Australia Road trip- the Ultimate Guide
An Australian road trip is like getting into a huge adventure packed with gorgeous landscapes, diverse fauna, and rich cultural experiences.
If you’re looking for a grand adventure, an Australian road trip is the way to go.
This comprehensive guide will assist you in navigating this large and beautiful continent by giving you with useful advice and unique perspectives to ensure that your trip is one that you will never forget.
This road trip guide has you covered no matter where you want to go in Australia: to soak up the coastal beauty of the Great Ocean Road, to see the dynamic cities along the Pacific Coast, or to plunge deep into the heart of the outback.
In this wonderful land down under, you’re going to want to get ready to hit the open road so you can make some memories that will last a lifetime.
Table of Contents
Why Choose Australia for Your Road Trip?
Australia is a dream destination for road trip enthusiasts. It’s home to stunning coastlines, expansive outback, buzzing cities, and charming small towns.
The country’s diverse terrain and vastness make it an ideal choice for travelers seeking adventure and a unique experience.
Best Time for Your Australian Road Trip
The optimal time for your Australian road trip might have a huge impact on your travel experience.
Because of Australia’s immense geographical diversity, the weather can change considerably across the country, and the best time to visit may depend on your route.
Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are ideal seasons for a seaside road trip. The weather is often moderate throughout these times, making them ideal for beach excursions and outdoor activities.
Furthermore, during certain seasons, there are less tourists, making your journey more tranquil.
If you want to visit the legendary outback, the Australian winter (June to August) is ideal.
Summer temperatures in Australia’s central and northern regions can be quite high, although winter temperatures are more bearable.
If Tasmania is on your itinerary, the best time to visit is during the summer (December to February).
The temperature in Tasmania is significantly milder than on the mainland, and the summer months are ideal for exploring its stunning scenery.
Finally, no matter when you go, an Australian road trip provides a multitude of experiences. With proper planning, any time might be ideal for your vacation.
Planning your Australia Road trip
Planning Your Australian Road Trip
Planning is key when it comes to organising a successful road trip across Australia. The country’s vast size and diversity mean that a well-thought-out plan can significantly enhance your travel experience.
Related: Planning Australia Road Trip: The Ultimate Guide
Here are some essential steps to consider:
Understand the Distances
Australia’s size can be deceiving, and it’s crucial to understand the distances between destinations. Plan your routes and daily drives realistically. Remember, it’s better to explore fewer places thoroughly than to rush through many.
When planning a road trip in Australia, one crucial factor to consider is the distance. Australia is the world’s sixth-largest country, and its vastness is often underestimated.
Understanding the scale of distances between destinations will ensure a more realistic, safe, and enjoyable travel plan.
1. The Scale of Australia
To truly grasp the scale of Australia, consider this: It’s almost as large as the United States and is approximately 32 times the size of the United Kingdom! Consequently, travelling between cities and landmarks can involve long hours, or even days, of driving.
2. Inter-City Distances
Distances between major cities in Australia can be vast. For instance, the journey from Sydney to Melbourne is approximately 900 kilometers, equivalent to a 9-hour drive without breaks.
The distance from Brisbane to Cairns is about 1,700 kilometers, which would take about 20-24 hours of non-stop driving.
3. Allow for Extra Travel Time
The stated distance between two points is often the shortest route and does not account for rest breaks, sightseeing detours, road conditions, or delays. It’s essential to allow extra travel time in your schedule. Remember, the joy of a road trip is in the journey, not just the destination.
4. Consider the Remote Distances
When travelling through remote areas, such as the Outback, distances between towns (and petrol stations) can be hundreds of kilometers. Ensure you have a reliable vehicle, enough fuel, water, and supplies before setting off.
Related: Fuel Efficiency: Best Cars for Saving Money on Gas During Road Trips
5. Using Maps and GPS
Modern technology, like GPS and Google Maps, has made estimating distances and travel times easier.
However, remember to use these tools as guides and not absolute truths. Always account for the unexpected and plan accordingly.
