5 Awesome Road Trip Destinations to Explore
Got your car loan approved and just drove your brand-new car from the showroom? What better way to celebrate your achievement than embarking on an Australian road trip?
Get off the beaten track and set out into the unknown! The Land Down Under has plenty of beautiful road trip destinations to offer—from the dreamy coastal and country regions to the outback Northern Territory and the deep dusty desert, mountain ranges and gorges of the Red Centre.
Below are five great Australian road trip destinations that you can explore solo or with your friends and family.
1. The Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Stretching along the southern coast from Torquay to Allansford, the Great Ocean Road is one of the most popular road trip routes with its stunning coastline, beachside towns, and sunburnt cliffs. Some even consider the journey along this path as an Australian rite of passage.
It is home to the famous Twelve Apostles, a collection of magnificent limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park.
The drive starts one hour outside of Melbourne and continues over 250 kilometres to Warrnambool. The terrain shouldn’t worry drivers as this destination has one of the best drives in the world.
- Port Campbell National Park (Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge and Island Archway rock formations, The Grotto, Port Campbell Discovery Walk, and Bay of Islands Coastal Park)
- Cape Otway
- Torquay (Bells Beach, Jan Juc Beach, Torquay Front Beach, Torquay Back Beach, Australian National Surfing Museum, Anglesea Golf Course)
- Great Otway National Park (Melba Gully, Wreck Beach, Matis Rest, Triplet Falls, Erskine Falls, 1848 Cape Otway Lightstation)
- Apollo Bay (Otway Fly Treetop Adventures, The Great Ocean Walk)
- Lorne (Otway Ranges, Cumberland River, Erskine Falls, Qdos Arts Gallery)
- Warrnambool (Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve, Logan's Beach, Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, Thunder Point Coastal Reserve)
- Port Fairy
- Griffiths Island
- Portland (Portland Botanical Gardens, Powerhouse Vintage Car Museum, WWII Memorial Lookout Tower, Great South West Walk)
2. Red Centre Way, Northern Territory
One of Australia’s famous outback routes, the Red Centre Way covers Alice Springs to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The drive starts at Alice Springs and passes through Kings Canyon towards Uluru.
Road-tripping the Red Way Centre is a fun way to experience central Australia’s diverse landscape of real mountains, sand dunes, gorges, waterholes, and plenty of wildlife.
Despite the outback environment, this route is also popular among families with its plenty of hiking trails and camping grounds to offer. Travellers usually visit Simpsons Gap gorge and camp for the night at Ormiston Gorge then head to Kings Canyon with a stop at Tnorala. The final stretch is towards Uluru and Ayers Rock Resort, a modern village with a string of hotels.
- Alice Springs (Alice Springs Desert Park, Alice Springs Telegraph Station, Araluen Cultural Precinct, Anzac Hill/Unteyetwelye, Flynn’s Grave, Emily and Jessie Gaps, Simpsons Gap)
- Glen Helen Gorge
- West MacDonnell Ranges
- Kings Canyon
- Uluru (Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Tjukurpa Tunnel, Mutitjulu Waterhole, Walpa Gorge, Watarrka National Park)
3. The Savannah Way, Queensland
Stretching from Cairns in Queensland to Broome in Western Australia, The Savannah Way is one of the popular and challenging road trips across the top part of the country. This East to West journey covers a whopping 3,700 kilometres, which can be completed in a week or two, making it the country’s longest drive route.
Typically, the drive starts at Cairns towards Undara, Croydon, Karumba, Adels Grove, Lorella Springs, Mataranka, Nitmiluk, Timber Creek, Lake Argyle, El Questro, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing, Derby, and finally Broome.
Along the way, roadtrippers are treated to various scenic attractions and wildlife. The main road is sealed apart from a 700-kilometre section between Normanton and Borroloola. Travellers, however, should take note that there are unsealed 4WD sections and some sections are impassable during the wet season.
- Millaa Millaa Falls
- Undara Lava Tubes
- Mount Surprise
- Cobbold Gorge
- Lorella Springs
- Limmen National Park
- Nitmiluk Gorge
- Victoria River
- Lake Argyle
- Keep River National Park
- Emma Gorge
- Bungle Bungles
- Giekie Gorge
- Horizontal waterfalls
- Pearl Luggers Museum
4. Great Barrier Reef Drive, Queensland
Starting at Cairns and traveling north for 140 kilometres, this route finishes at Cape Tribulation in the Daintree. The journey takes roadtrippers on an enchanting tropical adventure as the region offers plenty of sweeping coastlines, lush forests, serene waterfalls, crater lakes, and timeless farms and villages to behold and explore.
It is home to two of the country’s most iconic natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, which are best for exploration during the winter months. The catch, however, is that there would be plenty of local tourists to share the “perfect spots" with, especially from the south.
- Northern Beaches
- Rex Lookout
- Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome
- Port Douglas
- Mossman Gorge
- Daintree Village
- Daintree Rainforest
- Cape Kimberley
- Alexandra Range
- Thornton Beach
- South Noah Beach
- North Noah Beach
- Coconut Beach
- Myall Beach
- Cape Tribulation
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
5. Gibb River Road, Western Australia
This famous dirt track is not for the weak of heart and weak of engine. Situated across the Kimberley region in Western Australia, the drive starts and finishes at either Kununurra on the east or Derby on the west, covering an approximately 700 kilometres of beautiful gorges, waterfalls, cattle ranches and stations, and camping grounds.
Better get that 4-wheel drive ready because this mostly unsealed road will take you through one of Australia’s last wilderness frontiers. Take note, however, that the road is closed during the wet season between November and March. Travel is recommended once the road has been graded after the wet season around May until the end of October.
- Windjana Gorge
- Tunnel Creek
- Mt Elizabeth Station (Wunnamurra Gorge)
- Bell Gorge
- Adcock Gorge
- Galvan’s Gorge
- King Leopold Ranges
- Emma’s Gorge
- Zebedee Springs
- El Questro Wilderness Park (Branco's Lookout, El Questro Gorge)
- The Ord River
- Lake Argyle
Whether you love the beach or the outback, you won't be running short of road trip destinations to explore in Australia. Just make sure to plan your route ahead and see to it that your car is up for the challenges and rigors of off-road driving.