Best 11 Routes for Road Trip Australia

Many people asked me what the best road trips to Australia are? My answer always is: Rent A Car, And Driving Around!

Don’t doubt it; that’s the only way to make you feel comfortable when you are crossing those vast Australian prairies.

Book a Tour at All? Oh, Come on, Stop Do That!

Maybe you are considerate to book a group tour, visit some places by group bus. You might be sleeping or listening to the guide talk about some attraction’s stories. When the bus arrives, you get off, take a look, then you must hurry to get back to the bus in a few minutes and continue to the next place. And finish all journeys and return to the airport. I must say, what an incredibly dull fry!

Conversely, if this route has to be completed by you, imagine that you are driving a camper van or SUV across the endless grassland. And you are staring ahead, not knowing what you will see next. That’s a way worth your Australia trip.

Are You A Backpacker? Shorten-Traveler? or Australian Resident?

Australia road trip with SUV camper vans

An essential thing that can influence everyone is your identity in Australia. Seriously, a valid visa on you that can do anything & feel free in Australia. As this website topic mentioned, you need to make sure of your visa application.

Are you a:

  • Backpacker with a working holiday visa?
  • Shortened traveler with a visitor visa?
  • Resident with permanent residency?

If you want to apply for a visa, please visit the Australian Immigration official website: Click Here>>

If you are in Australia with a valid identity, we can plan anything like a road trip, surfing, and skydiving. And now you can continue reading below.

Rent a Car Before You Start

One thing I have to say before starting a great road trip is the “Tourist.” It might be you. I divided three different kinds of readers into this website: working holiday backpackers, short-term holiday travelers, and residents.

But I won’t talk too much for Australian residents (Definitely, they are already familiar with these routes). Instead, I want to talk about the ways for either working holiday and short-term tourists for planning road trips in Australia.

For holiday travelers & backpackers, what you care about most is renting a car. You need a great vehicle to help you. Make sure you have a qualified driver’s license (International Drive License). Different routes will have the recommended car type for you.

Regarding the topic of renting a car, I will explain this part in another article. Click Here to read vehicle rent articles on this website.

11 Best Road Trips Australia for You

Now I offer you what I think is the best driving route. There are nine routes across Australia. These routes are easy to accomplish because they are crossing major highways rather than unsealed.

Although you don’t need to follow the same way as mine, you can customize yours by my list below. The Australian Highway is not complicated; all you need to know is where you want to go and the place to begin. In my list below, I will show you more detail.

I must remind you that not every route can be altogether driving. Some ways are too far away, which is very uneconomical for renting a car. In contrast, it’s more convenient to participate in the tour.

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

1. Melbourne To Adelaide

Melbourne Adelaide drive route map Australia
Melbourne Adelaide drive route map (Click pic see full size)

Estimated Driving Time: 12.5 hrs

Estimated Distance: 989 km

Route Highlight: Great Ocean Road – the most natural great carving art.

Best Transport:

  • For Backpacker: Rent Car or Add to Your Whole Australia Road Trip Plan.
  • For Short-term Traveler: Booking Tour or Rent Car.

Click Here for Melbourne Adelaide Trip Planner>>

Why Recommend?

This route is the most classic because it connects two famous cities (Melbourne & Adelaide), including the world’s most renowned attraction, Great Ocean Road.

For short holiday tourists, as long as you rent a regular car, you can enjoy the road trip between the two cities. From the perspective of risk, I think this route is mild, and the way is stable.

As you travel along the main inland roads, you can pass through many beautiful and pristine towns. As you travel along the Great Ocean Road to enjoy coastal road trips, you will witness the fantastic coastal scenery and the blue ocean.

For backpackers, make sure you have considerable concentration because there are many sharp corners on the way to the Great Ocean Road. If you have been moving along the sea line, so also pay attention to your speed limit. Therefore, you can choose to rent a car or own a vehicle to complete the route, and you can also arrange it on your complete Australian road trip.

For short-term travelers, if you are not sure if your physical strength can drive such a long route, you may refer to the tour guide.

But I must say that if you don’t move along the sea line, there are routes inland to reach, and you can save a lot of time. I have another article to tell you the exact route details.

Click Here for Melbourne Adelaide Trip Planner>>

Best Attractions Between Melbourne & Adelaide

Twelve Apostles VIC Australia
Twelve Apostles VIC Australia

If you choose this route, you will be able to enjoy these attractions:

  • Geelong
  • Twelve Apostles
  • Loch Ard Gorge
  • London Bridge
  • Grampians National Park
  • Hahndorf
  • Adelaide City
  • Barossa Valley

Check 6 Best Attraction Between Melbourne & Adelaide>>

Check 11 Best Attraction Near Great Ocean Road>>

It’s a famous route for travelers because the most popular attraction, Twelve Apostles, is here. You will get the experience of a particular country tour. Most easy road trip route for people because close to cities and mobile signals almost support the midway. So you don’t need to worry about road rescue waiting. Simply, it’s well-known and must go for this route series.

