Everyone knows a good road trip is worth it, no matter how long it takes! Yeah you can fly from city to city, but inbetween are the real hidden gems, kinds you only get by traveling off the beaten path. Doing a road trip around Australia has shown me and my partner incredible things, from new cultures, art, wildlife, to landscapes that were total eyecandy. There are various amounts of wildlife throughout Australia that you can see during your tour on the road! From camels to the the rarest, and most ancient bird in the world, Cassowaries. You can cover side roads, that lead to hidden lakes, waterfalls, farms, and beaches, so you have Australia at the palm of your hand when you’re at the wheel. You won’t want to miss out, and even if you decide to go on one of the following beautiful roadtrips around Australia, it’s something you will remember for years to come!
See below for the top 7 roadtrips to do in Australia:
1.)Melbourne to Sydney
Melbourne is one of the most amazing cities world wide, so be sure to explore here for a few days. Sites to see: Queen Anne Market, Flinders lane, Flinders Station, Federation Square, parliament, the Yarra river, there’s so much to explore! The best way to make your way around the city, is to hop on the number 35 tram, that will go around the city in a circle, and the best part is, it’s free! The best beaches to see are Brighton beach (with the awesome beach boxes), and St. Kilda (which is a fun place to explore in general). Once you leave Melbourne, the journey up to Sydney takes only 8 hours on the highway, however the best route is to take the coast up. We stopped at Mornington Peninsula which is filled with beautiful beaches, our favourite sites to see were the Rock Pools, Flinders Blowhole, and then Philip Island! Next we made our way up to Wilson’s Prom which you can’t miss, it’s absolutely gorgeous and one of our top sites in Victoria. There’s Sand Dunes, the squeaky beach, Tidal river and so much more to explore. After this we headed to 90 mile beach, where you can find the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park. Once we were done with the beach we headed to Genoa peek which is worth the hike, it took us only two hours round trip and along the way we spotted a Goanna! From here, head to Malacoota, a really cute beach town, where you’ll spot massive Pelicans! The next top site up to Sydney included Jervis Bay, this is also a MUST see. There’s a gorgeous white sand beach, the whitest in the world, with clear blue water, definitly reccomend it!
2.)Sydney to Brisbane
Sydney is one of the most visited cities in Australia! If you are doing a roadtrip from Sydney to Brisbane, alot 7-10 days to ensure you see everything. Once you arrive there are so many iconic spots that you have to see: The Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Bondi Beach, Bondi to Bronte Coastal walk, the Rocks market and much more! All of these things to do are free, and mostly walkable, you would need to take a bus from downtown Sydney to Bondi Beach, we took the 333N bus, for $5.00 its about 35 minutes to get there. After exploring Sydney for a few days, be sure to stop by the Blue Mountains National park, we did the a beautiful circuit walk which took a few hours and it was completly worth it. After you can drive up to Port Stephens, just above Newcastle, where you can find sand dunes, whale watching, and panoramic views from the top of the mountain and you’ll see dramatic blue water beaches. From here head to Coff’s Harbour, where you’ll start feeling a more tropical enviornement for New South Wales, and you must take a picture with the “Big Banana.” The last stop before Brisbane, was Byron Bay a hipster/surfer town filled with cute cafes, boutiques, and art! Top things to do in Byron Bay: Try surfing, most hostels and hotels offer rentals for surf & paddleboards, Cape Byron Walking Track guarenteed to show you nice views of the ocean, and shop at that many vintage boutiques!
3.)Brisbane to Cairns
Brisbane is a great place to visit at any point of the year! The temperature in Brisbane is always great, and although the city is not based on an ocean there a plenty of places to swim. This roadtrip is about 20 hours so I would give yourself two weeks to explore. Top things to do in Brisbane: Brisbane Botanic Gardens, take a cruise on Brisbane River, grab a coffee at King George Square, walk around South Bank, get dinner in Fortitude Valley.
After exploring Brisbane for a few days, you can get on the road to the Glass House Mountains, then head to Bribie Island! From there you can head to Noosa, which is popular beach town where you can do an incredibly gorgeous Coastal walk through bits of the sunshine coast. There’s great resturants and shops in Noosa so I would recommend stopping in the town for a bit. After this, stop by Rainbow beach, where you can see the very famous rainbow stairs, and walk along the clear water beach paved with black stones. From here you can head to Seventeen Seventy where you’ll find the Paperback Boardwalk, and you can take a stroll through the famous “butterfly walk.” After, you can make the drive up to Cape Hilsborough National Park, one of our favourite places in all of Australia. The views here are incredible, from the beach lined with palm trees and Kangaroos, to the butterfly hike up the mountain filled with panoramic views of the ocean, this is a must-see! After this head to the beach town of Airlee Beach, although you can’t swim here (crocidiles), theres a really nice pool called ‘Airlee beach Lagoon.’ This is where you can catch a Whitsundays sailing trip for 2-3 days! This we strongly reccomend doing even though the prices can be expensive, we took the cheaper route and booked through bookme.com.au and we toured with the company ‘Freight Train.’ After this we headed to Magnetic island (take the ferry from Townsville) for an overnight stay, where you can book in the famous topless cars, and see koalas on hikes around the island.
