15 Best Road Trips in Australia for Epic Adventures
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Planning to visit Australia? You’re in for a treat! The country is bursting with exciting attractions for you to explore. From vast, desolate deserts, tropical islands, dense jungles, historic aboriginal lands, crocodile-filled wetlands, and miles upon miles of scenic coastline – you’ve got scenery for days in Australia.
Not to mention the culture and wildlife, which is second to none and incomparable to anywhere else in the world.
With so much to see and explore, there’s only one way to do Australia right – a road trip.
Uluru is a must see when you are planning a road trip in Australia
In my opinion, the best way to see what this vast country has to offer is to take one of these classic road trips in Australia.
Especially if you have kids like us, road trips make family travel more practical, cost-effective, and offer so much more flexibility.
Instead of flying from point A to B and missing everything in between, the journey becomes just as memorable as the destination.
We completed an 18-month road trip around Australia. In this guide, we have broken down each of our best road trips in Australia into individual trips you can take, to help you make planning easier.
About These Road Trips in AustraliaBest Australian Road Trips1. Great Ocean Road, Victoria2. Red Centre Way, Northern Territory3. The Savannah Way Road Trip, Queensland4. Cairns to Cape Tribulation Road Trip, QLD5. Sydney to Brisbane Drive, NSW QLD6. Darwin > Kakadu > Katherine > Litchfield Road Trip, NT7. Gibb River Road Trip, Western Australia8. Broome to Perth Road Trip, Western Australia9. The 75 Mile Highway, Fraser Island, QLD10. Outback Queensland Road Trip11. Sydney to Jervis Bay Road Trip, NSW12. Launceston to Hobart Road Trip, Tasmania13. The Nullarbor Road Trip, WA SA14. The Eyre Peninsula, South Australia15. Kangaroo Island Road Trip, South AustraliaMore Australia Road Trip Inspiration:Before You Go
About These Road Trips in Australia
In this post, we have included both long and short Australian road trips, and cross-country road trip routes that incorporate multiple stops or destinations.
They are usually longer than a day trip and usually take anywhere from a weekend to a week to complete. In fact, you could complete them all and have a really incredible adventure across Australia!
We’ve also given an estimated recommended time frame for each road trip. To be honest, the best part of a road trip is going at your own pace. The longer you have the better, but I know your time may be limited.
But, even if you follow our itineraries, each of these Australian road trips can be driven in a 1-2 week period but for some of them, we recommend you take longer!
But before you see why Australia is one of the best road trip destinations in the world, you need to be prepared…
Getting a Road Trip Rental
Unless you have your own car, you’re going to need to get yourself a vehicle for your road trip in Australia. If you’re visiting from abroad, we recommend you use RentalCar, as this is a price comparison site that compares all the top rental car companies.
If you’re planning on camping in your vehicle, then RV Share is the site to browse around. It has RVs and motorhomes of all sizes and weights, plus you can pick them up from several locations.
Best Australian Road Trips
Now you know how to get started and find a vehicle, it’s time to take a look at the stops! These are our favorite itineraries for a road trip in Australia and they cover all our favorite places to visit in Australia.
Go take a look!
1. Great Ocean Road, Victoria
The Twelve Apostles
START | END: Torquay to WarrnamboolDISTANCE: 250 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 2 – 3 days
If I only had one piece of advice for driving the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, I would say don’t just rush to see the 12 Apostles for your tourist snap. Slow down and appreciate all this drive has to offer.
Certainly, don’t drive it in one day like the tourist buses do from Melbourne. It deserves at least a few days. It’s the perfect weekend getaway from Melbourne.
The Great Ocean Road is not only one of the most famous road trips in Australia but around the world and is one of the best drives on the planet.
Beginning one hour outside of Melbourne in Torquay, this drive stretches over 250 kilometers to Warrnambool and offers stunning coastal scenery, wildlife, waterfalls, hiking, and beachside towns.
Stop on the Great Ocean Road Trip:
Great Ocean Road road trip map
This road trip includes the below-mentioned stops:
12 ApostlesLoch Ard GorgePort Campbell National ParkApollo Bay
READ MORE: Here is our full guide to a Great Ocean Road Road Trip
Looking for accommodation along the Great Ocean Road? Booking.com has over 250 properties to choose from. Check the prices now for your dates of travel.
Check our reviews of two great places to stay on the Great Ocean Road:
2. Red Centre Way, Northern Territory
Road tripping the Red Centre Way
START | END: Alice Springs to UluruDISTANCE: 468 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 5-6 days
You can’t have a list of the best road trips in Australia without visiting the Outback. You’ll find it in almost every Australian state. The Red Centre is a drive in the Northern Territory you don’t want to miss.
