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.
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
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.
Great Ocean Road Trip Highlights:
- 12 Apostles
- Loch Ard Gorge
- Port Campbell National Park
- Apollo Bay
- 16 highlights of the Great Ocean Road
- YHA Apollo Bay Review
- Mantra Lorne Review – great place to stay on the GOR
2. Red Centre Way, Northern Territory
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:
- Kata Tjuta
- Kings Canyon
- Glen Helen Gorge
- 9 ways to experience the magic of Uluru
- Yes, you can do the Kings Canyon Rim Walk with kids
- Surprised by the West MacDonnell Ranges
- 34 Fun things to do in the Northern Territory
Check out these road trip tips with kids:
3. The Savannah Way Road Trip, Queensland
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
- Undara Lava Tubes
- Cobbold Gorge
- Boodjamulla National Park
- Introducing the Undara Lava Tubes
- Is Boodjamulla National Park Queensland’s best kept secret?
- Ultimate guide to driving the Savannah Way
4. Cairns to Cape Tribulation Road Trip, QLD
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
- Port Douglas
- Mossman Gorge
- Cape Tribulation
- How to visit the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
- Things to do in Cairns, Queensland
- 2 day getaway to the Daintree Rainforest from Port Douglas
- Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation road trip
- 16 Best things to do in Port Douglas with kids
- Sleeping in the Cape Trib Beach House
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
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.
Sydney to Brisbane road trip Highlights:
- The Hunter Valley
- Port Macquarie
- Coffs Harbour Coast
- Byron Bay
- Gold Coast
- 48 hours in Sydney
- A guide to Hunter Valley wine tasting
- 12 reasons Byron Bay is a great family destination
- Best Things to do in Coffs Harbour
- 22 Things to do in Port Macquarie
- Kingscliff NSW, a hidden gem of a surfing beach town
- Yamba NSW: Is this Australia’s best kept secret?
- North Coast NSW road trip: Lennox Head to Brisbane Road Trip
- 48 hours on the Gold Coast
6. Darwin > Kakadu > Katherine > Litchfield road trip, NT
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: Kakadu – Litchfield Road Trip
- Mindil Beach markets & sunset (Darwin)
- Yellow Water Billabong Cruise (Kakadu)
- Gunlom Falls (Kakadu)
- Ubirr Sunset (Kakadu)
- Sunrise Cruise (Katherine Gorge)
- Florence Falls (Litchfield)
- How to explore Kakadu National Park
- 5 highlights of Litchfield National Park
- 14 photos of Katherine Gorge
- Highlights of a Northern Territory road trip
7. Gibb River Road Trip, 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
- Zebedee Springs
- El Questro
- The magic of Lake Argyle will stay with you forever
- Broome and the Kimberley + working on a pearl farm
8. Broome to Perth Road Trip, Western Australia
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
- Turquoise Bay, Exmouth
- Sandy Bay, Exmouth
- Coral Bay
- The Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park
- Rottnest Island, Perth
- Things to do in Broome
- Falling in love with Coral Bay
- 3 natural wonders of Exmouth
- Stunning Things to do in Kalbarri, Western Australia
- The pros and cons of visiting Monkey Mia
- The Unusual Beauty of the Pinnacles, WA
- 32 photos of Rottnest Island
9. The 75 Mile Highway, Fraser Island, QLD
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
- Eli Creek
- Maheno Shipwreck
- Lake Mackenzie
- Kingfisher Bay
- The forest
- 12 things to do on Fraser Island
- Hervey Bay Whale Watching
- Awesome Things to do in Hervey Bay, Queensland
10. Outback Queensland Road Trip
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 road trip highlights:
- Mining tour at Mt Isa
- Town of Winton
- Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Winton
- Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach
- Cosmos Centre, Charleville
- Carnarvon Gorge
- Going underground in Mount Isa
- Why Winton is our favourite Outback town
- 3 things to do in Longreach
- Contemplating the Cosmos in Charleville
- Go to Carnarvon Gorge You Said
- 5 Night Sandstone Wilderness Road Trip
11. Sydney to Jervis Bay Road Trip, NSW
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.
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
- Hyams Beach
- Greenpatch Beach
- Booderee National Park
- 8 things to do in Jervis Bay
- Pebbly Beach: If you want to see wild kangaroos in Australia come here
- Why visit Kangaroo Valley in NSW
12. Launceston to Hobart Road Trip, Tasmania
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
- Binalong Bay
- Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park
- Hazards Beach, Freycinet National Park
- Port Arthur Historic Site
- Introducing the Bay of Fires
- All alone on famous Wineglass Bay
- Port Arthur Historic Site
- What to do in Hobart
- 19 best places to visit in Tasmania
- Why Freycinet National Park is my favorite place in Tasmania
13. The Nullarbor Road Trip, WA SA
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
- Remote roadhouses
- Great Australian Bight Marine Park
14. 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 of an Eyre Peninsula Road Trip:
- Swimming with sea lions in Port Lincoln
- Port Lincoln National Park
- Oysters at Coffin Bay
- Great Ocean Drive Elliston
Watch our Videos of the Eyre Peninsula road trip, including swimming with sea lions. Be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel.
15. Kangaroo Island Road Trip, South Australia
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.
Highlights of a Kangaroo Island Road Trip
- The Dudley Peninsula (oh the winery views!!)
- Swim with the dolphins
- Flinders Chase National Park (with the koalas)
- Remarkable Rocks
- North Coast Beaches
- Seal Bay (with the seals)
- Sandboarding Little Sahara Desert
There are plenty of Airbnb options on Kangaroo Island.
We stayed at the Aurora Ozone Hotel in Kingscote. It’s a motel with a good position on the waterfront.
More Australia road trip content
Planning a Trip to Australia
Booking Accommodation in Australia
- Booking.com has over 11,000 properties in Australia including hotels, apartments, and hostels. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee. Don’t forget to check out Airbnb for home rentals.
Booking Flights in Australia
- Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, you book directly through the airline or agent (no extra fees).
- Scott’s Cheap Flights often finds great deals on flights to Australia
Booking Car Rental in Australia
- RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Enterprise, Europcar and Thrifty.
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Did we miss anything? What are your favorite road trips in Australia? Share in the comments below.