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THE weather is heating up as we move into the Southern Hemisphere warmer months and that means we can start thinking about hitting the road in you Australian car rental and heading for the beach. After all, Australian road trips don't get much better when there's a beach on the end of it!

With hundreds of hotspots to park your wheels (and your beach towel), we dig up five great beach destinations within 2 to 5 hours away in a DriveNow car rental.

Apollo Bay, Vic The journey: Only two and a half hours from Melbourne (along M1/ Great Ocean Road). The lowdown: With lots of sunshine and warm weather, what better time is there to relax and enjoy the southernmost town on the Great Ocean Road? Both surfers and swimmers can enjoy the 3km beach that fronts the main strip of shops in Apollo Bay. A popular summer destination, if you are looking for an adventure you have the entire Great Ocean Road to explore further.

Minnamurra Beach, NSW The journey: Not even two hours south of Sydney (along National Route 1/Metroad 5) and you will bump into Minnamurra Beach. The lowdown: Also known as ‘Mystics’ Beach, this beautiful coastline has one of the best surf beaches on NSW’s south coast. If surfing in paradise isn’t enough, the area is also home to a rainforest as well as two famous blowholes that are a must-see for travellers. Everything you need for some summer fun.

Castaways Beach, QLD The journey: Two hours from Brisbane (along Bruce Hwy/M1). The lowdown: Castaways Beach is one of Noosa’s eastern beaches. Dog lovers and families will have a ball here as many sections of the beach are dog-friendly. Nestled between Sunshine and Peregian Beaches, other beach activities include fishing, surfing and, of course, soaking up the sun.

Bay of Fires, TAS The journey: Three and a half hours from Hobart (along Midland Hwy/National Hwy 1). The lowdown: This pristine coastal area showcases a dramatic landscape, full of wildlife and in an area steeped in history. Summer is the best time to witness its bright blue water and white sandy beaches. With a range of activities, this beautiful and untouched landscape promises to smack you in the senses - in a relaxing way, of course.

Red Banks, SA The journey: Three and a half hour drive from Adelaide (along B23). The lowdown: One of Kangaroo Island’s best-kept secrets, Red Banks will spoil you with a quiet beach and bright red and orange cliffs. We recommend you sit on top of the cliffs on a summer evening and watch the sun set. Be sure to have you camera ready as the last golden rays of the day shimmer over the bay and light up the magnificent cliffs for a sight not to be missed.

Scott Podmore

Scott Podmore

Award-winning writer, editor, photographer, videographer and owner of October Grey Media. Specialising in travel and lifestyle content and a full member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers. Has contributed regular content for the NewsCorp stable of newspapers and magazines, TravelTalk mag, The Departure Lounge and many more publications in Australia and internationally. Follow on Twitter & instragram #scottpodmore

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