6. Understanding Distance Signs
In Australia, distances are indicated in kilometers. Road signs displaying distances to the next town or city are common, especially on highways. Familiarize yourself with these signs to monitor your progress and plan your stops.
7. Australian Speed Limits
Understanding distances also means understanding how speed limits can affect your travel time. Speed limits vary but are typically between 50 km/h in residential zones to 110 km/h on freeways.
Understanding the distances in Australia before embarking on your road trip is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable adventure.
Plan your routes wisely, take into account the vastness of the country, and be prepared for long drives. With a good sense of the distances involved and a well-prepared itinerary, you’ll be set for an unforgettable Australian road trip.
The beauty of this expansive country awaits you, and the open road beckons. Happy journey!
Choose Your Route
Australia has several iconic routes, each offering unique landscapes and experiences. Whether you choose the coastal beauty of the Great Ocean Road, the rugged wilderness of the Red Centre Way, or the tropical paradise of the Savannah Way, research your chosen route thoroughly. Understand what you can expect and plan your stops accordingly.
Choosing the right route for your Australian road trip can be an adventure in itself. The country’s expansive landscape, varying from sun-soaked beaches to rugged outback, offers countless road trip options.
This guide will help you explore some of the most popular routes that provide unforgettable Australian experiences.
1. The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road, stretching 243 kilometers along the southeastern coast, is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives.
Starting from Torquay and ending at Allansford, you’ll witness the grandeur of the Twelve Apostles, the quaint charm of seaside towns, and the lush beauty of rainforests.
2. The Pacific Coast
The Pacific Coast drive, also known as the Legendary Pacific Coast, takes you from Sydney to Brisbane.
This 930-kilometer journey provides a blend of gorgeous beaches, vibrant cities, lush hinterlands, and unique wildlife encounters.
3. The Red Centre Way
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in Australia’s outback, the Red Centre Way is the route for you.
This route covers around 1,135 kilometers from Alice Springs to Uluru. Along the way, you’ll encounter the magnificent Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta, and the iconic Uluru, offering a glimpse into Australia’s heartland.
4. The Nullarbor Plain
For the adventurous, driving across the Nullarbor Plain is a must. Stretching over 1,200 kilometers, it is one of the world’s most extended straight roads. Starting from Ceduna in South Australia to Norseman in Western Australia, you’ll experience the raw beauty of the Australian outback.
5. The East Coast
The East Coast of Australia Road trip offers a lengthy but rewarding road trip from Melbourne to Cairns.
Over approximately 4,000 kilometers, you’ll experience Australia’s metropolitan cities, iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, pristine beaches, and the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef.
6. Tasmania’s East Coast
For those who prefer shorter drives, Tasmania’s East Coast is a perfect choice. This 300-kilometer stretch offers diverse landscapes, from the stunning Wineglass Bay to historic sites like Port Arthur.
Choosing your road trip route in Australia ultimately depends on your interests, time availability, and the kind of experiences you seek.
Whether it’s the coastal charm of the Great Ocean Road, the outback allure of the Red Centre Way, or the extensive exploration of the East Coast, Australia offers a road trip for every traveler.
So, map out your route, buckle up, and get ready for an exciting journey filled with awe-inspiring landscapes and rich cultural experiences.
Your Australian adventure awaits!
Accommodation and Stops
Australia offers a range of accommodation options from campsites to luxury resorts.
Booking ahead during peak seasons is advisable. Also, identify interesting stops along the way, such as national parks, landmarks, or local attractions.
One of the vital aspects of planning an Australian road trip is determining your accommodation and stops along the way.
Australia offers a variety of accommodation options and fascinating pit stops to cater to every traveler’s preference and budget. Here’s what you need to consider.
1. Types of Accommodation
Australia’s accommodation options range from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels, self-contained apartments, charming bed & breakfasts, and even farm stays. For the more adventurous, there are plenty of campgrounds and caravan parks.
Hotels and Motels
Located in most towns and cities, hotels and motels provide comfort and convenience. Options range from budget motels to high-end hotels.
Hostels and Backpacker Lodges
Ideal for budget travelers and solo adventurers, hostels offer dormitory-style rooms, communal facilities, and a chance to meet fellow travelers.
