8 Greatest Road Trips in Australia

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Australia, with its vast coastline and diverse ecosystem, is home to many different landscapes, wildlife, and human cultures. As one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, it is definitely worth exploring. And since it’s so large, planning a road trip in Australia is the best way to see as much of the country as possible.

The thrill of the open road is something everyone should experience at least once in their life, and the Land Down Under is the perfect place to do it. Whether you want to navigate your way through the Australia Big Lap, cruise down the pristine 75 Mile Beach Road, or explore the Pilbara region, there is a road trip itinerary for everyone.

Ideas for your ultimate road trip in Australia

So, if you haven’t yet made plans for the upcoming summer, consider one of these eight great road trips across Australia. The memories you make will last a lifetime, and the stories you come home with will be worth the price of gas or a secured car loan. Read on!

The Big Lap Australia

Arguably the most famous road trip in Australia, the Big Lap is a journey that takes you around the entire country, giving you a taste of every piece of Australia. Nearing 15,000 kilometers, or nearly 10,000 miles, the Big Lap is not for the faint of heart. With that, be prepared to drive for long weeks on end, and be sure that your car is up for the challenge of driving across Australia.

Kangaroo warning sign on a road in the Australian outback.  Western New South Wales.
Are you looking for the ultimate adventure? So go for the Big Lap road trip across Australia!

Highway One, the world’s longest continuous stretch of road, connects seven of the capital cities, along with countless smaller towns, villages, and spectacular beaches. The Australian Big Lap is for those who want to see everything the country has to offer, from the big city sights to the picturesque beaches and everything in between. This incredible adventure demands some planning ahead. You must think of stops for gas, food, and places to sleep.

Australian East Coast Road Trip

The East Coast of Australia is one of the country’s most beautiful and diverse areas, with stunning beaches, generous local hospitality, and lush rainforests. It is also home to some of Australia’s most iconic sites, including the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, Jervis Bay, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, and the Whitsunday Islands.

Road trip in Australia with motion blur along Ellis Beach near Palm Cove and Cairns, Queensland.
The incredible views you will get along the Australian East Coast scenic drive!

Driving the Australian East Coast will allow you to see all these fantastic places and enjoy vast stretches of unspoiled coastline featuring Australia’s abundant wildlife. Although most people choose to drive from Cairns in the north to Brisbane in the South, you can begin your journey in any coastal town and drive to suit your schedule.

Kangaroo Island Trip

Kangaroo Island, located off the coast of South Australia, is a nature lover’s paradise. With its 1,600 kilometers of road and amazing coastal drives, this South Australian island is a great place to explore by car. Famous for its wildlife, you will see plenty of kangaroos, koalas, and wallabies hopping around the island.

Flinders Chase National Park in Kangaroo Island. Amazing aerial view of road and coastline from a drone on a sunny day. One of the best road trips in Australia.
It is not a painting; it’s the Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island!

Kangaroo Island is also home to the Remarkable Rocks, a collection of unique granite boulders that have been sculpted by wind and waves over millions of years. With its dramatic landscapes, pristine beaches, and diverse wildlife, Kangaroo Island is an excellent destination for your next road trip.

Bass Coast Road Itinerary

The Bass Coast is a stretch of coastline in southeastern Australia, located in the vicinity of Melbourne. This coastline is renowned for its scenic route with breathtaking landmarks, whales, koalas, penguins, and numerous cruises and outdoor activities.

Photo of Pyramaid Rock and surrounding landscape in Philip Island, Victoria, Australia
Phillip Island is one of the most beautiful places you can visit along the Bass Coast drive.

With its temperate climate and beautiful landscapes, the Bass Coast is a magnificent destination for exploring by car. The coastline is dotted with charming beach towns, perfect for a stop along the way. And, unlike the Big Lap, Bass Coast stretches over only about 350 kilometers, making it an excellent option for those who want to go on an Australian road trip but are short on time.

