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Road trip Australia: 20 ideas for your next adventure

To road trip Australia is an epic adventure indeed – whether you’re taking on a trip spanning thousands of kilometres and many weeks, or a smaller journey to a local sight. Here are some ideas for road trips in Australia, to get you started with your trip planning.

A colonial era ruin sits in a paddock. Above, clouds gather. Discover some of the best road trips in Australia.
Snapped while driving around regional Victoria.

Australia is a country that’s built for road trips. It’s massive, has diverse land and scenery, plus a range of different landmarks and sights.

I would encourage any visitor to Oz to hit the road at some point – it’s a wonderful way to travel. Not only does a road trip become an adventure in itself, but you’ll stop in small towns, spreading the tourist dollar to communities that need it.

That and driving is much kinder on the environment than flying.

Yet, the challenge with a country as big as Australia is – where to start?

With the help of fellow travel writers, I’ve compiled this list of road trip routes in Australia.

Some are multi-day adventures, often traversing multiple states and territories.

Others are short trips of just a few hours, easily doable in a day or two, if time is a factor in your planning.

For some, there’s a destination at the end that is the catalyst for the trip, such as the reward of driving to Uluru or a certain town or city.

Or, it’s a case of getting from point A to B, but the highlights are the scenery and sights along the way.

Either way, these journeys should serve as inspiration for your trip planning for Australia, or motivate you to get out, get in a car and explore more of your own backyard!


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Need a set of wheels to discover some of these Australian road trips?

This guide to the best Australian road trips will cover:

Road trip Australia: absolutely epic routes

These are the road trips that will take you on a adventure traversing 100’s of kilometres and in some cases, multiple state lines.

Uluru's 'Base Walk' entrance – a path outlined in red dirt, lined up scrub and trees, with Uluru looming up ahead. Some of the best road trips in Australia feature Uluru as a stop or destination.
The entrance to the Base Walk at Uluru.

Canberra to Uluru

By Helena of Through An Aussie’s Eyes

Distance: 6,057 kilometres

States & Territories covered: ACT, NSW, VIC, SA, NT

Uluru has always been high up on my bucket list. When we started to plan this trip we thought, why not drive it and see the Australian outback?

This drive takes you from Canberra to Uluru (via Port Lincoln one way) and back again. I seriously loved every single minute of it, even if we drove 6,057 kilometres.

We left Canberra in the early hours and drove to Mildura, Victoria.

While in Mildura, pop onto Orange World, a little family run orchard for citrus fruits.

Then drive on to Port Lincoln to go cage diving with great white sharks (no chum is used, it’s all about acoustics).

Although Port Lincoln is out of the way, it’ll give you the opportunity to see some beautiful animals in their natural environment.

Next, you can drive up the middle of Australia and spend the night in Coober Pedy.

This opal mining town is a must-see. A lot of it is underground and its quirkiness will intrigue you to explore.

While driving in the outback, you’ll see a lot of nothing, except endless horizon. You will come across large signs that offer a photo opportunity. These opportunities don’t disappoint.

Lake Hart, a dried up salt lake is a favourite sight on this journey, as the white salt is a great contrast to the red soil.

And when you finally arrive at Uluru and Kata Tjuta, these landmarks will not disappoint.

Breakaways Conservation Reserve. Red desert mountains meet a vast blue sky.
The stark colours of Outback Australia.

Adelaide to Darwin

By Margarita of The Wildlife Diaries

Distance: 3000 kilometres

States & Territories covered: South Australia & the Northern Territory

Traversing the entire Australian continent from south to north, the Adelaide to Darwin road trip is epic even by our standards.

But while the driving distances involved can seem quite daunting, the rewards include some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks and a myriad of secret sites.

We did this road trip as a wildlife watching trip, visiting most of the National Parks along the way and exploring the incredible variety of habitats. Here are some of the main highlights of the trip.

Flinders Ranges National Park is the oldest mountain range in Australia and possibly the world.

It is also one of the best places in the country to see different species of kangaroo as well as the adorable yellow-footed rock wallaby.

Breakaways Conservation Reserve has such a stark and barren landscape that it featured in sci-fi films like Pitch Black, The Red Planet and Mad Max.

Uluru is Australia’s most iconic geological landmark. While it is the Rock that draws visitors to the area, the surrounding landscape of red sand dunes framed by the endless blue sky is no less spectacular.

