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10 great Aussie road trips

08/12/2020

Hit the road and explore your own backyard with this essential guide.

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From stunning coastlines to historic outback towns, we’re lucky to have such variety of landscapes and experiences in Australia. All you need are four wheels and an adventurous spirit to embark on any of these great Aussie road trips.

The Great Ocean Road, VIC

Beautiful and windswept, this stretch of coastline from Melbourne to Adelaide is most famous for the Twelve Apostles, a series of grand limestone rock formations which rise out of the sea. It starts in Geelong south of Melbourne and winds its way through the seaside towns of Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay, through the Otway and Port Campbell National Parks and ending just east of Warnambool. Book an AirBNB along the way or pack a tent – there are lots of great campsites along the route.

Maroochydore to Fraser Island, QLD

Want to explore the world’s largest sand island? You’ll definitely need a good 4WD for navigating the sandy roads on Fraser Island. This incredible road trip winds up the coast from Maroochydore to Noosa Heads (stop for lunch at famous Hastings Street and a swim at Noosa’s Main Beach). Then head to Rainbow Beach, a stunning little coastal town that’s the gateway to Fraser Island. From here you can get a ferry over and start exploring 75-Mile Beach and over 100 freshwater lakes, sand dunes and rainforests. Don’t forget your tent and a good camera!

The Outback, NSW

Insta-worthy moonscapes, billabongs, incredible wildlife and a dash of history is what you’ll get on a road trip into the Aussie outback. Start in Broken Hill and nearby Silverton, a popular pitstop for filmmakers (and where Mad Max and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert were shot). The ancient landscapes and rich indigenous history of Mutawintji National Park north-east of Broken Hill is a must, as is White Cliffs, where locals live in underground ‘dug-outs’ to escape the summer heat. Don’t miss Milparinka and historic Bourke on the Darling River, or Lightning Ridge, where you’ll find Australia’s famous black opals. Cobar, on your way back to Broken Hill, has a great museum and Aboriginal rock art to see nearby. 

Alice Springs to Uluru, NT

It’s roughly a 4-day roundtrip from Alice Springs to the sacred, beautiful site of Uluru, but you’ll find gorges and many natural wonders off the beaten track. Check out the Olgas, a group of fascinating rock domes west of Uluru – and the gorges, rugged ranges and rockholes at the Watarrka National Park south-west of Alice Springs make for a stunning side trip (it’s home of the famous King’s Canyon). There are campsites and resorts to stay throughout the route, and if you’re going to go off road you’ll need a 4WD.

The Big Things Road Trip, NSW

Touring Australia’s oversized structures by car will make for a memorable road trip the family will never forget – and there are an estimated 150 around Australia to check out. An easy big things road trip from Sydney to Byron will serve up The Big Headphones in Newcastle – and the Big Ugg Boots and the Big Kookaburra (if you divert to the Hunter). Further north, there’s the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour and of course the Big Avocado at Tropical Fruit World near Byron Bay! On the way back, make sure you detour inland to the Big Golden Guitar in Tamworth and the Big Merino in Goulburn.

The Poacher’s Way Road Trip, ACT

If you’re near Canberra, the Poacher’s Way road trip is a great way to discover local wineries, food producers, restaurants, galleries – and even arts and crafts makers. The route starts at Lake George, heads through Bungendore and winds its way through Murrumbateman – where you should snap up some award-winning vino at Clonakilla. From here, it’s onto the photogenic town of Gundaroo, where you’ll find the famous Grazing restaurant and woodfired ceramic shop, Old St Luke’s Studio.

The Grand Pacific Drive, NSW

If stunning coastal scenery, old-school beach towns and tranquil national parks appeal, this epic road trip from Sydney to Wollongong and beyond is a must. The route starts in the Royal National Park, the second oldest national park in the world – before snaking its way to the popular hang-gliding spot of Stanwell Park. Take in the views at the Bald Hill Lookout, then drive 10 minutes south to the Sea Cliff Bridge, an engineering marvel located between Coalcliff and Clifton. The coastal towns of Astinmer and Thirroul are great for a dip and an ice cream stop, before arriving in Wollongong. From here, you can push on south to picturesque Kiama and its famous Blow Hole, the white sands of the Shoalhaven and all the way to the old whaling village of Eden.

Broome to the Bungle Bungles, WA

You’ll need a 4WD for this road trip through the rugged top end of Western Australia, which serves up deep gorges, hot springs, mini wetlands and spectacular views. Along the Fitzroy Highway from Broome, don’t miss Geikie Gorge, China Wall and the stripy rock towers of the Bungle Bungle National Park. If you can, consider booking in a helicopter ride to get a bird’s eye view of this vast 3000sq meter expanse. From here, head north to Kununurra and hop on an Ord River boat tour before heading back to Broome. Emma Gorge at El Questro and the Zebedee Hot Springs are worth visiting on the way!

Launceston to Cradle Mountain, TAS

Want to explore the stunning World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain? This self-drive scenic route from Launceston to Cradle Mountain meanders through lush farming areas and historic towns such as Longford and the National Trust town of Deloraine. You’ll then cut inland to Sheffield, and then onto the Alpine Plateau and the Cradle Mountain - Lake St Claire National Park. If you drive without stopping it’s around 3 hours, or you can explore the towns along the way and take all day. The area is known for its exceptional natural beauty and walking trails, and you’ll find a range of gorgeous lodges, cabins and hotels to stay at.

Kangaroo Island, SA

Expect wildlife galore on this stunning South Australian landmark. It’s a 2.5-hour drive and ferry trip from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island, and then an easy 3-day road trip around the island itself. Sample delicious food and wine, take in breathtaking scenery and kick back in some memorable digs – from luxury lodges and retreats to beachfront accommodation. Don’t miss a visit to Seal Bay, home to an endangered colony of Australian sea lions. And if you’re a die-hard animal lover, you’re best to take a guided tour to learn about all the local native wildlife. 

These are just a few ideas to get started on your next road-tripping break away!

 

Travelling interstate? Make sure to check current border restrictions and follow COVID safe protocols.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication.

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