Top 5 Road Trips in Australia

Road Trips in Australia

A road trip is a great way to see a country and explore at your own pace. The road trip will allow you to be flexible with your itinerary in order to get the most of out your holiday. We always recommend a campervan hire road trip as this allows for only unpacking once while maintaining maximum flexibility.  


Grand Pacific Ocean Road

Starting from Sydney and Heading south for 140kms is the Grand Pacific Ocean Drive. The drive passes through the Royal National Park, along the coast crossing the sky bridge for some amazing views, and keeps going until it reaches Shoalhaven.  This sojourn takes you through the townships of Wollongong, Shellharbour, and Kiama then onto Shoalhaven.


  • Rainforest area of the Royal National Park
  • Stunning coastal views all the way along the trip 
  • Sky bridge that takes you out and over the ocean to look back at the coastal cliffs
  • Sandy beaches all the way down the coast
  • Great surfing particularly at Shellharbour 
  • Blowholes and ocean pool at Kiama 
  • Green rolling country side around Kiama
  • Perfect white beaches like Blenheim Beach at Shoalhaven

You can continue on south to extend this drive through Jervis Bay and along the Sapphire coast region to the township of Eden.  The extra drive will expose you to the 16 sandy white beaches of Jervis Bay, the headlands and many national parks along the way. The waters of the Sapphire coast area are a turquoise colour that matches with the white sandy beaches to give the impression of paradise.  

The section from Shoalhaven to Eden is a further 288kms but does it does add quite a bit to the trip. There are also plenty of restaurants, cafes and places to stay at all the townships along this route. 

Great Ocean Road 

Grand Pacific Ocean Road

Starting at Torquay and following the coastal route to Warrnambool for 250kms is the Great Ocean Road.  This drive is probably the most iconic of drives in Australia as it hugs some amazing coast line, passes the Twelve Apostles and visits many interesting places along the way.


  • Bells Beach Torquay home of surfing in Australia 
  • Otway National Park is a temperate rainforest 
  • Triplet falls at Otway National Park
  • Cape Otway lighthouse 
  • The Twelve Apostles  rock formations 
  • Loch Ard Gorge is a great beach protected by unique headlands
  • London Arch which is now a single arch no longer attached to mainland
  • Bay of Islands at Peterborough
  • Teddys lookout behind the coastal town of Lorne

There are multiple towns along the route where you can stay, find restaurants, cafes and enjoy some local shopping. The more popular towns include Apollo Bay, Lorne, and Port Campbell. 

The Great Barrier Reef Drive 

Road Trips in Australia

Starting at Cairns and heading 140kms north to Cape Tribulation is the Great Barrier Reef Drive. This trip takes you along the edge of the barrier reef and into the World Heritage Listed Tropical Rainforest of the Daintree.  The trip is only 140kms long, but best to take your time as there is plenty to experience and explore.


  • Cairns Beaches region including Palm Beach
  • Great Scenic outlook and secluded beaches from Cairns to Port Douglas
  • Port Douglas with four mile beach and easy access to the coral reef 
  • Mossman Gorge on the edge of the Daintree
  • Aboriginal Culture Experience in Mossman Gorge
  • Great Restaurants at Port Douglas and Palm Beach 
  • Reef Tours from Port Douglas
  • Drive through the Rainforest 
  • Perfect Sandy Beach of Cape Tribulation 
  • Snorkel off the beach to coral reefs
  • Daintree river cruises
  • Ocean kayaking from Cape Tribulation

 Daintree is the only place in Australia where the Rainforest meets the coral reef at the beach. This drive gets you into both rainforest and reef. Also if you want to take a side trip, visit the township of Kuranda in the rainforest on top of the ranges behind Cairns before you leave the area.  It is delightful spot for tourists and easy drive up the range and down before really getting to far into your coastal drive.

Sydney to Brisbane East Coast Path 

Heading North from Sydney to Brisbane on the Pacific Highway is a 943km journey. This journey is best taken over 3 or more days so that you can enjoy the scenery along the way. There are many places to stop, many things to see along this particular drive, beaches, headlands, national parks, surf and endless scenery. In fact there are so many for this itinerary I want to highlight places to stop, explore or visit.


  • Newcastle
  • South West Rocks 
  • Coffs Harbour 
  • Yamba
  • Byron Bay  
  • Lennox Heads 
  • Brunswick Heads
  • Gold Coast

Cross the Nullarbor Plains 

The Nullarbor Plains stretches from Ceduna in South Australia to Norseman in Western Australia. The Nullarbor is usually crossed on a trip from Adelaide to Perth. The Nullarbor Plains has the longest straight road in the world. The remoteness of the area gives wonderful night skies and the Nullarbor offers an experience different from other road trips nominated.


  • Play golf across the Nullarbor on the Nullarbor Links 
  • Cactus Beach 21kms South of Penang is revered surfing spot
  • Watch for Whales from Fowlers Bay 
  • Head of Bight is the Apex of the Great Australia Bight where you can view along the coast 
  • Watch out for emus, kangaroos, dingoes and wedge tail eagles

There are many other notable road trips in Australia, but these five offer great insight into the Australian landscape and each one will leave you with memories for a lifetime.

Author: Scott Walton is part time writer and computer programmer for Discovery Campervans who has done extensive travel in the past and wants to share his knowledge to encourage others to travel.

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