5 Great Adventurous Road Trips in Australia

5 Great Adventurous Road Trips in Australia

Australia is the land of wide spaces and spectacular natural sites. Some of the most amazing natural wonders in Australia can only be reached by road. Hence, best way to see the real Australia is to travel by road. There are so many diverse places to visit in this vast country that you are spoilt for choice.

Rent a car or even better, a camper-van to see Australia at your own pace. We highly recommend DriveNow Website, to find a vehicle for your trip and take a look at these adventurous options for an Australian road trip to remember. Seriously, exploring Australia on a camper-van is supposed to be one of the best ways of experiencing this spectacular country.

The most amazing road trips in Australia:

Brisbane to Sydney along the Pacific Highway [5+ days]

Highlights: Byron Bay, Grafton, South Coast, Coff’s Harbour, Blue Mountain National Park, New Castle and a bit of Central Coast.

Cape Byron Lighthouse - Road Trips in Australia - Byron Bay

Cape Byron Lighthouse – Road Trips in Australia – Byron Bay

The Pacific Highway is one of the most famous roads in Australia. You can travel along it, and visit two colourful and diverse cities. Along the way you can stop off to explore some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. You can also book on a trip to see humpback whales during their migration.

If you chose to fly between Brisbane and Sydney you would miss all of this natural beauty. It should take at least 5 days to make this trip but you will probably need twice as much time as that if you really want to enjoy yourself. Check out this post for information of things to see in Byron Bay.

The Great Ocean Road [3+ days]

Highlights: the 12 Apostles, Bells Beach, Anglesea, Lorne, Port Fairy, Great Otway National Park, Grampians National Park and Lake Elizabeth

The Great Ocean Road is another of Australia’s famous highways. This is a route that many daytrippers take but in reality you should allow at least 3 days to explore the area between Melbourne and Adelaide.

Twelve Apostles in Australia

Twelve Apostles in Australia

This exploration should include viewing sites such as the Twelve Apostles and spending time looking for the local wildlife such as koalas and kangaroos.

Adelaide to Perth [10+ days]

Highlights: Wave Rock, Dundas Nature Reserve, Nullarbor National Park, Barossa Valley, Ceduna, Ecula Sand Dunes, and Port Augusta

This is a long road trip which should take you at least 10 days to complete. It’s worth taking your time, so that you can fully appreciate experiences such as crossing the Nullarbor Plain and Wave Rock.

Wave Rock - road trip from Perth, Australia

Wave Rock – road trip from Perth, Australia

This area is one of the harshest pieces of outback in the country. It’s a treeless plain but it’s still a place where you can spot plenty of wildlife including dingoes, emus and wedge-tailed eagles.

The Ocean Loop in Tasmania [10 – 12 days]

Highlights: Cradle Mountain, Swansea, Wineglass Bay, Bay of Fires and Freycinet National Park

You may need to get to Tasmania by ferry, but then it’s all about hitting the road. The Ocean Road takes you past many of the beautiful beaches that fringe this island state. This is a road trip that you should not rush.

A beach in Tasmania Australia - Road Trips in Australia

A beach in Tasmania Australia – Road Trips in Australia

Take your time admiring the beautiful landscapes on view and give yourself around 10-12 days to complete the journey.

Perth to Broome [12 days]

Highlights: the Pinnacles, Jurien Bay, Kalbarri National Park, Coral Bay, Shark Bay, Karijini National Park, Millstream Chichester National Park, The Simpson Desert and Eighty Mile Beach

This is the ideal road trip for anyone who wants to escape the normal holiday hotspots and appreciate the natural splendour of this part of Australia. This is one of the least visited parts of the country which means that you get to spend time on deserted beaches and in tranquil national parks.

At either end of the journey you have the cosmopolitan city of Perth and the beach resort of Broome where you can ride a camel at sunset. Allow yourself at least 12 days to complete this trip if you want to be able to appreciate your environment.

 Hopefully, you will have taken inspiration from these adventurous road trips and be ready to head off on an adventure of your own.

Why We Want to Explore Australia on a Campervan

Why We Want to Explore Australia on a Campervan

It was summer of 2016 when San and I traveled around Europe on our friend’s campervan to attend a few music festivals. Our friend’s name is Davide and he had named his campervan Pippo.

Originally from Italy, Davide spent the year before that exploring Australia on a campervan. While we drove from Portugal to Spain, he shared many anecdotes of the time he spent driving around in Australia.

As we sat on the roof of his campervan to watch the stars, he compared it to Australian night sky. It was at that moment, that San and I held hands and decided to (someday) explore Australia on a campervan. Here’s why:

Update: we did actually end exploring most of Europe in a camper van that we bought. We did it with our 6 month old baby to begin with and we STILL have this van with us. Maybe someday we will eventually get to Australia on it.

Cost-Effective

Here’s the thing, the air tickets to Australia are generally more expensive from Europe (that’s where we’re currently living) than most of the countries because it’s on the other side of the planet.

