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Australian YouTube Channels To Watch 2023. Travel, 4WD, Camping & Caravanning.

trip around australia youtube

Updated  29 January 2023.

Oh boy, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole that is Youtube and surfaced with these Australian Youtube channels to watch and subscribe to in 2023.

Youtube has come a long way since its launch in 2005. No longer dominated by short bursts of random videos, it has become an octane fuelled juggernaut of high quality productions. But there are also some channels that can inspire and inform, all while keeping a down to earth and authentic style of video.

Australian travel, 4wding, camping and caravanning content creators on YouTube offer loads of advice, product reviews and showcase amazing destinations.

I’ve put together Australian Youtube channels to watch, to really help you discover what’s out there in the Australian travel, 4wding, camping and caravanning universe.

I've broken things down into three categories (Blokes, Families, Couples) and in alphabetical order. If there is a particular type of channel you prefer, just scroll on down to reach the category you're interested in.

Just click on the video for each one you like and you will be able to support Australian Made content.

trip around australia youtube

Australian Youtube Channels with Families

Decathlon Australia - 70 Sports

ADVENTURING PALS

Subscribers:

Hi, we (Elvin & Esh) are a family with two young boys (Jaiden & Jordan) and we have been working and traveling around Australia since March of 2019. We are usually towing our Jayco Expanda caravan behind our Mitsubishi Triton and that is now our home.

AUSSIE VAN ADVENTURES

South Australian family of 4 exploring Australia. Hints tips and reviews.

BIG OZ EXPLORERS

We are just your genuine Aussie family travelling Australia and sharing our story through the Big Oz Explorers channel with you in a Y62 S5 Patrol and Off-Road Trail X-Plorer 21’6” Caravan.

CAKE AND EAT IT 3

Hiking, Roadtripping, Trekking, Full-time travelling family, Education focus as we travel and share over 20 years of roadtripping, backpacking and travel experiences to help others just getting started. Budget tips, storage solutions, ways to save money and what we use while on the road.

ELNICK ADVENTURES

We are a travelling family of four - Elenya (Mum), Nick (Dad) & our two boys Lennox & Finley. Join us as we document our travels around Australia, living our dream - camping, fishing, spearfishing & exploring the beautiful places Australia has to offer. Our home in a nutshell: Isuzu Dmax, rooftop tinny, MDC XT16 HR Family Caravan.

trip around australia youtube

4WDING AUSTRALIA

4WDing Australia is a blog dedicated to seeing the best of Australia in a 4WD.

GOING OVERLAND

From short weekends to epic trips, we travel overland around Australia in search of adventure and fun. 4x4ing, camping, fishing, beautiful destinations, with challenging conditions, it's all part of the fun. With our kelpie and kids trying to find great camp spots and quite places.

MY RIG ADVENTURES

For plenty of travel info, resources, camp reviews, tips & hacks.

ON THE WAUGH PATH

We've been traveling Australia full time for over a year, and it is epic! We don't take ourselves too seriously, we like to wing it, and we like to experience as much as we can. We think of our subscribers as part of our travelling family - we like to engage with you and have a chat through the comments - bringing you with us on this lap of Australia.

trip around australia youtube

OUR ORGANISED TRIBE

Organising our way around Australia, part time lapping and renovating our house. If you are planning to lap Australia with kids, either full time or part time, follow along. We have three kids, our 200s land cruiser and a rio bunkhouse van. We will share our tips and what we have loved and not really loved, lol.

OVERLAND EXPOSURE

Hi, we are Dan, Manda & Aria! We are caravanning around Australia full-time in our Iveco Daily 4x4 dual cab truck and 23' Retreat Fraser Semi-off road Caravan. We share with you our real-life, genuine and down to Earth look at living life on the road fulltime, the ups, the downs and hints, tips and fun!

TRIPPIN TO THE MACS

We are a family of 4, Daniel, Hayley, Jett and Jaxon, chasing our dream of travelling Australia in a caravan. We have sold up and have hit the road fulltime. This channel will show our travels around our great country, showcasing its amazing destinations and provide you with our caravanning tips, our mistakes learnt, take you on our 4WD adventures, fishing, camp cooking and show you some very cool places.

OUR WHITTLE ADVENTURE

Hi there, We are Mark, Clemency and Liam Whittles along with our two kelpies Kosta and Curi. We are travelling around Australia at our own pace, we started in Perth WA, we explored the great southern of WA and headed East across the Nullarbor into South Australia. Our travels won't be a traditional "Lap" we will backtrack, we will double over, we will loop around, but we will see what we want to see when we get there.

