There are a few journeys that can match the vastness, the adventure, and the accomplishment of an Australian road trip. Packed with wide open spaces and punctuated by breathtaking sunsets, any route you take is going to be unique and memorable. In case you don’t have enough time to drive across the continent, here are the 5 best road trip routes Down Under.
So pack your bags, take those driving lessons, and make sure the old 4WD is in good condition. Get going!
The Great Ocean Road in Victoria
Start your 243-kilometre road trip from Torquay, with the ocean on your side. You’ll see some of Australia’s most astonishing coastline. Your drive will be adorned with sun burnt cliffs, sihpwrecks, and the famous Twelve Apostles. Forbes ranks this route as one of the top seven day trips from Melbourne.
At a leisurely pace, the trip should take you no fewer than 10.5 hours to complete. You may take more time if you decide to stop to ride the waves of the country’s famous surfing beaches.
The Gibb River Road in Western Australia
This 660-kilometre trip will take you approximately six days to complete. You’ll drive your 4WD across the Kimberley region, ending in Wyndham. The absence of seascapes will be compensated for by the amazing wilderness. There are cattle stations, Aboriginal sites, gorges, waterfalls, and rock art. You’ll also be taken on a historical side trip, learning about the pioneers of the area.
From Cairns to Cape York in Queensland
Your over 1000-kilometre Queensland trip will start in Cairns and end in Australia’s northernmost point, Cape York. It will take you around eight days to reach the end of the trip. A 4WD will allow you to explore all the national parks surrounding the Peninsula Developmental Road. Make your way through crocodile-infested river crossings, paying close attention to the rock art formations and rainforests around your route. Make sure you don’t miss the Wet Tropics. It is where World Heritage areas the Reef and Daintree meet.
The East Coast of Tasmania
This 300-kilometre drive can take you five days to finish. You’ll begin the trip from Hobart, following the Tasman Highway. This serene and stunning route through Tasmania’s coast is spiritual. A short detour to Freycinet National Park will be worth it because of the many granite mountains and thriving aviary. You can bring your own vehicle from Melbourne to save on renting costs.
The Great Pacific Drive in New South Wales
The shortest trip on this list at 140 kilometres, the Great Pacific Drive will take you through rainforests and across the Sea Cliff Bridge, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You’ll pass by Wollongong, Kiama, Shellharbour, and the Shoalhaven. Don’t miss some of NSW’s best cliff faces. Take some time to enjoy the waters. Just remember to bring your swimsuit.
Bonus Trip: The Big Lap
If you do have the time, resources, and even courage to take the Big Lap across Australia, it will be a long and difficult, but exceptionally rewarding. This 15,000-kilomtre trip following Highway One will take you at least six months and a lot of commitment. You’ll pass through coastal roads between Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Hobart. This ultimate road trip will take you from Australia’s major cities all the way to small towns, rainforests, the outback, and pristine beaches.
Taking a road trip is one of the best ways to experience what Australia has to offer. Hopefully, you have the time and inclination to drive through each of the routes in this article. Just make sure your car is ready and you drive safe at night. Enjoy!