Australia is truly one of the most beautiful countries on Earth. I know everyone thinks their country is the most beautiful, but I’d like to put in a tip for mine. Don’t believe me? Well maybe a look through some of the most rad road trips to take in Australia will change your mind. Here is the ultimate guide to the best road trips to take in Australia.
1. Great Ocean Road
The drive between Melbourne and Adelaide can be taken two ways; the straight and narrow route, or the visually stunning scenic route. The Great Ocean Road, as it is known around the world, follows along the Eastern coastline, where along the way you can expect to see waterfalls, plunging sea cliffs and a few of Australia’s great landmarks, like the Twelve Apostles.
This road trip is best done when time is taken to stop and see all the sights. It is possible to do the drive in one day, but where’s the fun in that? You miss so much driving straight through. There are spectacular views and lookouts to stop at, and at the right time of year, you may see some whales passing through! Over 250km you’ll get to experience some seriously good hiking, seaside towns and views that will take your breath away.
2. Gibb River Road
Gibb River Road is for the adventurous, and for those with a pimped out 4WD. If an outback adventure is what you’re craving when you visit Australia, or even if you live in Oz, you’ll definitely find your Indiana Jones moment along the Gibb River Road. There is so much history and character to experience on this drive, not to mention the waterfalls and natural pools to swim in. Bell Gorge, a collection of pools and small waterfalls that takes a bit of hiking and perspiration, but is absolutely so worth it, is one of the highlights on this road.
Other attractions include Adcock Gorge, a beautiful billabong surrounded by lush greenery and red rock cliff walls, and El Questro Wilderness Park, an old cattle station that was turned into one of the best places to stay, either camping under a canvas of stars or in the Homestead, a six-star retreat. You’ll also find a lot of Aboriginal culture and history along the way, as well as Windjana Gorge, a deep valley that was once a large body of water, and where fresh water crocs enjoy peace and quiet.
3. Cairns to Cape
Queensland boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in Australia and includes some of our greatest landmarks, like the Great Barrier Reef, for example. This is where this 1000km long trip to the tip starts; at Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, ending at Queensland’s northernmost point at Cape York.
Along the way, expect to find lots of crocodiles, dusty red roads, Daintree Rainforest, and Lakefield National Park. You can also experience stunning waterfalls perfect for taking a dip, ancient rock art that dates back 30,000 years, a spot of fishing, and Cooktown, named after ol’ Captain Cook, one of the first Western blokes to clap eyes on this gorgeous land. Because Queensland is such a humid state, it’s best to do this road trip during the colder months (June, July), but don’t let this stop you from bringing your swimsuit. Trust me, it will still be swimming weather.
4. The Nullarbor
The Nullarbor, to be frank, is a long stretch of highway across a pretty bare plain, which spans 1256km of just plain bitumen and a whole lot of empty horizon. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? But there’s a bit of magic to this empty highway that a lot of people miss out on. People make the mistake of skipping the four-day drive to just get to the fun parts. Little do they know, that the Nullarbor leads you straight to the Great Australian Bight, a rugged coastline, lined with limestone cliffs that face a wide expanse of the Southern Ocean. This stunning view is just one of the many amazing things to see on the Nullarbor.
Along the way, you’ll almost definitely be able to spot some of Australia’s wildlife, like an emu and her babies travelling alongside you, or a scattered group of wild camels or dingos. This is by far one of the best ways to disconnect from the world and really get into the wildness of travelling through Australia. Because of the patchy phone service, the absence of urban towns and uptown restaurants, you’ll really be roughing it. You’ll be camping under the stars and stopping off at one of the pristine beaches just off the highway for a cool-down. But once you’ve done it, you’ll always remember it!
5. The Big Lap
This last road trip is going to need a bit more of a time commitment, a sturdy, reliable 4WD and a radical sense of adventure. If the name hasn’t given it away by now, the Big Lap is a ring route of the whole country. Yes, you heard right. The entire country of Australia, minus Tasmania. So strap on your steel-toed boots, slap on your cork hat and let’s get into it.
If you have six months to a year to devote towards exploring this awesome country, then the Big Lap route is yours, my friend. You’ll surely see everything Australia has to offer, from the shining lights of the big cities to sleepy coastal towns to rugged outback communities teeming with history and adventure. While it’s definitely not a nice afternoon drive through the countryside, it will take your breath away at every twist and turn. If you don’t believe in the awesomeness and majestic beauty of Australia once you’re done, you haven’t done it right. The memories to be made and the sights to be seen are some that you’ll remember forever.