There’s no shortage of road trips – for example, you could drive the entire circumference of Australia on Highway 1; that would take you about 9 months and take you over 25,000 km.  

If you don’t have 9 months of annual leave up your sleeve, there are some more manageable routes to enjoy across the country.

There is the option to travel independently, or you could check out Australia tours, a lot of which travel overland and include some of the highlights of the country.

Here is our list of the most incredible road trips to take in Australia.


1. The Great Ocean Road

I’d be remiss without mentioning the drive from Melbourne down to the Great Ocean Road. You will no doubt experience the most memorable sunsets of your life watching the colours change on the many rugged sea stacks along this iconic Australian spot.

This really is one of the top attractions to see in Australia.

Spend the night in the area so you have hours to explore the many small beaches and interesting stopping points, then circle back to Melbourne.


2. Sunny Shores: Sydney to Sunshine Coast

Byron Bay, beach

Want to experience the best of Australia’s sunny disposition? Then hop in your car – preferably a convertible – and head up the A1 to the Sunshine Coast.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy roadside snacks and great views in spot like Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, the Gold Coast, and Brisbane - all essential places to see on the east coast of Australia.

Careful of holiday weekends, as traffic can easily get backed up on this popular route; there are also trains and flights to help you make the return journey with ease.

Here are some tips for driving the Australian east coast.


3. The Gibb River Road

Australia best road trips

Tucked away in the Kimberley, Gibb River Road is the only crossing that will take you from Kununurra to Derby. The road covers an area larger than the country of Germany, but only 30,000 people call this wild plain home.

At 660km of driving, this is second only to the coast-to-coast drive in length, but it’s actually a route well served for travellers; car hire stations in the cities at each end offer one-way rentals to allow you ease for enjoying this wonderful, only-in-Australia experience.


4. Sydney to Perth: Coast to Coast + Outback

Ayers Rock, Aussie Outback

One of the best and most popular driving routes is from Sydney to Perth, allowing you to enjoy a wide variety of the best of Australia.

You can drive through the centre of the country, hitting the famed Uluru in the middle of Australia, or you can take the southern coastal route, allowing you to spend time in spots like Melbourne and the capital of Australia, Canberra.

You’ll need 4 days at minimum, but a week or more is best so you can make stops along the way at popular tourist spots. Check out these Outback driving recommendations before departing.


Other Road Trips to Consider

  • Perth to Ningaloo, WA
  • Tasmania’s East Coast
  • Cairns to Cape York, Qld
  • Great Alpine Road, Vic
  • The Nullarbor, SA
  • The Savannah Way


Preparation Tips

Keep in mind, when you are doing an Australian road trip, you don’t have to do the entire trip by road.  Practical reasons may dictate going via a different route – for example, driving and then taking a flight, train or bus back to your origin. This can save time and money and also your sanity – as someone once said, “Australia is so big, one can easily drive themselves to death.” 


Keen to be more than just a tourist? These pages will help you plan a trip: