Valentine’s Day comes and goes each year, flying past faster than cupid’s arrow. But with so many spectacular driving routes on offer in Australia, why wait for February 14? Better yet, leave your lover at home – these drives are just as fun with friends.
We take a look at a few of the best butterflies-in-the-stomach inducing, proposal-popping road trips in Australia. It’s not Paris, but it’ll be worth it.
EPICUREAN WAY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Seppeltsfield Winery, Barossa. Credit: SATC.
They say the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right? But boys, we'll let you in on a handy little secret; women LOVE a culinary adventure as much as their testosterone-filled counterparts. Don’t be fooled by Adelaide’s reputation, South Australia is the master of romantic drives; from the Barossa to the beachside wine region of McLaren Vale, the Epicurean Way drive is just one way to experience this decedent part of our country.
The four-day tour takes you from Adelaide through the coastal wine-region of McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Clare Valley. It’s the ultimate scenic trip that will keep your taste buds tingling and your glasses full. There are also plenty of spots to get in touch with your inner teenager and sit on the bonnet of your car to watch the sun go down because…well…romance.
WhichCar: Volkswagen Arteon
GREAT SOUTHERN TOURING ROUTE, VICTORIA
When it comes to road trips, Victoria has a bit of everything, including the Great Ocean Road and the food and wine regions of the High Country and south-east coast. But there is nothing quite as spectacular and breathtaking as the Great Southern Touring Route. While you could probably jam the journey into 13 hours, we’d advise you opt for spreading it out over a luxurious five-day sojourn. Whatever the case, this is one drive that will keep your camera full and your memory bursting.
Otway Fly Treetop Walk, The Twelve Apostles and Grampians National Park – from coast to inland, what more do you want for a romantic getaway? We’re pretty certain your car will love spending some time away from Melbourne’s hustle and bustle.
WhichCar: Mercedes-Benz C300
CRADLE COUNTRY, TASMANIA
Tasmania is no stranger to romantic getaways… nor is it foreign to the weekend escape – thanks to Falls Festival and its adventurous reputation. Great food, wine and scenery are the staples of this ultimate road trip.
But any trip to this detached island wouldn’t be the same without a bit of adventure, which is why Cradle Country is on our list. Spend anywhere from two to four days exploring the north coast hinterland to the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, where you’ll find the popular Cradle Mountain.
Things to do include cheese-tasting at Ashgrove Cheese and treading one of the many walks around Cradle Mountain – in particular, the Dove Lake Circuit. Also, explore Promised Land and Tasmazia, stop and smell the roses at Emu Valley Rhododendron Gardens and return to Devonport via the Great Nature Trail.
WhichCar: Ford Ranger Wildtrak
WATERFALL WAY, NEW SOUTH WALES
Did someone say waterfalls? Does anyone’s brain flicker to the 1988 movie Cocktail with Tom Cruise and Elisabeth Shue? Anybody? Guess not. Waterfalls are one of nature’s most spectacular displays, so it’s only natural you’ll want to whisk your lover away on this scenic drive from Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast, through the tablelands of the New England region.
Think lush countryside, rainforests, waterfalls and national parks. This 191km trip, ending in Armidale, will take you through a range of landscapes with plenty of spots along the way to pull out the old selfie stick. It’s no surprise this has been voted one of Australia’s best scenic drives. Must-sees include New England National Park, Cathedral Rock National Park, Wollomombi Falls and Darrigo Rainforest Centre and Skywalk.
WhichCar: Subaru Forester
BLOOMFIELD TRACK, QUEENSLAND
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous than four tyres on the black-top, the Bloomfield Track in Far North Queensland is bound to get the heart pounding. Travelling from Cairns to Cooktown, this coastal drive is four-wheel drive only.
Take in the spectacular views and get the 4WD good and dirty as you cross one of the many creeks and marvel at the lush rainforests and secluded beaches. Make sure to stop at Cape Tribulation to check out the point where the rainforest meets the reef, before spending the night at eco-luxury Bloomfield Lodge – you’ll feel like you’re on the edge of the world.
WhichCar: Toyota Kluger Grande
ULURU TO KATA TJUTA, NORTHERN TERRITORY
The Northern Territory is no stranger to remarkable scenery, with the Top End and the Red Centre offering some of Australia’s most-popular drives, usually via 4WD. And if feeling close to someone is the aim of your game, then travelling to one of the most spiritual parts of the country is probably going to have you kicking goals.
The sealed road from Uluru to Kara Tjuta is one of those drives that you can do in a day, but there’s so much to do, we wouldn’t be surprised if you decide to take your time.
Sunrise and sunset are the most attractive times to visit various icons, and if you tire of your tyres, you can swap the seats of your car for a bit of time on the hump of a camel (we said camel). You can even stretch your legs with a walk around the base of Uluru or the Valley of the Winds. This is a trip for all of the senses as you touch, smell and explore the Australian outback.
WhichCar: Isuzu MU-X
SCOTSDALE TOURIST DRIVE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The 34km drive from Denmark to McLeod Road, eventually connecting you to William Bay National Park, is a lover’s dream. Tall karri trees, lush forests, orchard, wineries and spectacular ocean pools are sure to get the fingers intertwined.
Wineries, art galleries, the Harewood Forest Walk, and the remarkable Greens Pool are just some of the stops along this half-day adventure. Relax on the pristine white sand or walk along the beach to Elephant Rocks or Madfish Bay, before putting aside some time for the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk. All of this is just five hours drive south of Perth.
WhichCar: Subaru XV 2.0i-S