Kings Canyon and Western McDonnell Ranges can be explored via Mereenie Loop Road. These ancient rocky landscapes have been carved by water and wind over millions of years and now provide habitat to a plethora of wildlife from dingos to Thorny devils.

Kakadu National Park in the tropical north of the continent is the land of Crocodile Dundee and Australia’s infamous man-eating crocodiles. While swimming is not an option in the park, you can safely explore its billabongs and see abundant wildlife on river cruises.

View of a beautiful blue beach lined by green cliffs, which can be found along NSW's Sapphire Coast. The Sydney to Melbourne drive is a popular road trip in Australia with some stunning scenery.
Stick to the Sapphire Coast when driving south in the east – you won’t be disappointed.

Melbourne to Sydney

By Michael of Time Travel Turtle

Distance: 1500 kilometres

States & Territories covered: Victoria & New South Wales

There are two main ways to drive between Melbourne and Sydney.

One is inland, the other along the coast. I prefer the coastal route because there’s a lot more variety of things to see along the way.

The drive is about 1500 kilometres long and I would recommend doing it over at least a week.

Starting from Melbourne, you can head down to the beautiful beaches of Wilsons Promontory and do a detour to the old gold mining town of Walhalla.

Coming along the Victorian coast, it’s worth stopping somewhere like Metung to experience the Gippsland Lakes, and I also recommend staying at Croajingalong National Park further along.

As you come into New South Wales, there are some great coastal towns like Narooma or Pambula.

I would then suggest going inland and spending a day in Canberra if you haven’t been before – otherwise continue up the coast towards somewhere like Kiama.

I think too many people fly between the two cities – but you really need to drive between Melbourne and Sydney to appreciate all the wonders in between.

The national parks are gorgeous and not full of tourists, and the coastal communities are the laidback Australia that people expect. Many locals wouldn’t even have heard of some of the stops on this road trip!

There are plenty of hotels along the way and you don’t need to book too far in advance, unless it’s during school holidays, when accommodation can fill up.

If you have a campervan, there are also lots of holidays parks on this route.

Editor’s note: Check out this guide to driving from Melbourne to Newcastle, if you want to extend your trip. And here’s some ideas for weekend getaways from Melbourne.

A building in outback Queensland with a mural painted on its side, featuring drovers and wild brumbies in desert scrub.
There are some really interesting towns in Outback Queensland.

Camooweal to Rockhampton

By Kathy of 50 Shades of Age

Distance: 1500 kilometres

States & Territories covered: The Northern Territory & Queensland

There’s a lot to be said about Australia’s epic coastline, featuring some of the most stunning coastal scenery in the world.

However, for a change of pace I recommend an Outback Australia road trip.

The trip from Camooweal, just across the border of the Northern Territory, to Rockhampton on the Capricorn Coast of Queensland, will both surprise you and enthrall you.

The gateway town of Camooweal with The Barkly Tableland Heritage Centre and the Drovers Camp Information Centre are perfect for a quick stop or a short overnight stay.

Nearby are the famous sinkholes and caves in the Camooweal National Park.

The iconic Australian mining city of Mount Isa is dominated by the sprawling Mount Isa Mine, with its 270m exhaust stack from the lead smelter.

Get a bird’s-eye view of the town from the Hilary Street Lookout.

Cloncurry is where the Royal Flying Doctor Service was established in 1928 by John Flynn. It was also involved in the beginnings of Qantas, with the original Qantas Hangar still in use at the aerodrome.

The town made famous by the discovery of over 3,300 dinosaur footprints, and the largest dinosaur in Australia on properties outside the town – Winton. Travel back in time 95 million years with a visit to the Dinosaur Stampede at Lark Quarry Conservation Park.

The thriving centre of Outback Queensland where they say “heritage was born on the back of legends”, Longreach is not just a town but a way of life.

Home to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Qantas Founders Museum and the Powerhouse Museum.

Travel through the Central Queensland Gemfields through places such as Anakie, Sapphire, Willows and Rubyvale. The region has a mix of commercial mining, hand mining and fossicking for the gem of all gemstone, the sapphire.

Emerald, located in Queensland’s Central Highlands, is the hub for the vast and diverse agricultural and mining operations of the region. Nearby is the huge expanse of water called Lake Maraboon.

Rockhampton is the “Beef Capital of Queensland” and nearby Yeppoon located on the Capricorn Coast. You can easily spend weeks here, exploring.

the Pinnacles, which can be visited on a road trip north from Perth, with a dark grey stormy sky as a backdrop. Discover why this is one of Australia's best multi-day road trips.
You can visit the Pinnacles Desert on this particular road trip.

