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5 best Aussie road trips (part 1: NSW, VIC)

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1  Grand Pacific, NSW

Take a short 140km weekend road trip from Sydney, and you’ll explore the townships of Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and the Shoalhaven along the Grand Pacific Drive. You’ll pass some of NSW’s most beautiful beaches, rugged cliff faces and mesmerising lookouts. This route uses the Sea Cliff bridge — an engineering marvel that swings away from the sea cliffs and out over the ocean.

 

2  Katoomba to Hawkesbury, NSW

This two-day, 220-kilometre circuit is an exploration through the alluring sandstone plateaus west of Sydney. See the Three Sisters in Katoomba, explore the 340-million-year-old Jenolan Caves, stroll the verdant Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah, go cider tasting in Bilpin, and finish with a paddle on the Hawkesbury River.

 

3  Parkes to Bourke, NSW

Weave your way through Central and Outback NSW on this 910-kilometre epic drive. From Parkes, wander Dubbo’s zoo and historic streets. Gaze at the stars at the Warrumbungles (pictured) and learn more about the Dark Sky Park in Coonabarabran’s observatories. Fossick for opals at Lightning Ridge, get a deeper understanding for Aboriginal culture at Brewarrina and wrap up on the river in Bourke.

 

4  Great Ocean Road, VIC

The great thing about road tripping on the Great Ocean is that is stills feels untouched. That’s probably because of its expansive landscape that invites you to savour the 243km of winding road. Weave through rugged coastal scenery, national parks, deserted beaches and quaint townships and marvel at the wild and windswept Southern Ocean. 

 

5  Great Alpine Road, VIC

This road trip winds some 500km from Wangaratta through Victorian High Country and into the Gippsland Lakes area. The Great Alpine Road takes in scenery fit for a postcard and is dotted with historic towns and alpine villages. The warmer months bring the opportunity for a spot of horse riding and fishing while during the colder months it’s wise to pack skis, boots and most importantly, wheel chains.

 

 

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5 thrilling microadventures you can have in Australia (Part A)

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  1. The Great Ocean Road by plane, Vic

You may have road-tripped this famous Victorian touring route, but have you seen it from above? Hop aboard a private plane in Melbourne and let Australian Air Safaris whisk you over the curves and coastal countryside of the Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles. The flight includes a picnic at Peterborough and – get this – every passenger has a window seat.

  1. High Country mountain biking, Vic

Victoria’s High Country has a great reputation for forest trails to zip along, and Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is a top location post-winter. Only two hours from Melbourne, mountain biking at the resort is an accessible half-day adventure. There’s a handful of trails around 2km long, as well as the 28km single-track Cascades route to Marysville.

  1. Tall ship sailing, NSW

Hoist the sails and scale the mast on a Sydney Harbour Tall Ships tour. If you’re new to sailing or a history buff, this is the micro-adventure for you. Hop aboard for a lunch or twilight sail, but for something to write home about sign up for the Soren Larsen Overnight Cruise. You get the best of both worlds – wine and canapés with a convicts tour and bunk sleeping.

4.Blue Mountains canyoning, NSW

The Blue Mountains is home to a stellar range of canyons for active families. Blue Mountains Adventure Company runs an introductory Empress Canyon Explorer tour that’s four hours of scrambling, swimming and jumping. Who could say no to that? One of the best things about this company is they’re happy to take children as young as six on a case-by-case basis.

5.Conquer Mount Kosciuszko , NSW

If you’ve always wanted to tackle Australia’s highest peak but haven’t had anyone to go with, a four-day Women Want Adventure tour could be for you. This is a fully supported hiking trip just for women, with numbers capped at 12. The itinerary includes three hikes, all meals and accommodation in Thredbo Valley. It’s a challenging trip, but rest assured you’ll have plenty of other gals cheering you on.

 

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Lifestyle

5 tips to prevent depression

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  1. Set clear, detailed goals

Just thinking about “getting better” can be more frightening, but giving yourself a specific goal gives you a greater sense of control and allows you to really improve your mood.

  1. Pay attention to your body and the present moment

When we are stuck in negative thoughts and can’t escape, try moving your body and paying attention to how it feels right now

  1. try doing a meditation like this

Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light might make it more challenging to fall asleep. Avoid prolonged use of light-emitting screens just before bedtime. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

  1. Create an emotional “resting place” for yourself

In a meditative state, recall or imagine an environment where you feel comfortable, safe and happy, and where depression can sneak back in for a break to build up some energy

  1. Express your true feelings in a way that feels safe

Expressing your true feelings can sometimes be quite humiliating, but it can be an effective way of relieving negative feelings. So, choose someone who feels safe to talk to, anonymously or in a diary, too!

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5 beautiful free camping sites in Australia

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1. The Boulders, Babinda, Queensland

It’s a basic, unpowered campground on a simple patch of grass with a central toilet block. What makes it incredible is its hop-skip-jump proximity to The Boulders, a swimming spot on the edge of Wooroonooran National Park. Here the crystal-clear waters of Babimba Creek are filtered on a journey through a pristine rainforest dripping with ferns and tangled in sweet-smelling eucalypts.

2. Archer Point, Cooktown, Queensland

It’s a long way to drive for a free campground, but once you’re here you won’t want to leave. Archer Point is 15km south of Cooktown on Queensland’s incredible Cape York Peninsula. It’s on a slither of public land, at the end of an unsealed road, overlooking the shimmering Coral Sea.

3. Swimcart Beach, Bay of Fires, Tasmania

Hold your breath. This is camping like it used to be, a throwback to a sepia-tinged ‘70s childhood when dad wore short shorts and mum had big hair. That this campground, one of eight in Tasmania’s you-beaut Bay of Fires area, is still free is one of Australia’s great gifts to mankind. You can pull up here unannounced and stay for a maximum of four weeks if it suits. And it probably will.

4. Kalymna Falls, Gariwerd (Grampians NP), Victoria

There are 12 campgrounds within Gariwerd (Grampians National Park) and the best is likely the least visited given its diminutive size and relative remoteness. Kalymna Falls, in the Pomonal region east of the park, sits creek-side at the base of the spectacular Mt William Range. It is accessed via a slow-going unsealed road that gets washed away after rain so you’ll need a 4WD.

5. Cockle Creek, Southwest National Park, Tasmania

At the wild and woolly southern end of Tasmania pristine Cockle Creek promises a special kind of remoteness. The tiny beachfront settlement, with a handful of shacks, is backed by the vast and untouched Tasmania World Heritage Wilderness area. Heading south, there’s not much between your tent and Antarctica bar the mighty Tasman Sea. Technically there are two campgrounds extending along the beach road within 500 metres of each other. At the north end, Recherche Bay Nature Recreation Areas (20 sites) has pit-toilets, fire pits, is dog-friendly but you’ll have to BYO water.

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