15 Best Australian Road Trips (adventure + beauty)

Planning to visit Australia?

In my opinion, the best way to see what this vast country of ours 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 allow for so much flexibility.

14 best road trips in Australia
Uluru is a must see when you are planning a road trip in Australia

We can’t rate an Australian road trip highly enough as a memorable travel experience. We like nothing more than throwing our bags in the back, putting some tunes on and hitting the open road.

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 and this post breaks down our best road trips in Australia.

But, even if you follow our two week vacation itinerary or three week itinerary for Australia, 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!

1. Great Ocean Road, Victoria

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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.

The Great Ocean Road is not only one of the famous road trips in Australia, but around the world as one of the best drives on the planet.

Beginning one hour outside of Melbourne in Torquay, this drive stretches over 250-kilometres to Warrnambool and offers stunning coastal scenery, wildlife, waterfalls, hiking and beach side towns.

Great Ocean Road Trip Highlights:

12 Apostles

The Twelve Apostles - Great Ocean Road, Australia

Loch Ard Gorge

Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Port Campbell National Park

Great Ocean Road - Australia

Apollo Bay

Mariners Lookout, Apollo Bay - Great Ocean Road, Australia

Read more

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

2. Red Centre Way, Northern Territory

Red Centre Way - West MacDonnel Ranges, Northern Territory, Australia

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.

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.

Red Centre Way Highlights:

Uluru

Sunset at Uluru in the Red Centre of Australia

Kata Tjuta

Sunset at Kata Tjuta, Northern Territory, Australia

Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon Rim Walk, Northern Territory, Australia

Glen Helen Gorge

Glen Helen Gorge - West MacDonnel Ranges, Northern Territory, Australia

Related posts:

Looking for accommodation in the Northern Territory? Booking.com has over 170 properties to choose from. Check the prices now for your dates of travel

Check out these road trip tips with kids:

3. The Savannah Way, Queensland

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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.

Savannah Way Road Trip Highlights:

Millaa Millaa Falls

Millaa Millaa Falls, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia

Undara Lava Tubes

Undara Lava Tubes - Queensland, Australia

Cobbold Gorge

Cobbold Gorge - Quuensland, Australia

Boodjamulla National Park

Boodjamulla National Park - Queensland, Australia

Read more:

4. Cairns to Cape Tribulation

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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 countries 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!

Cairns to Cape Tribulation Road Trip Highlights:

Great Barrier Reef

Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef - Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Port Douglas

Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge, Queensland, Australia

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park - Queensland, Australia

Read more:

Looking for accommodation in Cairns? Booking.com has over 300 properties to choose from. Check the prices now for your dates of travel

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

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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, beach side towns, riverside towns, wineries, the hinterland, wildlife watching, and every water sport imaginable.

6. Sydney to Brisbane road trip Highlights:

The Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

Port Macquarie

sydney to brisbane

Coffs Coast

Red Rocks Beach - Coffs Harbour, Australia

Byron Bay

Sunset at Byron Bay, NSW, Australia

Kingscliff

Kingscliff, NSW, Australia

Gold Coast

Gold Coast, Australia

Read more:

Looking for accommodation in New South Wales? Booking.com has over 500 properties to choose from. Check the prices now for your dates of travel

7. Darwin > Kakadu > Katherine > Litchfield road trip

If you are exploring the Top End of Australia in the Northern Territory then a looped 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.

Highlights:

Mindil Beach markets & sunset (Darwin)

Sunset at Mindil Beach, Darwin

Yellow Water Billabong Cruise (Kakadu)

Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Gunlom Falls (Kakadu)

Kakadu National Park - Australia

Ubirr Sunset (Kakadu)

Sunset in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Sunrise Cruise (Katherine Gorge)

Katherine Gorge - Northern Territory, Australia

Florence Falls (Litchfield)

Florence Falls - Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Related posts:

Looking for accommodation in the Northern Territory? Booking.com has over 170 properties to choose from. Check the prices now for your dates of travel

8. Gibb River Road, Western Australia

Gibb River Road, The Kimberley, Western Australia

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 your 4-wheel driving, this could be your ultimate adventure.

The entire Gibb runs for approximately 700 kilometres 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 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.