Perth to Coral Bay

By Kylie of Between England and Iowa

Distance: 2700 kilometres

States & Territories covered: Western Australia

An amazing Australian road trip to take is between Perth and Coral Bay in Western Australia.

When taken as a round trip journey, it can be completed in 7 days, if travelling fast!

We hired a Toyota Hiace camper van as this gave us some flexibility on where we could stay as we could pull up in a free rest area and sleep in our vehicle.

Starting just 90 minutes north of Perth is Lancelin, with its amazing white sand dunes, perfect for sand boarding.

The Nambung National Park is home to the Pinnacles Desert, with hundreds of limestone pillars rising from the desert floor. You can book on a day trip tour from Perth to witness this beautiful naturally attraction, if you’re short on time.

Coral Bay is the most northern point of this particular Australian road trip. It’s on the edge of the Ningaloo Reef which has great snorkelling and lots of opportunities to see marine animals.

Heading back south, a must see is the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, with ‘Shell Beach’ and Monkey Mia.

Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is a dolphin research centre. Here, dolphins will visit the beach daily, giving you the opportunity to get up close to these awesome creatures in the wild. You can also stay on site, in rooms with a pool or beach view.

Kalbarri National Park is another worthy stop with lots of viewpoints and interesting rock formations.

Hutt Lagoon in Port Gregory is also known as Pink Lake. The vividness of the lake varies, but it is indeed exactly what it say it is… a pink lake!

As with any road trip, there is so much you could stop and see but the stretch between Perth and Coral Bay gives you a great introduction to Western Australia.

Editor’s note: Check out this detailed road trip itinerary for Perth to Kalbarri.

People checking out the view from 'The Gap' in Albany, in southwest Australia.
The Gap in Albany, WA

South West Western Australia

By Keri of Our Globetrotters

Distance: Around 600 kilometres from Perth to Albany

States & Territories covered: Western Australia

Road tripping the whole state of WA can be somewhat overwhelming with over 20,000 kilometres of coastline!

However, a much more manageable trip is to take on the southern corner of WA encompassing Perth through to Bunbury, Busselton, Margaret River, then through the Southern Forests and on to Denmark and Albany on the south coast.

Although you will not touch on all WA has to offer, this round trip will certainly give you a brilliant taster of the fresh produce, dramatic coasts and tall timber in this lush and bio-diverse corner of Australia.

You will want to break your trip up into several nights stay, or you’ll do nothing but drive.

We suggest at the absolute minimum you plan stops in the Margaret River Region and somewhere in the Great Southern, be it Denmark or Albany.

The most notable landmarks and natural features you won’t want to miss include the Busselton Jetty – the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere. Experience the wineries and boutique breweries of Margaret River.

Visit the fascinating lime stone caves of the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge and stand at the most south-westerly point of Australia, Cape Leeuwin. The winter sees frequent whale spotting along the coast, while spring brings with it beautiful wild flowers and mild days.

Onward to the southern forests you won’t want to miss climbing at least one of the Fire Climb Trees in the Pemberton region, walk among the giant tingle trees of Walpole in the Valley of the Giants and continue along the dramatic Southern Ocean coastline to Albany.

A visit to the Torndirrup National Park and the famous Gap, Natural Bridge and Blowholes is a must, as well as the National ANZAC Centre.

A view of Uluru from the Base Walk around the rock.
Uluru, Australia’s most famous big rock.

Alice Springs to Uluru

Kenny of Knycx Journeying

Distance: 470 kilometres

States & Territories covered: The Northern Territory

The road trip from Alice Springs to the ‘Belly Button of the Earth‘ through the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a very special journey in Australia.

The National Park stretches across 1,326 square kilometres of Australia’s desert outback. Its red desert, rock formations, fauna and flora, hiking and camping experiences are truly unique to nature and outdoor activity lovers.

The entire road trip takes 3 days or more.

It’s around a 6 hour drive from Alice Springs to Uluru. You can do as we did and stop by a camel farm mid-way to break up the drive.

Once you get there, walk around giant rock formation, which is also a sacred place to Australia’s First Nations peoples. Learned about the Anangu peoples’ history, culture, and their deep connection of the rock with their lives.

Try to time your visit to Uluru with sunset, for some truly stunning sights. Self-walk or jump on a guided tour, which includes transport, wine ands nibblies and even a BBQ dinner.

