Whether you’re looking for sun, sea, sand or snow, Australia has a scenic road trip destination to suit everyone. From day trips to extended journeys, here are 10 top picks to consider for your next getaway.
1. Cradle Mountain - Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania
This World Heritage-listed national park is one of Tasmania’s most popular tourist destinations. Cradle Mountain is the perfect spot for a hike, with plenty of trails to suit all fitness levels.
For a great day drive route, you'll can go via Mole Creek on the way there, and via Sheffield and the farmlands on the return trip. Cradle Mountain lies at the northern end of the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park and is easily accessible by road. There is an excellent Interpretation Centre at the gates of the Park, and it's definitely worth dropping in for information on the geology, history, topography, flora and wildlife of the area.
2. The Great Ocean Road, Victoria
The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most iconic road trip experiences, stretching for over 300km along the south-eastern coast of the country. The route takes in some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the world, including the surf towns of Torquay and Anglesea, the world-famous Twelve Apostles, the rainforests of the Otway National Park, the quaint seaside town of Apollo Bay, and the Shipwreck Coast. The road finally comes to an end in the town of Warrnambool, where you can take a walk along the coastline, or head inland to explore the Grampians National Park.
3. The Gibb River Road, Western Australia
One of the most popular roads in Australia for 4WD enthusiasts, the Gibb River Road takes you through the heart of the stunning Kimberley region in Western Australia. The 660km journey starts in Derby and takes you through to Wyndham, via some of the most incredible scenery imaginable.
You’ll pass through gorges, over creeks and rivers, and past waterfalls – all the while surrounded by lush greenery and wildlife in their natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled for some Indigenous rock art along the way too.
The Gibb River Road is typically open from May to November each year, so plan your trip accordingly. And remember, this is a 4WD-only road so make sure your vehicle is up to the task!
4. The Red Centre Way, Northern Territory
If you’re looking to get off the beaten track, the Red Centre Way is for you. This 1600km journey takes in some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks.
Starting in Alice Springs, the Red Centre Way winds its way through the West MacDonnell Ranges before reaching Uluru. From here, you’ll continue on to Kata Tjuta and the Kings Canyon Rim Walk. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to explore Aboriginal culture, go hiking and camping, and experience some of the most incredible sunrises and sunsets you’ve ever seen.
If you’re looking for an adventure that’s off the beaten track, the Red Centre Way is the perfect option. With its incredible landscapes, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience
5. Daintree Rainforest, North Queensland
If you're looking to get off the beaten track and explore somewhere truly unique, the Daintree Rainforest is the place for you. Just north of Cairns, this ancient rainforest is home to an incredible array of plant and animal life, and is the perfect spot for a nature lover. There are plenty of opportunities to spot birds, reptiles and mammals in their natural habitat, making it a truly magical place to explore.
6. The Great Alpine Road, Victoria/New South Wales
The Great Alpine Road is one of the most scenic drives in Australia. It takes in the Snowy Mountains and the Victorian Alps, and offers stunning views of the Australian Alps. Highlights include the Snowy River National Park, Mount Hotham and Mount Buffalo National Park. The drive is best experienced over a few days, so you can take your time and enjoy all that the route has to offer.
7. The Flinders Ranges, South Australia
The Flinders Ranges are one of Australia’s most diverse landscapes, and home to an array of wildlife. The region is also rich in Aboriginal history, and there are plenty of opportunities to explore this fascinating culture.
8. The Blue Mountains, New South Wales
Just a short drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains offer a welcome escape from the city. With its eucalyptus-scented air and stunning views, the Blue Mountains are a must-visit for any road tripper.
9. The Nullarbor Plain, South Australia/Western Australia
One for the more adventurous types, the Nullarbor Plain is a vast stretch of outback that covers over 12,000 square kilometres. The journey from Ceduna in South Australia to Norseman in Western Australia takes in some of the most isolated and stunning landscapes in the country.
10. The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
One of the most iconic road trip destinations in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is a must-visit for any traveller. With over 2,000km of coastline, there’s plenty to explore both in and out of the water.
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