Campgrounds and Caravan Parks
Australia is well-equipped for camping and caravanning, with sites available in national parks, beachfronts, and rural areas. Many offer facilities like showers, cooking areas, and even laundry rooms.
Airbnb and Vacation Rentals
For a home-away-from-home experience, consider Airbnb or other vacation rentals. They’re available across the country and can be an economical option, especially for larger groups or longer stays.
2. Planning Your Stops
Strategically planning your stops can enhance your road trip experience. Consider these factors:
Australia’s diverse landscape offers countless natural attractions. National parks, world heritage sites, stunning beaches, and wildlife encounters are all excellent reasons to pull over.
Cultural and Historic Sites
Australia’s rich history and culture provide ample opportunities for enlightening stops. Explore indigenous culture, visit heritage-listed sites, or soak in the vibrant city life.
Rest and Revitalization
Driving long distances can be tiring. Schedule regular rest stops to stretch, hydrate, and rejuvenate. Australia has numerous rest areas along its highways for this purpose.
Food and Fuel
Plan your stops around towns or cities where you can refuel both your vehicle and yourself. Enjoy Australia’s culinary scene, ranging from high-end restaurants to charming roadside cafes and local food markets.
Planning your accommodation and stops is a critical part of your Australian road trip itinerary.
Whether you’re camping under the stars in the Outback, staying in a beachfront hotel, or making a pit stop at a World Heritage site, these experiences will shape your journey.
Remember, every stop is an opportunity to create lasting memories on your Australian adventure. Safe travels!
Download Must have Road trip Apps Australia:
Download these must-have road trip apps for your Australian adventure and make your journey even more enjoyable and convenient.
Roadtrippers will guide you with navigation and trip planning, CamperMate will help you find the best camping and caravan parks, and FuelMap Australia ensures you never run out of fuel.
Weatherzone keeps you updated on weather forecasts, Zomato leads you to the best dining options, Flush Toilet Finder helps you find public toilets, and Overlander is perfect for off-road and overlanding enthusiasts.
Don’t forget to grab these essential apps before hitting the road and unlock a world of possibilities on your Australian road trip.
Related : 10 Must-Have Apps for an Unforgettable Road Trip in Australia
Australia’s diverse weather conditions require smart packing. Essential items include sun protection, insect repellent, a first-aid kit, and appropriate clothing for various climates.
Packing for an Australian road trip can seem like a daunting task, but with careful planning and wise choices, you can ensure you have everything you need for an enjoyable journey.
Here’s a guide to help you pack efficiently and wisely for your Australian road trip.
1. Clothing and Personal Items
Given Australia’s diverse climate, packing clothes can be a challenge. It’s essential to pack layers – lightweight clothes for warm weather, warmer layers for cooler temperatures, and waterproof items for rainy days. Don’t forget your swimwear for Australia’s stunning beaches and thermal pools!
Also, pack travel-size toiletries, prescription medications, and other personal items. Remember to include a good-quality sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent – all essentials for the Australian outdoors.
2. Travel Documents
Ensure you have all the necessary travel documents, including a valid driver’s license, passport, travel insurance documents, and any necessary visas. If your license isn’t in English, you’ll also need an International Driving Permit.
When packing for a road trip in Australia, it’s essential to be prepared for a variety of climates and environments. Here’s a packing checklist to ensure you have everything you need:
- Lightweight, breathable clothing for warm weather.
- Layered clothing for cooler evenings and higher altitudes.
- Swimwear for beach visits and water activities.
- Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots for exploring.
- Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection.
- Rain jacket or waterproof clothing, as weather can be unpredictable.
- Essential Items:
- Valid driver’s license and necessary documents.
- Road maps or GPS device for navigation.
- Mobile phone and charger for communication.
- Travel adapter for charging electronic devices.
- Cash and cards for purchases and emergencies.
- Reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.
- Travel-sized toiletries and personal care items.
- Medications and a basic first aid kit.
