Ford Australia has partnered with TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site, to present six ultimate road trips from around the country. Drives range from the red earth stretches of the Lasseter Highway to the endless blue vistas of the Great Ocean Road and coastal exploration in Tasmania.
Amongst the six road trips, the Great Ford Australia has partnered with TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site, to present six ultimate road trips from around the country. Drives range from the red earth stretches of the Lasseter Highway to the endless blue vistas of the Great Ocean Road and coastal exploration in Tasmania.
Amongst the six road trips, the Great Eastern Drive topped traditional favourites to grab the number one spot, according to the Ford scoring system. But what makes the ultimate road trip route? Ford expert, Vehicle Integration Attributes Supervisor Richard Woolley, was tasked with discovering the formula for the best driving experience.
The Ford Score:
The “Ford Score” was calculated to identify and rank the ultimate Australian road trips. Road trips were scored out of five, based on quality of scenery, road conditions, level of traffic and potential hazards.
- Scenery: Roads were considered in terms of their appearance, especially when picturesque. Quality and diversity along the road trip was also taken into consideration.
- Road Conditions: Varying road surfaces and enjoyable road features such as corners or winding traverse were considered in the ranking system.
- Traffic: Higher levels of traffic were rated lower as it impacted the quality and pace of the drive
- Hazards: Major hazards were evaluated as watch outs for drivers, including access to services, weather variables, wildlife and remoteness.
Ford and TripAdvisor also challenged leading travel photographers to put the six road trips to the test in the ultimate road cruiser, a Ford Mustang. The photographers captured those experiences, including some of TripAdvisor’s most highly-rated activities. Swapping Route 66 for an adventure closer to home, the pony car is the quintessential road trip companion.
1. Great Eastern Drive
A drive to be enjoyed at a slower pace, the Great Eastern Drive, nestled on the coast of Tasmania, is the perfect holiday destination for those looking to unplug. From the sun-kissed shores of Coles Bay to the picturesque charm of rolling through sleepy country towns. Cruise out towards Wineglass Bay or drive up to the lookout for a new perspective of the area. The gentle, winding turns and slow traffic make this itinerary the perfect summer cruising option.
• Distance: 176 km
• Top-rated nearby hotel: Saffire Freycinet
• Must-do activity: Wineglass Bay Cruise from Coles Bay
Richard Woolley notes, “Minimal traffic, beautiful, untouched scenery and great road conditions mean this drive scores a 4.25/5. It’s an enjoyable, winding route through a wealth of sleepy towns and striking natural vistas. Phone connectivity and internet can be sparse at best, so it’s best to log your destination ahead of departure. Be sure to check the weather before leaving, as Tasmania can experience bursts of extreme weather which may affect your travel route.”
This winding stretch is a true marvel for locals and tourists alike. Weaving along Victoria’s coastline with spectacular sights dotted for ample pit stop opportunities. From the Twelve Apostles (#2 Attraction on TripAdvisor) to Loch and Gorge (#4 Attraction on TripAdvisor), it’s the ultimate drive to enjoy with the top down.
• Distance: 662 km
• Top-rated nearby hotel: Drift House
• Must-do activity: Surfing at Torquay
Richard Woolley says “We give this drive a 4/5. The views are world class, though this does mean a high volume of tourists along the way. But then, if you’re going to get stuck in traffic, there’s no better place! With plenty of pit stops it’s a relaxing drive with short bursts of enthusiasm along the way to put the Mustang through its paces.”
3. Great Barrier Reef Drive
Remote beaches, reef exploration galore and a palm tree on every corner – true paradise awaits anyone who takes on this stunning road trip. The Great Barrier Reef Drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation takes keen explorers from sandy stretches to rainforest canopies, it’s a journey worthy of cruising in style. A tropical holiday would be incomplete without a visit down below to visit Nemo and friends, and a snorkel tour to the reef is the top rated attraction in Port Douglas.
• Distance: 140 km
• Top-rated nearby hotel: Freestyle Resort Port Douglas
• Must-do activity: Great Barrier Reef Diving and Snorkelling Cruise
Richard Woolley adds, “The Great Barrier Reef Drive earns a 3.75/5. A diverse set of scenery from the beach to the depths of the Daintree, with little traffic along the way. The remoteness means that drivers should be prepared: be sure to take a map, go fully fuelled and check the weather before departure. The road itself is a leisurely drive, a conduit to the sights, rather than an adventure in itself. Road surface is smooth until you near Cape Tribulation, where it pays to be wary of the shift to dirt tracks.”
4. Grand Pacific Drive
A stone’s throw from Sydney sees a marvel of wave-washed coastline and charming towns, stretching from Wollongong southward. An adrenaline junkie’s paradise too, not just for the drive itself, but due to extreme sport offerings like skydiving down upon the coastline’s striking beaches. There’s nothing quite like a drive perched atop the sea across from the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge.
• Distance: 140 km
• Top-rated nearby hotel: Adina Apartment Hotel Wollongong
• Must-do activity: Wollongong Tandem Skydiving
Richard Woolley notes, “The Grand Pacific Drive earns a 3.5/5, with a combination of scenic expanse and enjoyable road conditions. Weaving through the National Park allows you to enjoy how the car handles, and the drive across the Seacliff Bridge is a highlight. The road is largely newly paved surface and provides a varied drive along the way.”
5. Lasseter Highway
Journey to the centre of Australia to drive across a vibrant red landscape, abundant in natural wonders. Venture from the outback hub of Alice Springs to the magic of Uluru in all its glory, savouring the long, straight roads along the way. As marvellous as it is hot!
• Distance: 244 km
• Top-rated nearby hotel: Longitude 131
• Must-do activity: Uluru Field of Light Sunrise Tour
Richard Woolley notes, “We rated the Lasseter Highway 3.25/5. Head for the horizon and revel in the outback expanse, it’s perfect for cruising. Although it’s the heartland of Australia, the route is not as remote as you’d think and the road surface is well kept. Be aware of weather conditions and it is important to note it’s unwise to drive after dark due to wildlife hazards.”
6. Flinders Ranges
South Australia’s heartland. The Flinders Ranges is a dusty vista of natural beauty and unique cultural experience. Venture north from Adelaide into an ochre wonderland with roads all to yourself – an adventure for the lone traveller or duo to enjoy. Base yourself at Wilpena Pound to traverse the Flinders Range National Park in comfort, a cultural walk is the ideal (and most recommended) way to appreciate the landscape and spirited sights. A trip is incomplete without a worthy detour via Port Augusta, a charming town just shy of Adelaide but just far enough to warm up the engine!
• Distance: 220 km
• Top-rated nearby hotel: Rawnsley Park Station Eco Villas
• Must-do activity: Yura Udnyu - Wilpena Pound Aboriginal Cultural Walk
Richard Woolley adds, “Ranking 3/5, the corridor to outback Wilpena, the heartland of the Flinders Ranges, is varied. Well-maintained highways meet a mix of twisty dirt road along the way. A road less travelled save for campervans, the drive is a unique desert experience. Don’t drive after dark and be wary of wildlife in your travels.”