Four hobbies that could inspire your next road trip

A drive holiday can be even more enjoyable when you have a purpose.

For many people, the excitement of the open road is reason enough for a drive holiday. But if you prefer escapes with a little more structure and purpose, consider devising an itinerary that taps your interests and hobbies.

Wine tasting

If you love wine and have a generous designated driver, a road trip between wineries is a fabulous way to spend a weekend, or longer. Australian wineries tend to be in particularly beautiful regions, which makes the driving just as enjoyable as the tasting – especially in southern Queensland. You could enjoy a day trip heading south and west from Brisbane to the Granite Belt, stopping in at Sirromet Wines, Summit Estate Wines and Ballandean Estate Wines. Or head north and visit Ocean View Estates Winery and Clovely Estate.

You could also incorporate stops at top breweries, distilleries and cider orchards – or follow routes dedicated to each, such as these fantastic trails in Tasmania.

Birdwatching

You don’t have to be a hardcore birder with an avian hitlist to appreciate the quiet and serenity this pastime affords. You could simply drive from national park to national park, wandering along the trails with a pair of binoculars and an ear out for birdsong. If you need a little help planning the best itinerary for a birdwatching road trip, take a look at the Australian Birding Directoy on Ausbird <http://www.ausbird.com/>. This resource pins the major bird clubs and birdwatching tours on a map of Australia, along with the species you can expect to see in each region, so you can easily plot a path that’ll make for a memorable trip.

Fossicking

Let the allure of gemstones and gold be your guide across Queensland. With nine hours of driving time, you can stop in at all the top fossicking sites in the south east. Start by searching for gold in Deep Creek, near Gympie. Head south-west for three hours to reach Chinchilla, where petrified wood abounds. From there, it’s another three hours south to reach Warwick, where gold is found in nearby Talgai State Forest, Thanes Creek and Durikai State Forest. From this region, head south for one and a half hours to the Passchendaele State Forest, which is known for its gem-quality topaz.

Keeping fit

While you won’t burn many calories sitting in the car, you’ll certainly get fit fast if your road trip takes you to the challenging hiking trails and kayaking routes in our national parks. For example, you could travel around Tasmania, stopping to tackle the high intensity hikes at Cradle Mountain, Bay of Fires, Wineglass Bay and Three Capes Track. Or follow the red dirt highway from Darwin to Katherine, with stops at Litchfield National Park and Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park for hiking, and Nitmiluk National Park for kayaking.

We’d love to know if you’ve planned a road trip around a favourite hobby or activity. Please share your experiences in the comments section.