What comes to mind when you hear those two magic words? Do they conjure up images of top speeds down an endless stretch of open highway, the blue sky above, of freedom itself?
Well for the average Singaporean, that’s pretty unlikely. We live on an island a little over 40km from one end to the other, and even in the slowest car imaginable, you can pretty much make that trip in a couple of hours.
That’s why when it comes to road trips, we should look abroad and to the south. Australia, with its vast expanses of space, untouched natural beauty, and abundant wildlife, offers an experience that you just can’t get anywhere else.
But even if you’ve never gone on a road trip before, don’t worry. Not everyone is a seasoned explorer, ready to take off into the unknown with just a set of wheels and a sleeping bag.
Australia offers a variety of experiences, ranging from a simple day trip to jaunts for the more experienced traveler who doesn’t mind roughing it for a night or two. Whatever your comfort level may be, Australia is yours to explore.
Level 1 (Beginner) - Perth to Margaret River, Western Australia
If your previous trips to Australia have been largely confined to the East and Southern coasts, you’ve been missing out on all that Western Australia has to offer.
Perth, a beautiful city of over 2 million people, is the capital of Western Australia and its largest city. There’s lots to see and do in Perth, including leisurely boating and picnicking around the Swan River which winds through the city.
But there’s even more fun to be found a short drive outside the city, and the perfect place to start for those who are completely new to road trips.
A 3-hour drive south of Perth takes you to the picturesque Hamelin Bay, which boasts white sand beaches and a sheltered bay perfect for snorkelling and swimming away from the crowds.
If you find yourself looking at the clock and wishing you could stay a few more hours, a campervan rental may be just the thing for you.
With two-person and three-person vans available, the Perth Campervan rental offers a built-in kitchenette, comfortable beds, USB ports and plenty of storage.
With these campers, you don’t have to pack a whole load of camping equipment - that’s what the van is for.
Stretch out and get cosy as you don’t have to worry about making a return trip, with easy pickups and drop-offs at Bellevue, Perth.
With such a useful vehicle, you could even extend your trip from Hamelin Bay to the ancient Jewel Cave, near Augusta in southwestern Australia, and a short 30 minutes drive south.
See the glittering secrets within, and marvel at the perfectly-preserved bodies of Tasmanian Tigers that are over 400 years old.
And of course, no trip to Western Australia is complete without a visit to the world-famous wineries of Margaret River.
Located just a short distance from the Jewel Cave, an hour away, on the way back to Perth, visit the Clairault Streicker winery for a chance to experience being a winemaker for a day.
Use real laboratory equipment to blend two popular red grape varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz – and create a bottle of your own to take home.
Or you can uncork it right away and have it with a delicious three-course meal. It’s all up to you.
Level 2 (Going wild) - Adelaide to Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Australia isn’t just fine dining and the great outdoors. It also happens to be rich in diverse wildlife, with some animals that you just can’t find anywhere else on the planet (outside a zoo).
If you think you can handle seeing a few friendly critters in their natural habitat, then welcome to Adelaide. The capital and government centre of South Australia has a well-kept secret of its own, and that is Kangaroo Island.
Located just off Adelaide’s coast, a 3-hour drive including a ferry crossing, Kangaroo Island is an untouched natural paradise that is almost like a mini-Australia of its own, with beaches, amazing food and even a national park.
Kick back and relax in the beautiful Kangaroo Island Seafront, a four-star beach hotel conveniently located near public transport and shopping areas.
Choose from a comfortable room with a double bed all the way up to a Garden Villa perfect for a fun family trip.
For something a little out of the ordinary, the Eco Family Tents boast magnificent ocean views across Hog Bay Beach while promising a quiet and relaxing stay.
Fall asleep in an environmentally friendly tent, with each featuring a private 3-metre deck, ensuite bathroom, and a spacious open plan bedroom with a queen bed and 2 single beds.
Kangaroo Island is also one of the best places in the country to watch cute seals, graceful dolphins, and yes, kangaroos. The ‘roos on the island are different from their mainland counterparts, being a little smaller, with darker fur and having a “calmer” disposition.
But for something a little more water-based, the Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari experience lets you view the magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
From a safe and secure boat guided by experienced staff, take in the sights of dolphins at play, seals lazing on a beach, or a grand eagle swooping overhead.
There’s even a discount for a package of 2 adults and 3 children, for a memorable family-bonding experience.
And if you’ve caught the wildlife bug and want to see even more cute critters, 20 minutes from Adelaide’s city centre is well worth checking out.
You can be picked up and dropped off from your hotel for added convenience, and have a fun, self-guided tour exploring the park.
With no schedules or deadlines but your own, explore at your own pace and see if you can spot all 130 different species of animals, including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies and others.
Level 3 (Diving for sunken treasure) - Brisbane and Gold Coast to Moreton Island, Queensland
So far, we’ve discussed road trips that take place on good solid dry land. Now it’s time to push out the boat a little and see what we can under the sea.
Over to the East, Brisbane offers more exciting food and shopping opportunities. But it also includes, you guessed it, tantalising possibilities for short trips.