- Camping and Outdoor Gear (if applicable):
- Tent, sleeping bags, and camping equipment.
- Cooking utensils, stove, and food storage containers.
- Camping chairs and table for outdoor dining.
- Headlamp or flashlight for night-time activities.
- Insect repellent and mosquito nets for protection.
- Miscellaneous Items:
- Travel pillow and blanket for comfort during long drives.
- Entertainment options such as books, games, or music.
- Camera or smartphone for capturing memories.
- Snacks, water, and a cooler for keeping food fresh.
- Wet wipes and tissues for easy clean-up.
Remember to pack light and consider the storage space in your vehicle. It’s also advisable to check the weather forecast for your intended destinations and pack accordingly. Don’t forget to bring a sense of adventure and an open mind to fully enjoy your road trip in Australia.
3. Road Trip Essentials
Equip your vehicle with road maps or a GPS device for navigation. Also, consider packing a spare car key, a first-aid kit, a torch, and basic tools for minor vehicle repairs. If you’re venturing into remote areas, a portable charger and a satellite phone could be lifesavers.
📍Related : 11 must have Road trip Car accessories
4. Food and Water Supplies
Pack a cooler with snacks, drinks, and easy-to-prepare meals, especially if you’re planning to camp or travel through remote areas. Always carry plenty of water – it’s vital in the Australian heat.
5. Camping Gear
If you’re camping, you’ll need a tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, and a camping chair and table. A headlamp can be handy for nighttime, and don’t forget the marshmallows for toasting over the campfire!
Related Must have ACCESSORIES camping car
Long drives call for entertainment. Bring along your favorite music, audiobooks, or podcasts. If you’re traveling with kids, pack games and activities to keep them entertained.
Keep the fun and excitement rolling during your road trip with these entertaining apps. Spotify or Apple Music provide an endless playlist of music, while Audible offers audiobooks for captivating storytelling.
For gaming enthusiasts, try mobile games like Heads Up! or Pokémon GO. Keep your passengers engaged with trivia apps like QuizUp or challenging puzzles from Brain Teasers. Capture and share your road trip moments with Instagram or Snapchat.
Finally, don’t forget to download Netflix or Disney+ for on-the-go movie and TV show streaming.
These entertainment apps will make your road trip an enjoyable and memorable experience for everyone onboard.
7. Respect the Environment
Lastly, pack a rubbish bag to collect your waste. Australia’s natural beauty is a treasure, and it’s important to leave no trace behind.
Packing wisely for your Australian road trip is all about preparation and considering your specific needs and itinerary.
Having the right items on hand can enhance your road trip experience and ensure you’re ready for whatever adventures come your way. So, pack your bags, load up the car, and hit the road for an unforgettable Australian journey!
Local Laws and Regulations
Familiarize yourself with local driving laws, including speed limits and wildlife protection regulations. If you’re a foreign visitor, understand the requirements for driving in Australia.
A successful and safe road trip in Australia requires not just a well-planned route and a sturdy vehicle but also a comprehensive understanding of the local laws and regulations.
Driving in a foreign country can be a challenge, but with knowledge and preparation, you can navigate Australia’s roads confidently and legally. Here’s a look at some of the critical local laws and regulations you need to be aware of.
1. Driving on the Left Side
In Australia, all vehicles are required to drive on the left side of the road.
This rule applies everywhere – highways, city roads, roundabouts, and even in parking lots. It might take some getting used to, especially for those accustomed to right-hand driving.
2. Valid Driving License
To drive in Australia, you must have a valid driver’s license. If your license is in English, you can use it to drive in Australia for three months.
If it’s not in English, you’ll need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) before you arrive in the country.
3. Strict Speed Limits
Australia has clearly marked and strictly enforced speed limits, varying between 50-100 km/h in urban areas and up to 110 km/h on highways and freeways. Speed cameras are common, so it’s crucial to adhere to the speed limits at all times.
4. Drink Driving Laws
Australia has stringent drink driving laws. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.05%. For novice drivers (those with a provisional or learner license), the limit is zero. Penalties for drink driving can be severe, including fines, license disqualification, or even imprisonment.
