travel-dest

Travel Destinations of the year

Let’s take a closer look at the top State-by-State travel destinations we just can’t wait to get back to…

We often hear that term ‘the big lap’ ushered with a certain air of respect surrounding it. And it isn’t hard to understand why; we live in a big and diverse country. One that is constantly begging us mere mortals to immerse ourselves in the history and sense of adventure discovered away from the crowds, amusement parks and inner-city hipsters. And for those who make this dream a reality, our hats are tipped to you. But what if, like many off-road enthusiasts, the idea of hitching up for a year (or so) and hitting the path less travelled seems impossible? While you might not be able to dedicate a fair chunk of your time to travelling full-time, why not think about ticking off parts of this sunburnt land State-by-State? Here are some of the captivating places we have explored over the last couple of years – and the reasons why you simply have to experience them too.

QLD

THE OLD TELEGRAPH TRACK, CAPE YORK

It’s been about 18 months since we last got up to Cape York, and we’re absolutely stinging to get back! There’s a reason the Tip is way up near the top of everybody’s ‘must get to’ list – it’s just that sort of place that has exactly the right amounts of remoteness, driving challenges, natural wonders to make you forget all about The Big Smoke and camping locations that are nothing short of mind-blowing. Yep, it’s pretty much paradise.

We like to do things a little differently here at Unsealed 4X4 so we thought we’d tackle one of the most gruelling routes to the top – the Old Telegraph track – in an old WWII Ford GPW… because, let’s be honest, doing it in a kitted-up, comfy, modern 4WD is for sissies.

HOW TO GET THERE:

Bramwell Junction marks the start of the Old Tele Track; it’s located 790km north of Cairns up the Telegraph Road.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO:

Creek crossings, bush camping and the ability to brag about having driven the ‘Old Tele’ to your mates at the pub.

TIME OF YEAR TO GO:

The dry season runs from May to November and is probably the safest time to tackle it. It can be done in the wet, but it’s much harder going.

BUDGET:

Depending on where you’re coming from, fuel will be the biggest killer as it’s a long way away from every capital city. You’ll also need $99 (per vehicle return) for the Jardine River Ferry and roughly $25 per family per night for camping permits (depending on where you stay).

GEAR YOU NEED:

Snorkel, water dispersal spray, decent tyres, 12V fridge/freezer, plenty of mozzie repellent and a sense of adventure.

NSW

COAST RUN

While getting to the more remote destinations is always desirable to most of us, in reality so many of us simply don’t have the spare time to head off into the Outback for weeks and several thousand kays. But the thing is, you don’t have to in order to appreciate some of the nicest stretches of beachfront camping on the planet.

Last summer we spent a long weekend touring around the Mid-North Coast of NSW and it’s a trip that’ll stay with us forever. We hoofed it north from Sydney to Coffs Harbour (which on its own is a destination well worth it – so many great tracks and campsites in the area). We then meandered back down south, stopping in at no fewer than five beaches in three days. Coastal touring at its best!

HOW TO GET THERE:

Coffs Harbour is located just over 500km north of Sydney in NSW.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO:

The Big Banana… oh yeah, and some of the best beaches and off-road tracks in the country – if you’re into that sort of thing.

TIME OF YEAR TO GO:

Year-round, but summer is always good if you like the water and have air-con.

BUDGET:

Couple hundred bucks for camping fees, permits and food.

GEAR YOU NEED:

Really depends on the tracks you want to do. Twin lockers and muddies for the really gnarly stuff, but a small lift and the usual sand driving gear will see you right for the majority of the trip.

VIC       

THE HIGH COUNTRY SNOW RUN

The High Country is a year-round touring destination for our Mexican cousins, but for the rest of us it’s a fair distance from pretty-much anywhere else. So why not take advantage of the Alpine climate and visit at the start of winter, when there’s plenty of snow? I did this trip last year with a bunch of locals to show me around, and I still rate it as one of the best trips I’ve ever done. So it definitely earned its spot in this list.

HOW TO GET THERE:

There’s a fair few routes into the High Country. We took the great Alpine Road over the Great Dividing Range and down into Bairnsdale and kicked the trip off from there.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO:

The history of the area is profound and there are plenty of huts to visit so you can get an idea of how tough these battlers used to do it. Plenty of mud and water crossings to keep you entertained too – as well as it being the premiere snow-driving spot in the country.

TIME OF YEAR TO GO:

Year-round will get you a great adventure – we went in winter when there’s seasonal track closures, but still plenty of driving to experience.

BUDGET:

No permits are required, but allow a few extra bucks for fuel as the mud and hilly terrain can cause fuel consumption to be higher than usual.

GEAR YOU NEED:

Maps of the area and plenty of warm clothes. Self-recovery gear is also essential. Mud tyres are a plus. And if you drive a diesel – make sure you have Alpine diesel or an additive to prevent your fuel from sludging up your lines!

TAS  

BAY OF FIRES

You’d have to try pretty hard not to enjoy Tasmania. It’s a four-wheel driver’s dream, and with the fresh produce, scenery straight off a postcard and plenty of untouched wilderness no matter where you go… you won’t be disappointed. Our travel contributor Vic Widman visited the Bay of Fires earlier this year and after seeing the pics he brought back, the entire office is starting to make plans on how to get down that way. We were already big fans of the Apple Isle, and this just made us want to enjoy it again sooner rather than later.