If you fancy visiting another scenic island just off the coast, a day trip to Moreton Island is available from both Brisbane and Gold Coast.
It’s a 2 and a half hour drive (including transfers and the ferry) from the Gold Coast, or a 75-minute ferry ride from Brisbane before landing on one of the largest sand islands in the world.
Visit hotspots like the Cape Moreton lighthouse, where humpback whales can be spotted if you’re lucky.
Those who appreciate a little history may be interested in diving down to see a group of sunken boats known as the Tangalooma Wrecks.
A cluster of 15 ships that were scuttled by the local government in the 1960s and 1980s, the wrecks have now found new life as a home for sea creatures like fish, wobbegongs and dugongs.
If you don’t feel like getting too wet, clear-bottom boats are available for rent, so you can paddle around and examine the wrecks from up above.
For those who want a little something more fast-paced, you can get on a jet boat from Main Beach in Gold Coast. Choose from either a 30 minute or 55 minute ride, both come with their own breathtaking waterfront views.
The Express 30 minute ride covers 20km through the Moreton Bay Marine Park, where wild dolphin sightings can be glimpsed. Perfect for those who want a quick rush.
For those with a little more time, the premium 55 minute experience still provides an exciting boat ride while offering more opportunities for sightseeing.
And if you book a deal with Klook, you can get two free drinks at Fisho’s Tavern after the ride, the perfect way to cap off an amazing experience.
Level 4 (Going up) - Hobart and Brighton, Tasmania
So you’re comfortable with riding the roads, cruising the waves in a boat, and even going for a deep-sea dive. How would you feel about taking a ride up in the sky?
Tasmania isn’t just a home for devils, it’s also home to the vibrant city of Hobart, one of the oldest cities in Australia and a historic whaling port.
The best way to admire a city is from the air, and what’s better than a scenic plane ride that gives you a literal bird’s eye view?
A pilot is also on-hand to provide interesting stories and details about the city and its people.
Choose a timing that best suits your schedule for greater convenience.
But there’s more than one way to explore a city, and the Hobart Kayaking Tour offers yet another unique view and the opportunity to see things from a different angle.
Cruise through the canals and waterways, take a gander at the wooden sailing ships, and enjoy some fresh-caught, local fish and chips right in the kayak itself.
While Tasmania is small, it isn’t that small.
A short half-hour drive from Hobart to Brighton up north will take you to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, a social enterprise and sanctuary for animals in need.
While Australia may be known as the home to some animals that can’t be found anywhere else, Tasmania is unique for being the home to some animals that can’t be found elsewhere in Australia.
You can book a general admission ticket, which allows you to wander the grounds at your own pace, a night tour, which lets you view certain creatures like the Tasmanian Devils, and even help the keepers feed them.
And if there’s room in the budget, spring for a Private Premium Tour, with wine upon arrival and the opportunity to hand-feed adorable wombats and kangaroos, and also photo opportunities with the devils.
Level 5 (Freefall) - Melbourne to Great Ocean Road, Victoria
We’ve trundled over land, gone on boats, dived the depths and even gone up into the sky. Now it’s time to dive from it.
Melbourne is one of Australia’s crown jewels. A financial hub, a centre of culture and the arts, a food-lover’s paradise, it has been consistently ranked one of the world’s most liveable cities.
But away from “civilisation” lies a hidden gem known as the Great Ocean Road, running southwest from Melbourne, offering spectacular views of the Southern Ocean and the formidable cliffs that dot the landscape.
To start, go west from Melbourne to the smaller city of Geelong and the little town of Torquay, where one end of the Great Ocean Road starts, a drive that will take you about an hour and a half.
Stretching a mighty 240km (or six Singapores end to end), the Great Ocean Road leads to the city of Allansford in Warrnambool. In between, it’s an entirely different world.
If you’re keen to get a taste of the ocean waves while on the Ocean Road, surfing lessons are available at three points along the way.
Just like the road trips, even if you’ve never tried surfing before, no worries. An instructor is on hand to guide you through the steps, regardless of your experience level.
Float and bob among the surf, with classes even available for children.
The Great Ocean Road happens to be the home of the Twelve Apostles, a beautiful, naturally-occurring rock formation of seven limestone stacks.
Expect many tourists present, all trying to capture that perfect shot.
Instead of marvelling at the Apostles from the ground, why not do it from the sky instead?
Klook offers an eye-catching skydiving package, taking off from Peterborough Airport and going up as high as 15,000 feet.
Take a leap and take in the natural beauty all around you, including the Apostles off the coast, and get a special video for you to show off to your friends afterwards.
It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
Australia has beautiful views, awesome experiences, and delicious treats that simply can’t be found in Singapore.
With your own set of wheels and a good map, you can create your very own unique Australian road trip holiday with memories that will last a lifetime.
To help you along your way, make sure to book your rental car on Klook at the best prices in Australia, with international and trusted local models available.
And as a little tip of the hat, get a S$20 bonus off your favourite Australian activities and up to S$50 car rentals at this link below:
See you down under.
Top image from Great Ocean Road Marketing.
This is a sponsored article by Klook.