Wake up the next day refreshed and continue on to Kata Tjuta, to walk through the Valley of the Winds – a narrow passage of the rocks that is very windy.

You can then set up camp at Kings Creek Station, and have an enjoyable night around the bonfire and showering in the wild.

It is a great place for stargazing, as the desert has very little cloud and light pollution is minimal.

Spend the last day of your trip at Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park before cruising back to Alice Springs.

The canyon has breathtaking views, rippled rock surfaces and beehive-like domes. It’s a great way to conclude an adventure in the outback.

A road with scrub either side that leads from Cairns to Brisbane.
Backroads in Queensland.

Cairns to Brisbane

By Sinead of Map Made Memories

Distance: 1700 kilometres

States & Territories covered: QLD

We took a fantastic road trip from Cairns to Brisbane, travelling for six weeks in a campervan with our three children.

Here’s our itinerary, which you can follow for yourself.

After exploring busy Cairns and a wonderful trip to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, drive down the stunning Queensland coast.

We visited tourist hotspots such as Hervey Bay, Noosa and Airlie Beach, but decided to focus on exploring small-town Australia, both on the coast and inland.

Drop into coastal Bowen and treat yourself to a film at the vintage cinema which famously premiered the Baz Luhrmann film ‘Australia’, filmed in the local area.

We met the owner and ended up enjoying a fascinating private tour with him. He even asked us to sign the visitors’ book alongside the likes of Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman!

In pretty Tin Can Bay, stand at dawn in the estuary water to feed wild dolphins at the Barnacles Dolphin Centre.

Enjoy endless beach-combing walks and learn how to surf at Coolum Beach.

A detour inland takes you through the green rolling scenery and pretty waterfalls of the Atherton Tablelands. We chanced across a tea plantation where we watched a family of tree kangaroos playing for hours.

Pass through the charming town of Maryborough. If you’re lucky, you can check out the quirky Mary Poppins Festival, held in winter.

Drive into the outback to the gem towns of Sapphire and Emerald where you can go fossicking for sapphires.

The incredible starry nights of the clear skies of the outback is something that our family will never forget.

A procession of camels being led through sand dunes.
Exploring sand dunes along the east coast.

Brisbane to Sydney

By Eloise of My Favourite Escapes

Distance: 930 kilometres

States & Territories covered: QLD, NSW

A road trip along Australia’s East Coast will please all travellers.

You can drive from Brisbane to Sydney in 12 hours, but most travellers take at least a few days for this road trip, and some even take a few months!

On the way from Brisbane to Sydney, hop between lovely coastal cities with their beautiful touch of nature, such as Byron Bay or Port Macquarie.

Shopping addicts will prefer busy Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, with its skyscrapers a few metres away from the ocean.

If you’re a nature lover like me, you can choose to skip all the towns and stick to the National Parks and their camping areas. It’s the best and cheapest option for those who have a tent or a self-contained vehicle.

The coast between Brisbane and Sydney offers great snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities. Stradbroke Island, Byron Bay, the Solitary Islands (near Coffs Harbour) and Port Stephens are all good choices.

There are myriads of national parks to break up the drive and stretch your legs.

From waterfalls in Dorrigo National Park, to sand dunes in Anna Bay. The rainforest of Springbrook National Park, to the wineries of the Hunter Valley, the landscapes vary and the contrast is stark.

The diversity of the nature experiences all along the coast is what first attracted me to do this road trip, especially for scuba diving.

It’s an easy trip to organise that doesn’t require advance planning. Just get in a car and go!

People dotted along Byron Bay beach. The drive from Sydney to Byron is a popular Australian Road trip.
Looking out over Byron Bay Beach.

Sydney to Byron Bay

By Hayley of A Lovely Planet

Distance: 900 kilometres

States & Territories covered: New South Wales

Enjoy two of the most iconic destinations in New South Wales and plenty of great scenery in between on this classic Australian road trip.

I’ve done this route on more than one occasion, and it offers some of the states most beautiful beaches, great food stops and excellent surf.

Start your trip in the cosmopolitan city of Sydney.

Walk the Harbour Bridge, admire the Opera House and indulge in some of the fantastic Sydney avocado dishes on offer, before relaxing on famous Bondi Beach.

From Sydney, head to Port Stephens to spend the night. Make sure you book accommodation in advance.

Go quad biking on the Worimi Sand Dunes – the largest coastal moving sand mass in the Southern Hemisphere.

