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Stress-Free Road Trips For Every Aussie Family

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It’s an Aussie tradition. The great family road trip. For many of us, some of our fondest childhood memories are of packing up the car and heading up (or down) the coast. However, when the time comes to start planning an adventure with your own brood, those rose-coloured glasses can fall off very quickly. The idea of being locked in a small space with a screaming tot, a whinging toddler or a moping teenager for hours on end is enough to put anyone off. The good news is,   it needn’t be so stressful. A little preparation can go a long way to making sure you survive your next family road trip. Planning Your Route

This really is make or break. The ages of your brood should directly influence the type of trip you plan on making. Time off is worth its weight in gold, and you obviously want to make the most of it. But you also need to consider how much car time your kids can handle.  Why not fly to a new city, hire a car, and take a road trip from there? It allows you to soak up new sights, without wasting days in the car. And with the price of airfares becoming increasingly affordable, this option is more viable than ever before. Flying not your thing? Not to worry, the best road trips aren’t always the long ones, and you can create just as many memories on a mini-road trip. Here are a few of the best road trips under five hours.

1 The Grand Pacific Drive: Sydney to Kiama

At under 150 kilometres, this is a great first road trip option for any young family. The Grand Pacific Drives takes you through the beautiful Royal National Park on the outskirts of southern Sydney, through NSW’s third-largest city, Wollongong, and down the rolling hills of the South Coast to Kiama. There’s plenty of great places to stop and grab some fresh air along the way, but the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge is amazing, jutting out of a cliff some 665 metres above the ocean at Stanwell Park. A walking track runs the length of the bridge. If you head down during June and July, you might even be lucky enough to spot whales from the viewing platform.

2 The Rainforest Way: Brisbane to Byron Bay

The Coast Road can get you from Brisbane to Byron in under two hours, but if you travel inland onto the Mt Lindsay Highway you’ll come across some of the most pristine national parks the North Coast has to offer. Head towards Nimbin and turn off at Stoney Creek Road to visit the beautiful Hanging Rock Falls. This is a great place for a swim, but make sure to pack a picnic as the nearest facilities are in Nimbin. Heading back down the mountain towards Byron Bay you’ll be greeted with an amazing aerial view of the coastline that is not to be missed.

3 The Great Ocean Road (abridged): Melbourne to Port Campbell

The Great Ocean Road is regarded by many as the best stretch of road in Australia. But at over 650km and more than 10 hours driving time, it can be a little daunting, especially if you’re bringing the troops. Instead of doing the full trip from Melbourne to Adelaide, try driving from Melbourne to Port Campbell instead. With a total driving time of 4.5 hours it’s much more manageable, and you’ll still see most of the highlights of the Great Ocean Road. If you’re into surfing, check in at Torquay, which is an hour outside Melbourne and home to Bells Beach, one of the most revered surf breaks in the world. Continue on through scenic Lorne, past Apollo Bay, before stopping 10 minutes outside of Port Campbell to visit the 12 Apostles, the famous rock stacks that rise up out of the Southern Ocean. Erosion has made its impact on these renowned formations, meaning there are only eight apostles currently standing. Be sure to take your time on this trip, there is so much to see and do along the road.

 

Aussie Road Trips

advice On Renting A Car 

Renting a car can be a daunting process, so it’s important to choose a reputable provider to ensure peace of mind for you and your family while on your trip. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save cash when hiring a car. If possible always pick up your rental from the city rather than from the airport. What you lose in convenience you’ll make up for in savings in the long run. No provider will let you drive one of their cars uninsured, but the excess on this insurance can be as much as $5,000, and most will try and coerce you into purchasing exorbitantly expensive rental excess insurance.

1Cover offers domestic travel insurance policies for less than $50 a week*, which includes rental vehicle excess cover for up to $5,000 including the cost of returning the vehicle if you are unfit to do so. Before returning the car make sure that you’ve filled it with petrol, and that any outstanding road tolls have been paid, as rental companies charge an administration fee on top of the cost of the road toll.
 

Top 4 Tips While You’re On The Road

While these mini road-trips are designed to be short-haul affairs, you’re still going to have to spend some time in the car, so it’s important to prepare for this.

  1. Pack snacks, water (and toys for little ones) that everyone in the family can access themselves. This will help to minimise any grumbling.

  2. If you’re planning on taking portable media players, Murphy’s Law states that everyone’s battery will go flat at the same time. Make sure you bring enough chargers and have enough charging ports for everyone to be using theirs at once. Also, make sure not all time is screen time. Not only does it defeat the purpose of the trip, constantly looking down is a great way to get car sick.
  3. Time your shifts in the car around your child’s normal sleeping patterns. If your little ones normally have a nap around 2pm, get on the road at 1.30pm and allow them to settle in. If you’re trying to get them to explore a new place, they’ll enjoy it a lot more if they’ve had their usual nap. Let them know what time you’ll be stopping next, nobody wants to hear a chorus of “are we there yet” for hours. Rotate who’s sitting where in the car, including drivers if possible. Remember, a change is as good as a holiday.
  4. Prepare a series of car games before you leave, making sure they’re age appropriate so everyone can get involved. Some favourites include 20 Questions, Eye Spy, and Name That Tune, in which one person must hum a song and everyone else has to guess what it is.
     

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