Travel Australia: must see stop offs on the south east coast

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Australia’s south-east coast offers national parks, golden beaches, cosmopolitan cities, fine wine and a sun-soaked climate. Driving direct from Brisbane to Adelaide inland takes around 21 hours (2,000km). Driving along the coast takes a week, or more. It all depends how much you want to experience along the way.

Brisbane

the beach of Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia

Brisbane is Queensland’s capital city and the subtropical gateway to glamorous Noosa, whale watching tours from Hervey Bay and World Heritage Site, Fraser Island.

The drive from Brisbane to Sydney along the legendary Pacific Coast takes around 12 hours (950km), if you’re in a hurry. If not, enjoy being on an almost continuous line of surf beaches, national parks and rolling green hills. Popular beach town, Byron Bay, attracts hoardes of tourists while Port Stephens boasts 26 pristine beaches.

Sydney

Sydney harbour bridge, with the opera house in the background

Imagec courtesy of Hans Zinsli.

Sydney is Australia's largest city and needs little introduction with its Opera House and Harbour Bridge recognised icons around the world. The city’s natural beauty and vibrant, outdoor lifestyle make it a must-see destination for many visitors to Australia.

The drive from Sydney to Melbourne could be achieved in eight hours (880km) but not without missing some of Australia’s most stunning scenery, wildlife and wineries. Croajingolong National Park is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve encompassing 100km of coastline, white sandy beaches, rocky coastal headlands and lush rainforest. The park is an ideal spot for hiking, surfing, freshwater fishing, snorkelling and sea kayaking. Visit Mornington Peninsula for wineries and Phillip Island to spot koala bears, seals and penguins.

Melbourne

boats in the harbour of St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city, small enough to explore in a day or two. Hip cafes, world-class restaurants and fashionable locals are what make this city tick. It doesn’t have a beach, but its neighbouring town St. Kilda (7km away) has onethat is adorned by cafes and restaurants, roller-skaters and people playing beach games.

Adelaide

open road of the outback in southern Australia between Adelaide and Melbourne

From Melbourne to Adelaide, drive the world-famous Great Ocean Road, a 243km route along the south-eastern coast. Surfers flock to the towns of Torquay and Bells Beach, while those seeking a quieter experience are drawn to the nearby seaside town of Lorne.

The Twelve Apostles, limestone stack formations, are a highlight along the route. They can be viewed from several vantage points just off the road, or several companies in the area offers views from a Tiger Mosh bi-plane, helicopter, charter flight, or while skydiving.

Often neglected by tourists, Adelaide is a charming city with friendly locals. Along its main street are 50 acres of trees and birds in the Botanic Gardens. This is also the location of Australia’s National Wine Centre, where tours and tastings take place all day every day.

Adelaide is an excellent base for exploring the Flinders Ranges National Park, approximately 400km to the north and its classic Outback landscape - hot and dry, wild and beautiful, red dirt roads.


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