Top 10 Road Trips in Australia

best road trips in australia

Are you planning to explore Australia by road? For many people around the world, driving through the Red Centre or following the stunning coastline is on their bucket list. Some of Australia's most iconic highways such as Victoria's Great Ocean Road definitely live up to their reputation. Lesser known highways such as the New England Highway are also worth a visit. With so many scenic drives to choose from, choosing a route to take is often times difficult. We at VroomVroomVroom listed down the top 10 road trips in Australia to help you decide where to go on your next adventure.


Darwin to Adelaide - Northern Territory, South Australia​

Stuart Highway, Outback, Australia

Recommended Car: Rent a full-size car like a Toyota Camry for extra storage and seating capacity​. This type of vehicle seems to be the better option when needing more passenger room and luggage space than a small car offers.​

To experience Australia's real outback, there is no better way than to drive through the Red Centre from top to bottom. The road takes you past famous sites, and it is even just a short turn off to see Uluru. Known as "the Explorer's Way," this major highway links Darwin in Northern Territory to Adelaide in South Australia​ with a distance of 2,834 km (1,761 mi). There are plenty of things to do along the way - check out the unique town of Cooper Pedy, explore the West MacDonnell Ranges in Alice Springs, stop in for a meal at the Daly Waters pub, cruise along Katherine Gorge and visit Darwin's modern waterfront.

Great Ocean Road​ - Victoria​

Great Ocean Road seascape, Victoria, Australia

Recommended Car: Suited for families and great for weekend road trips, hiring a full-size SUV like a Toyota Kluger or Kia Sorento is a way to go. Hit the road in a spacious SUV and make it a holiday to remember.

If you enjoyed driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in the USA, then it is a must to cruise along the Great Ocean Road​ in Victoria. This beautiful coastal highway has a total distance of 245 km (151 mi) and stretches from Torquay to Allansford. Rated as one of the most scenic drives in the world, the Great Ocean Road will take you past some of Australia's top landmarks including the iconic Twelve Apostles. Enjoy the beautiful seaside towns like Anglesea and Lorne, walk along the clifftops at Loch Ard Gorge, visit Great Otway National Park and have a scrumptious meal at popular seaside towns such as Apollo Bay.

Brisbane to Cairns - Queensland​

Hitchinbrook Island from Bruce Highway Lookout, Queensland, Australia

Recommended car: Make the most of your Queensland getaway in your Chevrolet convertible. Whether you are taking a road trip along the famous road in Queensland​ or exploring the city of Cairns, a convertible is a perfect choice if you want to catch some sun and feel the wind against your skin.

Queensland's most famous road will take you from the busy city of Brisbane to the tropical city of Cairns,​ which is also known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The length of the highway is approximately 1,679 km (1,043 mi) and there are many wonderful routes to take along the way including Bald Hills to Caboolture, Caloundra to Noosa and Gympie to Maryborough. Enjoy hours of stunning beaches including the famous Whitsundays Islands. Stop in at the Glasshouse Mountains or Australia Zoo, visit Rockhampton, Take a cruise to Hamilton Island, spot cassowaries at Mission Beach and scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef.

Sydney to Brisbane - New South Wales, Queensland​

Scenic Grand Pacific Drive, Coalcliff, NSW, AU

Recommended Car: A vehicle such as the Nissan Qashqai or Mitsubishi ASX will make your adventure a whole lot more comfortable. Hiring a compact SUV is ideal for a family road trip with safety as a top priority.

One of the most popular road trip routes in Australia is the one from Sydney to Brisbane​, which approximately takes 12 hours by car rental. Enjoy cruising along the legendary Pacific Coast route in Australia where you can immerse in sweeping coastal views with a rainforest backdrop. Stop over at Port Stephens for some dolphin watching or head to Port Macquarie for a relaxing time at the beach. A must-see landmark is an iconic lighthouse in Byron Bay.

Hobart to Launceston - Tasmania​

Tasman Highway Bridge at Hobart, Tasmania, AU

Recommended Car: Planning a memorable journey with family or friends? ​Rent a premium SUV like a ​Mitsubishi Pajero and have a comfortable road trip for your next family holiday. When you need a capable vehicle for great utility and seating capacity, a premium SUV is an excellent choice.

Tasmania​ is a beautiful part of Australia, and following the Tasman Highway will let you experience just some of its highlights as you travel between the two largest cities - Hobart and Launceston. This is one of the longest highways in Tasmania with a distance of 410 km (250 mi) and approximate driving time of four and a half hours. Despite the distance, you can make several stopovers to enjoy various activities. Swim at Cataract Gorge, see incredible lavender farms, visit the Bicheno Blowhole as you head along the coast, and find a bargain at Hobart's Salamanca Markets.

