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Scenic drives in Australia

Top 10 Road Trips in Australia


  1. Great Ocean Road
  2. The Big Lap
  3. Red Centre Way
  4. National Parks of New England, NSW
  5. Heritage Highway, Tasmania
  6. Great Barrier Reef Drive
  7. Perth to Ningaloo Reef
  8. The Alpine Way
  9. Southern Queensland Loop
  10. Kangaroo Island
Australia

10 best scenic road trips in Australia

Perpetual sunshine. Contemporary cosmopolitan cities. Fantastic frontier towns. Endless miles of otherworldly outback. Amazing animals. Laid-back locals. Just some of the ingredients that make Australia so special ‐ if you’re headed for an adventure Down Under sometime soon, you’ll want to embrace everything that’s amazing about this vast, varied land. Covering 7.5 million square km, Australia is the world’s 6th-biggest country, but with 85% of its 22 million population living in urban areas, there are plenty of wide open spaces for wildlife (and visitors) to roam.

Cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have become iconic, as have natural attractions like the Great Barrier Reef and cool critters like koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and wombats. And Australia’s rich Aboriginal heritage stretches back to the dawn of time, brought to life by captivating cultural concepts like the Dream Time and sacred sites like Uluru. Hire a car in Australia with Enjoy Travel and the adventure of a lifetime awaits ‐ whether you’re heading down for business, pleasure or both, a reliable and stylish vehicle helps you make the most of one of the world’s most mind-blowing nations.

The sheer size of Australia means that you could spend a lifetime here and discover something new every day. So some planning is required if you want to prioritise some special experiences during your sojourn. There’s so much to choose from, but popular activities include sailing in the sublime Whitsunday islands, discovering art, culture and craft beer in Tasmania, hanging out with dolphins in Byron Bay and touring South Australia’s gorgeous green winelands. Whatever your perfect itinerary, our collection of road trips has something that appeals to every taste.

Wineglass Bay
Florence Falls

Top tips on driving in Australia

We’ll get on to your top 10 Aussie road trips faster than a kangaroo bounces to the billabong for brekkie ‐ but let’s take a quick look at some tips on driving Down Under first.

The first bit of good news for Brits is that you drive on the left in Australia ‐ yippee! So the slow lane is the one furthest left on roads, and you overtake (when it’s safe) on the right. There are also passing lanes for stretched of 1.5km on most rural roads that allow you to let fast drivers pass without feeling hassled.

Speed limits are 100-110km/h on regular roads in most states, although Northern Territory has a 130km/h limit. The regular speed limit in cities is 50-60km/h.

Don’t drink and drive ‐ the limit here is 0.05% blood alcohol, and the law is enforced stringently. As you might anticipate, some of our road trips are much longer than those you might have tackled ‐ which means that it’s even more vital to plan your pitstops so that you’re always fresh behind the wheel and never drowsy.

And the hazards on the road here are different too ‐ you’ll see distinctive yellow signs with black writing warning you about creatures like koalas and kangaroos crossing, as well as cattle.

With that, let’s get onto those scenic road trips!

Great Ocean Road

Billed as one of Australia’s most beautiful drives, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road runs for 224km between Allansford and Torquay and is characterised by cliff-hugging tarmac and crashing waves. The dramatic coastal scenery en route includes the iconic 12 Apostles rock stacks, several sweeping beaches and a choice of rainforest walks when you want to stop and stretch your legs. Take your time and stop at terrific towns like Apollo Bay, Lorne and Peterborough along the way ‐ this is a road trip to savour.

The Big Lap

As you might have guessed, The Big Lap isn’t exactly a day trip. In fact, you’ll ideally need 6 months to tackle this gargantuan 15,000km quest that circumnavigates the whole of Australia. Traversing everything from remote outback watering holes to rich rainforests, and isolated coastal towns to bustling cities, it covers the coastline between Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Broome, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney. If you’ve got a gap year or radical sabbatical to play with, this might be the ultimate road trip.

