FIVE GREAT DRIVES

GQ (Australia) - - MOTOR -

AUS­TRALIA ISN’T OVERLY BLESSED WITH DE­CENT ROADS – THOUGH THE CUP­BOARD’S NOT EN­TIRELY BARE. THESE ARE WELL WORTH TAK­ING FOR A SPIN.

MThere are lots of con­tenders for ‘Best Sight in Aus­tralia’. Sunrise over Uluru, Mitchell John­son on a tear. Or Jess Hart, even. But no­body claims we do roads well. Our coun­try is sim­ply too big, too flat and too sparsely pop­u­lated to pro­duce much in the way of Italy’s Stelvio Pass, Ten­nessee’s Tail Of The Dragon, or Nor­way’s Geiranger Pass. But look hard enough and you’ll fnd some invit­ing strips of tar­mac. Speed lim­its to be ad­hered to, of course.

Lake Moun­tain, VIC

Still lined with con­spic­u­ous dead eu­ca­lypts – tomb­stones from 2009’s Black Satur­day bush­fires – the hill climb to the Lake Moun­tain Ski Re­sort, two hours from Mel­bourne, would be a drifter’s de­light, if the road were closed. As you as­cend out of the val­ley, huge alpine vis­tas open up along the 8km stretch from the MarysvilleWoods Point Road turn-off to the mod­est re­sort. It’s a pinch less spec­tac­u­lar than the Great Ocean Road, but you’re 36 times less likely to be stuck be­hind Wicked Campers ig­nor­ing the “DRIVE ON LEFT IN AUS­TRALIA” signs.

Great Alpine Road, VIC

Driv­ing the 30km riot of bends be­tween Hotham and Har­ri­etville is like tum­bling through the small in­tes­tine of God in a her­met­i­cally-sealed suit. Be­ware of G-forces and keep an eye out for mo­tor­cy­clists, whom, surg­ing with adren­a­line, rou­tinely fling them­selves over the edge and into the val­leys.

Bar­row Creek, NT

The 280km stretch of high­way run­ning to Alice Springs had its speed limit der­e­stricted in Jan­uary 2014 – al­low­ing driv­ers to bang along as fast as con­di­tions al­low. It’s nei­ther up-and-down, twisty nor un­trou­bled by er­rant ’roos, so get on the gas in the NT and you can fleet­ingly feel what it’s like to be Ger­man – with­out re­sort­ing to leder­ho­sen.

Mac­quarie Pass, NSW

Sev­eral of the Premier State’s best drives are swad­dled in Na­tional Park, such as the Royal Na­tional Park’s Sir Ber­tram Stevens Drive, south of the high­way, and the Blue Moun­tains’ Bells Line Of Road. Both are shaded by the black rib­bon stretch­ing west of Ton­garra and fin­ish­ing at the fa­bled Robert­son Pie Shop in the Illawarra.

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