SALT, EARTH AND SUN

Family of 4 travelling Australia full-time in our Marvel Golden Child Caravan and Ford Ranger Tourer.

SVEDOS TRIPPIN

Family touring Australia

TRAVELS WITH TWINS

We're not selling our house, we're not quitting our jobs, we just love to travel as much as we can. Joel does shift work so we are lucky enough to get away quite often. We have bought a new New Age Caravan and will try and do at least one good trip a month. We live in South West Victoria and love a road trip. We have identical twin girls and a beautiful golden retriever called Gibb (after the Gibb River Road) which we did in 2012.

trip around australia youtube

THE LIFESTYLE PIONEERS

A family of four living a life of adventure to inspire, inform and equip you to explore.

THE BLONDE NOMADS

Hi, we are Rob, Tracy, Marli and Ziggy from The Blonde Nomads. We love to share our passion for life and adventure and our goal is to inspire other families to travel. Join us as we travel around Australia (and occasionally abroad) discovering and sharing its wonders. Rob is a Builder/Carpenter by trade and Tracy is a Photographer/Graphic Designer and Marketer but we like to break away form the normal 9-5 work day 'hamster wheel' and connect with all things nature.

trip around australia youtube

THE FEEL GOOD FAMILY

We are an ordinary Aussie family, creating extraordinary experiences! We packed up our lives, said goodbye to the 9-5 grind and hello to 24/7 - life as a traveling family! Join our journey as we travel around, across and throughout Australia, sharing our adventure as we go, and most importantly experiences that just make you Feel Good!

THE GREAT ESCAPE AUSTRALASIA

A family of four travelling full time around Australia and New Zealand. We've been on the road since Jan 2016, and we'll be posting camping tips, great destinations, funny videos, and drone footage, plus information about our vintage caravan renovation and Cub Camper trailer.

trip around australia youtube

TRIP IN A VAN

Who wants to travel around Australia!! We do it FULLTIME!! Our travels showcase great destinations, travel tips and give you the info to get out there & have a crack yourself🤙 This year is all about our RoadTrip Australia series - Travel with us around Oz & hit us up with any questions👊 Subscribe to see every Ep. on a Sunday Night✌️ Cheers - Justin & Bec🍺

TYLER THOMPSON

4x4ing, camping and exploring Australia

trip around australia youtube

VET IN A VAN

Vet in a Van is a mobile veterinary service travelling full time around Australia providing veterinary care for families travelling with their pets. Dr Tania is experienced with dogs, cats, small mammals, birds and reptiles. We will be vlogging our adventures and we travel this amazing country trying to capture the natural beauty of the environment and maybe some tips and tracks for keeping your fury loves ones safe while travelling.

WHERE TO NEXT AUSTRALIA

Hey guys, thanks for stopping by!! We are a family of 5 who love to travel this beautiful land of ours 🙂 🙂 We'll be bringing you content on what we love - camping, travelling, fishing, 4wding, beaches and probably a few cheeky wineries.

WILD TOURING

Wild Touring is a channel where you can follow the latest 4x4, camping, fishing and touring adventures of Tiff and Cam in the their trusty Land Cruiser. EDIT- now in a mighty Dmax!

Australian Youtube Channels with Blokes

trip around australia youtube

BUILT NOT BOUGHT

Built Not Bought is a multi-disciplined automotive and outdoor entertainment outlet. We live by the term “EDU-TAINMENT” a cross between education and entertainment. A one-stop-shop for all DIYers to learn, engage and be inspired by our brand.

Catch and cook, solo camping survival tips and more.

FIRE TO FORK

Adventure Cooking by Harry Fisher Fire Cooking | Recipes | Adventures | Bush Chats Based in the Kimberley, Western Australia Bad jokes, good food

JP CAPTURED

what's up everyone my name is JP and i'm keen to capture everything i can. Right now it's mostly 4wd related content.

trip around australia youtube

THE EXPLORE LIFE

Explore 4×4 was founded by an everyday Aussie who loves the pursuit of exploring the outdoors. Our goal is to create an online community of adventurists, connecting enthusiasts with industry experts and providing you with unique, high quality products and services which we believe are leaders in their respective markets.

RATBAG NOMADS

Aspiring to seek beauty and adventure in an ever-changing world, whilst not forgetting the privilege into that I was born and raised. Adventure is merely a mindset that can be achieved by any one in any situation ! With nothing but a passport, a backpack and a vision for exploring the vast world the Ratbag Nomads are bicycling around the world.

