Ask anyone who’s been lucky enough to experience the thrills, freedom and exhilaration of a road trip and they’ll tell you: there’s simply no better way to get to know a destination than touring by car. A road trip effectively gives you free rein to explore the back roads, byways and off-the-beaten-track places that many tourists simply never get to see. Nowhere is this truer than in Australia – a vast, staggeringly beautiful country that’s on a whole lot of bucket lists of people around the world. |
The northern part of the country, in North Queensland, is a spectacular place to plan a road trip. Here are two amazing routes that (as is the Aussie way) are accessible, but still feel like the middle of nowhere...
Traverse the Canecutter Loop
Starting off in the idyllic town of Innisfail, south of Cairns, and taking in some absolutely spectacular countryside, this route follows the shape of a figure of eight. The relaxing drive encompasses picturesque coastal sections, as well as the roads through iconic sugarcane-growing regions and cool rainforests.
You’ll travel on well-maintained sealed roads all the way, with the opportunity to stop off at beautiful Mena Creek Falls, in the Japoon National Park, where you can take a short, easy hike and cool off in the crystal-clear waters. After leaving the Table Top Ranges, you’ll head to the charming town of Silkwood before arriving back in Innisfail via the sugar industry town of Mourilyan. Next stop is the quaint village of Babinda (enjoy a pie at their famous bakery!) before visiting the Wooroonooran National Park, where you should definitely leave time to explore. Finally, a night in the quirkily named Flying Fish Point is the perfect end to this incredibly scenic route.
You should allow around 3-4 days for this approximately 160km loop.
The Beautiful Tully to Mission Beach Route
If you’ve only got a few days but you want to see some of the most beautiful landscape in the country, the route from Tully (whose claim to fame is as the wettest place in Australia) to Mission Beach is nothing short of spectacular from every aspect. First stop is the Tully Gorge National Park, a lush forested region brimming with wildlife and sliced through by the rugged gorge for which it is named. It’s a fantastic place to spend a night or two camping and hiking, before heading off to the equally dramatic Murray Falls, in the Girramay National Park. After as long or as short as you like exploring the park, then head east towards the popular township of Mission Beach on the Cassowary Coast, with its wide, golden beaches and eclectic, artsy community. This is a definite trip of two halves, but you won’t be able to play favourites.
Allow anything from 2-5 days for this approximately 220km route.
Before You Go: Get Covered With Car Hire Excess Insurance
Apart from packing your sunscreen and doing a bit of research on the North Queensland area, the most important preparation you’ll need to do before either of these road trips is to ensure that, as well as your regular travel insurance, you take out some car hire excess insurance. While the routes are not particularly challenging, accidents can and do happen, and if you have appropriate car hire excess insurance for your rental vehicle, if you do have to make a claim you won’t be lumbered with any unexpected bills.
Australia’s adventures are there for the taking and a road trip is the absolute best way to see this huge and diverse country.
Author Plate Sam Walker is a specialist insurance expert at LowerHire, a company that offers low-cost single trip and annual multi-trip car hire excess insurance policies. Travellers can rest easy knowing they will be fully protected against any hidden hire car costs and look forward to a stress-free rental experience.
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