Road trips are the perfect opportunity to pack your favourite snacks, listen to throwback playlists and go on adventures with your mates.

The appeal of road trips comes from the fact that they combine all the best bits of your teenage years; getting your licence, the final hurrah with your best friends before you graduate and the taste of independence that comes with getting away from your parents.

They’re a break from the ‘real world’ and a chance to just have a good time–which makes it a pretty perfect getaway before you have to deal with the hard slog of final exams.

While there’s a tonne of sunny coastal towns that make the ideal road trip destination in summer, you want to look at places like Canberra if you’re heading off for a winter weekend drive–trust me, there’s more than just Questacon.

1. Find out what all the fuss is about

It’s time to let go of any of the crappy stereotypes you have of our capital city. Canberra has a lot going for it and there’s a reason it was named as one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities to visit in 2018 (it even topped Sydney and Melbourne).

While Canberra tends to bring images of tours around Parliament House to mind, there’s definitely a lot more to do. You already know about the War Memorial and Questacon thanks to primary school excursions, but you can also check out the National Gallery of Art, the National Zoo and Aquarium or grab lunch at the Arboretum.

Canberra also has a tonne of restaurants and cafes that’ll look real nice on your Insta (it doesn’t count if you don’t order a freak shake and chuck it up on your feed) plus they’ve got some award winning breweries and wineries where you can grab a bevvie if you stay the weekend.

Lonely Planet got it right when it was named third best city in the world (yeah, the whole world) for tourists and once you sus the place out for yourself, you’ll be able to see why.

You might even realise it’s a pretty perfect place to live and study; you can ditch the city traffic, Canberra is 15% cheaper than Sydney and there’s no lock out laws stopping you from having a hectic time–win/win/win.

2. You can see Japanese Wallpaper (and check out UC’s Open Day)

If you head to Canberra on August 25th, you can check out UC’s Open Day. Open days are one of the easiest ways to figure out what the hell you want to do after you finish high school, so we definitely recommend heading along. A lot of people pick their uni from open days before they even settle on a course and if you suck at making decisions, we reckon you should check it out.

Time the drive right and you’ll have enough time to get a free brekky, suss out the campus and try a heap of faculty demos. There’s a tonne of freebies and giveaways on the day (like passes to Questacon so you can relive all the Year 6 excursion memories and tickets to Ball Park Music & San Cisco concert).

Plus, later that night there will be a live concert headlined by Triple J’s Unearthed, Japanese Wallpaper, which will definitely be worth sticking around for. There are some free tickets up for grabs on the day if you go to the UC Open Day, but you can also buy your tickets for you and your mates early right here.

If you’re still stuck on what uni you want to go to, or what course you want to study, the open day is a good chance to figure out your options and the perfect way to convince your parents to let you borrow their car for the weekend. If you’re keen, you can check out more details here.

3. Make memories

Not to freak you out or anything, but after high school finishes, things change, and heading on a road trip can be the perfect way to make memories that last past graduation. So, start planning: get ready to pack up the car, make a playlist of all your favourite songs and buy a mountain of snacks that you’ll probably eat within the first hour of driving.

Stop at Maccas when everyone complains that they need to pee and pull over and nap in rest stations with blankets tucked around each other when everyone is too sleepy to keep driving home. You don’t have a lot of time left in high school, so make the most of it.

And hey, if you do check out the UC Open Day on the 25th you’ll get free food, fun stuff to do and you might even realise it’s where you want to study next year–you’ve really got nothing to lose.