This article is sponsored by Ampol.
After a tumultuous few years, Australia’s gradually reopening with summer just around the corner. As we’ve all been restlessly cooped up for what seems like forever, a road trip is a change of scenery we’re all craving right now.
Thankfully, there are stunning watering holes scattered all over the country, just waiting for you to dip your toes or (if you’re the adventurous type) entire body. Road trips are the ideal getaway while overseas plans are temporarily on hold, so hit up your mate with the nicest car and get planning.
Beaches are nice, don’t get us wrong, but they’ve been done to death, so we’ve sourced some lakes and rivers that aren’t necessarily on everyone’s radar.
Load up on sunscreen, sort out the car trip playlist, fill up your tank at the nearest Ampol (plus make sure you take note of where you can fill up on the way), and hit the road, Jack.
We’ve got an entire country to explore, so hop to it.
Pink Salt Lakes, VIC
No, we’re not talking about the pink lake near the Westgate Bridge.
Located in the far northwest corner of Victoria lies one of the gorgeous natural wonders to ever exist. Known for its unusual colour changing throughout the day, the Pink Salt Lakes might be bright white early in the morning and turn into a deep pink by the late afternoon.
This rosy-hued lake has attracted tourists from all over the world, as it also has many beautiful natural trails positioned around it. When walking along these trails, you can expect to see kangaroos, wallabies, emus and even echidnas. For bird lovers, you might even spot a red-rumped parrot, a mallee ringneck or a spotted pardalote within these regions.
Lake Alexander, NT
Lake Alexander is one of Darwin’s most infamous rivers. Named after Alec Fong Lim – the first Chinese Australian Lord Mayor of the City of Darwin, Lake Alexander has been a popular region since its opening in the early nineties.
This lake is part of Darwin’s East Point Reserve, set on a peninsula near Beagle Gulf. There are many recreational activities to partake in, from picnics to cycling, canoeing and camping.
Close to Fannie Bay is a body of water that’s deep and clear – great for swimming and water sports, so bring the kayaks, sailboats and your togs.
Bulimba Creek, QLD
If you’re looking for a riveting view and incredible waters, then look no further than Bulimba Creek. This picturesque perennial stream is located in suburban Brisbane in southeast Queensland. This region also has a rich history, as the Jagera and Turrbal people lived in parts of the Bulimba creek for at least 20 thousand years. It’s also known that a part of the creek was called ‘Boolimba’ – meaning a place of the magpie lark, now known as Whites Hills.
The creek tends to be an extremely popular area for kayaking, surrounded by beautiful greenery. While visiting this area, you can also view the different flora in open forests, freshwater and estuarine wetlands.
Snowy River, NSW
Aside from being immortalised in cultural folklore, Snowy River is home to some of the most eye-catching camping sites.
This river is positioned on the eastern slopes of the Snowy Mountains near Mount Kosciuszko, flowing about 270 miles southeast, then west and south to the Bass Strait at Marlo.
Explore the scenic trails of this river in the summer or grab yourself a pair of skis and shred the slopes in one of the nearby alpine villages in the winter.
Lake Leschenaultia, WA
This lake is nestled in the breath-taking bushland of Perth Hills. There’s no shortage of water sports and recreational activities to do here, making it the perfect weekend getaway. Native trees and wildflowers surround this peaceful, tranquil setting, so if you’re looking to reconnect with nature post-lockdown, this is the ideal camping site for you to set up shop for a few days.
Lake Eyre, SA
Officially known as Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre, this sink lake in the Far North of South Australia has one of the most phenomenal views, with its waters being different shades of orange and pink. It’s also one of the world’s largest internally draining river systems, as its streams don’t reach the sea. Spanning over 9,500 km², this enormous lake is almost one-sixth of Australia.
This endless body of water inhabiting salt crystals has lured travellers from all over the world. When the lake is flooded by desert rain, there’s an abundance of wildlife that comes with it, as you’ll be able to spot heaps of pelicans, silver gulls, red-necked avocets, banded stilts and gull-billed terns.
Pieman River, TAS
If you’re craving a glorious boat journey surrounded by a bountiful rainforest, Pieman River is a definite must-see. This river is located in the Tasmania small region of Corinna – a remote historic mining town at the end of the Tarkine wilderness area.
People travel to this area to kayak, fish, bird watch or travel on a delightful Pieman cruise. This area is quiet and isolated, the perfect relaxing getaway to let your mind truly unwind after a long busy week. There are a few gorgeous scenic nature trails to go hiking on as well.
There’s no better time to explore our own backyard so gather your friends, load up the car, stock up on snacks and drive off into the sunset. Just make sure you actually keep an eye on your petrol level, you don’t want to be travelling hundreds of kilometres on a quarter-tank.