For me, completing this road trip has been on my “To Do List” for the last several years. I love planning and if you’re like me and find the planning of a road trip or holiday as exciting as the journey, this Blog could hold all the information you need and it won’t be long before you can be off on your own Ultimate Road Trip. I don’t think there is a better way to experience the history, sights and people of the Australian outback then to visit iconic locations that are often seen on your map but not always visited.
Driving is the best way to see the unique scenery and landscapes of Australia. For instance, on this road trip I have travelled along outback roads climbing the Great Dividing Range west of Brisbane, then criss-crossing parched countryside that is screaming out for rain as an unrelenting drought ravages many parts of the country. In stark contrast we’ll cross the Murrumbidgee River and pass through the rich agriculture lands and wineries of Griffith and the Riverina and then pull up for a lunch break beside the meandering waters of the might Murray River all the while taking the time to check out the inland port town of Echuca.
The accommodation I chose was rated 3 stars⭐⭐⭐ or more. Motels for one-night stays, Caravan park cabins and units with cooking facilities for two or more nights (all accommodation had their own private bathrooms). 🔥Tip: Most of the accommodation was pre-booked before leaving. Some of the more remote locations can be very quickly booked out with tour bus arrivals, fly in/fly out mine workers and maintenance crews. 🔥Tip: Check the prices of your overnight accommodation via some of the booking Apps for the best price and then phone your chosen place direct. Very often they will give you a far better price as there is usually a big commission, they have to pay to the Booking App company if you book that way. There is also the peace of mind that if your booking is settled direct, you are assured that it is then done and dusted.
The following is not set in stone, please use it as a guide and adjust it to suit your own time frame and budget. So, without any more fuss, here is my Ultimate Road Trip driving through Queensland (QLD), New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria (VIC).
- Start Point – Brisbane Queensland – August 2019
- Duration – 2 weeks. 15 days/14 nights
- Australian States visited – QLD, NSW, Victoria
- Mode of Transport – Mazda 3 Sedan (2.0ltr four-cylinder engine)
- Distance Travelled – 3,545km
- Fuel Cost (AUD) – Unleaded 91(211.74 litres used) – $293.15 @ an average cost of $1.38/ litre.
- Accommodation (sleeping). Cost (AUD)-15 days/14 nights: $1,466 @ an average cost $114/night.
- Total Trip Cost (AUD): $2,225 including Accommodation, Fuel, Food, Cash (some locations were cash only), Car Servicing and Repairs (Nil $) and Attractions.
Where Did I GO – Week 1
Day 1: It’s an early morning start to beat the peak hour traffic, travelling west from Brisbane then climbing the Great Dividing Range and traversing the garden City of Toowoomba. If you need a “pit stop” head to Picnic Point – great coffee and magnificent views from the top of the range, then it was onto my first overnight stop the town of Moree. Day 1 is a very easy drive (485kms) with plenty of time for stops to check out the local scenery along the way or grab a road trip coffee. This is an overnight stop for me but if you want to spend longer exploring this area click on the link – Moree for more things to see and do.
Day 2: Another magnificent dawn in outback NSW and at this time of the morning at this time of year it is also a little chilly. Would you believe that I had to de-ice the car before heading off for the day, now that’s something that a Queenslander doesn’t have to do very often.
The early morning sun starts to warm the landscape and after a light breakfast it’s also another early start with just another day of driving as we head via Mudgee to my first major stop – Bathurst.
There is always something to see and explore as we trek these inland roads with several rest stops situated along the highway. If you need a break pull over along the way. Not only is this a good way to stretch the legs you can also investigate The World’s Largest Virtual Solar System Drive, the signs are scattered along the rest stops and will keep you intrigued for many, many kilometres.
