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In our opinion, there is no better way to explore the land down under than on an Australian road trip. Not only do road trips in Australia allow you to see the country’s vast natural splendors, but it also offers a very cost-effective way to explore Australia’s most significant sights and attractions.

The Best Road Trips in Australia

After spending a combined 8 years exploring Australia, we share our top picks for some of the best road trips in Australia. Plus our Australia road trip planner so you can get the most out of your adventure.

An Australian road trip is a must-do!
An Australian road trip is a must-do!

1. THE LEGENDARY PACIFIC COAST: SYDNEY TO BRISBANE

The famous journey from Sydney to Brisbane or the reverse is by far the most popular road trip for travelers looking to explore the best of Australia. This self-drive itinerary spans 1000 km along the Legendary Pacific Coast.

The famous East Coast Australia road trip takes you on an adventure through lush national parks, stunning beaches, rolling green hills of the hinterland, and small yet vibrant off the beaten track towns full of charisma and authentic Australian culture.

It’s one of the road trips in Australia that can be undertaken in as little as 1 weekend or one that can be easily extended to 2-3 weeks.

Rolling vineyards in Hunter Valley, NSW
Rolling vineyards in Hunter Valley

East Coast Australia, Road Trip Highlights

A visit to the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Yamba, Byron Bay, and the famous beaches of the Gold Coast.

Newcastle - Australia's Most Underrated City. Cover Photo
Newcastle – Australia’s Most Underrated City
The rocks and the Town Beach, Port Macquarie, NSW
The rocks and the Town Beach, Port Macquarie
Yamba Main Beach, Yamba, NSW
Yamba Main Beach, Yamba, NSW

2. THE GREAT QUEENSLAND ESCAPE: BRISBANE TO CAPE TRIBULATION

If you have added the legendary east coast Australia road trip to your Australia itinerary, then take our advice and keep going north for another one of the best road trips in Australia! We might be biased since we were based in Queensland for more than 2 years (well, more like 6 for Max), but we think it truly is the most beautiful and diverse region in all of Australia.

Tee Tree Bay, Noosa National Park
Tee Tree Bay, Noosa National Park

Head north from Brisbane, on your Brisbane to Cairns Australia road trip, taking a few days to explore Noosa National Park and lounge on Noosa’s beautiful beaches. Make your way to Hervey Bay and experience the sand dunes, rainforests, and beaches on Fraser Island, then ditch your car for a few days and sail into the sunset in the beautiful Whitsundays.

Stop over in Cairns to dive the Great Barrier Reef and finish off your journey in Cape Tribulation, a peaceful town located within the Daintree National Park and the Wet Tropics World Heritage area.

Lake Wabby, Fraser Island
Lake Wabby, Fraser Island
Mossman Gorge, Daintree National Park
Mossman Gorge, Daintree National Park

North East Coast Australia, Road Trip Highlights

Mission Beach, 1770, Townsville, and Port Douglas

3. WESTERN EXPEDITION: PERTH TO BROOME

Road tripping over 3,000 kms along the West Coast of Australia is not an easy task. The drive is long and strenuous, especially if done in less than 2 weeks, but those that undertake the journey will be rewarded with some incredible experiences.

Lancelin Sand Dunes, Lancelin, Western Australia
Lancelin Sand Dunes, Lancelin

Many will tell you that flying from Perth to Broome is a better use of your time, but we completely disagree. You’ll miss out on tons of cool Australian road trip experiences along the way, like sandboarding in Lancelin, watching the sunset at the Pinnacles in Cervantes, swimming with whale sharks in Ningaloo Reef, exploring the gorges of Karijini National Park, or enjoying the unbelievable pink hues of Hutt Lagoon.

Fortescue Falls. Dales Gorge. Karijini National Park. Western Australia
Fortescue Falls, the iconic landmark in the Dales Gorge, Karijini National Park
Photo by Indian Ocean Imagery courtesy of Kings Ningaloo Reef Tour
Photo by Indian Ocean Imagery courtesy of Kings Ningaloo Reef Tour

4. THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD

The shortest, yet one of the most picturesque road trips in Australia is the Great Ocean Road, a 243 kilometers stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the cities of Torquay and Allansford. The road passes through rainforests and beaches and provides access to some popular tourist landmarks.

Bell's Beach, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Bell’s Beach, Great Ocean Road, Victoria

You can travel the Great Ocean Road in just a day by hopping aboard one of the many Great Ocean Road tours departing daily from Melbourne, but hiring a car and making your own Australian road trip adventure is so much better.

Don’t miss the famous Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone formations off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park, the Otway Rainforest, and the charming seaside towns that line the coast.