Sydney to Melbourne​ - New South Wales, Victoria​

Scenic view of Sea Cliffe Bridge, NSW, AU

Recommended car: ​Small rental cars like the Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio are easy to navigate and ideal for short distances. Cruise along the coast with a compact vehicle today and enjoy the ease of driving even in high traffic areas.

The 140-kilometre coastal highway is a great alternative to the Great Ocean Drive, and this is perfect for those who prefer shorter routes and less traffic congestion. The scenic drive begins in the Royal National Park, which is located south of Sydney's Central Business District. Enjoy driving through the sweeping curves going to Wollongong and cruising around the cliffs along the Sea Cliff Bridge. Make a quick stopover at Minnamurra rainforest before heading to the famous Kiama Blowhole. Continue the road trip adventure to Berry and Shoalhaven wine region.

Great Alpine Road - Victoria​

Great Alpine Road, Victoria, Australia

Recommended Car: Add a stylish element to your holiday in Australia with a full-size elite car. Exuding style and comfort, a Mercedes car is the perfect vehicle if you want to get noticed.​ Preferred mostly by business travellers, these cars offer comfortable seating and plenty of room for luggage.

Snow-covered mountains and ski resorts aren't usually what visitors think of when they picture Australia, but Victoria's Great Alpine Road can show you a whole new side of this country. See beautiful landscapes and visit charming local villages as you cross through the Alpine National Park. With a distance of 303 km (188 mi), the Great Alpine Road is the highest year-round accessible sealed road in Australia. It earned its name because it is considered the mountain equivalent of the Great Ocean Road. Some of the must-see places along the way include the historical areas in Omeo, Mount Hotham ski resort, an art gallery in Bright, Great Alpine National Park and hiking trails in Wangaratta.

Adelaide to Perth - South Australia, Western Australia​

Eyre Highway at Nullarbor Plain, South Australia

Recommended Car: Looking for an affordable and comfortable trip? Renting a Kia Rio or Holden Barina Spark is a wise choice​​. Economy cars are perfect for couples and young families on a budget. These rentals can seat up to 4 occupants and can accommodate several small bags or a medium suitcase and plenty of small carry-on bags.

One of the ultimate road trips wishes for Aussies is to cross the vast Nullarbor Plain. The Eyre Highway makes crossing one of the world's most remote regions possible, providing great coastal views and plenty of quirky little towns along the way. This is the only sealed road in the country that connects Western Australia to South Australia. The 1,660-kilometre highway begins in Norseman and spans across the Nullarbor Plain heading to Ceduna. Some of the secret tourist spots along Eyre Highway include the Head of Bight where you can go whale watching, Bunda Cliffs, Eyre Bird Observatory and the Esperance and Cape Le Grand National Park.

The Red Centre Way - Northern Territory​

Larapinta Drive for the Red Centre way, Northern Territory, AU

Recommended Car: Renting an intermediate SUV like a Nissan X-Trail or Toyota RAV4​ is a great option for groups of friends travelling together wanting to explore more of the Red Centre. ​Also referred to as midsize SUV, this type of car is easy to drive and offers plenty of room for 5 passengers.

If you want to experience the ultimate Outback adventure, then make sure to drive along the Red Centre Way, which was originally called Mereenie Loop. The 690-kilometre rough road begins in Alice Springs and ends in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park where you can find the massive sandstone monolith. Witness the country's diverse landscapes ranging from sand dunes and mountains to waterholes and gorges. It is highly recommended to book a 4WD since there are unsealed roads along the way.

Perth to Darwin - Western Australia, Northern Territory​

Great Northern Highway (Highway 95) Western AU

Recommended Car: Book a car hire in Standard type and enjoy the journey from Perth to Darwin in a city sedan. Standard cars such as Mitsubishi Lancer Sedan, Toyota Corolla or Hyundai Elantra are ideal vehicles for carrying passengers and transporting luggage.

This is not a road trip for the faint-hearted as you will travel through some of Western Australia's most remote regions, but the golden outback has plenty of surprises to offer visitors. The distance of the highway is approximately 3,200 km and it passes through a desert so it is best to have a full tank of fuel and bring extra fuel and water. The long drive is worth it because of the wonderful attractions that you'll encounter along the way. Visit the Mount Magnet mining museum, explore Karijini National Park, relax on the sands of Cable Beach, and go on a wilderness adventure through the stunning Kimberley region.

Few tips for the perfect road trip in Australia

  • Be sure to check your tire pressure before a long drive.​
  • Take frequent rest breaks and change drivers from time to time.
  • Make sure to have a break every two hours. Don't drive more than 8-10 hours a day.
  • Avoid driving during dark hours and when the weather is bad.
  • Download offline maps and GPS navigation, especially when going to a remote place.
  • Check where petrol stations are en route and see whether you should fill your tank up full or half-way.
  • Stay alert. Follow road closure signs and stick only to the main roads.
  • Prepare an easy-to-carry emergency supply kit.
  • Always drive slowly and carefully.


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