Then take a relaxing walk along beautiful Fingal BaY to Shark Island.

Onto Crescent Head, which is a National Surfing Reserve, so grab your board and hit the beach. For stunning views, head up to Crescent Head lookout.

From there, enjoy Yamba’s beautiful beaches, including Pippi Beach, Main Beach and Angourie Beach. The latter is also a National Surfing Reserve.

Yamba is famous for prawns, so make sure you try some seafood while you’re here!

Finish in Byron Bay, Australia’s bohemian beachside town with great surf, bars and shopping. Visit the tea tree lakes and relax with a yoga class or two.

Road trip Australia: shorter journeys

Here are some other options if you’re short on time, or just don’t fancy taking a long road trip in Australia.

View of some of the Twelve Apostles, the most famous sight on the Great Ocean Road. This coastal drive is one of the best Australian road trips for scenery and attractions.
Some of the 12 Apostles, a sight along the Great Ocean Road.

Great Ocean Road

By Talek of Travels With Talek

Distance: 243 kilometres

States & Territories covered: Victoria

The Great Ocean Road can easily be visited on a day trip from Melbourne.

The GOR, as it is sometimes referred to, is a 243 kilometre (151 mile) section of scenic highway that stretches from the picturesque town of Torquay with its wind-swept trees, to Allansford.

This breathtakingly beautiful road is thought to be one of the world’s most scenic. This is an entirely justified consideration.

There are many sights to keep you busy along the route.

Perhaps the most famous of these is known as the Twelve Apostles.

These are actually several large stone formations jutting out of the water close to the shore. Nowadays there are less than 12 formations, but the name’s stuck.

There is also a nice collection of pretty beach towns with their colourful beach houses and quirky stores, such as Lorne and Apollo Bay.

Discovering the Great Ocean Road on a single day trip may make for a long day, but if your time is limited, it is definitely worth it.

If you have more time, you can spend an entire week or more stopping at the different attractions and just relaxing at the beach.

In Federation Square in Melbourne is one of the best organised Tourist Information Centres I’ve ever been to. This place had everything.

Here is where we booked our travel on the Great Ocean Road. The buses conveniently pick you up at a centralised location and off you go.

There are several stops along the way including one for lunch. At the end of the day you are dropped off at the same location – easy peasy.

Editor’s note: For more, check out our extensive guide to the Great Ocean Road.

Klook.com

Travelling along the Great Alpine Road to Mount Hotham during winter. The mountain ahead has patches of snow.
Driving over Mount Hotham in winter.

Great Alpine Road

By Rohini of Why You Wander

Distance: 340 kilometres

States & Territories covered: Victoria

The Great Alpine Road is a long, country road in Victoria, Australia.

It takes you through rolling mountains, past eucalyptus trees and breathtaking scenery.

It starts in the town of Wangaratta and continues on til Bairnsdale, while passing through the Victorian Alps.

This road is a total drive of 5 hours or 340 kilometres. Considering its beauty and endless side trips, it would be hard to complete the road in this short amount of time!

This is a great road trip to take if you are driving between Sydney and Melbourne.

If driving down from Sydney, the road starts at Wangaratta & heads towards Bright. We recommend spending the night in Bright, as it’s one of the bigger towns in the region.

Bright has a lot of activities and is known for its its vibrant autumn foliage.

If you’re looking for a break on the way to Bright, the distilleries at Milawa, food and wineries at Rutherglen and Gapsted Wines at Myrtleford are ideal stopovers.

The next stretch is from Bright to Mount Hotham and is the best with its dramatic scenery. This road is quite windy and not for the fainthearted!

You get to see silver stalked Eucalyptus trees & snow gum trees on both sides of the road. There are also a few accommodation options in Dinner Plain and Falls Creek along the way, at their alpine villages

The last stretch is from Mount Hotham to Metung. These narrow roads run through some of Victoria’s oldest gold-rich fields.

If you want to extend your trip, you can take a side trip to the regional cities of Ballarat or Bendigo.

Considering the lesser number of restaurants as well as petrol stations on the way, this trip has to be a well planned one.

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, spend a night glamping in the snow at Mount Hotham, in the Alpine region.

The road through Black Spur Drive, lined with lush green ferns.
The very picturesque Black Spur Drive in Victoria.

Black Spur Drive

By Ben of The Sabbatical Guide

Distance: 27 kilometres

States & Territories covered: Victoria

Black Spur Drive is the best little road-trip in Australia that you’ve never heard of.

