With over 40,000km to explore, the sheer scale of scenic road trips on offer in Australia makes it almost impossible to rival.
With vast beaches, exotic rainforests, glistening rivers and a deep red outback, it comes as no surprise that people from all over the world (and locals alike) flock to the country to explore all it has to offer by car. If you are someone who is thinking of embarking on a great Aussie road trip of a lifetime, you’ve come to the perfect place.
In this article, we share 6 top spots that everyone should stop at on an Aussie road trip — one for each amazing state the country has to offer.
One more tip: pre-book your accommodation in a holiday park for the most memorable roadtrip!
If you’re ready to experience everything Australia has to offer, simply read on to find out more!
VICTORIA: The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is by far one of the country’s most popular road trips, stretching along its southern coast from Torquay all the way to Allansford in Victoria. This road trip is often on the bucket list of most tourists and locals alike, with good reason too. Taking a trip along the Great Ocean Road is truly an Australian rite of passage, and it just so happens to be a World Heritage listed road trip. Not only will you marvel at the famous 12 Apostles’ towering limestone rock formations, but you’ll also be able to experience the wonders of the Loch Ard Gorge — a protected, sandy beach nestled amongst cliffs. While you’re at it, don’t forget to stop by one of the many amazing local steak restaurants, bars and cafes to fuel up before you continue on your amazing Aussie road trip journey!
Must-See Spots On The Great Ocean Road:
- 12 Apostles
- Loch Ard Gorge
- Port Campbell National Park
- Apollo Bay
Top Tip: If you’re only driving in one direction, we recommend starting in Torquay so that you’re on the ocean side of the road. This makes it much easier to pull over for lookouts.
NEW SOUTH WALES: The Grand Pacific Drive
If you’re after something a little shorter but equally impressive as any other road trip, give the Grand Pacific Drive a go. Just a short 140 km drive from Sydney is the world renowned Grand Pacific Drive — home townships of Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and the Shoalhaven. This amazing drive will take you through stunning rainforests, over the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge and showcases some of NSW’s most beautiful beaches.
To sweeten the deal, there are numerous experiences to be enjoyed along the way, from delicious food and wine, family activities, adrenaline-pumping adventure activities and way too many beaches to count! We personally recommend visiting the Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures, which also happens to be the highest zipline in Australia. Soar through the trees and learn about the forest, all whilst capturing a glimpse into the Pacific Ocean.
Must-See Spots On The Grand Pacific Drive:
- Symbio Wildlife Park
- Hyams Beach
- Sea Cliff Bridge
- Bald Hill Lookout
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Explorers Way
The Explorers Way is a 3000 km journey spanning from Adelaide to Darwin, taking you through the Clare Valley, one of South Australia’s famous wine regions. The journey is recommended to be done over a minimum 2 weeks, and travels on a sealed highway following the route of the 1862 explorer John McDouall Stuart. Visit the town of Katherine – the perfect base to explore the nearby gorge country of Nitmiluk National Park. Jump on a cruise down the river, take a helicopter flight or hire a canoe for epic views of the ancient gorge system.
While you’re at it, don’t forget to explore the many rock formations, gorges and canyons before passing through Alice Springs, Marla, Coober Pedy and the many lakes of South Australia. Stop for a meal at one of the outback’s most famous pubs, the Prairie Hotel, where you can order an Aussie feast of grilled kangaroo, camel and emu.
Must-See Spots On Explorers Way:
- Litchfield National Park
- Nitmiluk National Park
- The MacDonnell Ranges
- Wilpena Pound
- Coober Pedy
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Gibb River Road
For the ultimate of adventures as you cruise through Western Australia, look no further than the Gibb River Road. One of the country’s most famous dirt tracks and constructed in the ’60s to transport cattle stock, this 660 km road cuts right through the belly of WA’s Kimberley from Derby to Wyndham. Be sure to take the time to stop and soak in a glassy waterhole, float in Lake Argyle’s famous infinity pool and immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture at the Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Cultural Centre.
Do note that you can tackle the Gibb in either direction but road conditions depend on the time of year and completion of grading work. Generally, travel is only recommended once the road has been graded after the wet season, from May until the end of October. If you’re a fan of 4-wheel driving, this will definitely be up your alley!
Must-See Spots On The Gibb River Road:
- Emma’s Gorge
- Adcock Gorge
- Galvan’s Gorge
- King Leopold Ranges
- Zebedee Springs
- Tunnel Creek
QUEENSLAND: Cape York
If you’re ready to tackle one of Australia’s most remote landscapes, look no further than the trip between Cairns and Cape York. A true bucket-list adventure, this is one that isn’t for the fainthearted and requires planning, preparation, and determination to tick it off. Due to Queensland’s sunny disposition, the best time to embark on the Cape York drive is during the cooler months and June through to October which provide ideal conditions. On your journey, don’t forget to head to the Western Cape and visit the coastal town of Weipa, rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage. Enjoy stunning beaches, unspoilt wilderness and some of the most incredible fishing experiences of your life!
The distance from Cairns to Cape York is approximately 2,000 km return, but with the condition of the roads, driving times are often longer than expected. Be sure to allow for a minimum of 10 days for this road trip, with many road-trippers spending up to 3 weeks on the journey.
For an unforgettable journey through ancient landscapes, consider embarking on one of the many Daintree Rainforest tours. These tours offer a deep dive into one of the world’s oldest rainforests, providing insights into its unique ecosystem and the opportunity to witness its breathtaking biodiversity firsthand.
Important Note: Marketed as ‘Queensland’s final frontier’, Cape York has limited phone reception and expensive pay-per-use WiFi, that is, if you find any at all. Be sure to factor this into your plans, of course!
Must-See Spots On Cape York:
- Elim Beach
- The Daintree
- Twin & Eliot Falls
- Split Rock
- Somerset Beach
NORTHERN TERRITORY: Red Centre Way
For a native Australian experience unlike any other, look no further than driving the Red Centre Way, a loop beginning and ending in the outback town of Alice Springs. To make the most of this incredible journey, we recommend allowing at least five to seven days of travel. Treat your eyes to red desert sands, spinifex and mulga forest, lush valleys and towering gorges. Learn first-hand about the ancient living culture of the traditional Aboriginal land owners and visit the home of countless rare birds, plants and native wildlife.
Top Tip: Most of the Red Centre Way is on sealed roads allowing for any type of car, but do note that there is one section of the drive that is unsealed – a stretch of about 140 km known as the Mereenie Loop Road between Kings Canyon and the West MacDonnell Ranges, so be sure to spare some extra time if you are travelling in a 2 wheel drive.
Must-See Spots On The Red Centre Way:
- Guided Tour at Uluru
- Hermannsburg Historic Precinct
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
- Ellery Creek Big Hole
- Standley Chasm
And there you have it — 6 top destinations to stop at on your next amazing Aussie road trip. Will you be visiting any of these iconic destinations on your next adventure? Be sure to share your thoughts and plans in the comments section below!