2. Sydney To Canberra To Melbourne Inland

Sydney to Canberra to Melbourne drive route map Australia
Sydney to Canberra to Melbourne drive route map (Click pic see full size)

Estimated Driving Time: 10 h

Estimated Distance: 950 km

Route Highlight: Enjoy three different styles of city tourism + many famous attractions on the road.

Best Transport:

  • For Backpacker: Rent Car or Own Car Moving
  • For Short-term Traveler: Rent Car.

Click Here for Sydney Canberra Melbourne Trip Planner>>

Why Recommend?

This route is quite interesting because it connects the big cities to the attractions of the Australian Parliament and many famous attractions, so it highly recommended to you.

For backpackers, they are bound to move on this M31 Highway to get to the city very quickly. Many of my friends often move from Melbourne to Sydney and drive all day, so I recommend that backpackers have a car.

For short-term travelers, you can rent an ordinary car to visit the sights between the two cities. This route is the main highway and does not require a camper van.

As for going to the Australian Parliament in Canberra, you have to switch to the Highway. I will discuss this part of the details in another article.

Click Here for Sydney Canberra Melbourne Trip Planner>>

There is another point I must say, this route is very flat, there are quite a few cameras on the roadside, so you should pay attention to your speed limit, don’t be shot by police. Also, you must be careful not to doze off because there are no big bends on the route.

Best Attractions Between Sydney, Canberra & Melbourne

Parliament House Canberra ACT Australia
Parliament House Canberra ACT Australia

If you choose this route, you will be able to enjoy these attractions:

  • Mermaid Pools
  • Harper’s Mansion
  • Fairy Bower Falls
  • Parliament House
  • National Liberty of Australia
  • Anzac Parade
  • Australian War Memorial

Check 20 Best Attraction Between Sydney, Canberra & Melbourne>>

You will find that there is lots of focus in Canberra. Learn More articles to help you understand the details of this route and where you should stay overnight.

3. Sydney To Melbourne Via Coast

Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive route map Australia
Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive route map (Click pic see full size)

Unlike a regular highway, this route gives you a different road travel experience.

This route is suitable for those who want to taste Australia’s natural attractions, so it may take you several days to get to Melbourne from Sydney.

You can drive slowly down from Sydney for backpackers, a camping van parked at each attraction, and the windows open to enjoy the sea breeze.

For short-term visitors, you can choose to rent a camping van to enjoy this feeling, slow down and take a look at the azure coast and the finest white sands.

This route is also one of the most classic road trips, I think, and the connection between the two cities. You can see that I have a few photos to know that this is Australia’s beautiful eastern coast. So you will continue your road journey along the coast and enjoy this East Coast tour!

Click Here for Sydney Melbourne East Coast Trip Planner>>

Best Attractions Along With East Coast Australia

Also, certain most popular tourist attractions like Wedding Cake Rock, Figure 8 Pools, Hyams Beach, then hit Canberra City, Australia Rock, etc.

Wedding Cake Rock NSW Australia
Wedding Cake Rock NSW Australia

If you choose this route, you will be able to enjoy these attractions:

  • Wedding Cake Rock
  • Figure 8 Pools
  • Sea Cliff Bridge
  • Kiama Blowhole
  • Nowra Park
  • Hyams Beach
  • Australia Rock

Check 25 Best Attraction Between Sydney & Melbourne Coast>>

4. Sydney To Canberra To Melbourne Via Coast

Sydney Canberra Melbourne coastal drive route map Australia
Sydney Canberra Melbourne coastal drive route map (Click pic see full size)

After reading the first two routes, you will definitely think, if I want to go to the east coast and Canberra? Ok, this route is for you.

It’s simple; this is the combination of Canberra and the East Coast driving route, allowing you to enjoy the solemnity of the Australian Parliament and the beautiful scenery of the East Coast. In addition, including many suitable for family attractions.

Let me discuss the details of this combined version of the route separately!

Click Here for Sydney Canberra Melbourne Via Coast Trip Planner>>

5. Sydney To Brisbane

Sydney Brisbane drive route map Australia
Sydney Brisbane drive route map (Click pic see full size)

Estimated Driving Time: 9 h 37 min

Estimated Distance: 917 km

Route Highlight: The beautiful Byron Bay is also the easternmost point of the Australian mainland, the focus.

