With awe-inspiring landscapes and fascinating wildlife, it’s no wonder that Australia is a dream destination for a lot of people. While you can easily travel throughout the country by air, road trips are an incredible way to see more of the continent. Therefore, as I plan my first trip to the “Land Down Under,” here are the scenic routes that make up my Australia road trip wishlist.
But before I get into it, it’s important to note that planning is an essential part of any successful road trip in Australia. So before heading out, you need to make sure you have the right car. You could rent one or buy a used one, a more affordable option if you’re planning a longer trip. However, if you go this route, make sure you have enough time to sell it before leaving. Also, plan for bendy roads, rocky trails, extreme temperatures, road rules that change territorially, outback roads, and wildlife.
Australia Road Trip Fun Fact: Australia is as wide as London to Moscow.
And for even more Australia travel tips, here are the important things to know before you go.
Epic Australia Road Trip Ideas
To Plan Your Road Trip Around Australia
New South Wales to Victoria – East Coast Australia Road Trip
If you are looking for an easy-going and scenic road trip along Australia’s east coast, a road trip from New South Wales to Victoria is an awesome way to start.
Although you can complete this drive in one day (about nine-hours), to make the most out of this road trip, it is highly recommended to extend it to a three-day adventure.
This 877.6 kilometers or 544-mile drive is jam-packed with beautiful attractions like whale and dolphin watching along the New South Wales coast, diving excursions, and the white sand beaches of Jervis Bay.
I am especially looking forward to checking out Australia’s most powerful lighthouse in Cape Byron. The tower is even open to free guided tours!
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Adelaide to Darwin – Central Australia
The “Explorers Highway” from Adelaide to Darwin is one of Australia’s more daring road trips. Spanning 3,028 kilometers or 1,881.5 miles, this road trip tailors to experienced drivers who want to explore the heart of the Outback. Since it is one of the more challenging road trips to do in Australia, it is highly recommended to travel with a guided tour or rent a campervan.
Usually completed in 11 days, during this road trip, marvel at the landscapes of inland Australia. Visit Barossa Valley, the Flinders Ranges, and Wilpena Pound.
Midway, I would love to check out the town of Coober Pedy, an Aborigine land that is now the world’s largest opal mining area. It reminds me of the movie Mad Max: Fury Road.
Continuing down south to Darwin, I would make stops at the quaint town of Alice Springs, followed by the town of Tennant Creek. Lastly, I would visit Litchfield National Park, a vegetative landscape that is teeming with all sorts of Australian flora and fauna.
Australia Road Trip Fun Fact: This road trip traces John McDouall Stuart’s trail, a 19th-century Scottish explorer who navigated inland Australia.
Read Next: How To Budget Your Trip To Australia
Perth to Exmouth – West Coast Australia Road Trip
Our next road trip is along the west coast of Australia. Commonly called the “Coral Coast,” this road trip begins in the southwestern city of Perth and ends in the small resort town of Exmouth. This road trip covers approximately 1,269 kilometers or 774 miles — spread this trip out over at least three days.
One of the best parts of this road trip is traveling along the Indian Ocean Drive, a coastal road along with Western Australia. Visit Perth, then drive through coastal towns like Jurien Bay, Dongara, Port Denison, Greenough, and Cervantes.
In Cervantes, check out the Pinnacles of Nambung National Park, which attracts thousands of visitors each year to its natural ecosystem for native wildlife. The Nambung National Park is also home to a plethora of awe-inspiring natural limestone structures dating back 30,000 years ago. These structures stand like massive giants!
Lastly, to top off my West Coast Australia road trip, I would check out Coral Bay, “a snorkeler’s paradise,” teeming with vibrant coral species and diverse marine life.
The Tasmanian Journey
Just off the southern coast of Australia is Tasmania, an isolated island-state belonging to Australia. Roughly the same size as West Virginia, Tasmania is scarcely populated and is a bastion for preserving wildlife and wilderness in Australia.
As one of the best places to experience the great outdoors, national parks protect two-fifths of Tasmania. It is also home to the cleanest air on the planet.
Since Tasmania is primarily a preserved landmass, renting a 4-wheel drive or all-terrain vehicle that can withstand both the climate and landscape are necessary. After exploring the lush wilderness on your Tasmania road trip, don’t forget to visit the state’s cities, towns, and ports.
Watch this video for inspiration and consider adding these attractions to your west coast Australia road trip itinerary.
The Big Lap
The Big Lap is last but certainly not least. As the name implies, this road trip takes a full loop around Australia. Bill McKinnon, a writer from The Australian, completed this road-trip in 10 months.
Seriously, I cannot imagine a better way to experience Australia in all its glory than by taking a victory lap around the continent.
What routes would you like to cover on your Australia road trip?
Danielle Desir is a financially savvy traveler, 5x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here.