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Holiday Australia - The Australian Travel Company: RENTAL CAR/4WD/CAMPERVAN: SOME GREAT AUSTRALIA DRIVES!

Australia is a big country - no make that a HUGE country (!) .. and you can spend days and days driving from one city to another - in the same state! As native Australians who have lived in and and driven across most of our country most of our lives - we REALLY know our stuff when it comes to driving holidays in Australia and getting the most out of your self drive holiday.

Any combination of driving routes is possible, and often we recommend the best drives in various states are stitched together with a domestic airline overseas visitors airpass such as the Virgin Australia Air Pass - to give you the best of all worlds without huge driving distances to get from one great driving experience to another! Here we think are 10 of the best self drive experiences that you could ever do in this great continent. However, that’s subjective - and we would be DELIGHTED to tailor make any combination or offer any advice for your own ideas for any itinerary that you fancy!

The Australian Travel Company is a travel business that specialises in tailor made Australian Holidays. In most cases holiday itineraries we craft for our clients are unique to each client and ARE never the same.

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 It wasn't serendipity that led South Australian government surveyor E.A. Delisser, in 1867, to coin the name Nullarbor from the Latin words "nullus arbor", meaning "no trees". The place really does have no trees. And it is very, very flat. That is part of the appeal of this incredibly long drive. But, along the way, there are amazing sights including the old telegraph station at Eucla, which was built in 1877 as a manual telegraphic repeater station, abandoned in the late 1920s and is now half-covered in the sand dunes that are blown by winds from the Southern Ocean. The other highlight is the Great Australian Bight, which boasts the longest uninterrupted cliff face in the world.
Distance From Norseman to Ceduna - 1201 kilometres. Vehicle: Standard 2WD Rental car.

Starting in May and continuing until the rains come in October, 4WD enthusiasts try their luck on the 709-kilometre track known as the Gibb River Road. The appeal is obvious. It traverses one of the most stunningly beautiful areas on the continent. The soils are rusty red. The winter days boast impossibly blue skies. The mountain ranges - notably the Cockburn, Pentecost, King Leopold and Barnett - are rugged and dramatic. The landscape, with its ghost gums, paperbarks and myriad cockatoos, kites, eagles and crows, is an endless natural wonderland. And the night skies, so vast and grand, sparkle with a clarity city dwellers can scarcely imagine. Make sure you are up at dawn and standing on some vantage point at sunset when the landscape colours change to an amazing range of beautiful colours.
Distance From Kununurra to Derby - 709 kilometres. Vehicle: High 4WD Rental.

The development of a major airport at Yulara means the old circular trip from Alice Springs to Uluru via Kings Canyon and back via Erldunda is now not used that often by visitors as they fly in direct to Uluru, watch the sun set and rise over the rock then head off.

A much more exciting option is to drive from Alice Springs down the Stuart Highway, cross the Finke River (often nothing more than a dry riverbed), head off towards Kings Canyon on the Ernest Giles Road and stop at the amazing Henbury meteorite craters, where 7400 years ago meteorites travelling at more than 40,000km/h crashed into the land leaving craters 180 metres wide and 15 metres deep.

Continue on to the impressively beautiful Kings Canyon, where a four-hour walk around the edge of the canyon is one of those "must do" experiences. Next head on to Uluru and Kata Tjuta before returning to the Alice via the Lasseter and Stuart highways.
Distance 1080 kilometres. Vehicle: Standard 2WD Rental Car.

After World War I, the Great Ocean Road was carved out of the Victorian coastline as a memorial to those who had fought in the war. All the road builders were ex-servicemen. The 255 kilometres from Torquay to Warrnambool was completed in 1932. This drive has often been described as the most beautiful coastline in Australia. Most of the major attractions - the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge (now London Arch), Loch Ard Gorge - are at the western end but beyond Anglesea there are some lovely vistas across the Southern Ocean.

Port Campbell National Park is a highlight, with vantage points overlooking offshore islets, towering rock stacks, gorges, arches, blowholes and other spectacular scenery. The coastline has its origins about 10 million-20 million years ago when billions of tiny skeletal fragments accumulated beneath the sea, gradually creating limestone formations. The sea then retreated, leaving the soft limestone exposed to violent seas and strong winds.
Distance 255 kilometres from Torquay to Warrnambool. Vehicle: Standard 2WD Rental Car.