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia
Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia

5. LAUNCESTON TO HOBART VIA THE WESTERN LOOP

Traveling from Launceston to Hobart (or in reverse) is one of the most popular and best road trips in Australia when visiting Tasmania. But we recommend going further than just the 2-hour straight drive between the 2 cities.

The magnificent Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania
The magnificent Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania

Start your Tasmania Australia road trip from Launceston. Head West and admire the rugged beauty of the Walls of Jerusalem National Park or stop for a visit to the more famous Cradle Mountain National Park. Stop in the small town of Corinna, one of our favourite off-the-beaten-track places in Tasmania, drive through Zeehan and Queenstown and visit Lake St. Clair. If you have time, stop in Mount Field National Park before ending your road trip in vibrant Hobart.

Walls of Jerusalem National Park the best of Tasmania's Rugged Beauty. Cover Photo
Walls of Jerusalem National Park the best of Tasmania’s Rugged Beauty.
Lake St Clair, Tasmania. Australia
Lake St Clair, Tasmania
Salamanca Place, Hobart
Salamanca Place, Hobart

AUSTRALIA ROAD TRIP PLANNER

Decide on your time frame

When it comes to mapping out your road trips in Australia, figuring out how much time you have to explore is the first step. Every one of the road trips in Australia on our list is flexible, meaning that you can complete it in just a few days to a week or two, or you can travel slowly, enjoying the route for a month or even longer. How quickly you move – is up to you!

Hamersley Waterfall. Karijini National Park. Western Australia
Travel slowly and you’ll give yourself time to linger longer places like this.

Choose the right Australian road trip vehicle

Hiring a car in Australia can be expensive, so be sure to use a good car rental search engine, like DriveNow, and find the right vehicle for your adventure. Consider a car that’s environmentally friendly or choose to enjoy some of the best road trips in Australia with more than 2 people to reduce your CO2 emissions.

READY TO EXPLORE AUSTRALIA BY CAR? 

Get the best car rental rates by booking on our favourite car rental website, DriveNow. It compares prices across all major car rental companies in Australia, so you are guaranteed to get the best dealCLICK HERE or use the search box on the right to get a car rental quote now!

Max and Oksana. Cable Beach. Broome. Western Australia
Chilling on Cable Beach in Broome

BEFORE YOU GO: Don’t forget travel insurance!

We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance, especially in a country like Australia. Whether you just plan to explore Australia on a road trip, do a little bit of hiking, or go extreme (think surfing, scuba diving, or ever skydiving), being protected on your travels is an irreplaceable peace of mind

We learned about the importance of travel insurance the hard way and now we never travel without coverage.

Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads.

What are some of your favourite road trips in Australia? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear what great adventures we might have left off our list!

Read Next: Road Trip Essentials: 50 Things To Bring On A Road Trip

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5 BEST ROAD TRIPS in Australia

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means that we receive a small commission on your bookings at no additional cost to you.

7 thoughts on “5 Best Road Trips In Australia”

  1. Australian road trips are some of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in my life. We hired a Campervan from Aussie Campervans to travel from Sydney to Brisbane. We enjoyed the sunrise view while traveling, it was really mesmerizing.

    1. Sounds like you had a great time! Sydney to Brisbane (or in our case Brisbane to Sydney) was by far our favourite road trip as well! So many great places to check out along the way!

  2. I totally agree with this blog. “Traveling from Launceston to Hobart (or in reverse) is a popular drive for many travelers visiting Tasmania, but we recommend going further than just the 2 hour straight drive between the 2 cities.” Thanks so much for all those wonderful ideas.

  3. Biplab Poddar

    Thanks for sharing this. Your tips are very helpful. I am a travel freak and travel a lot. Next year Alaska is on my card.Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness., and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Next year I definitely want to explore Albany.
    People often have a theme that they base their worldly travels on, but how about a mental mantra for your travel? Out of a cheerleading event that consisted of our family shouting supportive words at our daughter who was attempting to kill a rather monstrous spider that the rest of us were too chicken to get close to, came this great quote, “If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!”

    This quote came back to haunt me when on vacation in Seattle. I thought it would be a great idea to take the kids on the Seattle Great Wheel, the ferris wheel overlooking the ocean, but as we approached it, I realized how high it went and immediately panicked! Just as I had decided to put the kids on it on their own, my daughter says, “Come on dad…If you don’t think, and you just do….then it’s done!” What could I do at that point?! She was telling me to stop thinking and creating more fear about the situation and just get on the thing!
    “If you don’t think, and you just do, then it’s done!” We all now keep this quote in our back pocket, ready to whip out at any time to push one of us forward into an adventure we know they won’t regret. No hesitations, don’t allow any time for fear to set in, and be prepared for your kids to turn your life advice back on you

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