Best Transport:

  • For Backpacker: Rent Car or Own Car Moving
  • For Short-term Traveler: Rent Car.

Click Here for Sydney Brisbane Trip Planner>>

Why Recommend?

Suppose you are in Brisbane and move down to Sydney. In that case, you may wish to visit this beautiful easternmost attraction, which is quite beautiful.

For backpackers living in Brisbane, have their car, move to Sydney and enjoy the scenery along the way. The closest to them is the most famous Gold Coast, where you can surf before moving to Sydney.

Switching from Sydney, there are many beautiful sights in the north of Sydney that are worth visiting. It will discuss the details in this section in another article.

Click Here for Sydney Brisbane Trip Planner>>

Best Attractions Between Sydney & Brisbane

If you are a short-term traveler, you can rent a car to explore the coastal attractions near Sydney. Then go on to experience a variety of wines in the Hunter Valley and the most eastern attractions in Byron Bay.

Byron Bay NSW Australia
Byron Bay NSW Australia

If you choose this route, you will be able to enjoy these attractions:

  • Palm Beach.
  • Newcastle.
  • Hunter Valley.
  • Byron Bay.
  • Memorial of Captain Cook.
  • Gold Coast.
  • Moreton Island.

Check 45 Best Attraction Between Sydney & Brisbane>>

6. Cairns To Brisbane

Cairns Brisbane drive route map Australia
Cairns Brisbane drive route map (Click pic see full size)

Estimated Driving Time: 19 h 23 min

Estimated Distance: 1682 km

Route Highlight: Cairns, Whitsundays, enjoy the most beautiful white sand & Great Barrier Reef.

Best Transport:

  • For Backpacker: Booking Tour or Own Car Moving.
  • For Short-term Traveler: Booking Tour.

Click Here for Cairns Brisbane Trip Planner>>

Why Recommend?

The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s most precious natural asset, so there are many excursions to leave in Cairns.

If you arrive in Cairns on the international airway, you can start this most beautiful paradise tour right away.

Don’t worry, even if you are starting from the domestic line, the flight time will not take too long, so you can wear slippers to enjoy the holiday when you get off the plane.

For I used to be a backpacker, Cairns is my first stop in Australia, so of course, I recommend a tour that starts here. However, I didn’t buy a car at the time. So instead, it was easy to buy a package, but the price would be higher.

For short-term tourists, it is almost from the Cairns Airport. It will include the nearby attractions in the package. The package will be snorkeling, skydiving, lobster, and the Great Barrier Reef.

Click Here for Cairns Brisbane Trip Planner>>

Therefore, I recommend that whether you are a backpacker or a short-term visitor, it is an ideal choice to purchase a package before you come to Cairns.

Best Attractions Between Cairns & Brisbane

Whitsunday National Park Airlie Beach Queensland QLD Australia
Whitsunday National Park Airlie Beach Queensland QLD Australia

If you choose this route, you will be able to enjoy these attractions:

  • Lagoon Esplanade
  • Green Island
  • Whitsundays
  • Airlie Beach
  • Skydiving Tour

Check 15 Best Attraction Between Cairns & Brisbane>>

Above all, you can enjoy beautiful white sand beaches & the whole aqua sea & sky fill your eyes. Above all, this route I call it “bikini road trip“ for this coastal tour. Wonder why? Try walking on the Cairns streets.

7. Adelaide To Uluru To Darwin

Adelaide Uluru Darwin drive route map Australia
Adelaide Uluru Darwin drive route map (Click pic see full size)

Estimated Driving Time: 36 h

Estimated Distance: 3566 km

Route Highlight: Witness the center of the world, the most incredible natural rock landscape, Australian Aboriginal culture, underground city.

Best Transport:

  • For Backpacker: Rent Car or Add to Your Whole Australia Road Trip Plan.
  • For Short-term Traveler: Booking Tour or Rent Car.

Click Here for Adelaide Uluru Darwin Trip Planner>>

Why Recommend?

Uluru (Ayers Rock) is one of the must-see attractions in Australia. It is a world heritage site and a very sacred place for Australian aborigines.

Although the weather inland is always hot, it still attracts many tourists to pilgrimage. It is because the most sacred and mysterious inland is also the farthest place in Australia.

Therefore, for self-driving road travelers, make sure you have a lot of physical strength and endure the tedious journey without mobile phone signals. The atmosphere is like the American wilderness road trip.

For backpackers, if you have a car for yourself, make sure your vehicle has completed the overall inspection and evaluation. It’s a very long driving distance; believe me, you don’t want to break down halfway.