Red Centre Way

As you might have guessed, The Big Lap isn’t exactly a day trip. In fact, you’ll ideally need 6 months to tackle this gargantuan 15,000km quest that circumnavigates the whole of Australia. Traversing everything from remote outback watering holes to rich rainforests, and isolated coastal towns to bustling cities, it covers the coastline between Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Broome, Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney. If you’ve got a gap year or radical sabbatical to play with, this might be the ultimate road trip.

Twelve Apostles Rock
Devil Marbles

National Parks of New England, NSW

Starting in Coffs Harbour and finishing 884km later in Yamba, this rollicking road trip for nature lovers is best tackled over 5‐7 days and includes historic towns, protected parks teeming with biodiversity and a distinctive Country music twang. After Coffs Harbour, next stop Armidale is one of the most attractive towns Down Under, then you’ll tack southwest to get your ten gallon hat and spurs on at Country capital Tamworth, before heading north and then east through national parks and charming towns all the way to Yamba.

Heritage Highway, Tasmania

If you want a real taste of Tassie, this 197km road trip is the most direct route from Hobart in the south the northern climes of Launceston. Also known as the Midland Highway, the road follows the same route constructed by convicts in the early 19th century and highlights just off the main track include historic towns like Ross, Kempton and Oatlands ‐ the latter of which boasts the nation’s biggest collection of colonial-era sandstone buildings. Other highlights include Campbell Town’s Red Bridge (built in 1838) and Woolmers Estate near Longford, a World Heritage listed convict site.

Great Barrier Reef Drive

This 150km drive between Cairns and Cape Tribulation is short by Aussie standards, but it packs a considerable scenic punch ‐ you’ll cruise through everything from hip cities to subtropical jungles and windswept beaches! You drive north across the Barron River from Cairns and take in Trinity Beach, Ellis Beach and Palm Cove, then head on to Port Douglas, Daintree Rainforest, and Mossman Gorge, before hitting panoramic Cape Tribulation. It’s possible to complete this trip in two hours but you’ll want to take much longer to really appreciate its delights.

Tropical North Queensland
Kosciuszko National Park

Perth to Ningaloo Reef

Does a tour of Western Australia that includes crystal-clear waters, coral reefs and powder-soft white sand beaches sound good? Course it does! The drive from Perth to Ningaloo Reef is 300km and include stops like the emu spotting in the desert landscape around Carnarvon before swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef. You can extend this trip to Exmouth, Coral Bay and elsewhere if time permits ‐ although how do you top swimming with massive marine predators?

The Alpine Way

This epic 121km route through New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains takes you from Jindabyne in NSW up to the heady heights of Corryong in Victoria and through Kosciuszko National Park, where you can cuddle in overnight with wombats and wallabies (at a safe distance), treat yourself to a hearty campfire brekkie the next morning and take off on a scenic hiking trail. This is a bonzer road trip for anyone who loves the great outdoors.

Southern Queensland Loop

A legendary 324km loop that starts in Brisbane and ends in North Stradbroke Island, the Southern Queensland Loop is best extended over 7 days. A scenic counterbalance to the Gold Coast’s neon-lit theme parks, highlights include the captivating coastlines around Burleigh Heads and North and South Stradbroke Islands, as well as the cathartic rainforests of Lamington National Park and Springbrook.

Kangaroo Island

Top hop on over to Kangaroo Island, hire a car in Adelaide and take the ferry across, then enjoy the 1600km of roads that take you past fur seal colonies, weird rock formations carved by wind, time and tide, penguins at the settlement of Penneshaw, koalas at Flinders Chase National Park, and (naturally) plenty of kangaroos. The local ‘roos here are furry, stocky, sociable and generally placid ‐ but stick to a respectful distance nonetheless. When you want to bounce on the wild side Down Under, this is a road trip you shouldn’t miss.


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