This channel and its associated website is for anyone WORLD WIDE who's into 4WDing. My channel is all about 4x4ing, off-roading, overlanders, touring, adventures and camping.

Every Sunday night I will upload a new video, my videos are anything from off-roading & camping tips (how to videos) to footage from our adventures from anywhere in western Australia.

SCOTTY'S GONE WALKABOUTS

Solo camping, fishing, canoeing.

No Wasted Weekends "Because we all work too hard not enjoy our days off !" SHEDLIFE "Build it - break it - fix it" Just here to motivate you all and provide a little entertainment along the way 🙂

trip around australia youtube

WILD REACHES

New episodes released EVERY WEEKEND!! Australian adventures risking it all to take you to the most remote locations Australia has to offer. Follow us as we explore parts of Australia not many get to see.

YBS YOUNGBLOODS

YBS is all about enjoying the ocean, nature and everything above or below by being selective and sustainable. Join Brodie Moss and the YBS crew as they share their adventures, hoping that no matter where you are in the world you can enjoy the YBS lifestyle. Thank you for all your support and see you in the deep blue!

Australian Youtube Channels with Couples

Aussie destinations unknown.

Here is where we share what we love to do - adventuring around Australia in our Silverado & Titanium Destination X

BACK 2 BASICS ADVENTURES

B2B is all about remote and wild adventures. Surviving from the Ocean and Living From the Land.

BMR ADVENTURES

We are travelling around Australia making tracks! Beck, Matt & Roger ! Hope you follow along with us!

HAPPY CAMPERS AUSTRALIA

Travelling Australia our way as we like Nature, History and free camping but not adverse to Caravan Parks

INDEFINITE LEAVE

We are Kevin & Adele, two Aussies who love to travel. Currently traveling Australia and exploring our own backyard. Hope you enjoy our channel.

NOT GREY NOMADS

Living on the road full-time for the past 5 years, Frannie, Crispy & our dog, Bella (a Staffy x Labrador) are travelling Australia in our caravan. Exploring Australia, 4wding and travelling with our dog, we hit the road before retirement - hence Not Grey Nomads, working while we travel. Mid-40's couple, no kids, check out our adventures living the VanLife in Australia

This is our exploring Australia YouTube channel. Come along with us on our adventure. Cheers Graham and Jo

SPARKYS ON THE LOOSE

We are a young couple with a dog travelling full time in our beautiful country Australia. We hope to inspire others to do the same. We set off from our home town Brisbane, QLD in search of the adventure of a lifetime! We left March 2017 and since then we have found an abundance of beautiful adventures and camp spots around Australia.

trip around australia youtube

We are Chris & Ange, together we are The OutFit. SUBSCRIBE to follow our Australia overlanding adventures in our 1983 Ex-Australian Army Unimog U1700L and for all things outdoors, camping, offroading, hiking, fitness, cooking and spearfishing.

Phew! I've come back up for some air and I just know that there are many, many more Australian YouTube channels that should be on this blog post. If you have a channel that you'd like me to add, simply email Mia at [email protected]

Support all our fellow Aussie's having a crack at creating content on YouTube. Add these Australian YouTube channels to your subscription list and enjoy!

On a final note, here is our YouTube channel ...

Meet Adam, Mia, Jett & Skye. We're lapping up the Australian way of life and touring Oz in a pop top caravan.

trip around australia youtube

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY 80+ CARAVAN STORAGE IDEAS, MODIFICATIONS AND ORGANISATION HACKS

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2 Responses

Thanks so much 😊 this is a great list 👍 knew some of them but discovered some newbies!

Cheers mate, thanks!

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Road Trip Around Australia | Getting Set Up

Posted on Published: October 14, 2020

  • So you’re planning a road trip around Australia?

We’ve been through that same exciting process of planning to travel Australia by road: but finding the answers to the many questions I had, proved time-consuming and a little bit frustrating. Though we searched high and low, the answers were all over the place.

So we decided that we wanted to help others; those that are as excited about travelling around Australia as we were, who have a seemingly insatiable desire to read everything they can about the topic, and who love planning everything that they possibly can before they go.

I mean, if you’re anything like me, then the planning, the anticipation, the lining-all-your-ducks-up, is almost as fun as the going.

But don’t get too bogged down in planning your road trip.

Sure, do it because it’s exciting and helps the time before the trip pass more quickly. But don’t wait until you have absolutely everything sorted out.

You can’t.