5. Seatbelt Laws
Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory for all vehicle occupants in Australia. Children must also be secured in a suitable child restraint or booster seat until they’re at least seven years old.
6. Mobile Phone Usage
It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in Australia unless it’s hands-free or voice-activated. This includes when your vehicle is stationary but not parked. Penalties can include hefty fines and demerit points.
7. Road Signs and Traffic Lights
Australia has a comprehensive system of road signs and traffic lights. Understanding these will help ensure you follow the rules and stay safe on the road. Some unique signs to Australia include those for wildlife crossings and no overtaking zones.
8. Toll Roads
Some roads, bridges, and tunnels in Australia charge a fee to use, known as tolls. Many toll roads require you to set up an electronic tag or pass. It’s essential to research your route to know if you’ll need to pay any tolls.
Understanding and following local laws and regulations are vital for a safe and enjoyable road trip in Australia.
While this guide covers the basics, it’s recommended to do further research specific to the states you’re planning to visit, as some rules can vary.
Always remember, the key to a great road trip is not just the destination but also the journey, and being a responsible and informed driver is a big part of that journey.
Choosing the Right Vehicle for your Australia Road trip
The decision of which car to take on your road trip around Australia is an important one that can have a considerable bearing on the way the journey goes for you as a whole.
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The varied landscape of Australia necessitates the use of a transport system that is not only comfortable but also sturdy and dependable.
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If your trip will involve driving along the coast, either a regular car or a campervan could be a good option for your mode of transportation.
Campervans provide the additional benefit of housing, enabling you to save money that would have been spent on a hotel. Because they come furnished with essential conveniences like a bed, kitchen, and even a bathroom in certain cases, they are an excellent choice for extended journeys.
A four-wheel-drive vehicle is an absolute must for anyone who intends to go through the rough outback of Australia.
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These automobiles are built to tackle difficult off-road conditions and offer improved traction and control as a result of their design.
They are ideal for traversing the harsh terrain, including creek crossings, dirt roads, and rugged trails, that are likely to be encountered in the outback.
Before you start out on your journey, check that the car you will be traveling in is in satisfactory shape.
City Road trip
If you are doing city to city Road trip ( avoiding the Outbacks and rough terrains) you can drive Luze cars.
This is Our fave Type of Road trip. We have done, Melbourne to Sydney, Melbourne to Adelaide & Melbourne in our luxe Mercedes We drive in our Mercedes and we love the every Moment of our Road trip.
Related: 💡 The best Luxury cars for your next Road Trip( Comprehensive review & Comparison)
Performing routine maintenance, ensuring that the tire pressure is correct, and ensuring that you have the appropriate tools and spare parts are all essential elements in the preparation process.
Related : 💡Your Ultimate Road Trip Car Checklist: Prepare for the Adventure of a Lifetime
Keep in mind that choosing the proper car for your trip can make your road trip more enjoyable by assuring your comfort throughout the drive and ensuring that you are equipped to make the most of your time exploring Australia’s amazing landscapes.
Related: 💡Tips for Renting a Car for a Road Trip: How to Get the Best Deal and Experience
Ensure your vehicle is well-serviced and equipped with essential road trip tools such as a spare tire, jack, and first-aid kit.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Your vehicle is your most important companion on a road trip. Ensure it’s well-maintained, equipped with necessary tools and spares, and suitable for your chosen route.
A well-planned road trip can unlock the best of what Australia has to offer. So take your time, do your research, and get ready for an unforgettable Australian adventure.