Day 3: Located on the western side of the Great Dividing Range, I arrive in Bathurst. This is Australia’s oldest inland colonial settlement and here we’ll stop to soak up the rich gold rush heritage where formidable Victorian buildings transport you to a by-gone era. Bathurst City is also home to many beautiful parks and open spaces, take in the sights and aromas of these beautiful gardens at Memorial Park while paying tribute to our fallen war heroes.
Bathurst is also steeped in history and situated in the heart of the city is the refurbished 1876 Public School Building the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum. It was like being transported back in time in a time travel machine as I explored the unique fossil and mineral galleries and marvelled at the ancient specimens that had been discovered deep within the earth.
Walking is the best way to see all these sights. It’s a very easy stroll from Memorial Park (just across the road) and you’ll discover the Bathurst District Historical Museum situated in the east wing of the heritage listed Bathurst Courthouse.
On display are collections and documents telling the story of the rich gold rush days, the beginnings of Cobb & Co and the regions colorful bush-ranging past.
Old Government Cottage is also situated nearby and is one of Bathurst’s earliest buildings. Located in a colonial style garden, it houses a small collection of objects all relating to its origins. 🔥 Tip: Check the opening and closing times of the places that interest you, as is often the case volunteers’ staff these exhibits, and many are only open between certain times.
Bathurst is also famous for the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar motor race. The race draws massive crowds to watch the spectacle of V8 race cars navigate the tight, turny, twisty Mt Panorama circuit. Even if you are not a rev-head you can still drive the course for yourself but be careful. 🔥Tip: The race circuit is a public road and the speed limit is 60kph!!!! The local police are often there with radar guns to catch the unwary.
After a breath-taking drive around the race – track there was plenty of time to check out the National Motor Racing Museum which is situated at the circuit at the start of conrod straight. This is V8 nirvana for any car enthusiast, but you’ll also be bowled over with the motor bikes, speed cars and racing paraphernalia that take their pride of place in the museum all having a story to tell.
Bathurst packs a punch as a place to stay awhile with local history, entertainment, restaurants and pubs however besides this there is always plenty more to see and do. Add the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (BRAG) click here where local artists are on display as well as many changing exhibitions or venture a little further afield and experience life during the gold rush days in a very well – preserved Colonial gold mining town – Hill End (click here)
Day 4: I’m on the road again and Parkes is our destination. There looming large on the horizon in the middle of a sheep paddock a huge monolith rises before me – The CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, commonly known as “The Dish” stands impressively over the surrounding farmlands. Standing sixty-four metres tall this is one of Australia’s must – see attractions. 🔥 Tip: The “Dish” got its name from the year 2000 iconic Australian movie of the same name.
🔥 Tip: The “Dish” is part of the Discovery Centre with free entry. There is a small charge to view the 3D theatre and a coffee shop is also situated on site for coffee, treats and light lunches.
Hubba, Hubba, Hubba 🎸 the King, Elvis Presley is in the building. I’ve stopped at The Henry Parkes Centre on the north side of town which is a modern tourism precinct incorporating 4 museums and also the Parkes Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre is an outstanding place to grab a coffee, get the low down and free maps on everything Parkes or have a photo taken with a live size Elvis. 🔥 Tip: Parkes is also the home of the 2020 Elvis Festival – click here for all the information.
The “King” is definitely in the building as I leisurely meander amongst genuine artifacts from Elvis’s homes and items that he used and wore on stage. This inter-active display will take you on a journey through the highs and lows of Elvis’s life and career.
Parkes Motor Museum
The tour is not over just yet. Through another door I proceed into an impressive collection of motor cars, motorcycles and other memorabilia covering all heritage motoring eras from days gone past.
Henry Parkes Museum
Take your time as you amble through this exhibit peering into the early years through objects, photos and historical information depicting the pioneer life in Parkes.
Antique Machinery Collection
Roam around out the back of the centre and you’ll discover 45 tractors and other machinery, many that have been restored and in a working condition all of which are on display. Stroll through the Silver City Comet carriage and, you’ll get a sense of how the city came to the bush and let your imagination run wild as you envisage how life was back in those early colonial days.