There is no single road in Tasmania that is significantly better than others but if you want to go back to the very essence of historic Tasmania, it is hard to beat a circular journey that includes historic and perfectly preserved Richmond, passes Triabunna and edges Great Oyster Bay, allows for a full-day walking experience through Freycinet National Park to the pristine and unforgettable Wineglass Bay and returns via historic Campbell Town and Ross to Hobart.

At Ross you can inspect the most beautifully carved bridge. It was made by two convict stonemasons, Daniel Herbert and James Colbeck, and is considered one of the richest achievements of the earlier colonial period in Australia.

Distance 437 kilometres. Vehicle: Standard 2WD Rental Car.

A couple of years ago it was reported the Birdsville Track had been upgraded since the 1950s when the famous Back of Beyond documentary about the local mailman, Tom Kruse, was made, and had become like a four-lane highway - albeit a four-lane dirt highway. Still, the Birdsville Track from Marree in South Australia across the Tirari Desert and Sturt Stony Desert is one of the continent's iconic drives. It can be driven in a day or a week. The first explorer to venture into this lonely area was Charles Sturt, who described the area as a "desperate region having no parallel on Earth". The current fascination with the outback has meant that a regular stream of 4WD adventurers make the journey.

Distance 517 kilometres. Vehicle: High 4WD Rental.(Note: Experienced 4WD drivers only: Precautions including emergency supplies. water, radio and notifying relevant authorities of drive must be taken)

The $12.5 million that was spent developing the Stockman's Hall of Fame at Longreach was an inspired investment that opened up the entire region to rural tourism. As a result, there is now a drive encompassing Barcaldine, Longreach and Winton that can keep visitors busy for a week.

The roads are sealed, the terrain is flat and the sites include the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame and the Qantas Founders Outback Museum in Longreach; in Barcaldine the replanted Tree of Knowledge (the symbolic beginning of the Australian Labor Party) and the Australian Workers Heritage Centre; and in Winton, where Banjo Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda, there's the $3 million Waltzing Matilda Centre. For those who think nothing of driving 110 kilometres across the dusty plains, there's Lark Quarry Conservation Park, which has the largest group of running dinosaur footprints in the world.

Distance 286 kilometres from Barcaldine to Winton. Vehicle: Standard 2WD Rental Car.

The Ben Boyd National Park, which stretches from the Davidson Whaling Station near Boydtown to the wildly romantic Green Cape Lightstation, offers the driver an excess of isolated and peaceful coastal destinations. The highlights of this fascinating journey include Boydtown, Boyd's Tower, Saltwater Creek, Bittangabee and the Green Cape Lightstation.

Stop in Boydtown at the Sea Horse Inn, which was first built by convict labour and, in 2002, was upgraded at a cost of about $4 million. Today it is chic and charming with glorious grounds that extend down to the edge of the water. Nearby is the Davidson Whaling Station where, although little remains, there are excellent plaques with interpretive text, illustrations and photos to help the visitor imagine what the area was like when the station was operational. Beyond the station is Boyd's Tower, a lighthouse built by Boyd but never completed, and the red siltstone cliffs that have been fractured and folded into some fantastical shapes.

Distance 108 kilometres. Vehicle: Standard 2WD Rental Car.

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and crossing over the island's huge 240-metre-high dunes and driving up and down the long and firm beach on the island's eastern shore is an unforgettable 4WD experience.

Fraser Island is about 123 kilometres long and 22 kilometres at its widest point. Highlights of driving around the island include Eli and Wanggoolba creeks; the wreck of World War I hospital ship the Maheno, which washed ashore in 1935; the colourful sands of the Cathedrals, Pinnacles and Rainbow Gorge; the rocky headlands at Indian Head, Middle Rocks and Waddy Point; Lake Wabby, the island's deepest, which sustains fish and is bordered by melaleuca trees; Lake Bowarrady, which is 120 metres above sea level; and the crystalline Lake McKenzie.

