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A Holiday Excursion on the Australia's Grand Pacific Drive


by James Kemp

Holiday drives are never complete without exploring the most loved destinations – and if you are planning to make it “grand” yet relaxing at the same time, nothing beats the renowned Grand Pacific Drive in the New South Wales (NSW) of Australia. Be captured in the stunning scenery along the 140-kilometre coastal stretch from the southern border of Metropolitan Sydney, passing through  the coastal route to Wollongong and then heads south all the way to Shoalhaven. It is an exciting roadtrip that takes you closer to nature with a different kind of high!

The Grand Pacific Drive is the best road trip that takes you to some of Australia’s spectacular flora and fauna that makes every kilometre worthwhile. And to give you some ideas on filling up your itinerary, here are a number of suggested scenic highlights to stop by:

Visit the world’s second oldest park

The exciting route begins at the beautiful Royal National Park, a 45 minute drive from CBD, Sydney. You have to take the Princess Highway past Sylvania in Sutherland Shire. Upon your arrival at the park, you’d be asked to pay for a vehicle entrance fee of around $11.

What’s best to do? Drive through the refreshing tropical rainforest and enjoy a relaxing picnic at the park, a short bushwalk, and boating in the river, and have a quick surf at the Garie Beach, a popular surfing destination.

Meet some furry and feathered pals

From the Royal National Park, head to Helensburgh and stop by at the Symbio Wildlife Park. It’s your chance to get an up close and personal wildlife experience where you can cuddle up a koala, feed the kangaroos, witness a rare Sumatran tiger feeding and meet over 1,000 animals that are from Australia and around the world.

Take a good picture of the incredible ocean views

Go on and take a few more minutes drive south to Stanwell Park and be stunned by the well known lookout in Australia – the Bald Hill. This place, set in an untouched bush land, presents you a far-fetched ocean view. You can just soothe yourself and appreciate the view. But if you are the adventurous type, go on a hang glide or para glide. To give you a little trivia, this is where Australian flight pioneer Lawrence Hargrave first took flight; he is renowned for his “box kite invention” in the early part of the 20th century.

Drive through the majestic Sea Cliff Bridge

From Bald Hill, you will see an overlook of the infamous Sea Cliff Bridge – the $52 million dollar bridge that hugs the coastline between Coalcliff and Clifton all the way to Wollongong. Head south and weave through this 665 metre bridge, which is the best highlight along the Grand Pacific Drive. From here, you can get out of the car, marvel at the spectacular ocean view and get a chance to see migrating whales heading north or south.  Migrating season happens around May to November.

Stop by at the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere

Take a break at the fish market in Wollongong or at two lighthouses and pay a visit at the Nan Tien Temple. Allow a few of your time for this just to walk around the lovely grounds and take time to appreciate the architecture of the beautifully decorated ceilings, walls, and get a good feel of the peace and harmony within the place.

Finish your holiday drive by visiting the infamous Kiama Blowhole

For over 100 years, thousands of people have already visited the famous Kiama Blowhole, the largest blowhole in the world! So make sure you don’t give it a miss. It is the town’s major tourist attraction, which was discovered by George Bass on his voyage of coastal exploration on December 6, 1779.

The blowhole is a good way to end your ever grandest holiday drive but if you are up to staying for long, head to the tranquil beach resort town, the Shoalhaven Heads.

Some helpful tips to drivers:

If you are pretty serious about going on a holiday at the Grand Pacific Drive, it is best to bring a map with you. Before taking on the journey, have your car checked – the tyres, the breaks, and all the necessary stuff. On top of that, take note that if you drive a car in NSW, you are legally required to have Compulsory Third Party Car Insurance, otherwise known as the “green slip”. CTP Greenslip is an insurance policy that will cover you for any personal injuries if you happen to get involved in a vehicle accident.

The Grand Pacific Drive attracts thousands of tourists not only from Australia, but from around the world. It is a wonderful exploration, taking you to a long, winding, yet exciting roadtrip – so you need to brush up a little on your driving skills and simply be careful.

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