A short drive to the outskirts of town brought me Memorial Hill which provides the best place for the most astonishing views of Parkes and the surrounding country-side.
With its 33-metre high Shrine of Remembrance standing like a silent sentinel atop the hill, the surrounding gardens offers a leisurely bush walk around the monument parklands all the while enjoying the serenity of this special location. This is also a great spot for a picnic in Rotary Park and the kids won’t be disappointed with an adventure playground on the northern side of the hill.
Day 5: I’m still heading south out on the open road crossing the Murumbidgee River this is very easy driving with my next destination Griffith, a little piece of Italy in the heart of the Riverina. This is the home of some of Australia’s famous wines, De-Bortoli and McWilliams Hanwood Estate spring to mind. Griffith is also a great place to stock up on the local produce of fresh fruit and vegetables and the largest crop produced in the area – Valencia oranges.
A visit to Griffith Visitors Centre will get all the information you need to fully explore this fascinating region.With maps and advice from the staff at the visitor centre I wanted to know more about the history of the district. The Pioneer Park Museum was next on the “To Do” list.
Located 2 km north-east of town via Remembrance Drive is Scenic Hill where the Pioneer Park Museum is located in the shadows of the McPherson Ranges. It would be easy to spend the day ambling through the 40 + old and replicated buildings taking time to appreciate the special exhibitions of textiles, agriculture equipment and a specialist building exploring the growth of the wine industry in the district.
The very impressive Italian Museum which takes pride of place in the park explores and commemorates the important role played by the Italians in the development of Griffith.
Griffith (click here for extra info) is jam packed full of cafes and restaurants. With its Italian heritage you can take delight in sampling some of the most exquisite local produce, savour a drop or two from some local top-class wineries or extend your stay with a visit to these out of the box attractions.
- Griffith Visitors Information Centre
- Banna Avenue and The Memorial to Pioneer Women
- Lookouts and Walks
- Hermit’s Cave
- Wineries, Tastings and Cellar Doors
- Catania Fruit Salad Farm
Day 6: With Griffith fast disappearing in my rear-view mirror I am soon entering Ned Kelly, one of Australia’s most famous bush rangers, country. Jerilderie, situated on the banks of Billabong Creek is famous for it being the only NSW town raided by the colonial bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang.
I’ve headed to the Sticky Fingers Candy Shop which not only sells old fashioned lolly favourites like aniseed balls, sherberts and Choo Choo bars, it also houses the Jerilderie Information Centre.
Ned Kelly Raid Trail
Armed with my self-guided tour brochure with all the information I needed, and a bag full of delicious lollies, I set out on my historical tour of the Ned Kelly Raid Trail to discover how the Kelly Gang was involved in Jerilderie and held up the town.
This historic town is full of surprises. Lake Jerilderie, one of the most splendid lakes in the area is a very popular spot to take a break or just sit and relax while watching the local wildlife scoot and dart around the waterways. Free BBQ’s and a children’s playground are also available at Luke Park, right next to the Lake in the shadows of the huge Steel Wings Windmill.
The Ultimate Road Trip Week 2: Echuca to Brisbane.
I’ve seen glimpses of the river and heard the stories so now it is time to stay for a few more days and experience one of the most iconic river systems in Australia – The Mighty Murray River.
Taking pride of place on the river and set against the natural back drop of the river framed by ancient river gums I check out the once bustling inland Port of Echuca. Boasting fine restaurants and pubs, working museums this is still a haven for paddle steamers that still ply the river. More to come!!!!!
Wow, this has been Week I of my Ultimate Road Trip. It has been jam packed with all the tastes, sights, history and sounds of every description of some of the most fascinating places in the Australian outback but there is still more to come, stayed tuned – Week 2 of My Ultimate Road Trip.
Week 2 To Be Continued ……………………….