Even if you don’t own a car, you can rent a premium jeep or a full camper van. The advantage is that you don’t have to worry about car maintenance. In addition, you can return the car to Alice Springs without going back to Adelaide.

Camper, jeep, and wagon are the most advantageous of these three models. Because you have a high chance of sleeping on the road without taking a shower; unless you are parking in a specific camping area. About these camping areas, I will share these details in another article.

Click Here for Adelaide Uluru Darwin Trip Planner>>

Best Attractions Between Adelaide & Darwin

Ayers Rock Uluru NT Australia
Ayers Rock Uluru NT Australia

If you choose this route, you will be able to enjoy these attractions:

  • Coober Pedy
  • Lake Hart
  • Kings Canyon
  • Mount Conner
  • Ayers Rock (Uluru)
  • Kata-Tjuta
  • Kakadu National Park
  • Katherine Gorge

Check 23 Best Attraction Between Adelaide & Darwin>>

I said it’s a typical inland route that is only one long way through the center of Australia. The most popular attractions you must see in the heart state of the Northern Territory starting from Adelaide. Enter the heart and enjoy the outback camp lifestyle with Uluru (Ayers Rock).

So you have put off your phone because nothing no telecom signal on the midway. Above all, escape from the city, let’s have experience in the wilderness.

8. Perth To Broome

Perth Broome drive route map Australia
Perth Broome drive route map (Click pic see full size)

Estimated Driving Time: 37 h

Estimated Distance: 3356 km

Route Highlight: Natural Window, Azure West Coast, Beautiful Perth: The First Big City in the West Bank, Rottnest Island (Extra), Horizontal Waterfall (Extra)

Best Transport:

  • For Backpacker: Rent Car or Add to Your Whole Australia Road Trip Plan.
  • For Short-term Traveler: Rent Car.

Click Here for Perth Broome Trip Planner>>

Why Recommend?

Western Australia is another best choice for backpackers and tourists. The state is so big that there are many natural attractions, whether inland or on the coast.

In my experience, I have added this route as one of the most classic must-have routes around Australia. You can enjoy a lot of great attractions, natural wildlife, and natural seaside. Whether you are a backpacker or a short-distance visitor, you must not miss this route.

Read my article 30 Days Road Trip Australia. You will find that I am driving from the northwest of Australia until Perth because this is the smoothest way to touch the most attractions. But, of course, you can also set off From Perth to Broome. The other article will explain all the details of this route.

For backpackers, own cars are the most advantageous, because you can walk through the road most cheaply. However, compared with renting a car, the cost of renting a car is more expensive. After all, this is a route of nearly 3,000 kilometers!

For short-term travelers, if you have 4-6 people, you can rent a car. The all-inclusive camper is the best. By the way, don’t try to travel alone, and be careful with Australian aborigines. I will explain this part in another article.

Click Here for Perth Broome Trip Planner>>

Best Attractions Between Perth & Broome

Nature’s Window WA Australia
Nature’s Window WA Australia

If you choose this route, you will be able to enjoy these attractions:

  • Horizontal Waterfalls
  • Karijini National Park
  • Exmouth diving
  • Coral Bay
  • Monkey Mia
  • Steep Point
  • Nature’s Window
  • Principality of Hutt River
  • The Pinnacles Desert
  • Lancelin Sand Dunes

Check 22 Best Attraction Between Perth & Broome>>

9. Perth To Adelaide

Perth Adelaide drive route map Australia
Perth Adelaide drive route map (Click pic see full size)

Estimated Driving Time: 39 h

Estimated Distance: 3700 km

Route Highlight: Wave Rock, Lucky Bay, Super Pit, the longest straight road.

Best Transport:

  • For Backpacker: Add to Your Whole Australia Road Trip Plan.
  • For Short-term Traveler: Booking Tour.

Click Here for Perth Adelaide Trip Planner>>

Why Recommend?

This route is to the south of Perth; there are many famous natural attractions. For me, this is another beginning after Perth, heading south to the east to Adelaide. When you conquer this route, it is also representative of The end of the entire Australian road trip.

My advice is that backpackers must have their car to play most of the attractions. Otherwise, the car rental can only reach Wave Rock or even Luck Bay because the distance is too long.

For short-term travelers, it’s easier to buy a package directly in Perth.

If you want to try a self-drive trip, I will discuss the details of the self-driving plan for this route in another article because the way is also quite far away.

