Travel


Drive through distractions in Australia



Australia offers great freebies in its access hubs. In Melbourne, ride Tram 35 — the free city circle route. In Sydney, several museums are gratis, including the historical Rocks Discovery Museum. Plus, its spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks display is also free. Adelaide offers free bike hire while Perth's vast Kings Park is an open-to-all playground, with a 620m walkway up in the eucalypt canopy. In Canberra, celebrate spring at the month-long Floriade, where a million bulbs come into bloom alongside cultural activities.

Drive on the wild side
South Australia combines well with other states for big road trips: maybe the long haul up to Darwin or east to Melbourne. For something shorter, combine Adelaide with a drive through the Fleurieu Peninsula (great for whales and wineries) to Kangaroo Island. Here, watch fur seals at Cape du Couedic, penguins at Kingscote and koalas at Hanson Bay, and hike amid the Remarkable Rocks. The island could be circumnavigated in a day, but better to spend time exploring its nooks, from beaches to cellar doors.

What's the attraction?
There's no escaping it — the Australian dollar is cripplingly strong right now, making that dream trip Down Under an expensive undertaking. But the strong economy also means there's lots going on, so rather than miss out, keep costs down and hit the road. Petrol is one-third cheaper in Australia than it is in the UK; use budget motels or even hire a camper-van. Suddenly, things won't seem so pricey. There are other bonuses: "Driving is easy — same side as the UK," says Austravel's Karen Joyce. "Plus you can pace your holiday as you want, stop wherever like."

Accesible wilderness
Tasmania is wild but easily explorable. It has classy retreats too, utilised on. This looping roadtrip from Hobart is The looping roadtrip from Hobart will take you to Strahan's Wheelhouse Apartments; the rustic cabins of Cradle Mountain Lodge; and Freycinet Lodge, for fine food on a wild peninsula. One of Tasmania's greatest drives is the 125km 'Road to Nowhere'. Follow it from Strahan, cross the Pieman River by barge, and arrive the Tarkine Rainforest to see devils in the wild. Innkeepers Tasmania lists itineraries and accommodation.

Time poor travellers
By Australian standards, Victoria is petite (though it's still more than 10 times the size of Wales), which means you can see plenty without driving huge distances.

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