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From the city to the tropics on the Leichhardt Way

From the city to the tropics on the Leichhardt Way

The Leichhardt Way is the fastest route from Melbourne to the tropics. It combines the Hume, Goulburn Valley, Newell and Leichhardt highways, taking you away from the hectic crowds along coastal routes.

The Leichhardt Way roughly follows in the footsteps of one of Australia’s early explorers, Ludwig Leichhardt, who undertook arduous expeditions through difficult sections of inland and northern Australia, helping to map out some of the toughest terrain in the country. The journey is over 2000 kilometres, winding through some of rural and outback Australia’s lesser-known cultural and natural assets. Here are the highlights.

Kinglake National Park, Victoria

An hour’s drive north of Melbourne, Kinglake is the largest national park near Victoria’s capital, and is an ideal way to shake off the big city. Here, there’s a complex system of bushwalking trails through eucalyptus forest and fern gullies, and you might have company along the way with plenty of birdlife, wallabies, wombats, possums and echidnas, and even platypuses splashing in waterways. The Masons Falls trail is a great short walk that leads to a viewing platform overlooking the falls and gorge below. Park rangers also offer guided walks, providing insights into the area’s flora and fauna.

Dubbo, New South Wales

The Central West of New South Wales is home to many observatories, attracting astronomers from all over the world. In Dubbo, right in the heart of country New South Wales, you can anchor the caravan and leave the roads behind while you tour the heavens at the Dubbo Observatory. If you’re looking to prod the kids’ sense of wonder, or rekindle your own, the observatory offers one of the better guided tours in ‘the astronomy capital of Australia’. Audiovisual presentations and immense telescopes propel you deep into space. You can also sneak in a round on the 18-hole Astro Mini Golf Plus course.

Leichhardt Highway, Queensland

As you cross the Macintyre River, at the border of New South Wales and Queensland, the Newell becomes the Leichhardt Highway. Stretching from the border town of Goondiwindi, the 700-kilometre Leichhardt Highway cuts a path through the heart of Queensland’s cotton, wheat, beef and wool country, to the Capricorn Coast and the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Rockhampton, Queensland

During the late 1800s, Rockhampton expected it would be declared the capital of the once-hypothesised seventh state to be named ‘Central Queensland’. Accordingly, it got to work constructing countless structures of architectural and aesthetic note. Today, it has one of the highest densities of heritage-listed buildings anywhere in Australia. The man-made grandeur of Quay Street, which is the longest National Trust Heritage Street in Australia, is complemented by the voluminous Fitzroy River, which flows alongside.

This is just a sneak peek! To read about the other highlights, check out the Summer Edition of Caravanning Australia.

Pictured: Rockhampton street art. Image (C) Tourism and Events Queensland

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