The sheer size and diversity of Australia is something you can’t truly appreciate until you’ve driven through it. This is especially true of inland regions, where the sparsely populated countryside holds onto some of Australia’s best-kept secrets. You can discover some of them along the Great Inland Way.
Sydney to Dubbo
The Great Inland Way starts on the coast in Sydney, New South Wales. Take in one last view of the sea before your journey begins. The first stop on this leg is Lithgow; situated just west of the Blue Mountains, it rewards its visitors with spectacular views, whether you’re aboard the Zig Zag Railway, or in the middle of the Capertee Valley, where stunning sandstone cliffs tower above hectares of native bushland. Capertee National Park is also a popular birdwatching spot, and the endangered regent honeyeater is often seen frolicking in the forest.
In and around Bathurst, located about one hour west of Lithgow, the wine is flowing and the opportunities for relaxation are plentiful. For a quiet place to settle for a few days, head to Blayney, where there’s ample country charm and lots of space to unwind. Take this chance to visit the wineries in the area that are renowned for their cool-climate drops.
Emerald and Charters Towers
Now, onwards to Emerald, where you’ll be greeted by giant sunflowers (depending on the time of year). Enjoy water sports, fishing or wandering around the Emerald Botanic Gardens before you grab a bite to eat at The Maraboon Tavern or, for an Italian feast, Le Porte Rosse.
For the penultimate leg of the Great Inland Way, you can drive directly from Emerald to Charters Towers; alternatively, if you’re yearning for uninterrupted views of the ocean, head to Mackay and take the coastal route towards Cairns.
Ravenshoe, Mareeba and Cairns
The final leg takes you to Queensland’s highest town: Ravenshoe. Ravenshoe offers a bevy of adventures at your fingertips, with most of them involving waterfalls! Check out Millstream Falls, reputedly the widest waterfall in Australia, and a view that will definitely not disappoint. Millaa Millaa Falls offers plenty of rainforest walks and lookouts; and the Tully Falls Road will lead you effortlessly by car to the stunning view of Tully Falls in Tully Gorge. Picnic and camping facilities are fairly easy to come by around here, too.