SYDNEY TO MELBOURNE COASTAL DRIVE
From Sydney heading south to Melbourne, the routes are jam packed full of unspoiled beaches and bays, vast green hinterland of forests and mountains, creating the perfect drive through holiday on the South Coast of New South Wales and through the diverse countryside of Victoria. Stretching from Sydney’s Royal National Park to Eden, near the Victorian border, the South Coast region offers a myriad of fun for the whole family and with the majority of the region within three hours from Sydney it’s easily accessible and is one of the most beautiful drives you can take in Australia.
The South Coast region includes an abundance of activities, from water sports such as fishing, diving and snorkelling, sailing, canoeing and kayaking, right through to fine gourmet dining, art galleries and antique shops. You will also find a seemingly endless supply of walks through the region’s national parks, marine parks and nature reserves and you will never be lost when it comes to good accommodation and fresh food, particularly the local supplies of sweet Clyde River oysters, tuna, mussels and kingfish, all of which hail from the rivers, estuaries and seas.
Shellharbour; in the heart of the Illawarra region sits between the sparkling waters of the Tasman Sea and the Illawarra Escarpment, with Lake Illawarra to the north and the Minnamurra River in the south. Further south, famous for its blowhole and lighthouse, Kiama overlooks the coastline and has several popular surfing beaches, as well as numerous caravan parks, cafes and restaurants. Kiama has an interesting history, having been the site of two volcanic flows, the Gerringong Volcanics.
The blowhole was formed as part of the erosion process of more recent rock and the region was originally the home of Aboriginal tribe Wodi Wodi, with evidence dating back more than 17,000 years.
Less than 30 kilometres from Kiama lies Shoalhaven. The town’s attractions include a contrast of forests and beaches and it is home to the famous Jervis Bay, the Kangaroo Valley, Ettrema Wilderness, Budawang Ranges and Morton National Park.
It is a popular vantage point to watch the whales as they make their annual migration, coming within just three kilometres of the coastline. Seven Mile Beach, part of the Shoalhaven River delta, is a fisherman’s haven and another popular sight is the Hamden Bridge, a suspension bridge across the Kangaroo River which is a medieval style bridge and the oldest surviving suspension bridge in the country.
Continue to travel further down the coast to explore the Eurobodalla region, and along the Sapphire Coast. As you cross the Victorian border you will enter the tranquil coastal town of Mallacoota, and the lakes of Mallacoota Inlet. You can paddle a canoe up the Genoa or Wallagaraugh rivers to Gipsy Point, or see one of the world’s largest colonies of little penguins at Gabo Island. At Cape Conran Coastal Park a camping spot between heathlands, wild ocean beaches and banksia woodlands makes for a great overnight stay. Heading south through extensive dairy country you can continue to the gold rush village of Walhalla, surrounded by dreamy forestry on the southern edge of the Victorian Alps. Mine tours are popular here, and the town’s gold mining history is very distinguished and intriguing. Walhalla is also located on the threshold of the Baw Baw National Park, which is very popular for bushwalking, scenic drives and picnics. Snorkelling and diving at the granite cliffs is also very popular, and the nearby dairy town of Foster has many beautiful inlets and bays to do this.
From Foster, drive through the fishing and pelican haven of San Remo and over the bridge to the famous Phillip Island, where you can visit the Penguin Parade, see fur seal colonies or go to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. The final stretch of the journey is short, there are beaches, wineries and berry farms to visit, and at the peninsula of Sorrento, you can swim with dolphins. The diverse beach town of Mornington boasts all year round seasonal produce, glorious gardens, sparkling golf greens, vineyards and captivating new experiences. From here the only place left to go is Melbourne where you can soak up her labyrinth of laneways, magnificent bars, elite restaurants and hidden boutiques for weeks.
Imagine this – You wake up on a Saturday, head to a location not far from home, don a helmet, a race suit, and hop into the driver seat of a Chevy V8 powered Race Buggy. You click together your race harness, start it up, put it in gear, drop the clutch, put your right foot to the floor and do 20 of the most adrenaline pumping laps of your life, on of one of the best off-road tracks in the country. With an instructor riding along as your navigator offering encouragement and some handy tips on car control, you will be drifting and racing over our purpose built jumps, and your confidence and speed will grow as each lap goes by.
If driving it is not your cup of tea, and you’d prefer to take the passenger seat in a Race Buggy with a V8 engine full of grunt, this dream can now be a reality. Hot Laps are an excellent way to experience the tracks and cars to their full potential while a professional drive trills you to no end! Off Road Rush Sydney is the only adventure of its kind in Australia. The choices are not limited to V8 Off Road Buggies, but include WRX Turbo Rally Cars, or the new Yamaha YXZ1000R, or a combination of them all. Off Road Rush Sydney has locations in Sydney, Melbourne & Adelaide and all have tracks with these options available, and are open most weekends for bookings.
Off Road Rush Sydney has been running since 2002. Off Road Rush’s Sydney aim is to give you the opportunity to drive a V8 Buggies, WRX Turbo Rally Cars, or the New Yamaha YXZ1000R in the most extreme dirt track conditions, just like a real race driver! Their instructors are the best you will find and their priorities are simple, they want to keep you safe and have a heap of fun! They are all off road racers that have a passion for off road and love to share their knowledge and experience to ensure the best experience possible. Off Road Rush Sydney combine passion for off road racing to give a spectacular (yet safe) experience. Get yourself behind the wheel of a V8 Race Buggy, WRX Turbo Rally Car, or the new Yamaha YXZ1000R. Discover the secrets of these awesome cars, get sideways, and have a load of fun!
Phone: 1300 HOTLAP or 02-4730 7131 www.offroadrushsydney.com.au
The epitome of wildlife in Victoria all seems to merge into one amazing destination and if you’ve never been, Phillip Island is by far one of Australia’s best adventures. Just a 90 minute drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island is an ideal place for nature lovers and adventure junkies. From penguins to koalas, race tracks to coastal cruises, there is something for everyone.
Phillip Island Nature Parks is a non-profit organisation dedicated to bringing you the best the region has to offer, in a way that is eco efficient and educational.
One of the most popular attractions by far is the Penguin Parade where you can watch as these tiny creatures cross the beach, from the icy waters to their homes among the sand dunes, where they are known to play, chatter and socialise: in full view of an audience. For another tour option to get you up close and personal with one of our iconic marsupials, the Koala Conservation Centre has you walking amongst the tree top boardwalks through their world, allowing you to come face to face with koalas in their natural habitat, the Australian bush.
New to Phillip Island is the Antarctic Journey, a virtual tour that takes you into the world of the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. It includes three levels, from the story of the conservation of the Summerland Peninsula and its penguin population; to the interactive and informative experiences at The Lab; and finally an audio visual spectacle that puts you in the heart of the action. You’ll feel as though you’re floating on ice, and you’ll want to reach out and pat the penguins or stroke a seal. An amazing experience like this is found nowhere else in Australia.
A tour of Churchill Island Heritage Farm takes you back in time and allows you to explore the dairy farm, and get involved in wagon rides, sheep shearing and whip cracking; while an Ecoboat tour will speed you along Phillip Island’s spectacular coastline to see Australia’s largest fur seal colony at Seal Rocks. If you want to experience all of the above, Phillip Island Nature Parks provides a 4 PARKS PASS bundle package that gives you the best of all worlds! Find out more on their website.