Distance About 150 kilometres of driveable tracks and beach. 4WD Rental.

For those who want to experience the desert without leaving civilisation, this circuit from Broken Hill to Tibooburra (nearly all sealed road) across to White Cliffs (dirt road but flat and good when there hasn't been any rain) and on to Wilcannia (mostly sealed), Menindee Lakes (dirt but flat and easy) and back to Broken Hill (all sealed) offers just about everything.

Make sure at sunset you visit the Sculpture Symposium, 13 kilometres out of Broken Hill, which is 12 large sandstone sculptures in a harsh, desert environment. Tibooburra is justly famous for the paintings by Clifton Pugh and Russell Drysdale on the walls of the Family Hotel and the huge whaleboat sculpture in the Pioneer Park.

White Cliffs is a wonderland of opal mining with the countryside being so dry and unforgiving that the Bill O'Reilly Oval is hard red dirt with not a blade of grass. Wilcannia's highlights include the centre-lift bridge over the Darling and the superb late 19th century buildings around the town.

Distance 959 kilometres. Vehicle: 4WD Rental: (*Standard 2WD Rental Car when conditions are dry)

Prices: All PRICES on Application. (Prices dependant on type of Car and Hire Duration 

Some Other Great Australian Drives: .. But only for the Adventurous..   :-)

Some other adventurous Australian Drives..

The Great Alpine Road
A golden circle through Victoria’s High Country from Bright back to Bright via Falls Creek and some of the most winding and exciting roads in the country. Although the Great Ocean Road is the best known route in Vicoria this drive is in our opinion better as its far less crowded and much lesser travelled and known. This road has everything, from vertiginous views to racetrack like corner cornucopias. And the air even tastes clean. Driving: Only in summer as in winter the snow and ice prohibits and type of exuberant driving. Try and rent a car that likes to be driven hard and corners well. Having driven this many times try and rent a car that corners well and like to be driven hard(ish..!)

The Man from Snowy River
The road he would take if he’d been born more recently and not on his mountain pony - probably a GTI Golf.  In winter it’s miserable with roof-racked cars nose to tail on the way to the snow fields. But in summer… well, the drive from Tumut up over the top of the Snowy Mountains and through Kiandra to Khancoban on the Alpine Way is a tree-lined thrill fest, with lots of death-defying drop offs and the smell of snow gums in the air. Just look out for the wild brumbies (seriously, they still exsit), and the Colt from Old Regret, obviously.(!?) Drive it: With the top down in a cracking convertible, such as a Mazda MX-5. Or, if you are a property developer in Ibiza, a Ferrari F430 Spyder.

Kakadu Circuit
This is one of the best drives in Australia and in the NT and the speed limits are still a generous 130km/h. Looping from from Darwin through Pine Creek, Jabiru and Kakadu the drive offers offers long, flat, sweeping corners and the unique hazard of road kill-gulping Giant Eagles, which may or may not lift off in time to avoid rearranging the grill of your 4WD. More importantly, it offers some of Australia’s most jaw-dropping scenery, and the opportunity to maybe stop, walk 10m and see a real live crocodile, with no fences around it. Scary and enlivening all at once. Drive it with a lot of sanity and preparation: Service stations for fuel are few and far between. 4WD cars ar mandatory.

Tasmania 99 Bends and East Coast: Targa Tasmania
 A whole state in miniature that seems to have had its roads designed by a motoring enthusiast, and its views laid out by Ken Duncan (the guy who does those expensive photos). You can’t go wrong anywhere in Tassie, frankly, because all the roads are so good that they’re shut down annually for use in the tarmac-rally Targa Tasmania event. And there are very few police or other cars. If you’re feeling brave, and you’ve got a cast-iron stomach, tackle the road known as 99 bends out of Queenstown, on the east coast. Best to drive it in a car that likes bends, curves, has excllent pwer to weightration and likes to be driven hard. Really!

