OUTBACK, OFFROAD

Written by root. Posted in FEATURES

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Published on November 07, 2016 with No Comments

Driving further afield to discover Victoria’s vast and diverse region.

Words ZAYD OON
Images VISIONS OF VICTORIA

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The Pink Lakes, Hattah Kulkyne National Park.

 

 

The compact state of Victoria, with its diversity of landscapes and terrains, means visitors can get seriously off the beaten track. Off road adventures in Victoria are available for everyone from novice drivers taking their own vehicles, to those experienced in a four wheel drive (4WD) or SUV. The landscapes range from the adrenalin pumping action of the rugged high plains to the big deserts and open skies of the Mallee, river red gum forests, hinterland, rainforest and Victoria’s famous coast. Off roaders can go for a day trip, an overnight stay in a camp site or hotel, or longer.

For high plains and a bit of history, driving through the Davies Plain Ridge will be both scenic and challenging. The trail takes you through remote Alpine landscapes, pass Snow Gum woodlands, tranquil riverside campsites, historic huts and panoramic mountain views. Best undertaken over a number of days, the track includes demanding 4WD tracks in some of Victoria’s most isolated and scenic country. Highlights include big views, imposing forests, meandering streams and wildflower-strewn ridges. Drivers will enjoy views across the Victorian Alps to Kosciuszko National Park from Mount Pinnibar summit. Keen anglers can finish the day by catching a wily brown trout for dinner and cooking over the campfire.

A drive through the Grampians will take you past beautiful rock art and rugged beauty. The spectacular peaks and dramatic rock formations of Grampians National Park provide for an awe-inspiring drive. Picturesque waterfalls, spectacular wildflower displays, panoramic views, and fascinating Aboriginal rock art sites are some of the highlights. Stunning camping and picnic grounds and a network of excellent 4WD and walking tracks make exploring this natural wonderland easy and enjoyable.

For a drive that lets you feel as though the world is an endless road, consider Victoria’s Mallee region. One of the State’s hidden gems, it has big deserts and open skies for a liberating adventure. From sand dunes and pink lakes to woodlands and rolling plains, it features abundant native wildlife and fascinating remains of the pastoral era. It may be Victoria’s driest region, but the Mallee is far from lifeless. Emus, kangaroos, birdlife, woodlands and wildflowers make this a nature lover’s delight. Starting at the Wyperfeld National Park entrance, this drive allows for lots of daytime exploration and night time star-gazing. Vast open spaces and the famous Pink Lakes offer fantastic photo opportunities. Pitch a tent by dry creek beds, enjoy native woodland walks and stunning Mallee sunsets, before stepping into the area’s pastoral past at the Shearers Quarters Campground in the remote northwest.

Take a spin to Otways for stunning coasts and lush green hinterland. Starting from the surf beach village of Anglesea and heading inland to tranquil Mountain Ash forests and lush fern gullies, drivers can discover the ancient rainforest at Maits Rest, watch the water drop at the stunning Erskine Falls, and walk the rainforest loop to Triplet Falls. The coastal scenery on the return journey along the Great Ocean Road has few equals in the world, with spectacular coastal views. Dinner can be enjoyed with some delicious local seafood at Apollo Bay or the popular seaside resort of Lorne, then tired eyes can hit the sack at one of the many accommodations or campsites.

The world’s largest River Red Gum forest is the star on a scenic drive past backdrops of the mighty Murray River of the Murray region. There is a wide range of camping and picnic grounds, and an extensive network of forest tracks that make this natural area one of the most memorable of the collection. It’s a 354-kilometre, two to three days drive if drivers wish to fully appreciate the natural and cultural heritage of these forests that are home to many threatened native plants and animals.

Whichever four wheel drive or SUV adventure you choose, you will be sure to discover the breadth and depth of regional Victoria.

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Melbourne daily.

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