In the last 20 years, we have traveled extensively around Australia while we lived and worked in Sydney. We have driven thousands of kilometers in every state in Australia. Nothing says road trip more than the 35,877 km of ocean coastline. Additionally, a highlight for travelers is The Big Lap Australia. It involves circumnavigating mainland Australia, visiting beaches and national parks, capital cities, and the desert roads of the Aussie Outback. A road trip around Australia is our favorite thing to do in this epic island country. Keep Reading “Road Trip Australia – Don’t Miss our Top 5 Road trips” to find out the best road trips Australia has to offer and begin your road tripping Australia journey.
Road Trip Australia – Don’t Miss our Top 5 Road trips
Sydney to Brisbane Road Trip
We love this 10-hour east coast Australia road trip so much that we do it at least twice a year. Luckily, we have family and friends living in coastal NSW towns. So we have an excuse to road trip Australia’s East Coast!
There are so many beautiful seaside regions to visit during a Sydney to Brisbane road trip. There’s retiree’s paradise Port Stephens, Coffs Harbour, the most livable city in Australia, and the lively Gold Coast. We especially love the pristine nature in Northern NSW and the fun holiday beach vibe of Byron Bay,
Far North Queensland Road Trip
Our favorite road trip in Australia is an East Coast Australia road trip from Sydney to Brisbane to Cairns in Far North Queensland.
If you have limited time, these road trips in Australia are the ones we mostly recommend -The Sydney to Brisbane drive and the Brisbane to Cairns road trip. It’s one long 2500 km one-way Sydney to Cairns road trip.
However, if you are short on time or prefer, you can fly into Cairns and rent a car. You can then take short road trips in Cairns and Far North Queensland.
Stunning long, white beaches, spectacular islands, swaying palm trees, lazy days in the sun and warm water to bathe in, tropical fruits, and pristine rainforest are why Far North Queensland is our favorite place to visit in Australia. And then there’s snorkeling and diving on the one and only – Great Barrier Reef.
The highlight of our Sydney to Cairns road trip is the vibrant city of Cairns and the abundant waterfalls, lakes, and rivers of Far North Queensland.
Additionally, we adore the stunning drive onto Daintree Rainforest. On the way, we always make sure we stop over for a day at cosmopolitan Port Douglas to shop, dine and swim in the beautiful calm sea.
Sydney to Melbourne Drive
To complete an East Coast Australia road trip, you could drive from Cairns to Brisbane to Sydney and then continue to Melbourne.
The magnificent coastline from Sydney to Melbourne boasts spectacular scenery yet is surprisingly non-touristy. Add a Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive to your East Coast Australia itinerary if you like to get away from the crowds while seeing stunning nature.
Our favorite activities are Kiama Blowhole, Jervis Bay dolphin-watching cruises, and Batemans Bay, a charming seaside town. And, of course, the spectacular nature & wildlife at Lakes Entrance.
Melbourne is often called the cultural capital of Australia. It is our favorite of the main cities in Australia, as it is a fun city with lots of diverse restaurants, nightlife, and beautiful surrounding areas to visit.
Tasmania Road Trip
Those doing The Big Lap Australia often miss out on this isolated island off the south coast of Australia. However, Tasmania offers the Real wilderness experience. There are fewer tourists, more wildlife, and miles of beaches, rivers, and forests.
If you have time during your drive around Australia, add Tasmania to your list of ultimate road trips Australia.
Take the Spirit Of Tasmania ferry from Melbourne to Devonport in Tasmania. It’s a fun 9-hour cruise across the seas. You can pick up a rental in Launceston and take an epic road trip across Tasmania. Ideally, you should allow 1-2 weeks as there is so much beauty to see in Tasmania.
Our highlights in Tasmania include – Freycinet National Park and the epic panoramas over Wineglass Bay, Hobart – the coolest city in Australia, and Strahan. Strahan is a quaint small town with an end-of-the-world feel.
Our Australian Adventure highlights include the all-day boat cruise from Strahan through Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It is an out-of-this-world experience.
Great Ocean Road – Ultimate Road Trips Australia
A Great Ocean Road road trip offers one of the world’s most epic drives, breathtaking coastal panoramas, and rugged isolation. The 243-kilometer drive along the Great Ocean Road passes wild, windswept oceans, the 12 apostles, and views of mountain ranges.
If your drive around Australia or Australian adventure doesn’t allow time for an epic road trip driving around Australia, you can easily rent a car from Melbourne and spend a couple of days on a weekend road trip experiencing the wonders of this Australian National Heritage road. Do not miss The Great Ocean Road on your Australian road trip.
The Red Centre & Top End in The Northern Territory
You haven’t seen Australia till you’ve seen the vastness of the Red Centre and the extremes of the lush tropical Top End.
Ideally, the 3000-kilometer road trip from Adelaide to Darwin is the best way to experience the Northern Territory. Your drive around Australia’s Northern Territory should include a stop-off at the Opal Capital of the World, Coober Pedy.
However, if time and patience are limited, you could fly to Alice Springs in The Red Centre and do a 1,500 km Alice Springs to Darwin road trip.
The Red Centre has Ayers Rock and Kings Canyon to blow your mind.
Read more about the Red Centre – Northern Territory’s Red Centre – will you dare to go to the Aussie Outback?
On the way to the Top End is the fascinating Devils Marbles. And, in the Top End, near Darwin, do not miss the unbelievable experiences at Mataranka Thermal springs and Katherine and Litchfield Gorges, renowned for extraordinarily stunning bush backdrops.
But, the stand-out highlight of the Northern Territory is UNESCO World Heritage Listed Kakadu. It is on everyone’s Must Do list during a road trip around Australia. If you really want to get off the beaten track, it’s best to take a four-wheel drive tour through the diverse wetland area. The lush rainforest, waterfalls, and mesmerizing landscapes are incomparable anywhere else in the world.
Northern Territory is one of the most magical and unique places in the world.
Read Next – Best Places to Visit in Australia, as ranked by Travel Bugs World.
These are our favorite places for an epic road trip in Australia. You can make it the trip of a lifetime by getting a car and driving across Australia.
If you don’t have time for an epic road trip driving around Australia, you can fly into major cities and rent a car. You can then take shorter road trips in many of these areas. Alternatively, you could do a road trip Australia east coast, which incorporates the first three of our listed top Australian road trips. You could do the East Coast Australia itinerary in two weeks.
If you want to go road tripping in Australia and complete all our Top 5 favorite road trips in Australia, we recommend at least six weeks (and a roadworthy car.)