5 Bucket-list road trips in Australia
Author: Carasel Date Posted:27 November 2023
There’s nothing like hitting the open road with mates or the family to explore your own backyard. Road trips in Australia give you the freedom to go anywhere you please, from blue beaches and the red sands of the outback to national parks and mountain ranges.
No doubt you’ll be inspired to embrace your spontaneous side by taking detours and making unplanned pit-stops as you uncover Australia’s hidden gems, but a little planning never hurt anyone.
So, wind your windows down and buckle in as we explore five of the ultimate road trips in Australia.
What is the best route to travel Australia?
Australia is so vast and has so many road-tripping options that there isn’t one route that reigns supreme. If you’re a novice road tripper, read up on how to tow like a pro before deciding your route so you and the crew have a safe journey. When scouting for the best travel route for you, your interests should steer the wheel.
Are you eager to experience some Aussie coastal magic, or would you prefer to see the red dirt and boundless landscapes of the outback? Consider how long you want to travel for and how many kilometres you’re willing to cover.
The time of year also plays referee, with the Southern Hemisphere's seasons dictating where you’ll be keen to visit. Here are five of the best road trips in Australia that’ll inspire you to set the wheels in motion for your next Aussie adventure.
The Great Ocean Road, Victoria
This legendary road trip traces the rugged cliffs of the Southern Ocean, following the twists and turns of Victoria’s jaw-dropping coastline. Stretching for about 243 kilometres, the journey begins southwest of Melbourne in Torquay, where travellers can check out the renowned surf beaches.
You’ll wind your way through the lush Otway Ranges, where towering ferns and ancient trees create a chilled-out atmosphere, before hitting up the limestone stacks of The Twelve Apostles.
Towing a caravan or car trailer will keep the road trip squad comfy on the expedition, allowing for leisurely stops in seaside villages like Lorne and Apollo Bay.
En route, don't miss the iconic limestone formations of Loch Ard Gorge and the London Arch, which are both part of the Great Ocean Road's line-up of geological wonders. From the iconic Gibson Steps to the picturesque Bay of Martyrs, this unmissable Australian road trip is chock-full of coastal marvels you can explore as you drive to the soundtrack of crashing waves.
The Red Centre Way, Northern Territory
Kicking off and finishing in Alice Springs, the Red Centre Way road trip is a true Aussie treat that allows travellers to explore Australia's beating desert heart.
Picture this: rolling through the red and ochre sprawl of the mighty MacDonnell Ranges, where you’ll find breathtaking gorges and hidden waterholes. Stop by Glen Helen for a cold one – it's practically a rite of passage. The dusty tracks lead you to Kings Canyon, a geological rockstar with towering sandstone walls carved by the ages into mind-blowing formations. And, of course, you’ll be able to see Uluru in the flesh, with its sheer size and spiritual aura making it a surreal experience.
This road trip is about 1000 kilometres long, so be sure to allow several days for the trip. And, if you’re taking a trailer or caravan on the journey, ensure your vehicle is fitted with a quality towbar that’ll take you the distance.
The Great Alpine Road, Victoria
The Great Alpine Road is a must for a mix of mountainous scenery and charming villages. Stretching over 308 kilometres, this scenic drive takes travellers on a ripper journey through the Australian Alps.
Starting in Wangaratta and concluding in Bairnsdale, the road traverses the Alpine National Park, offering opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore hiking trails and spot native wildlife.
Along the route, travellers can immerse themselves in the region's rich history, with historic gold rush towns like Bright and Omeo providing a glimpse into Australia's past.
Hit up the legendary Mount Hotham for views that'll blow your socks off and test your winter sports skills, thanks to the ski resort’s snow slopes.
The Gibb River Road, Western Australia
Adventure seekers will appreciate the rugged beauty of the Gibb River Road in Western Australia. This 660-kilometre off-road journey takes you through the Kimberley region, featuring gorges, waterfalls and stunning landscapes.
Along the way, stops at iconic landmarks like Windjana Gorge, El Questro Station and Manning Gorge reveal stunning geological formations and offer opportunities for refreshing dips in the local waterholes.
Ensure your vehicle is well-equipped for off-road conditions, as the route can be challenging, featuring river crossings, corrugations and red-dirt tracks. While the right caravan features can enhance any road trip experience, it’s generally recommended that travellers steer clear of taking a standard caravan on the Gibb River Road.
The Pacific Coast, New South Wales and Queensland
Follow the Pacific Coast Highway for a trip combining beautiful beaches, coastal towns and lush rainforests. Spanning approximately 2,500 kilometres, this iconic route unfolds along the eastern seaboard, starting in Sydney and extending all the way to Cairns.
Swing by Daintree Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and don’t miss other highlights like Byron Bay and the Great Barrier Reef Drive. Be sure to book caravan or camper servicing before getting underway, as this trip involves around 24 to 30 hours of driving, meaning your equipment needs to be in tip-top shape.
What is Australia's best road trip adventure?
Whether you’re hungry for a true-blue 4WD experience, a coastal drive jam-packed with touristy stops or an outback adventure, Australia has road trips to add to your bucket list. Road safety is key to any road trip adventure. So, before you embark, make sure you’re armed with spare parts, and your vehicle is in top condition, fitted with a reliable towbar that’ll take your trailer or caravan from A to B with no worries.