And that’s half the fun of a trip like this, the learning and experiencing and changing tack because you discovered something new.

So heads up, this is a loooong post…

trip around australia youtube

So before you start reading, I just want to warn you that this is not a short post.

Coming in at over 16,000 words, this is the most comprehensive post I’ve ever written and it covers EVERYTHING I could think of that would be important for getting set up for a road trip around Australia.

I recommend that you use the table of contents below to guide you to the sections that are most important to you.

And bookmark this page so that you can refer back to it, or pin it on Pinterest.

1. The benefits of a road trip around Australia

2. the mistakes we made (that maybe you can avoid), 3. understanding the different types of vehicles, 4. how to rent a motorhome or caravan in australia, 5. how to buy a motorhome or caravan in australia, 6. how the camping works in australia, 7. how to set up your rig for self-sufficient camping, 8. being prepared for disaster, 9. how to keep in touch with friends and family when you’re on the road, 10. how to plan your route around australia, 11. how to pack for a road trip around australia, 12. how driving in australia is different to the rest of the world, 13. how much does it cost, 14. how to fund your road trip around australia, ready to make a road trip around australia a reality.

And at the end of the post, I’ve provided a planning checklist to help you gather together everything you’ve learnt and tick them all off the list as you go through them.

Since this post is so large and comprehensive I have to warn you that it is not for everybody!

DO read this post if you:

  • Want to drive around Australia and will camp each night.   That may be camping in a motorhome, caravan, campervan or tent and it could be in a caravan park, national park or a free camp.
  • Are coming from outside Australia.  International travellers, I answer all your questions in here too.  With that in mind, there may be a few times where Aussies reading this article will think, ‘well duh, of course you can drink the tap water’ but that’s not obvious for someone from another country. (Whether it tastes any good is another story.)
  • Are going for 2 weeks, 12 months or heading off full-time.

DON’T read this post if:

  • You’re after a travel guide of all the things you must see while you’re in Australia .  There is soooo much to see and it all depends on whether you’re a city person or a bush person, whether you’re into museums or waterfalls, and it certainly will depend on your budget. There is so much information to be found on the internet of all the places you can visit, so I’m not covering that here.
  • You are already travelling around Australia.  There’s nothing new or ground-breaking in here. There’s nothing you wouldn’t have already experienced yourself, whether by trial or error.

This post is full of the basic information that you just don’t know when you’re either from another country, or haven’t camped in Australia. And if you’re on the road already, that’s not you.

Let’s get stuck in!

Please note: some links in this post are affiliate links which means that if you decide to purchase I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our affiliate disclosure for more information.

The very fact that you’re reading this post tells me that you don’t need to be convinced that taking an extended road trip around Australia is a great idea.

You already know why you want to do this. You may want to spend more time with your family, or see more of Australia, or just not work for a while!

But here are some other benefits that you may not have thought of.

Problem solving skills

When you’re on the road and something goes wrong, you don’t always have the luxury of being able to call someone up to deal with it for you. You have to deal with it, you have to get your thinking cap on and problem solve. You have to reach out to people to ask for help. You have to research a topic you know nothing about to see if you can figure out what’s wrong. You have to try and fix it, and either be pleasantly surprised that you got it right, or learn one way NOT to do it.

And it’s not just you that benefits from this, your kids do to.

Have you ever had the time to teach them to fish, or to light a fire, or to dig a hole to go poop? In our increasingly fast paced and electronic world, they often aren’t given the time or opportunity to learn tactile skills. When you’re camping they can take the time to learn how to light a fire, and practice dozens of times until they’re confident.

All of you will learn great problem solving skills.

A new appreciation for nature

How many sunsets have you missed simply because you were inside and didn’t realise the sun was setting until it was time to turn on the lights? Or you couldn’t see it anyway because you’re surrounded by lots of buildings.

We may be a bit cuckoo, but we got so much enjoyment out of simple encounters with the local wildlife.

It was delightful to make friends with a magpie and feed her scraps of meat, and be totally entertained by her as she frolicked around our campsite.

And we felt special with each night that one frog would come and sit on our outdoor table and greet us (okay, frighten us me) as we headed to the toilet in the middle of the night.

I had never thought about ‘compromise’ as being something that was important for the attainment of my goals. But being on this road trip has certainly taught me that.

Doing this road trip has been a dream of mine for many years. But I thought that I only wanted to do it if I could be in a nice motorhome, with an onboard bathroom, and nice decor and a great solar set-up. And I wanted to do it without having to work or worry about money.

And so if felt unattainable.

