Want to get off-road this Easter away from the holiday camping crowd? Ditch the tent and avoid the masses with this selection of day trips close to Australian capital cities.
1. Avondale - East of Perth
Only 80km inland from Perth, this drive through open eucalypt forest along undulating tracks is a straightforward adventure close to Western Australia’s capital.
The main section of the trip traverses Wandoo National Park, giving travellers the opportunity to spy birds and other wildlife as they cruise past wandoo forest and green pastures. There are some additional historical highlights – the Church of Saint John in the Wilderness for one - within the area, though time may be against you depending on how leisurely you want the day to be.
2. The Brindabellas – West of Canberra
The Brindabella Range is a scenic joy for all kinds of travellers, its steep tracks delivering stunning mountain vistas across Brindabella and Namadgi national parks and beyond.
The region is the northernmost section of the Australian Alps, a title with lofty expectations that the Brindabellas meets with consummate ease. With plenty of rocky tracks, places to roll out a picnic blanket and views to soak in, the Brindabellas are the perfect destination for a quick getaway into the wild.
3. Kanangra-Boyd National Park – West of Sydney
Drive out to the historic town of Lithgow to begin this adventure through complex ranges and various permutations of dense forest.
Image credit: Turtletime13
Kanangra-Boyd National Park is one of New South Wales’ largest and most rugged wilderness areas, which makes its accessibility and proximity to Sydney all the more amazing. From the breathtaking Kanangra Walls to Jenolan Caves and the region’s waterfalls, you will need to choose your stops carefully to contain your adventure to a single day.
4. Condamine Gorge - Southwest of Brisbane
Snaking through lush Gondwanan rainforest less than two hours west of Brisbane, Condamine River Road is famous for its scenery as much as the track’s 14 river crossings through its namesake.
While it’s not a technical drive, the feeling of rolling through the Condamine River with the sight of ancient conifers, ferns and a tall canopy out the window has a certain wild quality to it. With plenty of places to picnic (and hunt eggs) along the drive and a potential visit to the always impressive Queen Mary Falls in the offing, taking a trip down to Condamine Gorge is a neatly packaged South East Queensland family day trip.
5. The Otway Ranges – Southwest of Melbourne
Albeit a lengthy drive from Melbourne, a trip to the Otways rewards day-trippers manifold with its natural beauty and undeniable serenity.
Famous for its deep temperate rainforest, bubbling brooks and artistic waterfalls, travellers to the area will find something to enjoy around every bend. With over 40 walking trails through Great Otway National Park, many of which are short and easy, the region is perfect for a brief sojourn into the wilder side of the Great Ocean Road.