May 26, 2016
MINI AUTUMN DRIVES.
The changing colours of the countryside, crisp, clear air and bright mornings mean that Autumn is here. It’s time to head for the hills in search of a winding mountain road. Or cruise along the coast and enjoy having the windswept beaches to yourself. So to help you plan a day out, or a weekend away, we’ve put together a list of the best MINI Autumn drives from around the country.
The Yarra Valley, just 45 minutes east of the city, is dotted with wineries, cheese factories and restaurants. The roads roll through green valleys then climb into winding mountain passes where you can put your MINI through its paces on the hairpin bends and steep switchbacks. For spectacular views, take the road to the summit of the 1245-metre Mt Donna Buang. Half way up the mountain, the Rainforest Gallery offers a spectacular aerial walkway through the tree tops.
Autumn can be the perfect time to head along the coast. Without the summer crowds, there’s some easy cruising to be had in your MINI along The Grand Pacific Drive. This coastal drive starts just south of Sydney and winds past glittering beaches and small seaside towns before crossing the Sea Cliff Bridge on its way to Wollongong. If you love oysters, stop in at Jim Wild’s Oyster Service at Greenwell Point. This farm-gate experience offers the freshest oysters you’ll ever taste.
The Blackall Range Hinterland Drive is one of the most scenic on the Sunshine Coast. The road takes you through the quiet townships of Montville, Mapleton, Cooloolabin, Maleny and offers phenomenal views of the valleys and the distant coast. The smooth winding blacktop has plenty of tight corners and sweeping bends to make the most of MINI Sport Mode. For a lunch stop with a view, Mary Cairncross Café at Maleny has probably the best outlook in the Glasshouse Mountains. The food is simple and the helpings are generous.
Weaving its way through the Perth Hills, the long and gently winding Canning Road links the Roe and Brookton Highways. After passing through Kalamunda, the road cuts through the tall forests of the Korung National Park. The wide bends and long straights are the perfect place to try out your MINI Variable Damper Control. Lesmurdie Falls, near Kalamunda is a perfect picnic spot. There are walking trails that lead to scenic lookouts with great views over the waterfalls.
The Barossa, starting from Gawler, is a great place for laid-back country cruising. If you have a MINI Convertible, the clear Autumn days are ideal for opening the top and getting the wind in your hair. To prolong the holiday feeling, head down Seppeltsfield Road. This picturesque stretch is lined with towering palm trees and is also home to 18 wineries including Hentley Farm, Torbreck and Greenock Creek. If you get peckish, Appellation restaurant and Maggie Beer’s Farmshop can also be found on this iconic road.
If you’d like to say you’ve driven Australia’s southernmost road, take the 301km round trip to Cockle Creek. Follow the Huon Highway through Huonville, Geeveston and Dover as it wanders between coast and forest. This is apple-growing country and the Apple and Heritage Museum just outside Huonville provides an interesting look at the industry that gave the Apple Isle its nickname. Heading further south, when you turn off the bitumen onto the unmade South Cape Road, the MINI Variable Damper Control really comes into its own.
Paddy's River Road, which weaves between Pierces Creek State Forest and the Tindibilla Nature Reserve, has a bit of everything for the MINI driver. There are fast corners, slow corners, undulations, elevation changes, and differing cambers to keep the drive interesting. The backdrop of dense pine forest and natural bushland is spectacular too. Head further into the hills to Corin Forest and you can shoot down the mountain on the Bobsled Alpine Slide, the closest feeling you can get to driving a MINI.