Have your overseas travel plans been cancelled? Don’t worry. Our beautiful continent offers thousands of spectacular places to tick off your bucket-list. Including regional road trip areas with lots of fresh air and way fewer people than close-contact metro areas. That’s important these days, right?
From dusty historical towns to sunny watery wonders, there’s something for everyone. Everyone who adheres to the government’s travel restrictions and follows the correct health and hygiene protocol, that is.
For any regional road trip to be successful a good deal of clever planning usually needs to take place. We’re talking from weeks and months beforehand, right up until you leave. Especially now that things changing all the time.
Even as restrictions begin to ease and some state borders open, new outbreaks of coronavirus in Melbourne and Sydney are a stark reminder that now is not the time to be complacent when making holiday plans if you’re to stay safe and healthy.
If you’re planning on hitting the road in the next year, like 61% of the 1,000 Australians we recently surveyed, you’ll want to keep reading. Find out how the good ol’ Australian road trip has changed in 2020 so you can travel smart, stay safe and stave off domestic disappointment.
Regional Road Trip Ideas
In line with our research, the Managing Director of Tourism Australia, Phillipa Harrison, told LifeHacker that 60% of Aussies are keen to begin domestic travel once restrictions ease.
After being confined to our homes for months, it’s no wonder 57% of those we asked said a major reason for their road trip craving was the stunning scenery they’d experience.
Whether you’re wanting to hit the road to go back to your fave out-of-the-way spot (like 45% of those we surveyed) or discover a new hidden town (55%) – we have plenty of intrastate regional road trip ideas for you.
State by state
It’s not just the big tourist hubs across the country that are in dire need of some economic support, our local towns and communities need help too. Why not plan to go somewhere closer by that you might have overlooked in previous holidays?
It might be safer to do so at the moment anyway, given COVID-19 clusters seem to be more likely to form in metro areas. Check out these spots:
If you’re anywhere near Perth and are unable or don’t want to travel interstate, why not pack the car and drive for a couple of hours to Donnelly River Village. This historical mill town in the heart of the karri forests is the perfect place for freedom lovers to escape and unwind. Donnelly is also the mid-point of a world famous walking track and mountain bike trail.
Time to pack the car and get out of the city. Why not take the scenic regional road trip route to Dubbo, home of the awe-inspiring Taronga Western Plains Zoo and the beautiful Shoyoen Japanese Garden. You may also take the time to be inspired by volunteers at the Flying Doctor Visitor Experience.
The Queensland coastline is dotted with beautiful beaches, picturesque mountain ranges and wildlife parks. You could find a peaceful spot like Currimundi Lake tucked away on the Sunshine Coast, just 1 hour and 20 minutes north of Brisbane. Stop for the day and take a kayak or paddle board out onto the pristine water with friends.
Known for world class wineries, it wouldn’t be an indulgent road trip unless you could visit at least one, right? The Epicurean Way links together four iconic wine regions – a journey not available anywhere else in Australia. Bottoms up, but be mindful of random breath testing.
If you’re short of time, Litchfield National Park is just a 60 minute drive south of Darwin, and filled with stunning falls, waterholes and monsoonal vine forests. Or with a few extra days to spare, you could head there via the Arnhem Highway, and do the Top End Loop. It’s full of scenic bushwalks, and iconic waterholes, falls, gorges and plenty of 4WD trails waiting to be discovered. Stop to camp in Kakadu National park, then trek to Nitmiluk National Park.
In Tassie’s west, just 2 hours 30 minutes from Hobart, the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is for the wild at heart. Its densely forested mountains feature spectacular gorges, with world-famous rivers running through the rugged wilderness. Check ahead for closed tracks due to bushfires. Stay in Strahan, with paddock-to-plate restaurants, with world-class Pinot Noirs and locally crafty gin and whisky to tempt your palate. Are you up for the challenge?
Remember, while some borders are closed (at time of writing) a number are open. If you’re planning a trip interstate, be sure to check the local rules and restrictions. For example, don’t forget your border pass.
Follow the correct health guidelines
When you drive or walk anywhere, you need to follow the correct health and hygiene procedures. Keep yourself and others around you safe by reading our article on how to avoid COVID-19 when on the road.
Things like keeping at least 1.5 metres from anyone outside your regional road trip posse, washing your hands frequently, using a face mask (mandatory in Victoria at the time of writing and recommended elsewhere), wearing gloves and so on.
And, of course, get tested if you have any of the COVID symptoms. You’ll need to be tested and cleared before embarking on your trip – even if it’s ‘just’ a runny nose.
Then when you’re on holidays be sure to stay up to date with the news around local infections and guidelines.
Insure your car, contents and critters while on the road
Many insurers have ceased the sale of travel insurance temporarily, but other insurance is freely available. Ensure you and your pets (whether they’re staying at home or not) are adequately covered with car insurance and pet insurance before you drive away.
After all, accidents happen every day and are often unavoidable. This unfortunately applies to road and fur beasts alike. Safeguard your purse strings by being prepared, just in case.
With our car insurance policy holders research we found 12% of Australians have incurred damage after hitting an animal while on the road. Another 12% have had an accident that resulted in their car being undrivable. Not something you want to be caught off guard by while away from home.
- a new vehicle (if yours is less than 12 months old). Or agreed value for your car if it’s stolen or written-off
- a hire car if your car is stolen
- emergency repair cover up to $500, and more.
We offer a range of discounts, including one for people who are the exclusive drivers of their car. We also have an early shopper discount if you get a car insurance quote with us before your existing policy expires. Nice!
Booking a regional road trip holiday
Planning a weekend away with the girls or a caravan holiday. Something else? Whatever your agenda it pays to plan well and keep good hygiene on the road so you can relax, unwind and enjoy your time away.
A little prep now can make the world of difference.
Over to You
Are you planning your next regional road trip? What other tips can you provide for planning and booking your self-drive holiday? Let us know in the comments below.