3 Great Road Trips in Australia

Australia is a large continent with a great deal of diversity in landscapes and scenery. The best way to experience Australia is with a road trip and while there are many road trip itineraries that are great the following three give variety to new visitors of Australia.

The benefit of a self-drive road trip is that you can determine which sights and towns you wish to spend more time exploring while also able to not spend as long at other places that are not as interesting to you. The ideal road trip is to start with a campervan hire which can be picked up at all major cities.

The Great Ocean Road

This is the most famous of Australia’s well-known drives which snakes along the coastline from Torquay in Victoria westward some 243kms to the town of Warrnambool. The coastline along this stretch of Victoria is one of Australia’s best known tourist drives. The highlights of this drive are the rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles which sit just off the shore line in the ocean.  

Highlights include:

  • Twelve apostles – rock formations
  • Bells beach Torquay – famous surf beach
  • London Arch – rock formation
  • Otway’s National Park
  • Cape Otway Lighthouse
  • Loch Ard Gorge – great coastal beach
  • Wreck Beach – walk to anchors of ships wrecks Marie Gabrielle & Fiji
  • Thunder Cave – experience the thunder sound created from this cave and ocean swell
  • Bay of Islands at Peterborough – a group of geological formations

The Great Ocean Road drive can be done in a few days, but the more time you take to explore the better the road trip really is.

The Grand Pacific Drive

This drive starts at Sydney and runs south through the Royal National Park and along the coastline to Shoalhaven.  The road trip is only 191kms long but takes in an amazing abundance of coastal scenery. After passing through the Royal National Park this drive hugs the coast and passes over the Sea Cliff Bridge that sticks out over the ocean and gives great views back along the coastline.  

The road trip will take you further down the coast where you can visit the world-famous blow holes of Kiama and its rolling green countryside. Travelling further south to the great surf beaches around Shell Harbour completes the short version of this road trip. You can extend this road trip (I recommend you do) further south down the Sapphire coast all the way to the township of Eden.

The Sapphire Coast has many pristine white sandy beaches and turquoise water colour giving the coastal area its name. The trip from Shoalhaven to Eden is a further 288kms and adds extra time required for the trip to your holiday.  

Highlights include:

  • Royal National Park – coastal walk and wedding cake rock
  • Kiama Blow holes and green rolling country side
  • Sea Cliff Bridge and great coastal views
  • Great Surf at Shell Harbour
  • Jervis Bay and its white sandy beaches
  • Eden and the coast walks and national parks

Great Barrier Reef Drive

Cairns to Cape Tribulation in the Daintree is only 140kms long, but you get some great coastal views, beaches, rainforests and coral reefs all packed in to this tight drive. The first part of the drive from Cairns to the tropical paradise of Port Douglas hugs the coastline and offers some great views. The road runs from headlands to beach and back again in what is one of the great driving trips in Australia.

Port Douglas is a tropical paradise and a great place to stay on this trip as it offers many trendy little restaurants, a four-mile-long wide sandy beach and a great headland from which to overlook the barrier reef and the coastline from.  There is also a marina at Port Douglas from which to you engage in many reef tours and ocean adventures from.

Leaving Port Douglas and heading to Cape Tribulation you pass Mossman Gorge and catch the ferry over the Daintree River. The Daintree is a World Heritage listed rainforest and is the only place in Australia where tropical rainforest meets coral reef at the beach.  

Highlights include:

  • Port Douglas 4-mile beach
  • Skyrail Cableway and Railway Tour
  • Kuranda Village
  • Mossman Gorge
  • Barrier Reef Tours from Port Douglas
  • Coral reefs of the beaches at Cape Tribulation


These road trips will allow you to explore countryside, coastline, beaches, rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. They all start from major towns where you can hire a campervan from for the trip.