Australia road trips were not on list when I started travelling alone in Australia, back in 2004. As a solo traveller, I felt uncomfortbale with the the idea of road tripping around Australia on my own. It's only in 2011 that I took the plunge to hire a car and explore the country on self-guided road trips. My first road trip was along the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide, followed by a road trip in the Australian Outback, from Alice Springs to Uluru.
Altough driving in Australia has some peculiarities that you need to consider in first place, travel distances play an important role but there are myths that need to be debunked when driving in the Australian Outback. In fact many Outback Road Trips don't require a four-wheel-drive car, nor any special driving skills.
12 Australia Road Trips that you will love
Here is a list with of all my favourite Australia road trips I did over a decade of solo travels that I can recommend to the first time traveller, who wants to travel alone or with a travel buddy. They are easy road trips, mostly on bitumen roads, that everyone can do, by using a two-wheel-drive car and without having special driving skills. These road trips cover different areas of Australia, from tropical and coastal areas, to remote Outback areas. They include Australia Travel destinations that are regarded as main attraction but also areas that are off the beaten path for the more adventurous solo traveller.
An epic Australian road trip along the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is an iconic destination and this Australia Road Trips must be on your bucket list. The G.O.R is a 270km coastal drive of Australia which offers unique views of the rugged coastline, not only the iconic 12 apostels but also the most varied landscape. From bushland to rainforest, from sandy surf beaches, to rugged ochre cliffs. It also offers many opportunities to see native Australian wildlife, from Koalas to Kangaroos, Australian birds and learn about this Australian coastal drive heritage. A three-day road trip is the ideal time to make the most of the Great Ocean Road Trip. However if you can stretch it to 5 days you could include more of the Great Ocean Road walking trails, or extend your road trip to Adelaide.
Wilson Promontory – A road trip to a Tasmania-like region
This is a gorgeous Australian road trip you can plan when visiting Melbourne. Only 2,5 hours away from Melbourne, the Prom is a great region if you love walking and hiking in the nature. The Tidal River National Park offers many beautiful beaches, secluded bays, coastal hikes in a pristine environment and over 20 walking trails in the bushland. Ideal for hiking, swimming and surfing, this is a favourite spot for Melbournians on their Australian holidays. Here you can read about my 2-day-solo-road-trip to the Prom.
One-day road trip from Melbourne to beautiful Yarra Valley
If you want to explore more of Melbourne surroundings, a road trip to the Yarra Valley is a fantastic option for a day trip. Located only 65 km from the city, this is one of the best things to do around Melbourne. You can plan a whole day touring the beautiful hills and visiting the Yarra Valley wineries. This region offers heritage sites too and a very photogenic landscape for photography lovers. It is also ideal for a hot-air balloon ride and a visit at the Healesville Sanctuary if you love to see native Australian animals.
The Uluru Road Trip in the heart of the Australian Outback
The Uluru Road Trip is the Australian road trip that everyone travelling alone to Australia should plan, not only because of the iconic destination, but also because you can see the real Australian Outback. In my opinion this is the easiest Australian Road Trip, in terms of travel distances, route and road conditions, you just need to keep driving straight ahead and you'll get there. From Alice Springs to Uluru it takes about 5-6 hours, but a trip detour to Kings Canyon is worth your time if you love hiking. You can stay overnight at Kings Canyon Resort and enjoy the Kings Canyon Rim Walk early in the morning.
Kangaroo Island Road Trip – The road trip fo Nature and wildlife Lovers
This is another great destination for a road trip when visiting Adelaide in South Australia. It's cheaper to hire a car on the island when you get off the ferry and drive around the island in a loop. A round road trip takes you along the south eastern coast, to then head inland and to the north western coast. Kangaroo Island is ideal if you love hiking, wildlife and enjoy the island isolation. Plan at least 3 full days to make the most the Kangaroo Island road trip.
