When we arrived in Australia, almost one year ago, we needed a car. We hesitated between the only two options we thought were right: a cute and spacious van or a 4WD that would take us through the remote areas that made us so curious. It was not until Holden gave us the new Holden Cascada Convertible to try out for a coastal road trip from Torquay to Tweeds Head, that we discovered another option for a cool ride to explore the diverse land of Australia.
Luxurious road trip
Mind you, this was not a road trip we were used to. No more eating out of cans, we could shower whenever we wanted and didn’t have to wash our own dishes in a creek. We had a 2 week holiday and we were doing it in style! Invited by The Great Ocean Road to visit Torquay, we went beer and wine tasting, ate the best fish and chips we’ve ever had and spent the night in the nicest resorts Torquay has to offer. Along the way, our holiday got more interesting thanks to travel-app Leezair who hooked us up with some fun activities. We saw the city of Canberra from the sky when we went skydiving, saw the harbour of Sydney from the water when we went kayaking and met some whales and turtles in Tweed Heads when we went swimming with them. A holiday to never forget! Not only due to the route we took, but also thanks to the ride that allowed us to take this cool and unconventional route through Australia. A car that we previously would never have considered being perfect for any kind of road trip. Boy, were we wrong! So why was the Cascada a perfect match for this trip?
1. Driving with all your senses
A road trip provides the ultimate sense of freedom. Get in your car and drive wherever you want and arrive at sunset at a random place to set up camp for the night. I would never have thought that the feeling can get even more intense depending on which car you drive. However, from the moment we opened the roof for the first time, felt the sun on our skin and the wind through our hair, we were in love with the sense of freedom only a convertible can give you when you’re hitting the road. A rush of excitement filled our body. “We are on the road again! And we are experiencing it with ALL our senses.” With the roof open you can smell the lavender that grows in the fields, the salty sea breeze that comes by and gives your hair a natural blow dry, and the sun burning harder as it grows stronger during the day. Things you simply miss out on while you’re driving in your air conditioned car with the windows closed.
2. Cruising in style
Although I think it’s charming to drive our heavy 4WD from ’95, it is nice to drive a car without oil leaks and with a smooth clutch. Don’t even get me started on the LCD screen with entertainment, booming audio sound and navigation that helps us to not get into a fight every exit we (okay, fair enough, most of the time I am the one to blame) miss. My personal favourite feature in the car: the heated seats. Please don’t judge me when I say that I absolutely loved having the setting on full blast and feel the cold wind on my face when the roof top was wide open.
3. Sleeping at the locals
If you’re looking for a car with a lot of room for storage, the Cascada convertible is maybe not the best car for you. But to be honest this opened up a whole new way of road tripping for us. Normally we would cruise with a car full of camping gear, now we were travelling light with just some knickers and a toothbrush in a day pack (and because there was still a little room left in the back, we did bring our smallest tent just in case we missed the camp life). We had some of our best nights during this trip thanks to the luxurious RVCA resort in Torquay, an arty hotel in the design and art capital Canberra, a special meeting at an aboriginal centre in Newcastle and a relaxed evening at the hippie retreat in Nimbin. The places we stayed complemented the towns we visited and it was a huge part of how we experienced the destinations during our trip. I guess I am saying that the limitations to your ride can open up new possibilities, and for me, it opened up a whole new way of travelling Australia.
4. Opening up conversations
Even though we didn’t camp too much during our trip we couldn’t stop ourselves turning into at least two campsites along the way. I must say that we had a lot of people staring at us when we set up camp in the middle of all the usual vans, campers and 4WDs. Two young travellers in a sexy car like this.. why on earth are they on a free campsite? That question opened up some fun conversations. Do you remember that I wrote about the Cascada not being the most spacious car to take on a camping trip? Well, it made up for that fact due to her appearance helping us make friends. Other happy campers who did have room to bring an air mattress, stove, chairs, morning coffee and all the other stuff that makes camping fun. And luckily for us, they were willing to share. We’d never had so many friends on a campsite in one night before!
When is the Holden Cascada a good match for a trip?
I can’t deny that I am in love with our own 4WD beast but my heart did make some room for the Holden Cascada during our last road trip. Sure, it was not the best match when we went through the outback from Adelaide to Alice Springs. Also when we did the iconic East Coast, a laid back van was more suited to the scenery of surfer dudes running into perfect waves. However, for a road trip that is more of a short holiday, where you want to relax and just enjoy the drive, the Cascada is a perfect match! Consider this car when you’re planning to sleep in different towns and cities, you’re cruising along the coast or you want an adventurous holiday with some luxury. For us, the holiday vibes started as soon as we got into the car and turned on the music. We had a hard time handing the keys back to Holden and had to find our rhythm again when we got into our rusty (and yes, charming) ride. No longer will the choice be between a van or a 4WD when we are going on a road trip. A convertible is on our short list of possible road trip cars from now on!
To round up – our one and a half week itinerary
- 3 days exploring the surfing and foodie culture in Torquay
- Discovering the fine art galleries of Canberra
- Skydiving above the coast between Canberra and Sydney
- Hitting the town in laid-back suburb Surry Hills
- Waking up with a morning coffee while paddling through the Sydney Harbour
- Riding through the sand dunes in Newcastle and sleeping under the stars at an aboriginal centre
- A mindful experience in the Rainbow Retreat, Nimbin
- Seeing the first sunlight of Australia while climbing Mount Warning
- Swimming with turtles and seeing whales for the first time up close in Tweeds Head
- Handing over the keys back to Sharpmotor group of “our” Holden Cascada in Tweeds Head