A trip that lasts for less than a month doesn’t really make sense when the cost to fly to Australia is so much higher. Adding hotel room costs per night and internal transport, the cost of traveling to Australia can really go very high.

Keeping all these things in mind, exploring Australia on a campervan seems to be the only way cost-effective method for traveling here. It is so because we will be taking our “hotel room” with us and that will save our costs. As per our calculations and research about Campervan rental and buying costs, it makes sense to buy a used campervan if our trip is longer than 3 months and rent one if it’s shorter. We love this post with campervan conversion tips on a tiny budget.

Australia is Perfect for Road Trips

Australia has a low density of population compared to most of the countries. As a result, the country is known for its wide-open spaces. The road system is generally well maintained and easy to follow. Australia is also known for its spectacular natural scenery that can be enjoyed so much more if you’re traveling by road. Moreover there are so many amazing landmarks in Australia that are unmissable. Click here to read tips for planning a trip to Australia.

Based on our driving history, Australia seems to be is the perfect place for us to drive. They drive on the left – which is great because I have driven on the left side for 10 years in India. IDPs (International driving Permits) are usually accepted. Oh and there’s no toll in Australia outside the cities of Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney. We love this East Coast road trip Itinerary in Australia – been there?

Animal Encounters

Kangaroos in Australia - exploring Australia on a Campervan

Kangaroos in Australia – exploring Australia on a Campervan

So you want to visit Australia and spot a Koala? I hate to break this to you but it is not so easy to do that because Koalas are shy and difficult to spot.

Australia, however, has many other animals can aren’t particularly shy. If you’re driving in rural areas, we’ve been told that these animals often wander onto roads.

Australia is the land of animal encounters and we want to have our fair share too. We’d love if we spot kangaroos hopping across the road or emus running around.

By the way, if you’re still hung up on spotting a Koala in Australia, you can try the Otway Coast on the Great Ocean Road.

Visiting Australia’s Red Centre and seeing Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Uluru in Australia's Red Centre

Uluru in Australia’s Red Centre

Did you know that Australia’s southern desert region is the heart of outback? It’s called the Red Centre and the most famous natural landmark of the country is here – the Ayers Rock, a.k.a. Uluru, a 348 meters high rock that’s a sacred site.

Apart from this, this part of Australia also has Alice Springs, which is an oasis in the middle of nowhere. The easiest ways to explore this area is on road.

Spotting “the Big Things” in Australia

One of the funniest things that our friend mentioned about road-tripping in Australia is spotting the “big things”. These are just generic everyday things that have been built on an enormous scale. In fact, there is a Wikipedia page that’s just dedicated to these big things and where each one is located. Isn’t that hilarious?

Sitting on the Roof to Watch the Stars and then the Sunrise

Starry Sky in Australia over Crag Formation

Starry Sky in Australia over Crag Formation

Let’s go back to the time when San and I decided to explore Australia on a campervan – it was while we were stargazing. We want to experience the vanlife in Australia and sit on the roof to watch the stars.

Considering the fact that urban areas are scattered and there are many uninhabited zones, we can know from before that the city lights will not dampen the stargazing experience. Australia’s desert area is world-famous for stargazing and we’d love to make the most of it when we’re there. If possible, we’d like to sleep under the stars and wake up just before the sunrise to watch it.

Visiting Famous Aussie Natural Sites like the Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles in Australia

Twelve Apostles in Australia

Australia has a lot of natural sites that are famous all over the world apart from Uluru. Of course, we cannot see all of them, but we’d like to see at least some of them. The best thing about road tripping is that the plans can be flexible and we can stop wherever we want to smell the roses.

One such natural site that’s on our wish list is the Twelve Apostles by the Great Ocean Road in Victoria on the shore of Port Campbell National Park. It is a collection of limestone stacks out of which only 8 are left.

Going to a Music Festival in Australia on our Campervan

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, then you know for sure that San and I love attending music festivals. In fact, the first time we met each other was in a music festival and we’ve been to so many of them in different countries.

Australia has an amazing party scene and we’re eying two psychedelic music festivals there that we’d love to attend – Earthcore festival and Rainbow Serpent Festival. Campervans are perfect for music festivals so of course, this is on our big Aussie road-trip wish list.

Have you ever explored a new country on a campervan? If so, we’d love to know more and hear your stories. Leave a comment and share your experience.

Love this post? You will also enjoy the below posts:

Red Centre Photo Diary 

50 Stunning Swimming Holes around the world

Explore Sydney Like a Local

Explore Sydney Like a Local

Explore Sydney Like a Local

This guest post about Sydney, Australia has been written by Shane as a part of “Explore Like a Local” series. Explore Like a Local is an initiative by Drifter Planet to help you get insider tips about destinations all over the world. Want to write about your hometown? Contact me!

Introducing Sydney

Ah, Sydney, Australia. It’s not all quirky accents and deadly animals! Bask in the weather, the beaches, the friendly people, and the laid-back lifestyle. With a unique diversity in people, food, and nature. You find the urban metropolis and the ocean at the same time. From lush, rain-forests to the dry, red outback. A chill cafe scene and a vibrant night life. What’s not to love?

