Is there anything better than the great Australian road trip? It’s just you, the car, the kids and the wide-open road.
There’s no rushing to catch flights or panicking about your suitcases being overweight when you hit the airport. Instead, you can travel at your own pace, and admire this great country of ours while spending quality time with each other. And Easter is a great time to do it.
So, if you’re heading to NSW or Victoria these school holidays, here are four easy, fun drives for you and the kids this Easter.
Sydney Road Trips
Greater Blue Mountains Drive
Journey: Sydney to Katoomba to Jenolan Caves.
If you’ve got two days, this drive is perfect.
Day 1: Sydney to Katoomba — 100km/1.5 hours
Climb into the mountains past pretty towns such as Wentworth Falls and Leura. At Katoomba, head to Scenic World for thrilling cable car and train rides (for little legs we recommend walking down and grabbing the Scenic World railway cart back up the mountain).
A visit to the iconic 3 sisters at Echo Point a must, whilst you’re there get some extra parenting pints by sharing the dreamtime story of how this spectacular landmark came to be. The story goes like this; The Aboriginal dream-time legend has it that three sisters, ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and ‘Gunnedoo’ lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe.
These beautiful young ladies had fallen in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe, yet tribal law forbade them to marry.
The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle.
As the lives of the three sisters were seriously in danger, a witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe took it upon himself to turn the three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. While he had intended to reverse the spell when the battle was over, the witchdoctor himself was killed. As only he could reverse the spell to return the ladies to their former beauty, the sisters remain in their magnificent rock formation as a reminder of this battle for generations to come.
Day 2: Katoomba to Jenolan Caves — 75km/70 minutes
Head towards to the charming village of Blackheath, known for its cafés and galleries then continue on to the magical, must-see Jenolan Caves where you’ll discover chasms, stalactites and stalagmites in the oldest and most outstanding cave systems Australia has to offer. Tickets for the tours must now be pre booked in time slots (thanks Covid) so make sure you check availability before you take off on your adventure.
Central West NSW Road Trips
Sydney to Central West NSW — 5 hours
West of Sydney, beyond the sandstone curtains of the Blue Mountains, is a region jam-packed with historic gold-rush ghost towns, fascinating museums like the Old Dubbo Gaol and the famous Dish at The Parkes Observatory, Cowra Japanese gardens, and an amazing zoo at Dubbo, where you can camp out overnight. All these make this a great drive to do with kids, while the award-winning food and wine of the region make it just as enticing for adults.
Accommodation in smaller towns is great value, and any money you spend will help flood effected locals or those still piecing together their businesses after the 19/20 fires – so it’s amazing to be able to #supportlocal! The distances between towns are reasonably short as well (which is always a bonus when you have a back seat full of kids)
Victoria Road Trips
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Melbourne CBD to Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley region — 50 Minutes
Roughly 35 kilometres east of Melbourne sit the low-lying Dandenong Ranges and adjacent Yarra Valley. Although they’re close enough for a day trip, you’ll want as much time as you can get to explore local kid-friendly offerings.
While most people think of food and wine when they think of the Yarra Valley (and there’s lots of it), there are plenty of things to do that don’t involve eating and drinking, with wildlife, art and ferny forests topping the list. The kids will love a ride on Puffing Billy, a century-old steam train that winds through the rainforest.
They also love Healesville Sanctuary, where highlights include bird of prey flight demonstrations, a daily reptile show, plus you can visit the koalas and kangaroos, before taste-testing your fill of fruit on the tractor tour at Rayners Orchard.
Trees Adventure and its awesome ropes and obstacle courses is perfect for thrill-seekers and you can use your Parents NSW Vouchers here too! Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, relax and finish the day with a packed picnic to enjoy at Lilydale Lake which has a variety of great picnic vantage points and an awesome playground water park, there are also off lead areas for your dogs to play and swim.
Melbourne CBD to Ballarat — 1.5 hours
Mix up Melbourne’s metropolitan vibes with a road trip to a regional city centre like Ballarat. About 1.5 hours in length, this road trip from Melbourne is easily do-able for a weekend. Step back into an 1850’s gold-rush village at Sovereign Hill.
Dip-dye your own candle, delve deep into an underground mine and then see if you strike it lucky panning for gold in the river. If water sports are more your family’s thing, Lake Wendouree Pedal Boat Hire offer hire of pedal boats to families and tourists, it’s located in a beautiful bay area and super family friendly.
A must-visit is also Maze House which is located on the Midland Highway ten minutes from Daylesford and ten minutes from Creswick. The maze is set in a beautiful five-acre garden featuring a creel, vegetable garden and orchard. The kids will love the festival vibes with country carnival games plus there’s a nostalgic milk bar where you can enjoy an ice cream or grab a strong, hot coffee (we’re guessing you might need one by now). But on a serious note, Ballarat really does boast endless opportunities for family adventures.
Buckle up, be safe, stop every 2 hours to stretch your legs and stay alert. It’s also double demerits all long weekend – so enjoy the chocolate but make sure you’re aware of the speed limits when you hit the open road.