Great Alpine Road, Victoria1/20
Drive 339 kilometres along Australia’s highest sealed road to take in deep-green mountain ranges, historic towns such as Beechworth and Bright, and, depending on the season, some of Australia’s best skiing at Mount Hotham. There are also wineries and glistening waterways on this route which goes from Wangaratta to Metung on the Gippsland Lakes.
Kangaroo Island, SA2/20
The diversity of Kangaroo Island within a small area allows visitors to accomplish a range of activities in under four days. Begin in Penneshaw and check out the monthly market. Spend a night at Serenity Cottage and visit Vivonne Bay in the morning, followed by a trip to Seal Bay to glimpse the sea lion colony.
Great Ocean Road, Victoria3/20
Winding its way from Torquay to Warrnambool around the rugged southern coastline, the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most stunning routes. It’s easy to see its appeal: the infamous swells at Bells Beach, gourmet food trails, waterfalls and the abundant native wildlife.
Great Eastern Drive, Tasmania4/20
The east coast of Tassie takes in the dramatic Bay of Fires coastline, where yours will be the only footprints in the sand at a plethora of secluded beaches. Stop at St Helen’s wharf for the freshest fish and chips of your life, paired with a drop from one of the area’s cool-climate wineries. For a grand finale, swerve off the highway to Wineglass Bay and take a suite at luxurious Saffire Freycinet.
Nullarbor Crossing, SA – WA5/20
Make an epic playlist and plan to be in the car for at least four days to drive the Eyre Highway from Port Augusta in South Australia to Norseman in Western Australia. You’ll experience the longest stretch of straight road anywhere in the world (1675 kilometres), three time zones, and a surprising number of fellow-travellers, wild camels and Indigenous-art-strewn caves.
Grand Pacific Drive, NSW6/20
The start of the spectacular 140-kilometre, mostly coastal, drive between the Royal National Park and the Shoalhaven begins less than an hour south of Sydney. It’s an area rich in history and natural beauty, from the 1881 shipwreck on the Towradgi Beach walkway to Kiama’s famous blowhole.
Gibb River Road, WA7/20
As one of Australia’s more challenging routes, the 660-kilometre Gibb River Road requires a little more planning. Branching north of Derby, near Broome, the road cuts through the Kimberley wilderness. Pack a few jerry cans of fuel and enjoy the real Aussie outback, where you may encounter rock wallabies and Mitchell’s water monitors.
Red Centre Way, NT8/20
If you’re after an iconic red-dirt experience, the loop encompassing Uluru and Alice Springs is it. Experience Aboriginal culture and visit sacred sights such as Kings Canyon, the Ochre Pits and, of course, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Don’t miss the experience of floating up Redbank Gorge on an inflatable tube.
Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Queensland9/20
This drive in tropical North Queensland is the only place in the world where two World Heritage sites – the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef – exist side by side. Along the way, stop at Port Douglas and enjoy an outer-reef snorkelling tour (look out for a gentle, giant Maori Wrasse).
Cape to Cape, WA10/20
Australia’s South West region is home to spectacular beaches, boutique wineries and giant karri trees but a lesser-known attraction is the extensive cave system that stretches between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. Visit Jewel Cave, Augusta, which features one of the longest stalactites of any tourist cave in the world.
Bass Highway, Tasmania11/20
Covering the northern coast of Tasmania from Launceston to Stanley, the Bass Highway is one of Australia’s unsung road trips. Visit the natural blackwood forest sinkhole, west of Stanley, or search for platypus in Founders Lake at Eugenana. Make a stop at The Edge of the World, an eerie lookout with the world’s longest uninterrupted stretch of ocean.
75-Mile Highway, Queensland12/20
Once you arrive at Fraser Island, there’s one more bit of driving you won’t want to miss. Drive the entire length of the island: it’s one long, smooth, sandy stretch with the odd bump for excitement. Take in shipwrecks, stop for a dip in the fizzy Champagne Pools and contemplate the serenity at stunning red-tinged Lake Boomanjin.
The Big Lap13/20
If you’re going to do it, do it properly, right? The Big Lap is a loop around this entire nation, following Highway One for 14,935 kilometres through Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Broome, Perth, Esperance, Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart. Phew! You’ll need time – several months at least – a sturdy vehicle and an adventurous spirit.
Perth to Ningaloo, WA14/20
This whole drive – about 300 kilometres – is a highlights reel. Be prepared to stop frequently to take in the sights at Geraldton, Monkey Mia and Shark Bay, or just feel the sand between your toes and breathe in the fresh scent blowing in off the Indian Ocean.
Grafton to Glen Innes, NSW15/20
Explore this little-travelled route that passes through the abandoned township of Dalmorton. Once a thriving goldmining hub with 13 pubs, the town’s brief time in the sun ended as the gold in the hills dwindled. The hand-hewn tunnel just past town is only wide enough for one car. Jump out to investigate the graffiti, some of which dates back to the 1800s.
The Great Beach Drive, Queensland16/20
Your tyre marks may be the only sign of human intrusion on some of the vast stretches of white sand along the Great Beach Drive. Linking the Sunshine Coast with Fraser Island, the route, 380 kilometres, covers two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and a World Heritage Marine Park.
The Heritage Highway, Tasmania17/20
The trip from Launceston to Hobart can be done in a few hours but we suggest taking the scenic route and spreading it out over a couple of days. Along the Heritage Highway, you’ll pass through historic villages and the famed Tassie countryside.
The Pacific Coast, NSW – Queensland18/20
Drive through some of New South Wales’ spectacular coastal scenery on the way up to Brisbane. The 900-kilometre route has something for everyone: idyllic beaches, national parks, vibrant cities and towns such as Newcastle, Byron Bay and Yamba, wineries and the fun parks of the Gold Coast.
Adelaide to Cape Jervis, SA19/20
The drive from Adelaide to the ferry at Cape Jervis is a beautiful trip in itself. Take the scenic route through the rolling hills of the Fleurieu Peninsula before boarding the ferry for the 45-minute journey across the Backstairs Passage.