Related: Road Trip Ready: A Guide to Prepping Your Vehicle with Chemical Guys Products and How to keep car Clean During & after Road trip : [Luxury car wash products]
Popular Routes for you Australia Road trip
Australian east coast road trip
Starting from Sydney:
- Sydney to Melbourne road trip
- Sydney to Brisbane Drive
- Sydney to Adelaide Road trip
- Sydney to Gold Coast Road trip
- Sydney to Perth Drive
- Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive 3 days
- Sydney to Cairns Road trip
- Sydney Road trips
- NSW Road trips
Starting from Melbourne
- Melbourne to Sydney Road trip
- Melbourne to Perth drive
- Melbourne to Adelaide great ocean road
- Melbourne to Darwin road trip
- Melbourne to cairns road trip
- Melbourne to Sydney coastal drive 2 days
Staring from Brisbane:
- Brisbane to Sydney road trip
- Brisbane to cairns road trip
Starting from Perth(WA)
- Perth to Esperance road trip
- Perth to Broome road trip
- Perth to exmouth road trip
- Perth to Sydney drive
- Perth to Melbourne drive
- Perth to Darwin road trip
- West coast Australia road trip
Starting from Adelaide
Essential Routes for Your Australian Road Trip
Australia boasts numerous iconic road trip routes, each offering a unique exploration opportunity. Here are five must-visit routes:
1. The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is arguably Australia’s most famous road trip route. It stretches over 243 kilometers, featuring stunning coastal views, lush rainforests, and the iconic Twelve Apostles rock formation.
2. The Pacific Coast
The Pacific Coast route, stretching from Sydney to Brisbane, offers a mix of vibrant cities, beautiful beaches, and national parks teeming with wildlife.
3. The Red Centre Way
The Red Centre Way allows you to explore the heart of Australia. It offers stunning outback scenery and the chance to visit iconic landmarks like Uluru and Kings Canyon.
4. The Savannah Way
The Savannah Way is an epic journey from Cairns in Queensland to Broome in Western Australia. It traverses five World Heritage sites and numerous national parks, offering an unforgettable adventure.
5. The Nullarbor Plain
The Nullarbor Plain offers a quintessential Australian outback road trip. Crossing the Nullarbor is a journey through some of Australia’s most remote and unspoiled landscapes.
Road Trip Safety Tips
When planning an Australian road vacation, make safety a primary consideration. Here are some helpful hints to make your journey both safe and enjoyable:
- Plan Your Route and Breaks: The vastness of Australia’s landscapes might result in long stretches of road with no services. Plan your route and rest stations ahead of time, and keep a physical map on hand as a backup for GPS.
- Maintain Hydration and Sun Protection: The Australian sun can be brutal. Carry lots of water and apply sunscreen on a frequent basis, even if you’re mostly inside the car.
- Car Maintenance: Before you begin your travel, make sure your car is in good working order. Throughout your journey, check the tyre pressure, oil, and coolant levels in your vehicle.
- Animals Respect: Australia is home to a rich assortment of animals. Keep an eye out for animals crossing the road, especially at dawn and dusk when they are most active.
- Keep Emergency Supplies: Keep a first-aid kit, a spare tire, and tools in your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to keep additional fuel on hand, especially in isolated places.
- Notify Someone: Always notify someone of your travel plans, including your intended route and expected return time.
Australia’s vastness and remoteness can present unique challenges. Here are some crucial safety tips:
- Always carry a map and a GPS.
- Keep plenty of water and food in your vehicle.
- Inform someone about your travel plans.
- Respect local wildlife and keep a safe distance.
- Ensure your vehicle is in good condition before setting off.
Remember that safety comes first, so take your time, enjoy the ride, and use common sense to create a wonderful road trip.
The Unforgettable Experience
An Australian road trip is about more than just the destinations; it’s about the journey. Whether you’re exploring the wild outback, the pristine coastlines, or the buzzing cities, every moment on the road is an adventure waiting to unfold.
Making the Most of Your Australian Road Trip
To make the most of your road trip, be flexible with your plans, take time to explore off the beaten path, and immerse yourself in local cultures. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination.
A road trip through Australia is an adventure that will leave you with wonderful memories. However, good planning is the key to a pleasant and pleasurable journey.
From selecting the appropriate vehicle and itinerary to understanding local laws and budgeting, each step is essential in designing your journey.
So take your time, plan well, and prepare to discover the beauty of the Australian landscape.
Your Australian road trip promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, whether you’re marveling at the breathtaking majesty of the Great Ocean Road, discovering the rough nature of the Outback, or soaking up the vibrant culture of busy towns.