Travel Australia: Great Australian Drives – Great Alpine Road

The focus of discussion shifted last week from the future of automobile safety and vehicle technologies and what this change would herald for the private consumer and large commercial fleets, such as rental car operators, in Sydney for example, to the popular topic of touring Australia by car. This may seem a somewhat esoteric change of discussion topic, yet the two may be more closely related than any superficial glance will suggest. For example, imagine a car that can drive with minimal human interference, and now imagine it taking you on a scenic drive through Australia’s many stunningly diverse landscapes, all whilst you relax! So car technology may not yet be that advanced, but the latest series of articles regarding the future of electronic vehicular technology highlights recent advancements in safety technologies and electronic suites, and these suggest that cars manufacturers will be capable of delivery an autonomous vehicular experience in the next 15 years. Suddenly, the notion of a self-driving holiday car does not appear be such an elusive concept, indeed it seems quite plausible, even potentially enjoyable. But until that moment comes, we will have to be satisfied with the ability to drive ourselves along the stunning scenic routes that traverse this large and diverse country. Having last week covered the eminent ‘Great Ocean Road’ in Victoria, it seemed fitting the following week to cover the mountain equivalent to the world famous ocean road. Often referred to, by a stroke of originality, as the ‘Great Alpine Road’, the 308 kilometre drive, running from Wangaratta in the north to Bairnsdale in the east, passes through the Australia Alps, winding along valleys, through forests, past lofty mountains and rivers, vineyards and farms. The ‘Great Alpine Road’, in Victoria’s high country, is Australia’s highest year-round accessible sealed road, with some sections receiving snow during winter months. Extreme weather conditions can sometimes still result in road closures between certain sections, although it is cleared on a daily basis during less extreme conditions. The road itself has existed since colonial times in some form, but was unsealed for much of its history, and was only given the designation of the ‘Great Alpine Road’ after being fully sealed in 1998. Attractions include the Mount Buffalo National Park, popular tourist town Bright, the Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain alpine resorts, the historic gold rush township of Omeo, the folk art by sculpture Mr. Stringy, enjoying the stunning scenery and spectacular views, and of course the challenging drive. If you love driving and want to take the opportunity to visit more of this amazing country then take the time to learn more about the many diverse and historic routes that criss-cross the country, if your in need of a vehicle, or your personal vehicle is just too small, then consider car rental in Sydney and other major cities, as an affordable means of transport.