The drive is located just out of the pretty Yarra Valley town of Healesville on one end and alpine base Marysville on the other.

It’s a 27km stretch of road that winds through an ancient Eucalyptus forest that would be the perfect place to set an upcoming ‘Jurassic Park’ movie.

The trees themselves are record breakers – the tallest flowering plants in the world, and second tallest trees behind the great Redwoods in America.

It is a truly surreal place, and is a small showcase of the sheer variety of Australia’s landscape.

It’s not all red dust roads and sweeping shorelines, as the popular photos might suggest. Places like Black Spur Drive are unexpected finds in this huge and diverse nation.

While the drive will only take you half an hour, chances are you’ll do it twice (there and back) and stop in one of the many picnic spots on the way.

It’s thoroughly worth it and there is loads to do around Healesville too, making it a perfect weekend break from Melbourne. Or take a side trip to the nearby Dandenong Ranges, to explore its gardens and temperate rainforests.

The beautiful portrait of a young female farmer and an older man sharing a tender moment with his horse on the silo art in Rosebery, painted by street artist Kaff-eine.
Silo art in Rosebery, Victoria.

The Silo Art Trails of Victoria

By LC of Birdgehls

Distance: At least 200 kilometres & 60 kilometres

States & Territories covered: Victoria

If you want to get off the beaten track in Victoria, I highly recommend doing one (or both!) of the silo art trails.

Each trail will take you through the back roads of Victoria, leading you to stop and explore interesting small towns that you might have otherwise driven past.

The first and original Silo Art Trail is located in the Wimmera Mallee region of Victoria (in the state’s north-west). 12 silos in small towns across the region currently make up the trail.

It starts in the town of Rupunyap and will take you as far north as Patchewollock, which is under an hour away from the state border.

If you’re beginning your journey from Melbourne, this trail is best done as a two day trip. You can spend the night in Horsham, the biggest town in this particular part of the state.

The second Silo Art Trail is located in Victoria’s High Country.

You can use the town of Benalla (three hours from Melbourne) as your starting point. This town is well worth exploring in its own right, as it’s covered in murals.

From there, drive north. You can loop this particular trail in around two hours, depending on how long you wish to spend in each town.

This much shorter journey can be easily done as a day trip from Melbourne. It’s a lot of driving, but well-worth it!

There is other silo art popping up across the state and country. Keep out for these brightly coloured public murals on your next road trip in Australia.

Views off the coast of Bruny Island in Tasmania, with trees and clear blue water.
Looking out over the water from Bruny Island.

Hobart to Bruny Island

By Jan of Budget Travel Talk

Distance: 83 kilometres

States & Territories covered: Tasmania

Tasmania is the apple of many a tourist’s eye. There is something very sweet about this triangle state punctuating the bottom of Australia.

It’s hard to leave the capital of Hobart with it’s heritage houses and port-side warehouses turned bars. The city vibe is quickly replaced by country feels on the road trip south to Bruny Island.

Kettering, the ferry departure point for Bruny Island, is less than an hour away on the direct route but if you slow down and take the back roads there is much beauty to see.

Just south of Hobart, so close that it is considered a suburb, is the first stop at Kingston Beach.

It’s an early morning departure at Kingston Beach Esplanade. Grab a heart-starter at Robbie Browns or sit out and enjoy the water views. Kids will love the awesome playground right on the sand.

Set the GPS for Tinderbox on the C624 Derwent River route. With so much water around it’s hard to remember these are river beaches.

Tinderbox boat ramp provides access to Tinderbox Marine Reserve. An information board ramp side explains it all. See sponge gardens and kelp forests with snorkel or scuba. Kayaking and boating are a given.

On a chilly March morning we’re more interested in above water scenery, which charms with reflections, moody skies, sail boats and farmhouses. That land-mass across the water is North Bruny Island.

Continue on the C624 and C623 to the town of Margate. They’ve filled a stationary train with pancakes, lolly shops, cafes, shoe shop and eco stores. It’s a fun place to get side-tracked and has playground and toilet facilities.

Follow the B68 to Kettering Ferry Terminal, only 16 minutes away. I’m a sucker for harbours and Kettering harbour is up there with the best.

Still blue water, a profusion of yacht masts, blue skies and of course the Bruny Island Ferry Terminal.

Read about the two ferries that run the route continuously and all about beautiful Bruny Island. And extend your stay by spending the night.