Suggested reading: Explore Sydney in a weekend

Enjoying Sydney's sunny weather at Observatory Hill with a view of the Harbour

Enjoying Sydney’s sunny weather at Observatory Hill with a view of the Harbour

Suggested post: A Hipster’s Guide to Amsterdam-Noord – Amsterdam’s coolest neighborhood  

Where to stay in Sydney 

If you’re a luxury traveler, you should totally check out this post that has a list of the most amazing 5 star hotels in Sydney. For budget travelers, Bondi Beach Eco Garden is a green, earth-friendly option with hip art-deco vibes and just across the street from Bondi Beach!

The hostels here are clean and well kept. I’ve had several friends stay in them with no problem. Stay right in the middle of the city, close to all the action at Sydney Central YHA Hostel for just $36 AUD/night.

Things to do in Sydney

Sydney boast over 200 beaches, each offering their own unique spin. With at least nine warm months out of the year (October to May) and easy accessibility via ferry or bus from the city, you have plenty of time to explore them all and find a favorite of your own. If you’re visiting the city for a short time, check out this post with a list of things to do in Sydney in 2 days.

Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk– 2.5 hours. This six kilometer walk reveals five Sydney beaches (Coogee, Clovelly, Bronte, Tamarama, Bondi) and stunning views of cliffs, waves, bays, rock pools, and even a 19th century cemetery. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and expect to spend 1.5-2.5 hours depending on how many pictures you stop for along the way.

Blue Mountains, Sydney - Explore like a Local

Blue Mountains, Sydney – Explore like a Local

The Blue Mountains are a gorgeous sight which you can reach by train or coach bus. Be sure to leave early and plan for an entire day as it’s 2-2.5 hours out of the city.

If you are a wine-o like myself, you will love the Hunter Valley region. Two hours from the city, it is worth the trip to see the beautiful rolling hills and try the boutique wines you won’t find at a supermarket!

Suggested post: Achill Island, Ireland – Unbelievably Beautiful Island Destination on the Wild Atlantic Way  

One thing I really regret missing is the fireworks over Sydney Harbour for New Years Eve. If you aren’t here during that time, a beautiful firework display is put on every Saturday at 8pm over Darling Harbour.

If you visit at the end of May or beginning of June. you can’t miss Vivid, a unique festival that lights up the entire city in vivid colors for three weeks a mesmerizing free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures, a cutting edge contemporary music program and the spectacular illumination of the Sydney Opera House sails.

Street art in Sydney - Explore like a local

Street art in Sydney – Explore like a local

Not a huge fan of museums, but the street art tucked into the suburbs is amazing!  Check out Newtown, Erskinville, and Sydney University Graffiti tunnel.

Apart from the above mentioned things, you can also check out this post about what do do in Sydney when it rains.

What to eat in Sydney and where

Looking for dinner with a view? The Boathouse offers several beach side locations with a bit of everything – fresh market flowers,, deli style food + cheeses, delicious breakfast, good coffee with quirky designs.

O Bar and Quay offer charming views of the harbour but prepare to pull out your wallet.

Looking for a taste of Australia? Visit The Australian Hotel for the Coat of Arms Pizza topped with kangaroo and emu. Australia is the only country which eats their national animals!

Looking for a sweet treat? Cow & Moon Gelato in Newtown You must try this award winning mouth-watering almond affogato gelato! It combines caramelised almonds sourced from Italy with single origin coffee on a Madagascan vanilla base. A salty sweet dream.

King Street in Newtown is filled with ethnic foods galore. Try Thai at Thai Patong, Turkish at Yenikoys, Italian at Pastizza Bar. With over 100 restaurants including Japanese, Vietnamese,  soul food and more, you’re sure to find a favorite!

What to avoid in Sydney

To blend in with the locals, I recommend strolling through the suburbs of Newtown, Surry Hills, and Darlinghurst and steer clear of Kings Cross at night (the red light district)

There are great markets in Bondi, Paddington, Glebe, and the Rocks on a weekend filled with food, clothing, and more!

Harbour Bridge Climb, Sydney - Explore like a a Local

Harbour Bridge Climb, Sydney – Explore like a a Local

The ultimate tourist activity is to Sydney from above with the Harbour Bridge Climb (warning, it runs around $250 but you can do the sample version by climbing the bottom arch to save a buck)

Best way to get around in Sydney

View from Mrs Mcquaries Point of Sydney Harbour

View from Mrs Mcquaries Point of Sydney Harbour

Sydney has an amazing public transport system. Grab an Opal card (for free!) at a local convenient store to get discounts on fares. Expect each trip to be $2-4 AUD.  Ferries are $6 each way. After 8 trips in a week, the rest are free. This can be used on trains, buses, ferries, and light rails!

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Explore Sydney Like a local

Explore Sydney Like a local

Shane is an American expat who got her first full time across the globe in Sydney. Ever since then, the travel bug has hit at full force. Next stop? An 18-country Eurotrip this summer!

Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Shane

Travel Blogger, Sea Salt Secrets

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