And instead of taking the Stuart Highway between Uluru and Alice Springs, consider taking the scenic route along the Red Centre Way and discover brilliant landscapes, gorges, canyons, camping, and hiking trails of the West MacDonnell Ranges.
This scenic road takes you past Glen Helen, King’s Canyon, and the iconic World Heritage Site of Ayres Rock.
Allow yourself plenty of time to take in the wonder of Uluru and nearby Kata Tjuta, it really is the heart of Australia and there is more than one way to experience it.
Stops on the Red Centre Way:
Alice Springs to Uluru road trip
The Red Centre Way passes through the following sites:
UluruKata TjutaKings CanyonGlen Helen Gorge
Check out these road trip tips with kids:
3. The Savannah Way Road Trip, Queensland
Boodjamulla National Park
START | END: Cairns to BroomeDISTANCE: 3,700 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 1-2 weeks
The Savannah Way is one of the ultimate road trips in Australia across the top part of the country, stretching from Cairns in Queensland to Broome in Western Australia.
That’s from East to West for those who don’t know, taking in a whopping 3,700 km.
So far we’ve only driven the Savannah Way from Cairns to the Northern Territory border, but it was a highlight of our time exploring the northern section of Outback Queensland.
Stops on the Savannah Way Road Trip:
Savannah Way Queensland road trip map
The Savannah Way road trip passes the following top attractions:
Millaa Millaa FallsUndara Lava TubesCobbold GorgeBoodjamulla National Park
4. Cairns to Cape Tribulation Road Trip, QLD
Cape Tribulation – great Australian road trip
START | END: Cape Tribulation to Cairns (or vice versa)DISTANCE: 150 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 3-4 days
Tropical North Queensland has to be one of the most enchanting regions in Australia, if not the world. It’s home to two of our country’s most iconic natural wonders; the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.
The best time to visit Tropical North Queensland is during the winter months when it’s not so humid and you avoid stinger season, although it might feel like the whole south of the country has migrated north with you.
The Cairns to Cape Tribulation is one of the most popular road trips in Australia. The adventurous can go further up to Cape York! It’s on our bucket list for when we return!
Stops on the Cairns to Cape Tribulation Road Trip:
Cairns to Cape Tribulation Road Trip
The Cairns to Cape Tribulation road trip stops at the following popular landmarks and towns:
Great Barrier ReefPort DouglasMossman GorgeCape Tribulation
Video: Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation Road Trip, Queensland
Watch our video playlist of our road trip from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation in the Daintree Rainforest.
5. Sydney to Brisbane Drive, NSW QLD
View from Tumgun Lookout, Burleigh Heads NP
START | END: Sydney to BrisbaneDISTANCE: 928 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 3-4 days
The popular east coast road trip from Sydney to Brisbane, known as the Legendary Pacific Coast, is one of the best Australian road trips – certainly the most traveled.
Stretching 900 kms along the Pacific Coast corridor, the Sydney to Brisbane drive has something for everyone: stunning beaches, green rolling hills, beachside towns, riverside towns, wineries, the hinterland, wildlife watching, and every water sport imaginable.
If you have time to spare, why not keep going? You can drive along the coast all the way up to Cairns past Port Stephens, the Sunshine Coast and Noosa North Shore.
This way you can take day trips out to the islands such as The Whitsundays or Airlie Beach. This will take at least another week.
Stops on the Sydney to Brisbane road trip:
One of Australia’s most popular road trips – Sydney to Brisbane
The Sydney to Brisbane road trip passes by the following top sites:
The Hunter ValleyPort MacquarieCoffs Harbour CoastExplorers WayByron BayKingscliffGold Coast
6. Darwin > Kakadu > Katherine > Litchfield Road Trip, NT
The beautiful Gunlom Falls, Kakadu
START | END: DarwinDISTANCE: 950 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 2-3 days
If you are exploring the Top End of Australia in the Northern Territory then a loop road trip from Darwin taking in Kakadu National Park, Katherine Gorge, and Litchfield National Park is a must not miss road trip in Australia.
Starting and finishing with some of the best sunsets in Australia at Darwin, this drive then takes in the incredible wetlands and wildlife of Kakadu, the stunning gorge scenery at Katherine, and the waterfalls and swimming holes of Litchfield.
Stops on the Kakadu – Litchfield Road Trip:
Darwin National Parks road trip
The Kakadu to Litchfield road trip passes by the following notable landmarks:
Mindil Beach markets & sunset (Darwin)Yellow Water Billabong Cruise (Kakadu)Gunlom Falls (Kakadu)Ubirr Sunset (Kakadu)Sunrise Cruise (Katherine Gorge)Florence Falls (Litchfield)
Sunrise cruise on the Yellow Water Billabong
7. Gibb River Road Trip, Western Australia
The Kimberley region is a great Australian road trip
START | END: Derby to KununurraDISTANCE: 700 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 4-5 days
One of the most adventurous road trips in Australia is The Gibb River Road in Western Australia, a famous dirt track that takes you through the heart of The Kimberley, one of Australia’s last wilderness frontiers.