HOW TO GET THERE:

From pretty much wherever you are, head south. It’s the (roughly) triangular little island at the base of the continent. The ferry leaves from Melbourne.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO:

So much! Take the ferry over to Bruny Island, sample the local produce, dive for crays, kayak the lakes and rivers, visit Cradle Mountain – it’s all on offer here.

TIME OF YEAR TO GO:

Our pick is in the summer. Tassie in the warmer months is an excellent place to escape the heat and enjoy beautiful weather (usually).

BUDGET:

The distances aren’t that great and fuel is readily available; but you can go through more juice than you expect due to the arduous terrain, so bring extra cash for topping off the tanks. Budget about a hundred grand for buying local produce – it’s that good you could easily spend it.

GEAR YOU NEED:

The east coast is fairly tame; the west coast, not so much. Bring your muddies, lockers and recovery gear including a healthy supply of snatch straps… and preferably another vehicle to attach them to.

SA         

THE LIMESTONE COAST

When you think of off-road driving in South Australia, most folks immediately start thinking of the Flinders or Gawler Ranges. What’s not so well known is that SA has some of the best coastal touring on the planet, and if you’re into your cave diving – you need to get down to the Limestone Coast… like now.

With pristine (and nearly deserted) beaches and campsites on top of headlands that look out over the roaring ocean, this has to be one of the best-kept secret travel destinations in the country.

HOW TO GET THERE:

The Limestone Coast is located south of Adelaide and stretches down the coast from the Coorong National Park to the Victorian border. We started on the western side of the Murray mouth and made our way down the coast from there.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO:

The limestone rock formations and caves have to be seen to be believed. Piccaninnie Ponds if you’ve got your cave diving certificate; and the dunes at Robe offer arguably the best sand driving in the country too. Plenty of little towns with some awesome local produce are well worth visiting (Larry the Lobster at Kingston SE is a favourite of ours).

TIME OF YEAR TO GO:

Year ’round is good, but the warmer months are probably preferable for us.

BUDGET:

Most campsites generally cost about $14 per vehicle per night, so the price will vary depending on where you’re staying.

GEAR YOU NEED:

The usual sand driving and self-recovery gear will be required here. A good idea is to bring some sort of wind shelter (such as an awning wall) as the winds straight off the ocean can be intense.

WA    

THE PILBARA

OK, hands up all you Eastern Staters who want to get over to WA? The three of you with your hands still in your lap please step outside. It’s already well known that WA has it all. The diving, the fishing, the surfing, the beaches, the weather, the Kimberley… and the Pilbara. If you’re only going to do one big trip over the next 12 months – you’d be doing yourself a disservice by ignoring what WA has on offer. Our publisher Pat shared his pics from his last trip through the Pilbara region, and to call it stunning is the understatement of the century. Give me a few weeks off the clock, a loaded fourby and a solidly-built camper trailer and I’d already be heading west.

HOW TO GET THERE:

From Perth head north to Broome and make your way up to Port Hedland on the Pilbara Coast. Coming from the east via NT take the Victoria Hwy to Kununurra – which leads right into the Bungle Bungle Range. Or, for those with the time and spirit of adventure, the Savannah Way between Cairns and Broome will be an amazing trip all on its own.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO:

This is a true ‘bucket list’ Outback location. If you need our help with this one you’re not trying hard enough. But still, be sure to check out the Bungle Bungles, The Karijini NP rock formations and the Kimberley Coast… that will give you a great start on making some cracking memories.

TIME OF YEAR TO GO:

The colder months, unless 45ºC temperatures are your thing.

BUDGET:

This is remote country. Budget for extra fuel ($2,000+ from the eastern States).

GEAR YOU NEED:

Lots of water, a form of shade (awning or gazebo), enough food, spares, tools and recovery gear to keep you self-reliant for a couple of weeks, a sat-phone, comprehensive first-aid kit and EPIRB should all be considered mandatory.

NT     

TOWER ROCK

Geez, our mate Vic Widman gets to live the life, eh? Just a couple of months ago he sent us through this article on tackling the renowned Binns Track up from Alice Springs to Tennant Creek via Tower Rock, which is as close to the true ‘Never Never’ as it gets. Beautiful vistas, challenging driving and some of the most remote locations in the country – sign me up!

HOW TO GET THERE:

We started off at Alice Springs and headed north on the Plenty Hwy up to the community of Harts Range, then took the posted diversion onto the Binns Track.

THINGS TO SEE AND DO:

Mac and Rose Chalmers Conservation Reserve is well worth stopping in and checking out. Other than that, miles and miles of beautiful Outback scenery and next to no-one else to share it with. Heaven!

TIME OF YEAR TO GO:

The colder months. You know how 40% of Australia is considered uninhabitable? Yep, that’s this place in summer.

BUDGET:

Plenty of cash will be needed for food and fuel, and expect to pay the old ‘Outback premium’ on both. Double your usual fuel consumption and grocery budget to be safe.

GEAR YOU NEED:

Everything needed for complete self-sufficiency including sat-phones and EPIRBs, plenty of tyre plugs and tools; and your ‘sh*t just hit the fan’ kit

 

Source: Unsealed4x4

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