Highlights along the rest of the Gibb include:

  • Windjana Gorge
  • Tunnel Creek
  • Bell Gorge
  • Adcock Gorge
  • Galvan’s Gorge
  • King Leopold Ranges

Emma’s Gorge

Emmas Gorge, The Kimberley, Western Australia

Zebedee Springs

Zebedee Springs, El Questro, The Kimberley, Western Australia

El Questro

Gibb River Road, El Questro, The Kimberley, Western Australia

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9. Broome to Perth, Western Australia

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We love the coast of Western Australia. This 3,900 kilometre 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.

Broome to Perth Road Trip Highlights:

Cable Beach, Broome

Sunset at Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia

Turquoise Bay, Exmouth

Turquoise Bay, Exmouth. Western Australia

Sandy Bay, Exmouth

Sandy Bay, Exmouth, Western Australia

Coral Bay

Coral Bay, Western Australia

The Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park

The Pinnacles, Western Australia

Rottnest Island, Perth

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Read more:

For accommodation in Perth Booking.com has over 900 properties, check the current prices here. And for accommodation in Broome check the prices here for your dates of travel

10. The 75 Mile Highway, Fraser Island

Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

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.

Fraser Island road trip Highlights:

75 Mile Beach

75 Mile Beach - Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

Eli Creek

Eli Creek, Fraser Island, Australia

Maheno Shipwreck

75 Mile Beach, Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

Lake Mackenzie

Lake Mackenzie, Fraser Island, Australia

Kingfisher Bay

Sunset at Kingfisher Bay Resort - Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

The forest

Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia

Read more:

11. Outback Queensland

Outback Queensland

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.

Outback Queensland highlights:

Mining tour at Mt Isa

Mount Isa underground mine tour

Town of Winton

Banjo Patterson at the Matilda Centre, Winton, Outback Queensland

Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Winton

Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum - Winton, Outback Queensland

Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach

Longreach Queensland (26)

Cosmos Centre, Charleville

Cosmos Centre, Charleville, Outback Queensland

Carnarvon Gorge

Carnarvon Gorge National Park, Queensland, Australia

Read more:

Booking.com has over 50 properties to choose from in Outback Queensland. Check the current prices for your dates of travel

12. Sydney to Jervis Bay, NSW

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If you were to drive direct from Sydney to Jervis Bay it would take about 2.5 hours but there’s 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.

South Coast road trip highlights:

Sea Cliff Bridge

Sea Cliff Bridge, New South Wales

Hyams Beach

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay, Australia

Greenpatch Beach

Green Patch Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia

Booderee National Park

Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay - NSW, Australia

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Looking for accommodation in Sydney? Booking .com has over 1,000 properties available. Check the current prices for your dates of travel

13. Launceston to Hobart, Tasmania

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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 on of the most spectacular road trips in Australia!

Tasmania road trip highlights:

Bay of Fires

ay of Fires, Tasmania, Australia

Binalong Bay

Binnalong Bay, Tasmania, Australia

Bicheno

bicheno-beach-tasmania

Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park

s Bay, Tasmania, Australia

Hazards Beach, Freycinet National Park

Hazards Beach, Freycinet National Park - Tasmania, Australia

Port Arthur Historic Site

Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia

Hobart

Hobart, Tasmania

Read more:

Need accommodation in Tasmania? Booking.com has over 900 properties to choose from

14. The Nullarbor

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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 mesmerising. There’s the impressive 146.6 km section of road that holds the world record for 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 travelled 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.

Nullabor road trip highlights:

The 146.6 km straight length of road

The Nullarbor, Western Australia

Remote roadhouses

Camping along The Nullarbor Plain

Great Australian Bight Marine Park

Great Australian Bight Marine Park

15. The Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

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’ve recently 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.

Highlights:

Swimming with sea lions in Port Lincoln

wimming with the Australian sea lions in Port Lincoln and is a must have experience on your road trip with kids in South Australia. Click to read more tips on things to do on the Eyre Peninsula

Port Lincoln National Park

Port Lincoln is a must stop on your road trip with kids in South Australia. Click to read more tips on things to do on the Eyre Peninsula

Oysters at Coffin Bay

Coffin Bay National Park near Port Lincoln and is a must have experience on your road trip with kids in South Australia. Click to read more tips on things to do on the Eyre Peninsula

Great Ocean Drive Elliston

The Great Ocean Drive near Elliston is a must have experince on your road trip with kids in South Australia. Click to read more tips on things to do on the Eyre Peninsula

Read More:

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

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Did we miss anything? What are your favorite road trips in Australia? Share in the comments below.