaks. With guided tours operating twice daily, adventure out into the wilderness to learn about the area’s history, get close to migrating humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins – all from a kayak.




Eyre Peninsula – a road trip where memories are made

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

THE stunning Eyre Peninsula (pictured right), located in the west quarter of South Australia on the west coast of the Spencer Gulf, is a place where real memories are made once you reach it after picking up your South Australia campervan rental. But most people miss it – too excited to be heading onto the Nullabor Plain, they don’t deviate or are tired from months on the road and after completing the Nullabor they just want to get home. But in reality, they are missing one of the most amazing parts of Australia.
It’s an easy drive for any big rig, too, and in no time we started seeing the sign posts for Steaky Bay.
The Streaky Bay Foreshore Family Park yet again is absolute beachfront. Again, we couldn’t get any closer to the water. The inlet at Streaky Bay is just gorgeous with calm water and no waves, which is perfect for the kids. If you have a Quintrex tinny, it’s also perfect for fishing. No need to take your boat in and out every day, just pull it up on the beach in front of your powered site. How on earth could life get any better? And how do I get a job there?!
Our first day of exploration saw us doing the Westall Way Tourist drive. Taking in the Murphys Haystacs, Seal Colony at Point Labatt, Sandhills, Cliffs and the Rock Pools, it’s a full day of activities and sightseeing so pack lots of food and water. Also keep in mind it’s easy driving but it is unsealed.
The Murphys Haystacs (below left) are those massive granite Inselbergs plonked in the middle of a hayfield which actually do look exactly like the old fashioned haystacs. Its quite eery but also amazing to wonder how on earth these rock formations came to be here!
Only a few minutes up the road is the turn off to the Seal Colony down at Point Labatt. All the lookouts and viewing platforms on the Westall Way drive are easily accessible. The seal colony is located directly below the platform and they are there in their hundreds! The juvenile seals play and frolic in the rock pools while the older ones sun themselves on the rocks. A good tip is to take your binoculars or zoom lens on your camera to get up close and personal.
Continuing along there are many stops to be had. A swim at the ocean beach, the views from the cliff-tops or a splash in the rockpools with the enormous ocean waves breaking out on the reef in the background. Again, this is a haven for kids and something they will talk about for a very long time. Collecting shells, sea urchins and knick-knacks along the way all makes for great conversation around the campfire later that night.
Streaky Bay is renowned for its year round fishing, especially for Snapper and King Whiting. It is a place you will not want to leave and is a place where a few days is most definitely nowhere near enough.
The township of Streaky Bay has every service you will need, even great restaurants for those nights where you are sick of eating beautiful, fresh snapper (wink, nudge).
For info about Spida’s TV show, the Great Australian Doorstep, visit


Toast the good life with a scenic drive through classic wine country

By Adelaide / Australia / Melbourne / New South Wales / Perth / South Australia / Sydney / Victoria / Western Australia /

AUSTRALIAN wines have taken their place amongst the best in the world. Combined with a stunning landscape, wineries offer a great Australian drive-tour experience.

The first thing to do is nominate a driver – maybe take it in turns if an overnight stay is planned. The next thing is to select your DriveNow rental vehicle. A roomy sedan or four-wheel drive might be handy, or why not pick up a campervan and have your accommodation sorted as well?

Those in Western Australia have the acclaimed Margaret River to explore. Pick up your Perth car rental and head about 280km south to Margaret River, home to 20 percent of Australia’s premium wines. Take advantage of the area’s beaches and forests by staying at the Riverview Tourist Park and making it your base.  Xanadu winery is a popular and picturesque place to start, with an award-winning restaurant and sweeping views.

In NSW the Hunter Valley is considered the grand old daddy of wine regions – and it’s only two hours from Sydney.  Lindemans, McGuigan, and Wyndham Estate are just some of the famous labels to be explored.

Take in South Australia’s Barossa Valley Tourist Park, 70kms north of the state’s capital and maybe hire one of the bicycles on offer. The park is close to wineries such Wolf Blass, Penfolds, Tarac Australia, and Chateau Dorrien.

Victoria is the perfect place for winery day trips with the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Geelong winery regions all within an hour’s drive of the city.  St Huberts, Sticks, Dromana Estate, T’Gallant, Bellarine Estate and Jack Rabbit Vineyard are amongst the state’s diverse offerings.

Across the water, Tasmania’s Tamar Valley is home to some of Australia’s premium cool-climate wines and over in New Zealand, wineries are one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. Northland, Nelson, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough are some of the popular wine districts just ripe for exploration.



Heading to Arno Bay – a South Australian road trip for your bucket list

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

THERE is not a lot at Arno Bay, but that’s exactly what we wanted.

A great pub, a few local shops and a caravan park so close to the water that at one point I thought the waves were going to crash into the campervans and caravans! It is truly a ‘get-away’ place.