The sun setting over the ocean at Feycinet Park in Tasmania. Some of the best Australian road trips can be found within the island state.
Sunset in Freycinet Park.

Great Eastern Drive

By James of Where You’re Between

Distance: 270-odd kilometres (depending on where you begin)

States & Territories covered: Tasmania

Tasmania may be Australia’s best kept secret, and the east coast is just one of many spectacular areas on the island.

A road trip along Tasmania’s east coast takes in mile after mile of heavenly sandy beaches, rolling mountain ranges, national parks and plenty of wildlife.

Unlike the rainforests and wilderness that covers Tasmania’s west coast, the east coast is far more sedate.

A starting point should be Port Arthur, the former penal colony which today is an open air museum. The ruined remains of the old prison and the surrounding town are a fascinating insight in Tasmania’s history.

Heading north, a ferry trip across to Maria Island is a popular detour. The island is home to spectacular beaches and forests, as well as kangaroos, wallabies and wombats.

A little further up the coast is Freycinet National Park. One of many highlights on Tasmania’s east coast, Freycinet is simply breathtaking. If you’re adventurous, hike the path up to the spectacular view overlooking Wineglass Bay. You can jump on a day tour from Hobart, if you don’t have a car.

Don’t pass Bicheno without calling in to East Coast Natureworld, an animal sanctuary full of every kind of animal found in Tasmania. This is a great place to see and learn all about the island’s most famous inhabitants, Tasmanian Devils.

Just off the Tasman highway next to Scamander is one of the most blissful and secluded beaches on the whole island.

Eight kilometres long and always completely deserted, Wrinklers Beach is practically paradise.

The further north you get the east coast somehow manages to get even more beautiful. Just past the popular surfing spot at Bingalong Bay is the Bay of Fires.

Here the heavenly beaches are lined with huge rocks stained orange by lichen, surrounded by the forests of several national parks.

Keep an eye out for whales in the sea who often pass by Tasmania’s east coast for several months of the year.

Editor’s note: For an alternative view of Wineglass Bay, access it by boat! Consider taking a cruise to the bay instead, allowing you to see much of the wildlife that Tassie is loved for.

vIEW FROM dulong Lookout, looking over the coast and hinterland of this scenic drive.
The view from Dulong Lookout towards the coast.

Blackall Range Scenic Drive

By Kati of Queensland and Beyond

Distance: 55 kilometres

States & Territories covered: Queensland

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast may not offer epic road trips but there are plenty of gorgeous scenic drives around. And one of the best local road trips is the Blackall Range Tourist Drive.

This drive takes you through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland past a few quaint towns, plenty of lookouts and short walks. There’s enough to keep you busy for a day or two.

In and of itself, the scenic drive through the Blackall Range is relatively short, only about 55 kilometres from start to finish.

It might just take 1-2 hours to drive it but it’s best to plan a whole day if you actually want to get out of your car and explore the area.

Since it’s an official tourist drive with plenty of road signs along the way, you really shouldn’t get lost – beyond on purpose, of course.

Ideally, start at Nambour in the north and finish at Landsborough in the south.

Along the way, stop at one of the towns (Mapleton, Montville or ) for a bite to eat. My favourite by far is the Food Co. Café in Maleny. Their fromagerie is fabulous, as is their gelato!

But the best part about this drive is really the views.

As you meander your way up from the coast into the hilly hinterland, you’ll find plenty of lookouts with views over the sprawling Sunshine Coast. Winter or early mornings are best if you don’t want to be engulfed in humid haze.

If you want to stretch your legs, or simply see some gorgeous rainforest, explore the short rainforest walk at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

Plus you’ll get great views over the Glass House Mountains from here! The Kondalilla Falls Circuit is a longer hiking option but be aware, it’s also super popular, especially on weekends.

A woman in bathers sits on a rock at Mossman Gorge in Queensland.
Mossman Gorge in Far-North Queensland.

Cairns to Daintree

By Sophie of Travels of Sophie

Distance: Up to 110 kilometres

States & Territories covered: Queensland

If you’re travelling to Australia, then the Daintree Rainforest should absolutely be on your Australia bucket list.

Daintree Rainforest is the oldest rainforest in the world, believed to be around 110 million years old!

It’s divided into two sections:

  • Mossman Gorge (80km north of Cairns)
  • Cape Tribulation (110km north of Cairns).