The Kennedy Highway
Having driven this many times it is a challenging climb on a really good standard tarmac surfaced road from Cairns to the top of the ranges up to Mt Malloy. The road sweeps, twists and turns and seems to have been modelled on a corkscrew. If you can get a clear run away from tourists, the 28km from Cairns to Kuranda is some of the most exhilarating wonderful road you’ll find anywhere in Australia, and the views from the top of the ranges are pretty darn spectacular too! Best drivne in a car that has a lot of grunt and really good air-conditioning. A Merc Sports, 3 Series Sports Beemer, Cooper S or Golf GTI is the go here!

The Nullarbor
The world’s largest single piece of limestone, which covers an area of about 200,000km2, and has a road across it. Its an ironing board flat 1100km drive from east to west, traversing both South and Western Australia. The name means literally “no tree” and you might think there’s nothing alive out there, but at dusk, there is: kangaroos, about eight gazillion of them at last count. Its pretty popular now and in tourist season can be quite busy. Hint. be REALLY careful driving at dusk as roos tend to become ‘drop roos’ and jump/drop out of nowhere right in front of your car - and the do make a mess of your car when they meet it at speed.. There’s something about the emptiness and red dust on the Nullabor that seeps into your mind, like a Dan Brown novel, or a Madonna song. Drive it with great care, plenty of water and back up supplies in something with a huge roo bar; maybe a Toyota LandCruiser or Pajero: preferably.

Waitpinga Road
 It sounds like it should be in New Zealand, but it's in South Australia, heading south out of Victor Harbor, which is just short of chill pill city: Adelaide. Driving across rolling green hills with glimpses of ocean on both sides, this stretch actually feels like you're on the north island of New Zealand. This is no bad thing. There are lots of double-apex blind corners to keep your heart rate up and your eyes off the view. It's also part of the Classic Adelaide Rally route, so it IS good. Its best driven in a Mini Cooper S or Golf GTI; a short wheelbase will help with all those abrupt changes of direction.

Flinders Ranges
 All the majesty of the proper Aussie Outback, but just a five-hour drive from Adelaide. Usually getting to the real red heart of Australia can take days, but you can see the canyons, gorges, red earth and big sky country with a trip to the Flinders, taking a loop from Quorn to Arkaroola, which is just 676km. The mountains here are more than 600 million-years-old, and time has etched them with its finest crayons. Sunset over Wilpena Pound is a feast of yellow and bronze. The roads are mainly rugged and many of the tracks are 4WD only, but if you stick to the main roads you can take a normal car and enjoy the bends and the isolation. A 4WD is not necessary but recommended.

The Gunbarrel Highway
If you’re a Jimmy Hendrix fan and a practising masochist, this is THE drive for you! About 1000km in total from Warakurna to Warburton, this is one of the most brutal, broken and rib-cracking excuses for a road in the world. It’s so full on, in fact, that you are forbidden by law to even attempt it without at least one other car travelling in convoy and proper communications equipment, as well as carrying back up fuel, water and supplies. It’s so rough that you probably won’t have any teeth left at the end and your brain will be swollen from bumping around inside your skull. Driving it. Well - obviously not in your own car. 

The Birdsville Track
 A 514km slog through the Strzlecki Desert, with a big party at the other end. Formerly a 4WD only route, the track has been upgraded, but only slightly, so that is now passable for most 2WD cars. It runs from Marree in South Australia to Birdsville in the south-western corner where, every September, the famous and very boozy race meeting is held. Starkly beautiful and ever so slightly deadly, the track runs through some of Australia’s driest country and past the ghostly Lake Eyre. It’s not for amateurs, but your average bloke with a good, sturdy car (preferably with a HUGE roo bar - and no Trabants or Reliants please!) as well of plenty of water should make it. A nice shiny Toyota HiLux would be ideal also!

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Ayers Rock (Uluru)
Aboriginal Painting: Turtle
Boys plauing in Mtichell River
Mt Connor, Northern Territory
Freycinet Bay, Tasmania
Murray River, Houseboat
Hunter Valley, NSWW
Olgas, Northern Territory
Stuart Highway, Coober Pedy
Murray River Echuca: Paddle Steamer
Outback NSW: Old Shed
Emus, Country NSW
Desert Scene, South Australia
Nullabor Plains, SA
Snowy River Horsemen
7 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
quad trailbiking in Tasmania



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