If you are in South Australia and choose an Adelaide campervan rental, getting there is easy. Pick up your camper in the city and head north-west about 530km.

Or, like we did, you can take the car and passenger ferry from Wallaroo on the Yorke Peninsula, just north of Adelaide, and cross the Spencer Gulf to Lucky Bay in under two hours. After negotiating Adelaide’s peak hour traffic only hours beforehand, Lucky Bay, with its awe-inspiring outback scenery, was a welcome sight. Arno Bay was an easy 20-minute drive from there.

We fell in love with the place – and we weren’t the only ones. The people on the site next to us had planned a three-week stay, but five months later were still there. It’s just that sort of place. A stunning waterfront, great fishing, bush walking, views, history – even sea lions. And for the adrenalin junkies, sand boarding looks awesome and the kids had a blast.

The oceanfront is very safe for swimming, kayaking or snorkeling and there is a new playground right next to the caravan park – perfect for families. Do as much or as little as you like, just make sure you add Arno Bay to your bucket list when looking at a great driving holiday in South Australia.

The Great Australian Doorstep airs on 7TWO, Southern Cross TV and Aurora on Foxtel.


Campervan cruising down Great Ocean Road … with all the bells and whistles

By Australia / Great Ocean Road / Melbourne / Victoria /

THE refreshing breeze off Bells Beach blew through the back door of my campervan and I couldn’t help but smile with a big appreciation of another beautiful view.

After picking up my Melbourne campervan rental, the drive to the majestic Great Ocean Road was only about 112km from Melbourne. As rewarding as the drive was, the real bonus was about settling in for some great surfing in a beautiful setting along the coastline.

It was so easy to look down to the beach and watch the surfers running to the waves to compete in the Rip Curl Surf Pro at Bells Beach. I have never attempted surfing in my life but, this is a sporting event that must be experienced and I would highly recommend working something like it into your travel itinerary when on any road trip in Victoria.

Sinking my feet into the sand, I secured a front row position to watch big names such as Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning search for the perfect wave. It doesn’t get much better than that if you’re a surfing fan.

Many times while travelling I have found myself pulling over and taking in the views at various lookouts, however, I realised after this weekend that I have never stopped completely, walked to the edge of the water and really watched the intensity of surfing. The coastline of Australia offers an amazing playground for all ages and the Great Ocean Road, which runs for about 245km from Anglesea to Warrnambool, and offers great caravan parks along the way.




Pick up a car rental and go cruisin’ with your pooch

By Australia / Brisbane / Cairns / Gold Coast / Great Ocean Road / Melbourne / New South Wales / Queensland / Sydney / Victoria / Western Australia /

WANTING a road trip and accommodation for the whole family, four-legged friends included?

Gone are the days when pet-friendly accommodation consisted of mildew walls and flea ridden couches, or when you had to re-mortgage your home to pay the kennel to keep your beloved pooch fed, watered and entertained.

These days, there are a range of pet friendly holiday accommodation options that will ensure fun for all the family, two and four legged creatures alike.

With pooch in your Gold Coast hire car, head for the hinterland and beach all rolled into one in the beautiful areas surrounding Byron Bay. Nestled on the exclusive Tallow Beach, Puri Pantali House affords absolute beachfront location in luxury Balinese style.  The house has four bedrooms, each with ensuite, catering for up to eight people comfortably.  Open plan living and a kitchen complete with state of the art appliances will ensure you feel right at home.   A private salt water solar heated pool will keep the kids entertained, while the stone paved pergola area and tropical gardens provide a romantic setting for adults.  Best of all, pets are welcome! $1000 – $2000 per night.

Cape Otway Cottages – Great Ocean Road Victoria

Providing creature comforts for four legged and two legged creatures alike, Cape Otway Cottages is a short drive in your Melbourne car rental along the famous Great Ocean Road.  The 60-acre property provides plenty of great walks for man and beast.  As you crack a bottle of champagne to celebrate your arrival, your pampered pooch will also have reason to celebrate, with a comfy bed next to the wood fire, silver service dog bowls and complimentary dog treats provided.  With an array of different cottage options of varying sizes, you are sure to find something that sill suit your family.  Prices start from $225 per night.

Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park, Queensland

Between Cairns and Townsville lies Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park.  The quiet fishing village provides the perfect backdrop to a dream family camping escape as you scoot off in your Cairns hire car or Brisbane car rental and into paradise. The Park offers self-contained cabins and large private sites, set among long deserted dog friendly beaches, salt water swimming pool and an array of great fishing spots.  Self contained cabins form $65 per night, powered camp sites from $22 and unpowered camp sites from $19.

