Are you preparing your road trip in Australia and thinking about your itinerary? Or you are already in Australia and preparing your road trip? We have listed for you the most popular driving routes to discover this amazing country from North to South, East to West! So be ready for your next trip! Check out our Australia road trip itinerary.
East Coast Road Trip – Sydney to Cairns
The East Coast is undoubtedly the most taken route by travellers and the most touristy region of Australia. It offers countless (patrolled) beautiful beaches, a generally pleasant climate and a great variety of scenery. The main cities on the coast are Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. They are all very touristy, lively, dynamic and multicultural. For those that aren’t used to road trips, like the ocean and don’t like to be too far out of the cities, then it’s the perfect route to take. Apart from the big cities, travellers on the East Coast especially like the Whitsunday Islands, Fraser Island, the Great Barrier Reef and the great tropical forests of the North.
Time needed: more or less three weeks
Distance: 2500 kilometres
Seasons: The North and the South have two different seasons. Therefore, it’s best to travel during mid-season, which is April-May and September-October. Beware of the wet season from November to February (North Australia) and winter in the South (Sydney, Melbourne..).
Where to sleep: Free campsites can be hard to come by on certain parts of the Coast (Gold Coast, Mackay, etc.) So think about having a small budget to pay for caravan parks.
West Coast Road Trip – From Perth to Darwin
The particularity of the West Coast is it’s wild side. Apart from Perth, you don’t come across any big cities, only smaller towns and villages. Distances between towns are vast and nature still has the upper hand on this coast. Beaches, as magnificent as they are wild follow one and other and are sometimes completely deserted. The adventurers, at peace with nature that want to avoid the tourists should, without a doubt, choose the West Coast. You can discover wild canyons, huge and deserted beaches, the small barrier reef, feed dolphins at Monkey Mia and many other beautiful gems. If you want to be off the beaten track and want a bit of adventure, this route is for you. Marine creatures lovers will also be satisfied as the West Coast is the ideal place to swim with whale sharks (May-July). This road trip itinerary will show you many aspects of Australia you won’t see on the East Coast.
Time needed: Take about one month from Perth to Darwin
Distance: 4000 kilometres on the coast.
Season: Same as with the East Coast, best to go in mid-season, (April-June or September-October)
Where to sleep: Free camp sites are easy to find on the West Coast, you won’t have any problems finding places to spend the night, for free or at minimal cost.
From North to South: Darwin to Adelaide
Very popular road trip itinerary in Australia. It’s about literally crossing Australia overland. Nature lovers and fans of massive spaces will be in their element. However, you will not see much on the road as it’s pretty. The Northern Territory is the state where you will come across the most aborigines and the place where you will come closest to the ancestral culture of Australia. This route will give you the opportunity to discover some amazing sites like the Kakadu National Park, Mataranka, the famous Daly Waters pub and also Uluru (Ayers Rock) You will pass less towns and more roadhouses, make sure you stock up on water and fuel.
– North to South
Time needed: 1 to 1,5 months
Distance: 3000 kilometres
Where to sleep: There’s a great number of free camp sites all along the Stuart Highway. Avoid being too isolated.
– North to the Centre
Time needed: 3 weeks from Darwin to Alice Springs
Distance: 1500 kilometres
Season: April-May or September-October
– Centre to South
Time: More or less two weeks
Distance: 1500 kilometres
Season: March-May or August-October
South Coast: from Melbourne to Perth
The scenery in between Melbourne and Adelaide is of magnificent beauty. You leave Australia’s most cultural city to discover the well-known ‘Great Ocean Road’ and the famous Twelve Apostles. If you can try a little detour to visit Kangaroo Island, a little slice of paradise, still well-preserved. Pass through Adelaide, the city of churches, in order to face the desert plains of the ‘Nullarbor’ with a straight stretch of 146 kilometres. This part of the route may sometimes seem quite long but cliffs and emptiness are part of the adventure. Thereafter, you will be able to refresh in the shade of the Valley of the Giants and discover the wild and beautiful beaches of the South-West region.
Time needed: between 3 to 5 weeks from Melbourne to Perth.
Distance: More or less 4000 kilometres
Where to sleep: A lot of free campsites all along the coast. You might have some difficulty finding free ones in the more touristy areas (Great Ocean Road for example).
Plan your trip and stock water and petrol when crossing the Nullarbor 🙂
Tasmania, the smallest state in Australia exists for 21 percent out of national parks. The landscape of the island is completely different to the Australian Outback. There you will find hills, deep forests, lakes,.. but also dream beaches with white sand and crystal clear water, especially on the East Coast. Tasmania is the only place in the world where you can spot the Tasmanian Devil in his natural habitat. You can reach Tasmania by ferry, from Melbourne (with or without vehicle) or you can fly by airplane to Hobart or Launceston.
Time needed: Take two weeks to do the whole tour
Distance: More or less 2000 kilometres
Where to sleep: Tasmania has many campsites and most towns are equipped with area’s for free camping of at least cheap camping.
More Info: Things To Do in Tasmania
- Road Trip in Australia: Tips for Everyday Life
- Budget a Road Trip in Australia – The East Coast in a Month
- The Perfect 15 Day Itinerary: Brisbane to Cairns drive
- West Coast Australia – 3 weeks itinerary
Updated on the 09th of February 2020. First published on the 26th of October 2017