If you’re into 4-wheel driving, this could be your ultimate adventure.
The entire Gibb runs for approximately 700 kilometers beginning near Derby and ending near Kununurra and takes in brilliant gorges, waterfalls, cattle stations and plains, rich aboriginal history, Boab trees, 4-wheel driving, and great camping.
You can do the Gibb in either direction but road conditions depend on the time of year and completion of grading work. Travel is only recommended once the road has been graded after the wet season (around May) until the end of October
We didn’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle so only did the northern section, going into Emma’s Gorge and El Questro and back out.
Stops on the rest of the Gibb include:
Gibb River road trip
The Gibb River road trip passes by the following notable landmarks:
Windjana GorgeTunnel CreekBell GorgeAdcock GorgeGalvan’s GorgeKing Leopold RangesEmma’s GorgeZebedee SpringsEl Questro
8. Broome to Perth Road Trip, Western Australia
Coral Bay – beautiful Australian road trip destination
START | END: Broome to PerthDISTANCE: 3,900 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 2 weeks minimum
We love the West Coast of Australia. This 3,900 kilometer stretch of coastline will expose you to some of the best landscapes and beaches in the country. You have endless choices of road trips for your Australian travels.
I recommend you take at least two weeks to drive this section of WA, heck we can easily spend two weeks just in Broome, our favorite town in Australia.
Don’t forget your snorkeling gear, your camping equipment, and especially your camera. And I would also highly recommend a detour from Port Hedland inland to Karijini National Park, one of the best National Parks in Australia.
Stops on the Broome to Perth Road Trip:
Perth to Broome road trip map
The Perth to Broome road trip passes by these unmissable stops:
Cable Beach, BroomeTurquoise Bay, ExmouthNingaloo ReefSandy Bay, ExmouthCoral BayShark BayThe Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National ParkRottnest Island, Perth
9. The 75 Mile Highway, Fraser Island, QLD
On of the best road trips in Australia – on the beach!
START | END: Fraser IslandDISTANCE: 120 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 1 day
Looking for 4-wheel-drive road trips in Australia?
Did you know that 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island is classified as a part of the Bruce Highway? And that Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world?
If you want to go off-road and do some serious beach driving whilst exploring shipwrecks, pristine lakes, stunning forest, and dodging wild dingos, head over to Fraser for some of the best 4-wheel driving in the country.
Stops on the Fraser Island road trip:
The Fraser Island road trip stops at the following places:
75 Mile BeachEli CreekMaheno ShipwreckLake MackenzieKingfisher BayThe forest
10. Outback Queensland Road Trip
The Great Outback Queensland Road Trip
START | END: Alice Springs to Gold Coast
DISTANCE: 6540 km
TIME RECOMMENDED: 1-2 weeks
Coming back to the Gold Coast through Outback Queensland via Mount Isa, Winton, Longreach, and Charleville was such a nice surprise and the perfect way for us to end our 18-month Australian road trip.
We encountered some of the friendliest people along this stretch of road, not to mention the history and the landscapes on offer at the various towns.
Carnarvon Gorge National Park – perfect Aussie road trip stop
Stops on the Outback Queensland road trip:
Outback Queensland road trip
The Outback Queensland road trip passes by the following places:
Mining tour at Mt IsaTown of WintonAustralian Age of Dinosaurs, WintonQantas Founders Museum, LongreachCosmos Centre, CharlevilleCarnarvon Gorge
11. Sydney to Jervis Bay Road Trip, NSW
Grand Pacific Drive
START | END: Sydney to Jervis BayDISTANCE: 186 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 1-2 days
If you were to drive direct from Sydney to Jervis Bay it would take about 2.5 hours but there are a few spots well worth stopping for along the way.
As you leave Sydney and head south you’ll soon be driving through the Royal National Park, the second oldest National Park in the world behind only Yellowstone National Park in the USA.
Then you start the Grand Pacific Drive which takes you along the coast towards Wollongong and over the famous Sea Cliff Bridge, before continuing on to our favourite south coast region, Jervis Bay.
Stops on the South Coast road trip:
South Coast Road Trip Map
On the way to Jervis Bay, you’ll pass the following cool spots:
Sea Cliff BridgeHyams BeachGreenpatch BeachBooderee National Park
12. Launceston to Hobart Road Trip, Tasmania
Hazards Beach – one of my favorite beaches in Australia
START | END: Launceston to HobartDISTANCE: 559 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 4-5 days
Tasmania is one of Australia’s great driving destinations, and a scenic road trip from Launceston to Hobart via the east coast takes in some of Tasmania’s iconic destinations.