4.)Cairns to Daindee Rainforest
Although this is a shorter road trip, only about 2 hours, you can take alternate routes up to the rainforest! You can explore the tiny aboriginal village of Kuranda, with shops, resturants, and art in the mountain, on the drive to the this town there are multiple waterfalls to see, our favourite being Millaa Millaa. From here you can head up to Port Douglas, which has an incredible coastline, with great access to the Great Barrier Reef. P.S, this was one of our favorite sunsets! Once you get to the Daintree there’s so many great walks and tours to do, it’s like you’ve entered a completly different world. We did the Crocidile Express (one of the cheaper tours), which is $25.00 per person and you can go twice on two seperate parts of the river, also you are guarenteed to see a crocidile and in most cases other wildlife (pythons, birds etc.). To get to Cape Tribulation you have to take a vehicle Ferry which costs $31 return, from here you can do quite a few hikes, and you might even encounter some cassowaries, the rare and ancient species of the rainforest.
5.)Townsville to Uluru
This one is a hike! You’ll need at least 2-3 weeks, to go there and back, and to see everything along the route without rushing. We took the route from Townsville to Mount Isa, through highway 66 to Warumungu where you can find the Devil’s Marbels, and the Threeways famous sign (located in Tenant Creek). Along this route we camped at Lakeview Caravan Park, then Sunset Top Tourist Park in Mount Isa, and lastly Barkley Homstead, all which had facilities and were paid for campsites. It was A LOT of driving, and for 5-6 hours in between with not much in sight, so be sure to use the bathroom before you go, and have a lunch and snacks packed. From the Devils Marbels campsite, we headed to Alice Springs which is about a 4 hour drive. We stayed at a paid for campsite for two nights, at Heritage Caravan Park, this was a great place to take a break from driving, as theres some great things to see in Alice Springs. Top sites in Alice Springs: Simpsons Gap, Emilys Gap,
From Alice Springs you can start your trip to the best and final destination, Uluru! Stay at least two nights to explore the Olgas (Kata Tjuta), and Uluru in and out. Be sure to check out my blog : 7 Tips on Camping in the Outback, for some useful tips!
6.)Adelaide to Uluru
Adelaide to Uluru is about 17 hours of a Journey so I would reccomend a 1-2 weeks to go round trip! Adelaide is a beautiful city and sometimes overlooked by Australia’s other big cities! There is a plethora of things to do from exploring the Rundle Mall, to Adelaide Botanic Garden’s, to the unique japanese Himeji Garden! We really enjoyed visiting the Glenelg beach, it’s about a 35 minute tram journey on the GLNELG from Rundle Mall. An Adelaide metro pass is $10.80 per day, but you can purchase a 3-Day Visitor pass for $25.00, it’s worth it if you are planning a longer trip in the city. From Adelaide you can start your journey up the A1 towards Port Augusta where you’ll get small city vibes with a taste for the outback. Head up 5 hours north on the A87 where you can check out Australia’s underground city, Coober Peddy! We stayed at Riba’s Underground Camping & Caravan Park, where you can pitch a tent underground. Be sure to also visit some kangaroos at Josephine’s Gallery and Kangaroo orphanage, where they aim to protect and save hurt kangaroos in the outback. After Coober Peddy you can camp/stay overnight at Marla Travellers Rest area, then make your journey up to Uluru then Alice Springs!
7.)Adelaide to Melbourne
Adelaide to Melbourne, a straight shot is about 8 hours, however you’ll want to take the coastal route which takes about 12 hours. There is a lot to see and do in between these two cities, from the iconic Great Ocean Road, to hiking the Grampians, you should plan 1-2 weeks for the trip. We went from Adelaide to Robe, to Mount Gambier, on the way be sure to stop off at the cute german town of Hahndorf! In Mount Gambier there is a very unique sinkhole that has been turned into a garden, be sure to check that out along with Blue Lake. If you want to veer off the coastel route for a moment, head up to the Grampiens, which is abour a two hour drive. I highly suggest the Pinnacle Hike, where there is gorgeous landscape views all around. From the Grampians make the drive down to Port Fairy a quiant coastal town where you can stay the night and prepare for the Great Ocean Road! From here head out to B100 aka Great Ocean Road, we spent three days exploring everything on route, at the start be sure to stop at Bay of Islands, The Grotto, The Arch, Port Campbell for lunch, then continue onto Thunder Cave and the grand finale: The Twelve Appostles. After seeing all this in one day, you’ll be fatigued so be sure to pack it in here for the night (we stayed at Princetown Recreation Reserve and Camping). After this you can head to Lorne, a great vacation spot visited by many Australians each year because of the gorgeous beach! Along the way you can find the California Redwoods (yes they have these here) in Beech Forest, where you can also see a number of waterfalls like Hopetoun Falls and Congram Waterfall. On the last day start your drive up to Geelong while checking out places like Torquey, and stopping to take a picture by the Great Ocean Road Sign!
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