Australia is simply one of the best places in the world for road trips. Road tripping the East Coast, West Coast, Outback, and Great Ocean Road are all very different experiences and can appeal to different kinds of solos. Wherever you’re driving along winding roads or the dirt paths of this massive country, you'll witness a vast number of terrains. I spent a year in Australia and hired a car to explore some of the country's regions.
In this guide, I break down four epic road trip itineraries to help you choose the right Aussie adventure for you.
An East Coast road trip in Australia typically starts in Sydney, but if you have more time you can begin in Melbourne, a chic city with plenty of charm. You’ll be able to do this road trip in its entirety within 14 days, but it's always advisable to take more time so you can enjoy each place without having to rush yourself. If you start in Sydney your road trip will be roughly 2400 kilometres, while beginning in Melbourne will have you driving approximately 3300 kilometres.
For younger solos backpacking in Australia on a budget, road tripping the East Coast can be a lot of fun. You can spend your time in great backpacker towns like Gold Coast or Byron Bay, catching waves during the day and partying with fellow travellers at night. These towns are also a good source of work for backpackers on working holiday visas.
Australia’s East Coast is also renowned for its epic scenery. Places like Fraser Island, the Whitsundays, and the Great Barrier Reef are breathtaking and worth visiting, but they can be a bit pricey.
Australia’s West Coast is vastly different from the east as there are fewer backpacker towns here. What this coast lacks in parties, it makes up for in historical and cultural landmarks. You can start your 2300 km journey in Perth and drive up to Broome, or vice versa.
Like the East Coast, you can do this road trip in 14 days as well, but you’ll probably want to spend more time. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the iconic Ningaloo Coast along with the ancient Karijini National Park.
Karijini National Park is a truly epic landscape. This slice of historic Australian wilderness is an amazing stop for any West Coast adventure. Karijini is home to several freshwater gorges, waterfalls, and natural spa pools, making it the perfect place for you to cool off during your road trip.
The Ningaloo Coast is a World Heritage Site stretching over 705,015-hectares and is home to breathtaking places like Exmouth, Coral Bay, and Carnarvon. Exploring Ningaloo is your best opportunity to get up close with some of Australia’s most exotic wildlife. Your best opportunity is to dive straight into the water and explore the Ningaloo Reef while you swim with sharks, whales, manta rays, tortoises and so many more!
Australia’s outback is over 5.6 million km2 and covers over 70% of the country. Road tripping here is no easy feat. You’ll be driving in gruelling desert climates with very little civilization around, which means you’ll need to be stocked up with resources at all times. However, if you’re prepared for it, the Outback can be an epic adventure.
I recommend starting your outback journey in foodie paradise Adelaide and ending it in quirky Darwin within 7 days. This epic road trip through Australia’s red centre will introduce you to some of the country’s most scenic and extreme landscapes. Be sure to check out the underground city of Coober Pedy, and the unbelievably stunning Uluru.
Great Ocean Road
The shortest road trip on this list may also be Australia’s best. The Great Ocean Road was built by soldiers who returned from World War 1 as a memorial for their fallen allies. To this day it still stands as the world’s largest war memorial.
You can road trip the Great Ocean Road in one day or stretch it over two or three to explore it thoroughly. I recommend starting your Great Ocean Road trip in Torquay before heading west 244 kilometres and ending in Warrnambool. By doing it this way you’ll be driving along the ocean giving you the best views and easiest access to viewpoints.
Some highlights of the Great Ocean Road include Great Otway National Park and the world-famous Twelve Apostles. The Twelve Apostles are the Great Ocean Road’s most iconic site. This collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations. Visit the Twelve Apostles viewpoint during sunrise or sunset, not only is it the most stunning during these times, but it's also less crowded!
Have you experienced a road trip in Oz?
This post was written by GAFFL. At GAFFL, you can find like-minded travellers who are planning on travelling to your same destination at the same time as you, you can connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.