Starting from Launceston, head towards St Helens and spend some time at the incredible Bay of Fires and Binalong Bay before continuing south via Bicheno, Freycinet National Park, Port Arthur, and then finishing in Hobart.
This has to be one of the most spectacular road trips in Australia!
Stops on the Tasmania road trip:
East Coast Tasmanian Road Trip map
The East Coast Tasmanian road trip passes these unmissable attractions:
Bay of FiresBinalong BayBichenoWineglass Bay, Freycinet National ParkHazards Beach, Freycinet National ParkPort Arthur Historic SiteHobart
Need accommodation in Tasmania? Booking.com has over 900 properties to choose from.
13. The Nullarbor Road Trip, WA SA
Great Australian Bight Marine Park
START | END: Ceduna to NorsemanDISTANCE: 1,200 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 3-4 days
Some call it the Nullar-Boring but we really enjoyed our three-day drive across Australia’s longest road and one of the most unique road trips in Australia.
The Nullarbor is one huge stretch of land in the middle of the Eyre Highway, with the entire Eyre Highway stretching for a total of 2,700km and about 1,200km lie between Ceduna in South Australia and Norseman in Western Australia.
We found the vast and treeless Nullarbor Plain to be mesmerizing. There’s the impressive 146.6 km section of road that holds the world record for a straight length of road.
You can connect to this journey from Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth and drive west to east or east to west along the highway.
Things to see & do include the Nullarbor Links golf course of 18 holes spanning 1365 km with a hole at every town and roadhouse between Ceduna and Kalgoorlie, the Bunda Cliffs, whale watching at Head of Bight (June to October), Border Village, Eucla telegraph station, wild camels and emus.
We only traveled the section from Norseman in Western Australia to Streaky Bay in South Australia over three days and will have to drive the entire length next time.
Stops on the Nullabor road trip:
Nullabor road trip map
Don’t miss the following attractions on the Nullabor road trip:
The 146.6 km straight length of roadRemote roadhousesGreat Australian Bight Marine Park
14. The Eyre Peninsula, South Australia
Coffin Bay National Park
START | END: EllistonDISTANCE: 374 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 3-6 days
Fancy a bit of seafood? Keen to play in the underwater world with seals and sharks? What about spectacular rugged coastlines and pristine beaches with nary a soul to be found?
In a nutshell, or should I say oyster shell, this is the Eyre Peninsula.
We completed a six-day road trip of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia and it’s a worthy addition to the best road trips in Australia list.
Stops on an Eyre Peninsula Road Trip:
A short Eyre peninsula road trip
Some of the unmissable stops on the Eyre Peninsula road trip are:
Swimming with sea lions in Port LincolnPort Lincoln National ParkOysters at Coffin BayGreat Ocean Drive Elliston
Swimming with Sea Lions, Port Lincol
Watch Our Video from our Eyre Peninsula Road Trip:
Watch our videos of the Eyre Peninsula road trip, including swimming with sea lions. Be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel.
Looking for accommodation in South Australia? Booking.com has over 1,000 to choose from.
15. Kangaroo Island Road Trip, South Australia
Vivonne Bay on Kangaroo Island
START | END: Kangaroo IslandDISTANCE: 155 kmTIME RECOMMENDED: 4-5 days
You can be pretty sure when visiting Kangaroo Island in South Australia you’ll spot a koala dozing up a tree, seals playing on the beach, dolphins swimming in the sea, and of course, kangaroos bouncing around.
Along the 155km length of Australia’s third largest island, you’ll also discover soaring cliffs and rugged coastlines, dense national parks, towering sand dunes, and untouched beaches.
Most of the island is preserved and protected giving you a natural and pure experience for years to come.
Stops on a Kangaroo Island Road Trip:
Seal Bay, Kangaroo Island
Make sure you don’t miss the below stops on your Kangaroo Island road trip:
The Dudley Peninsula (oh the winery views!!)KingscoteSwim with the dolphinsFlinders Chase National Park (with the koalas)Remarkable RocksNorth Coast BeachesSeal Bay (with the seals)Sandboarding Little Sahara Desert
More Australia Road Trip Inspiration:
Do you need more inspiration for your Aussie road trip? Then check out the following resources:
Before You Go
So there you have it, those are the best road trips in Australia. You can either complete these separately as individual trips or if you have loads of time to spare, combine them to create the ‘Big Lap’ of Australia.
This is essentially a circular road trip of the entire country and can take anywhere from 3 months to 18 months.
Whatever road trip you decide to do, make sure you have your vehicle prepared and serviced before you go. There’s nothing worse than breaking down in the middle of the Outback!
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Did we miss anything? What are your favorite road trips in Australia? Share in the comments below.