Cities, coasts, national parks and natural wonders – Australia’s got it all. If you didn’t know already, one of the best ways to see the land down under is to do an Australia road trip! You’ll save on domestic airfares and hours spent waiting at the airport by renting a four wheeler. Not to mention, all the sights and sense of adventure you’ll get!
Not sure where to start your ‘revenge travel’ plans for after Covid-19? We’ve got you covered with these 10 itineraries for an epic Australia road trip!
1. Grand Pacific Drive
At just 140 km, the Grand Pacific Drive is perfectly beginner-friendly and will take less than a week. You will start in Sydney, and the scenic coastal drive will take you through rainforests, over the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge and through different coastal cities and townships.
Wollongong is the main city on this drive, after you pass Sea Cliff Bridge. Between skydiving, hang gliding, surfing, biking and diving – you’ll never have a dull moment in this coastal city.
After The Gong, you can stop by Shellharbour, or go directly to Kiama. It’s most famous for the Kiama Blowhole, a cliffside caverns where seawater shoots into the air. Hold onto your hats or they will get blown away! The Kiama Coast Walk is also something special with rolling green hills, rugged cliffs, whale-watching spots and breathtaking views.
When you get to Shoalhaven, experience fun activities like rafting in Kangaroo Valley or visit the quaint village and winery at Cambewarra. Want to get away from the crowd but still want a fix of sun, sand and sea? Make sure to visit Hyams Beach at Jarvis Bay!
From here, you can choose to make your way back to Sydney via the charming Southern Highlands, or continue on towards Victoria via the picturesque regions of Eurobodalla and the Sapphire Coast.
2. Great Southern Touring Route
This Great Southern Touring Route will take you from Melbourne to the waterfront city of Geelong, the gastronomic region of Bellarine Peninsula and the spectacular Great Ocean Road – including the dramatic rock formations of the Twelve Apostles! Winding along the wild Southern Ocean and home to craggy cliffs, empty beaches and bountiful wildlife, no Australia road trip list would be complete without featuring the iconic Great Ocean Road.
From Melbourne, begin the week-long journey by making your way towards Geelong, a short hour’s drive away. In this lively bayside city, adrenaline junkies can dive from the sky or underwater, and take an aerobatic flight in an old warplane. Nature lovers can meet marine life on a boat tour, or swim with seals and dolphins! There are also plenty of museums and galleries to explore.
Or make a beeline for the wineries of Bellarine Peninsula. If you’re a foodie, there’s lots to see, drink and eat here! About half an hour away from here is Torquay, birthplace of the Aussie surf culture. Bells Beach is one of the annual stops for international pro surfers, so the waves are quite literally world class.
From here, you officially hit the Great Ocean Road. You’ll want to take your time for this part of the journey, maybe even stopping every few minutes to take photos of the unbelievable coast. It gets better and better, especially when you see all its classic sights — the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, the Arch and the Grotto.
Making you way back inland, lace up your hiking shoes for the Grampians National Park. There are plenty of trails here which draws outdoor lovers from all over the world. Some must-do sights include Boroka Lookout, Reeds Lookout, The Balconies and Mackenzie Falls.
Next, you wind through Ballarat and its beautiful Victorian architecture. Turn back the clock to the gold rush of the 1850s and mine for gold at Sovereign Hill!
Spa Country is your last stop before making your way back to Melbourne. True to its name, the region is known for its mineral springs. After a long trip, relax with massages, beauty treatments and rejuvenating soaks!
3. The Explorers Way
For a truly epic Australia road trip, this 14-day journey encompasses the centre of Australia, from top to bottom (or vice versa). Between Darwin and Adelaide, you will experience Australia at its most diverse. From ancient rock art to Aboriginal culture, red rock canyons and wineries.
If you’re starting from Darwin, make the three-hour drive to Kakadu National Park, Australia’s largest national park. At almost 20,000 square kilometres, its terrain encompasses wetlands, rivers and sandstone escarpments, as well as thousands of plant species and wildlife. Its enormous waterfalls are also among its most unforgettable sights!
Outside of Kakadu National Park is Nitmiluk National Park, where the Katherine River cuts through. Hop on a boat cruise to take in some ancient rock art, maybe even hire a canoe for some scenic paddling. Depending on the season, you can also take the ferry to Southern Rockhole for a freshwater swim.
Leave your rented car behind for a short flight to Alice Springs, the ultimate outback town surrounded by a beautiful desert. Alice Springs Desert Park is where you can explore a vibrant botanic wonderland and get up close with outback animals. Don’t miss the spectacular pastel-hued sunrises here, which are best seen from the sky. A sunrise hot air balloon ride will give you a 360º view of the desert coming to life!
Halfway to Uluru, Kings Canyon awaits with sandstone bluffs and dramatic cliffs. Hidden away 270m down into the chasm, aptly named the Garden of Eden. When you arrive in Uluru, you are deep in the heart of the Red Centre. Standing at 348m tall, it is a picture-perfect sandstone monolith, yet somehow pictures just don’t do it justice.
Rise early to explore Kata Tjuta, one of the Red Centre’s most beautiful attractions. Feel free to take part in a whole host of activities, maybe even sign up for an evening of dining under the sparkling outback sky!
It’s about an eight-hour drive to Coober Pedy, the opal mining capital of the world. Here’s where its most famous sights are underground, and many locals also live below ground to escape the searing heat. Try it out for yourself at an underground motel!
There’s a lot to take in on the all-day drive from Coober Pedy to the largest mountain range in Australia, Flinders Ranges. Its most characteristic landmark is Wilpena Pound, a large, sickle-shaped, natural amphitheatre. There are lots of parks and countless trails to explore.
Now you’ll leave the mountains behind for Barossa Valley, one of Australia’s best-known wine regions and a hub for fine food. You’ve come a really long way, and it’s time to indulge! After some good rest, lots of wine tasting and stuffing yourself silly, you’ll make your way to Adelaide, where you’ll end this epic Australia road trip.