This road trip from Cairns to Daintree will take you along the Great Barrier Reef Drive, hugging two World Heritage Sites, the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland.

The scenic drive passes beautiful beaches and ocean views, through Mossman Gorge and its lush rainforest, over the Daintree River up to Cape Tribulation.

I would recommend taking at least 4 days for this trip, but there’s so much to see that you could easily make it a lot longer if you have the time.

From Cairns, you will head north towards Port Douglas, passing several beaches, including Trinity Beach, Palm Cove and Ellis Beach.

Plan some time to stop at these and the many viewpoints along the way. Yule Point is a particular favourite of mine at low tide.

Port Douglas provides a much more relaxed feel than Cairns and is a perfect base from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef.

Make sure you watch a sunset at Rex Smeal Park and explore Four Mile Beach.

Then, continue north. Mossman Gorge will be your first taste of the tropical rainforest.

Here you can wander through the forest and cool off in the crystal-clear waters flowing over granite boulders.

To reach Cape Tribulation, you will cross the Daintree River by ferry and become fully immersed in the wild, untouched rainforest.

Take time to stop at the lookouts and keep your eyes peeled for cassowary and other wildlife along the way.

Arrive at Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef.

From here, there are many different adventures you can take, from the many boardwalks to a 4WD adventure, horse riding, exotic fruit tasting, cultural tours and more!

Based in Port Douglas? Explore tours to Cape Tribulation:

Klook.com

Scenic Skyway Cable Car, leading up to the top of Sydney's Blue Mountains.
The Cable Car within the Blue Mountains.

Sydney to the Blue Mountains

By Clemens of Travellers Archive

Distance: 70-odd kilometres

States & Territories covered: New South Wales

The Blue Mountains are Sydney’s backyard wilderness, a one-million-hectare World Heritage-listed piece of pure nature.

It’s the kind of experience where the road trip is as enjoyable as the destination.

Grab a rental car in Sydney and drive west along the M4 motorway through the city’s outer urban areas.

You’ll pass the picturesque towns of Hazelbrook and Faulconbridge along the way.

Be sure to make a short stop until you drive further towards your final destination: the beautiful town of Leura with tree-lined and cobblestoned streets and small houses with steam coming out of their chimneys. It can be a popular destination, so make sure you book accommodation in advance

Visit the town’s antiques stores and grab a pizza at the super hip Leura Garage (84 Railway Parade).

From Leura, make sure to visit the amazing Wentworth Falls, as well as the charming town of Katoomba. From here, it’s a short drive to Echo Point.

This is the very best place to see the famous Three Sisters – a serrated sandstone trio.

The Blue Mountains are a true playground for climbers and hikers, as well as for kids who look for the real outdoor adventure.

Something that children will love is the glass-floored Scenic Skyway, Australia’s highest cable car, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

View of some of the coastline from Byron Bay to Noosa.
The coastline from Byron to Noosa is quite pretty.

Byron Bay to Noosa

By Leanne of The Globetrotter GP

Distance: 300 kilometres

States & Territories covered: New South Wales & Queensland

Starting in colourful Byron Bay, this trip will take you north along the coast to beautiful Noosa.

There are so many things to do in Byron Bay, that you will want to spend at least 3 days here.

Walk the pretty lighthouse route and spot whales from the coastal path. Go sea kayaking and spot dolphins. Visit a colourful market or one of the stunning beaches.

Your next stop should be The Gold Coast. The main highlight here are the many theme parks, to let your inner child go wild!

From The Gold Coast, head north to Brisbane and spend a few days in this cosmopolitan city. Plan for your trip by booking accommodation in advance.

There are some lovely islands off the coast which you can day trip to. It’s worth taking a river boat trip to Lone Pine koala sanctuary to learn about these cute native animals. Save time and avoid disappointment. book your ticket in advance.

End your trip in beautiful Noosa, a place often compared to Byron Bay.

Like Byron, it’s a small town with a laid back vibe and is home to some stunning beaches where you can relax, after your scenic drive along the coast.

Have you been on a road trip in Australia? Where did you go and what was memorable about it? Or is road tripping in Oz still a pipe dream and if so – where would you like to drive to?

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4 Comments

  1. This post has given me inspiration to get back on the road again! There’s so much that I’ve already seen but then there’s so much that I’m yet to discover. Thanks for this great collection of road trips.

  2. Living near the Great Ocean Road I have to call that road trip my favourite but there are so many goodies on this list! It’s interesting to see some that I haven’t heard of before.

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