Road Trip: How To
How do I road trip, you ask?
Well first, procure a car. I suggest legally. Remember, this car will be your home for the next 2…6…10 hours. Make sure all the bits work. The windscreen wipers, the wheels, the brakes, the stereo and ESPECIALLY the aircon. Trust me, there is only so much one can take of the windows down when going 110km per hour.
Pack some CD’s, make sure the aux cord works and load up some new playlists or explore local radio stations along the drive. If it is a road trip with friends, Cards Against Humanity, Never Have I Ever, or some classic karaoke will always keep the good vibes going but be wary of distracting the driver!
Make sure you pack blankets, pillows, toilet paper (for those less-than-ideal pit stops) or whatever you might need on the road ON TOP of everything else to avoid side-of-the-highway boot rummages.
Also, don’t feel rushed to get there. Stop at landmarks, take a photo with a cow (don’t jump the fence), poke around antique shops in lost towns, have a picnic or grab some fruit from roadside vendors and have a chat or walk around. You may as well explore somewhere new and get to know the way a little better.
REMEMBER: Double demerits apply on most highways over holiday periods so stick to the speed limits, don’t use your phone while driving, watch for kangaroos , drive to the weather and traffic conditions and rest when you need to. Make sure you know where you are going or that you have a passenger with Google maps and an appropriate attention span.
But where do I go, you ask?
We all know the idyllic coast trip – salty skin, sandy hair, splashing around in the waves and eating fish and chips on the beach. But there’s always that bottleneck of traffic as you head down the Clyde, the seagulls waiting for your moment of weakness and that sand that will haunt you, your belongings and your car for weeks to come.
But what alternatives are there? This is Australia, we just have a strip of beaches that back onto empty desert, right? Well no. Endless entertainment will greet you if you go on an inland adventure, you just have to look.
A couple hours north of Canberra we have the always wonderful, Kangaroo Valley. A cruisey drive up the Hume Highway and a turnoff just past trusty Sutton Forest Maccas will drop you into the Southern Highlands, where days of exploration await. If you love a good market, delicious food, even better wine or swimming in waterfalls, this is the trip for you! Fitzroy and Carrington falls are some favourites, each with watering holes for a refreshing swim and endless scenery for that perfect Insta snap.
While you’re up this way, check out Jamberoo Water Park (if that’s your thing). A few big slides, rides and the wave pool are sure to make a memorable, ice-cream fuelled sugar-high afternoon.
If north doesn’t appeal, how about south? Dash through Cooma and grab some snacks for the road as you head down to Thredbo, especially in the cooler months. Hit the slopes on the skiis, snowboard, or if you’re as co-ordination deficient as myself, a toboggan.
If you are down this way, check out the Yarrangobilly Caves. You can explore solo or take a guided tour before you jump into the thermal heated pool. If you’re a low-key adventurer, head up Mount Kosciuszko in the Summer months. Even if you aren’t there for the workout, you will get to be the highest person in Australia (hahaha) for just a moment as you climb up onto the summit podium. Take snacks.
Now of course the other option if you’ve ruled out north, south and east is heading west, otherwise called “going bush.”
There are so many towns within a few hours driving distance and each have their own precious attractions. Temora’s aviation museum is sure to please the nerdy at heart. Barmedman Mineral Pool in West Wyalong will rejuvenate and relax you. Cricket fans, check out Cootamundra, where Sir Donald Bradman was born and his home remains a tourist destination.
Wagga has surprisingly good shopping and some of the best pub food I’ve ever experienced. Harden is one of the smallest and cutest towns I’ve ever seen and holds events that draw thousands, such as the Picnic Races and Rodeo. And Junee, oh Junee, has a chocolate and liquorice factory that will revert you back into a sugar buzzing child.
Finally, if you’re looking for a trip a little less long-term, Murrumbateman is the local, wine-lovers haven. This gem is so close to Canberra (borderline Uber territory) and the spread of wineries will tickle your senses. There are tour options and honestly, what could be better than a guided booze tour that drops you back home?
So go forth, be safe, and be creative with that sneaky week 8 getaway or winter break road trip!