Amaz­ing coun­try a driv­ing force

The Daily Examiner - - TRAVEL - PAUL EWART paci­fic­

WHETHER you’re plan­ning to hit the road this win­ter or em­bark on a great Aus­tralian road trip, here are some of the best drives our coun­try has to of­fer.

Leg­endary Pa­cific Coast, NSW

Epic surf beaches, lush, green hin­ter­land, wildlife-filled na­tional parks, an­cient rain­for­est walks and quirky his­toric vil­lages of­fer­ing lips­mack­ing lo­cal pro­duce.

The NSW stretch of the Pa­cific Coast drive is leg­endary in­deed.

While the full 1000km route stretches from Syd­ney to the bright lights of Brissie, it’s the NSW por­tion of this trip that holds the most al­lure.

Taste stun­ning wines in the Hunter Val­ley, ex­plore the largest sand dunes in the South­ern Hemi­sphere in Port Stephens – and make a pit stop at Irukandji Shark and Ray En­coun­ters, where you can don a wet­suit and en­ter the wa­ter to feed and han­dle gi­ant stingrays and huge tawny nurse sharks – be­fore ar­riv­ing at the un­spoilt coastal vil­lage of Seal Rocks.

Here you can take in the famed Sugarloaf Point Light­house on the dra­matic head­land, or even stay for the night in one of its light­house keeper’s cot­tages, and snorkel or dive among the largest pop­u­la­tion of grey nurse sharks in NSW.

Fur­ther north in Pa­cific Palms, flanked by the beau­ti­ful Booti Booti Na­tional Park and Cape Hawke, Blueys Beach is the place to live out your beach house dreams. Expect daily epic sun­rises and sun­sets and sight­ings of res­i­dent dol­phins frol­ick­ing in the surf.

Other must-visits in­clude the river­side hippy haven that is Bellin­gen and the world’s first hospi­tal ded­i­cated to the care of koalas in Port Mac­quarie. Pull into Yamba for its fa­mous prawns, world-class surf and more empty, pris­tine beaches than you can shake a stick at, be­fore ar­riv­ing at Aus­tralia’s most fa­mous beach­side town, Byron Bay.

Make sure to set your alarm so that you can be among the first in the coun­try to see the sun­rise at the most east­erly point of Aus­tralia on the Cape Byron Walk­ing Track.

Photo: Con­trib­uted

WATCH­ING THE WAVES: A surfer pre­pares to head into the ocean at Len­nox Head, North­ern Rivers.

Photo: Con­trib­uted

Scenic views of Nam­bucca Heads.

Photo: iStock

The Nullar­bor Plain in south­ern Aus­tralia.

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