An Australia road trip across golden fields of Yorke Peninsula
If you are planning to visit South Australia then a road trip to Yorke Peninsula is a great alternative to Kangaroo Island. The highlight of Yorke Peninsula is the Innes National Park with over 25 km of stunning coastal landscape, lighthouses, and rugged beaches, this road trip can be done in 2-3 days and takes you through small heritage villages, vast cereals plantations and isolated coastal areas. If you love camping Yorke Peninsula is your place with many well equipped campsites all over the places. Here you can read about my 3 day-road-trip around Yorke Peninsula.
Jervis Bay Road Trip – A natural treasure on the South East Coast Australia
Jervis Bay is known for whale watching and its stunning beaches. It's only a short drive south east of Sydney, not many people know about that these two national parks offer varied hikes in dense eucalyptus forests skirting some of the most beautiful beaches of Australia, like Hyams beach, just to mention one. I spent three days road-tripping the South East Coast but would recommend to plan at least 5 days to enjoy the natural beauty of Jervis Bay. Over weekends and public holidays you can also drive by car to the other side of the bay to Perpendicular point. Book accomodation in advance if you plan this road trip to Jervis Bay over school holidays.
A road trip to the Gold Coast and Sunhine Coast of Australia
If you are a beach lover then the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast will probably be on your list. On my first trip in 2011 I visited the Sunshine Coast and in 2013 the Gold Coast. Despite being touristy destinatinos I liked them both so much that I wish to return sometime. While they are iconic touristy destination in Australia they have preserved their natural heritage which is absolutely the best part of the Gold Coast. With so many various walking trails in the forest, beautiful and well maintained surf beaches with top facilities the whole area is a jewel and it caters for any type of traveller. You can start your road trip from Brisbane and go first travel north to the Sunshine Coast, staying in Noosa to then proceed south along the coast to Surfer Paradise and Coolongatta. Ideally you can extend this road trip to Byron Bay. Make sure you can plan at elast 4-5 days for both road trips.
Atherton Tablelands road trip in North Queensland
One of the most beautiful and varied road trips ever, I really enjoyed this amazing area in North Tropical Queensland. This is the road trip for those who have had enough of the Great Barrier Reef and want to see more of North Queensland. From colourful wetlands to lakes, deep gorges, waterfalls, heritage villages, you can see unique wildlife and if you are lucky you may spot the tree kangaroo. You can also taste an array of local produce from mango, bananas, to coffee, tea and fresh dairy and chocolate products. Read more about my solo road trip around the Atherton Tablelands.
A Road Trip to the Daintree Rainforest
If North Tropical Queensland is on your list, then you must plan a road trip to the Daintree Rainforest. I spent a few days touring the region between Cairns, Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation. A couple of days is the minimum time to do justice to the most ancient rainforest of the world. From walking trails in the rainforest, snorkeling, diving and beach walks, this is the place to unwind and be one with nature. In Cape Tribulation there is no internet connection, so if you are looking for a digital detox this is your place. You can read about my Solo Road Trip in North Tropical Queensland here.
Margaret River – a road trip not only for food and wine lovers
Margaret River wineries may be the main attraction of this small South Western Australia's town, in reality there is more to see and do. I was very impressed by the diversity of this region which I call the “Australian Tuscany” because of its mediterranean climate, its oustanding local produce and excellent wines, its varied coastal landscape, its surf beaches, its underground treasures and its stunning Karri forests. Learn more about my Margaret River Road Trip.
The Eastern Kimberley – An easy road trip for Outback Lovers
The Kimberley Australia is one of the most ancient Outback regions. With a size of Germany this is one of the most challenging regions of Australia, even for expert 4WDrivers. As a first time traveller I toured the Eastern Kimberley on my own on a 2-wheel-drive car. I started from Kununurra and explored the surrounding with Lake Argyle I also went on a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles. You can also drive to El Questro, a great destination within easy reach from Kununurra. If you want to see more and drive along the Gibb River Road then I think you'd b better off joining a four-wheel-drive adventure tour across the Kimberley to Broome.
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