Click Here for Perth Adelaide Trip Planner>>

Best Attractions Between Perth & Adelaide

Wave Rock WA Australia
Wave Rock WA Australia

If you choose this route, you will be able to enjoy these attractions:

  • Rottnest Island
  • Gnomesville
  • Gloucester Tree
  • Busselton Jetty
  • Wave Rock
  • Lucky Bay
  • Kalgoorlie Super Pit
  • Great Australian Bight
  • Lake Gairdner
  • Pildappa Rock
  • Murphy’s Haystacks

Check 32 Best Attraction Between Perth & Adelaide>>

10. Adelaide To Sydney Inland

Adelaide Sydney inland drive route map Australia
Adelaide Sydney inland drive route map (Click pic see full size)

Estimated Driving Time: 18 h 32 min

Estimated Distance: 1662 km

Route Highlight: Broken Hill, mine site, land sunset

Best Transport:

  • For Backpacker: Add to Your Whole Australia Road Trip Plan.
  • For Short-term Traveler: Booking Tour.

Click Here for Adelaide Sydney Inland Trip Planner>>

Why Recommend?

In my past backpacker career, this route was accidentally discovered by myself trying to move. Initially, I didn’t have any expectations for this route until I arrived at Broken Hill; this is not a simple town, what a historic silver mine.

But after Broken Hill, until I arrived in the Blue Mountains, this was one of the most eye-catching spots before entering Sydney.

For backpackers, if you travel by car like me and move from Adelaide to Sydney, you must experience this inland road trip. But if you only rent a car, I suggest that you arrive in Broken Hill for a few days to return to Adelaide.

For short-term travelers, you can rent a jeep or an all-inclusive camper from Adelaide to Broken Hill. I saw a lot of campers in the local camping area. Or you can buy a package tour directly at Broken Hill and start with a domestic flight to Broken Hill Airport.

Regarding this route, I will discuss the details in another article.

Click Here for Adelaide Sydney Inland Trip Planner>>

Best Attractions Between Adelaide & Sydney Inland

Mundi Mundi lookout Broken Hill NSW Australia
Mundi Mundi lookout Broken Hill NSW Australia

If you choose this route, you will be able to enjoy these attractions:

  • Barossa Valley
  • Chateau Tanunda
  • Barossa Sculpture Park
  • Whispering Wall
  • Historic Daydream Mine
  • The Living Desert and Sculptures
  • Mundi Mundi Lookout
  • Line of Lode Miners Memorial
  • Outback Astronomy
  • Old Dubbo Gaol
  • Jenolan Caves
  • Blue Mountains Tour Series

Check 23 Best Attraction Between Adelaide & Sydney Inland>>

Check 15 Best Attraction Near Blue Mountains>>

11. Tasmania Island Trip

Tasmania drive route map Australia
Tasmania drive route map (Click pic see full size)

Estimated Driving Time: 23 h 32 min

Estimated Distance: 1571 km

Route Highlight: The fresh experience is like in New Zealand.

Best Transport:

  • For Backpacker: Rent Car or Own Car Moving.
  • For Short-term Traveler: Rent Car.

Click Here for Tasmania Trip Planner>>

Why Recommend?

Tasmania impressed me; the whole love-shaped island has many beautiful sights. The air is very fresh. When I first stepped on this island, I loved this place. I used to be here. The farm worked for nearly three months and experienced a short life, a lovely town, and people.

For backpackers, you can work on your farm and experience any natural attraction on the island, provided you have a car for yourself. Or, you can rent a car with a few friends to travel on the island. I will discuss the details of the road trip on this island in another article.

For short-term travelers, you can rent a car like a backpacker and move around on the island. An all-inclusive camper is an ideal option. Otherwise, you have to buy the relevant package itinerary.

Click Here for Tasmania Trip Planner>>

Best Attractions In Tasmania

Wineglass Bay Tasmania Australia
Wineglass Bay Tasmania Australia

If you choose this route, you will be able to enjoy these attractions:

  • Devonport
  • Cradle Mountain
  • The Nut
  • Bridestowe Lavender Farm
  • Blue Lake
  • Bay of Fire
  • Wineglass Bay
  • Port Arthur
  • Mount Wellington
  • Bruny Island
  • Gordon Dam

Check 36 Best Attraction in Tasmania>>

What Road Trip Would You Like To Pick Up?

Each route has a unique and worthwhile visit. Of course, you are unlikely to experience everything. Australia does have very high consumption. Car rental road trips are very careful and expensive.

For me, if you want to experience Australia’s best scenery and city, Sydney, Canberra & Melbourne are all worthy of planning. Because it covers a lot of natural attractions, and the cost is not too much.

If you want to travel inland, then Uluru, the central point of Australia, is the first choice, starting from Adelaide. However, no matter which route you choose, the biggest challenge is to drive for a long time and boredom halfway.

So, which drive route would you like to pick up?

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