Barrington Tops Road Trip

But who said that a road trip must include long highways and coastlines? The Barrington Tops, located in New South Wales, offer a different kind of Australia road trip experience. As the second-highest plateau in the country, the Barrington Tops boast beautiful mountain scenery, lush rainforests, and native wildlife specific to the area – the superb lyrebird is just one of the many fascinating animals that call this place home.

Some Australian drive itineraries will call for a four-wheel-drive vehicle with camping equipment if you want to go out of the beaten path and stay in nature.
Australian countryside roads are as beautiful as the coastal drives!

Going there, you may want to take a vehicle capable of handling rough terrain, as the gravel roads in the area can be too much for a standard passenger vehicle – check out our car recommendations here! If you’re that kind of traveler who loves adventurous road trips, Barrington Tops is an excellent place for a road trip in Australia that will take you off the beaten path and into a world of natural beauty.

Red Centre Way Road Trip

Speaking of going off the beaten path, the Red Centre Way road is definitely something different. Located in Australia’s Northern Territory, this road trip includes everything the Australian Outback is famous for – eerie deserts, red rocks, sand dunes, starry skies, and wide-open spaces.

A marker and information spot for Lasseter Hwy directing towards Uluru and Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory, Australia
Red Centre Way Road Trip will take you to places like Kings Canyon and Uluru in the Northern Territory, Australia.

The Red Centre Way is a journey of over 1,000 kilometers that takes you through cities like Alice Springs, beautiful National Parks, and some of the most remote places in Australia. And although it may be one of the more challenging Australian road trips on this bucket list, it is certainly one of the most rewarding and scenic routes. So, if you have a spare week, consider diving into the depths of the Northern Territory on this fantastic road trip itinerary.

Explorer’s Way 

The South can also boast about its remote and beautiful drives. With the Explorer’s Way, a 3,000-kilometer road trip from Darwin to Adelaide, you can explore some of the most unspoiled wine regions, scenic mountain ranges, and secluded plains of Australia.

The sun sets in the west over the Grose Valley and  Blue Mountains from Mt Banks.
A 3,000-kilometer driving trip through unspoiled mountain ranges and wine regions in Australia.

This Australian outback road trip is a remarkable way to see the region, just as it is, without the crowds and hustle of busy cities. And, if you’re a fan of hiking, fishing, or camping, the Explorer’s Way is definitely for you. Plan ahead, though, stock up on food and water and enjoy the ever-stretching landscape of the Australian Outback.

Gibb River Road

Last but not least on our list of the best road trips in Australia is Gibb River Road. Located in Western Australia, this road trip will take you through beautiful mountain scenery filled with waterfalls, rainforests, and wildflowers. With over 700 kilometers of road, Gibb River Road is a great option for those who want to explore the wild side of Australia.

Photo of a car making a road trip in Western Australia, through the Gibb River Road.
Gibb River Road is an excellent option for those who want to explore the wild side of Australia.

With its varied landscape and wildlife, Gibb River Road is a fantastic place to spend a few days or weeks. And although the road varies in quality, the journey is well worth the effort. Just remember to pack an updated Gibb River road map and hiking boots, as there are plenty of great walking trails to explore along this itinerary. This Aussie road trip is definitely a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by intrepid explorers.

Which one of these road trips in Australia is your fave?

These are just some of the best road trips around Australia. If you’re up for an adventure, the Big Lap Australia is an excellent way to see all of Australia’s landmarks. But even if you only have a few days, there are still plenty of epic road trip itineraries that will take less time and will be packed with unique places to visit.

So, start your road trip Australia planner right now and set a date to hit the Down Under roads. The sights, the sounds, and the incredible experiences you have on your road trip across Australia will stay with you for a lifetime, and you will be glad you took the time to explore this wonderful country.

If you need help to start planning your Australia ultimate road trip, check out our Travel Planning page, where we share all the useful websites and companies we use to plan our trips. And here is an article with tips to keep road trips on a budget, inspiring and helpful.

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Road trips in Australia Bucket List: the Big Lap, Australian East Coast road trip, Kangaroo Island, Red Centre Way road trip, and four more scenic drives. All you need to know to plan your perfect road trip in Australia.

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