On The Road Again - 5 Australian Trips To Take On Four Wheels

by Chris Hartley - Mountain Designs

On The Road Again - 5 Australian Trips To Take On Four Wheels

The vastness and diversity of our great southern land presents Australians with an incredible opportunity to explore. One great way to do this is the classic road trip, taking in the sights at your leisure and moving from location to location with few barriers or travel requirements. And hitting the open road is even more attractive right now with COVID-19 preventing us from heading overseas for our thrills. Here's our list of some of the top places you can visit to experience the best of Australia.

The Great Ocean Road

Approximate Distance: 243km between Torquay and Allansford near Warrnambool

Approximate Time: 2-3 days to take it all in

The Great Ocean Road might be Australia's most famous road trip. Located in Victoria, it runs for 243km along the south-eastern coastline westward from Torquay to Allansford near Warrnambool. The incredible scenic drive offers a number of must-see locations, including the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations, Loch Ard Gorge, and The Grotto. There are numerous beaches to enjoy, small coves to explore, walking trails and cliff lookouts, so give yourself 2-3 days and make the most of this iconic Australian experience.


On The Road Again

The Twelve Apostles alone is worth the The Great Ocean Road drive itself. (Image courtesy of Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism)

Cairns, Cooktown & Cape York

Approximate Distance: 1,200-1,400km between Cairns and Cape York

Approximate Time: 7 days (and you can easily stretch this out depending on how long you spend in Cairns, the many idyllic coastal towns along the way and the Cape itself)

Cape York Peninsula is the tip of Australia, and makes for an exciting and remote road trip from tropical Cairns in far-north Queensland. The peninsula itself is bordered on three sides, with the Coral Sea to the east and the Gulf of Carpentaria to the west. The dry season between May and October is probably the best time of year to go, and once there, you can go camping, fishing, 4WDing, snorkelling, and hiking in a variety of spots. Other items on the to-do list for this northern region might include the Twin Falls in Jardine National Park (which offers one of the best wild swimming spots, crocodile-free of course - but be aware crocs are found in the Cape York region so follow local safety guidelines and take warning signs seriously), Cooktown (for a history lesson at the James Cook Museum and a sunset at Grassy Hill), and Punsand Bay campsite. Nearer to Cairns, Port Douglas is breathtaking and worth a visit, the Daintree National Park and its wildlife diversity was called 'the most extraordinary place on earth' by Sir David Attenborough, and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway takes tourists on a journey through the ancient rainforests in the Barron Gorge National Park. There is just so much to see and do in this amazing part of Australia.



On The Road Again

Visit the tip of Australia with a road trip from Cairns to Cape York, via Cooktown. (Image courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland)

Crossing The Nullarbor

Approximate Distance: Anywhere between 700-1,200km depending on your starting point between Norseman in Western Australia and Adelaide in South Australia

Approximate Time: 7-10 days will be plenty

The Nullarbor Plain is a stretch of flat, almost treeless arid country across the southern edge of Australia. It runs east to west from the Great Australian Bight to the goldfields of Western Australia. Drive along the Eyre Highway and truly experience the vastness of Australia's outback. Along the way you can stop at numerous vantage points such as the Head of the Bight for whale-watching in summer, Cactus Beach for surfing, the Nullarbor Roadhouse for a coffee or beer, the Eucla sand dunes, and the Bunda Cliffs (the longest line of sea cliffs in the world).



On The Road Again

The Nullarbor Plain takes you across the vast spaces of the Australian outback, with some of the straightest roads you could travel. (Image courtesy of Tourism Western Australia)

Up The Middle Of Australia

Approximate Distance: 3,000km

Approximate Time: 2-3weeks

A truly wild road trip is the 3,000km+ drive up the middle of Australia. Starting in Adelaide and heading north up the Stuart Highway to Darwin, stops along the way should include Coober Pedy (known as the Opal Capital of the World), Uluru, Kings Canyon, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and the Devil's Marbles, and Kakadu National Park. The wildlife is abundant, and the experience of the wide open spaces of the Australian outback humbling - just make sure you're planned, prepared and plentiful of supplies.



On The Road Again

A road trip through the red centre must include a visit to Uluru. (Image courtesy of Tourism NT)

The GC & Byron Bay

Approximate Distance: 100km

Approximate Time: 1-2 days

The short drive from the Gold Coast in Queensland to Byron Bay in northern New South Wales only takes a couple of hours, but between the two locations there are plenty of things to make this a cracking weekend road trip. The Gold Coast is home to plenty of beaches, family-friendly theme parks and the Lamington and Springbrook National Parks, which provide some fantastic hiking trails and natural settings to explore. Once you hit Byron, you've got more beaches to surf and swim at, small hinterland towns such as Federal and Bangalow, Minyon Falls in the Nightcap National Park, and The Farm for a taste of the local produce. Head to Cape Byron Lighthouse to stand at Australia's most easterly point.




On The Road Again

Cape Byron Lighthouse lets you stand on the most eastern point of Australia. (Image courtesy of Visit NSW)

Photo Credits

Images courtesy of:

Harrison Candlin

Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism

Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Tourism Western Australia

Tourism NT

Visit NSW





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