Peppermint Tree Lodge, Peppermint Grove Beach, Western Australia

Half-way between Bunbury and Busselton, Peppermint Tree Lodge offers oceanfront accommodation just 40 meters from the beach.  Choose from three uniquely designed houses and a spa villa, all air conditioned and with wood fires to keep you comfortable no matter what time of the year you visit.  Pets are allowed inside and there is a dog beach directly in front of the house.  Relax and keep an eye out for dolphins from the luxury of your own Jacuzzi style outdoor spa. Prices start at $250 a night.

By Scott Podmore and Karly Hickman



Great Ocean Road & The Grampians – Victoria driving holiday itinerary ideas

By Australia / Great Ocean Road / Victoria /

The Great Ocean Road region hugs the contours of Victoria’s rugged south west coast and offers visitors one of Australia’s greatest and most spectacular coastal drives.

Start your journey in Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula and discover beautiful beaches, great eateries, a fascinating heritage and an enormous range of recreational opportunities from fishing and golfing to diving and surfing. Take in the colourful and lively ambience of bayside Geelong, Victoria’s second largest city, or visit quaint Queenscliff and discover the town’s rich maritime history, excellent restaurants and heritage hotels.

Along the coast, seaside resort towns such as Lorne and Apollo Bay are the perfect base for a seaside escape. They offer stunning beaches and water sports as well as some of Australia’s best rainforest scenery in the nearby Otway Ranges.

One of the most visited stretches of the road is Port Campbell. Buffeted by wild seas and fierce winds, the coastline around Port Campbell has been sculpted over millions of years to form a series of striking rock stacks that rise out of the Southern Ocean. Known as the Twelve Apostles, they are one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Victoria.

The Great Ocean Road region also has a rich maritime past. Historic towns such as Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland allow you to enjoy seafaring village life, with their fishing wharves, beautifully preserved colonial buildings and maritime museums recounting the stories of ships that have foundered off the rugged shipwreck coast.

Traveling on the Great Ocean RoadThe Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. The road extends from Torquay in the east to Nelson in the west with the stretch between Lorne and Apollo Bay being the most picturesque. Huge cliffs, towering rock stacks, raging surf, tranquil bays, beautiful beaches, lush forests and fun filled resort towns are all part of the experience.

There are plenty of touring “add-ons” to expand the Great Ocean Road experience whether travelling further inland to the Grampians National Park and the Goldfields, across Victoria’s western border to south east South Australia or around Port Phillip Bay in the east taking in the Bellarine and Mornington peninsulas. Call into Visitor Information Centres along the way for maps, official Visitor Guides and local advice.

Halls Gap is the main tourist hub in the heart of the Grampians. The picturesque town is set in the Fyans Valley at the foot of the of Wonderland and Mount William ranges and is the perfect place from which to explore the Grampians National Park, one of Victoria’s most outstanding natural features.

The Grampians in Victoria

The town is within easy reach of many natural attractions including unique rock formations, scenic lookouts and waterfalls. The area is popular with lovers of outdoor activities, from bushwalking and abseiling, to fishing and canoeing. Whether you are seeking a relaxing escape or wilderness adventure, Halls Gap provides everything you need for an enjoyable holiday.

From the local village stores, the taste tempting wineries and the colourful galleries, to the majesty of the Grampians National Park, with its wildflowers and waterfalls, Halls Gap is the heart of this region.


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On the road to Tin Can Bay – a quick road trip from Noosa to meet wild dolphins

By Australia / Brisbane / Queensland /

Where is Tin Can Bay? Just near Gympie in Queensland, that’s where, and only a leisurely three-hour drive in a campervan rental from Brisbane or a quick-fire 45-minute cruise if you pick up a Car Rental in Noosa.

And boy, what a great little spot it is. Tin Can Bay is a very sleepy little coastal village, with some of the most stunning scenery. The beautiful harbour area is just fantastic dotted with a ton of yachts and people enjoying the area. It’s great for fishing, water sports and a super spot to explore the area.

The best part, though, is the wild dolphin feeding which happens every day. The dolphins come ashore to meet and greet you (there’s my wife Sheree, pictured right), and for just $5 you can get a bucket of fish and stand in the water as they scoot around you – it really is worth the wait, too, and we had to wait three hours for them. It just depends on how hungry they are at the time. But never fear, the local restaurant which is perched on the waterfront right where the dolphins come in has some of the best food ever, including the biggest ‘Big Breakfast’ you could ever imagine which almost took three hours to devour!

It’s a quiet place, but yet there’s loads to entertain visitors including two great bush walks and plenty of great fishing spots. We stayed at the Tin Can Bay Tourist Park, boasting a sparkly and new salt water pool and hospitality that’s second to none. Big grassy sites and nice clean amenities, it’s all you can really hope for as a campervanner enjoying road trips in Queensland. The park is home to many wildlife species including a huge flock of parrots who come by to see what you might have on offer – every afternoon! So when you are driving up the Bruce Highway, do yourself a favour and take the 15-minute detour out to the coast to visit Tin Can Bay. You will not regret it.

The Great Australian Doorstep, visit