This is a sponsored post for Shell Australi and Digital Parents Collective
Ah, the lure of the open road, I used to love long drives to unknown places, miles and miles and miles of tarmac slipping below the wheels.
Having children cured me of that for a few years. But the kids are older now and we’re off on a road trip these school holidays – the joy!
Our driving trip will be from Sydney to Dubbo, and I’ll be researching the drive using a new online community dedicated to the love of driving, LoVe Drives. Have you visited?
I’ve been exploring the site and I’ve logged the best drive I’ve done so far this year, the back road driving from Sydney to the Upper Hunter Valley via Bucketty and Wollombi. You can find this drive over on LoVe Drives by clicking here.
I’d have done the drive for those names alone. But come along with me for the ride and I’ll show you some other fantastic reasons for avoiding the F3.
Head North Out Of Sydney
Take the freeway at Wahroonga, this used to be known as the F3 but it’s now called the M1 Pacific Motorway.
Whizz along past Asquith, Hornsby Heights, Mt Kuring-gah and Berowra Heights and then head down past Brooklyn on the right and over the Brooklyn Bridge.
Get Off The M1 at the Calga Interchange
At the Calga interchange, leave the M1 to the left and follow route 33, the Peats Ridge Road.
If you have time, you can stop just after the turn off and visit the very lovely Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, click the name for all the info.
And if you have even more time, you might like to stop and explore Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures.
After any animal explorations, just continue along Peats Ridge Road. Here you’ll find many farms and lots of opportunities to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from the farm gate. Great chance to stock up for your weekend in the Hunter Valley.
The Convict Trail and The Great North Road
Driving along this road, you are right in the midst of living history. The road follows along the route of the Great North Road, one of the most extraordinary engineering successes of the 19th century.
Built by convicts in leg irons, this 240km road was laid from Sydney to the Hunter valley in only ten years from 1826 – 1836.
You can still see convict-built retaining walls, culverts, bridges and buttresses. Before you take this drive take a good look at this excellent website: http://greatnorthroad.com.au. You can download terrific brochures with photographs of places that you will be able to find on this drive.
I do love the old pub at Wollombi, where you can find and even drink Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice. You can also sit at the rustic tables and examine the countless carvings on the tables. The garden areas are great for kids to run around too.
There’s the old Court House to explore, delightful old buildings and shops, a sculpture park, and don’t forget the Wollombi Valley Wine Trail.
Check out all that Wollombi offers on this website.
On this drive, I loved passing over old wooden bridges, and stopping to look at cows and horses in the fields and to sniff the fresh country air.
Arriving at Broke
Broke is the very historic little town which sees the start of the Broke Fordwich area which I’ve blogged about here.
Check out the gorgeous wineries in the area and enjoy all the eating, walking and shopping choices here in ‘the tranquil side of the Hunter Valley.’
Win With LoVe Drives
To celebrate the launch of LoVe Drives, Shell Australia is giving away 18 x $100 fuel vouchers – the best 3 drives each week will each win a $100 fuel voucher. At the end of the promotion on April 28th, four lucky winners will each win $2,000 worth of travel vouchers so they can recreate their LoVe Drives again.
To enter, just join up to LoVe Drives and upload and share the details of a drive you love.
For full terms and conditions visit http://www.lovedrives.com.au/
The best thing about a long drive is that you never quite know what random adventures might unfold, what forks in the road you might come too.
What IS your favourite drive in Australia?
I’d say mine was the looooong journey Paul and I took overland from Darwin to Perth when we were expecting son number one. The Gibb River Road was probably my very favourite section of that drive, or perhaps the road that led us into Monkey Mia in WA.
Anyway, do pop over to LoVe Drives whenever you feel that urge to get out on the open road.
There are easy-to-follow instructions on how to log your drive on the site
Have you checked out LoVe Drives yet, or even logged one of your own favourite drives?
Tell us about your favourite drive? Was it short or long?
And where will your next long drive take you to?
Near or far?