But when we decided we’re going to do this trip anyway, there was certainly a lot of compromising that needed to be done.

A camper trailer instead of a motorhome, no onboard bathroom but staying at caravan parks and using their bathrooms, definitely no nice decor and an okay solar set-up.

While there was compromise, it certainly felt nice to not be compromising on our dream. For once.

Yes, a lot of people talk about the benefit of time when you’re on a road trip. Not only time with your loved ones and time to relax. But time to pursue the things that are important to you. Time to read. Time to create.

Time to discover what’s really important to you.

When we started on this road trip, we thought that it might be something we’d like to do for the foreseeable future, but we weren’t sure.

So we said that we’d try it for a year and then reassess.

We also gave ourselves the ‘out’, that if either of us didn’t like it, we could stop whenever we wanted. No harm no foul.

Well…

As it turns out, we LOVE this life, so a few things have needed to change in the way that we’re set up.

Picking the right camper for us

I think it’s pretty common, no one’s first purchase of a home-on-wheels is the ‘right’ one. It’s not until you’ve travelled in it, realised what type of travelling you like to do, the comforts that you don’t want to give up, and those features that you just don’t care about.

You have to take it around with you for hundreds of kilometres, set it up, pack it down, be stuck in it in the rain, sleep in it in the heat, cook in it, eat in it and clean it. Then maybe, you’ll have an idea if it’s the right type of vehicle for you.

For us, we got it quite wrong.

The camper trailer was great for a first-go because it was cheap and light, and it certainly was everything we needed for our first four months.

But now that we want to be on the road for at least a couple of years we’ve realised a few home truths about ourselves. We will happily get a caravan and sacrifice those hard-to-get-to places in order to have some more comfort, an easier time setting up and packing down… and a toilet.

Funding our trip

We have loved our trip so much that it’s made us want to live this life for the foreseeable future.

Six months, well, it was actually more like almost 5 months, just isn’t enough time for us to see this country. We don’t want to just drive through all these wonderful locations, we want to set up camp and stay for a couple of days, if not weeks. We want to live on the road.  

So we have to figure out how we’re going to make money. I’ve got a whole section below on ‘ funding your trip ’, but in hindsight, it would have been better if we’d had that sorted before we left.

We’ll start off with a bang and get straight into talking about vehicles. This will be your largest one-off expense and determines so much about your trip.

We’ll have a look at the different types of vehicles commonly available here in Australia and the pros and cons of each.

Just a note for my North American readers, you’ll find that large rigs are pretty rare here. You’ll be hard pushed to find an RV or travel trailer over 30ft and fifth wheels are pretty rare, but becoming more popular.

The list below is in order of the most popular, widely available and most seen options, to the least seen options. (Based on our own travels around half of Australia. The point is, caravans are everywhere, Class A RVs and fifth wheels are not.)

Australia is definitely a caravanning nation (that’s a travel trailer to my North American friends). There are thousands of these traversing the country at any one time.

The pop top is also very popular. The little effort required to pop up the roof when setting up camp means that the overall caravan weight is reduced as well as reducing the wind-resistance/drag of the caravan. Which equals cheaper fuel bills.

trip around australia youtube

We’ve done lots of research on caravans to help you decide which is best for you:

trip around australia youtube

Motorhome / Class C

You’ll find lots of these mid-size motorhomes around Australia. They’re a popular choice for renting because they’re large enough to be comfortable, but small enough to be not too stressful to drive.

Check out my favourite motorhome here .

Camper van / Class B

These are great little units; small, compact and having everything you need for a road trip. (Except a toilet, and that’s a deal breaker for me.)

While many are built on a van chassis like the Toyota Hiace, I would also include in this category, the mini-vans or people-movers like the Toyota Tarago or Honda Odyssey.

You’ll see lots of these around Australia, the rented ones painted bright, and somewhat gaudy colours, so you won’t miss them

trip around australia youtube

If you like the idea of a campervan but would only be interested if they have a bathroom onboard, this post on small campervans is for you. I’ve only included  camper vans that have a toilet and shower.

trip around australia youtube

Pop-up trailer

These seem to be great for families.

With beds at each end, a small kitchen, a seating area and some built-in storage the pop-up trailer is a good compromise between quick set-up and light weight.

There isn’t too much set-up (well, not as much as a tent anyway) but they’re not as heavy as a caravan.

Pop up trailer extended up, ready for camping.

Camper Trailer

Camper trailers are very popular in Australia. They are light weight, manoeuvrable and stand up well to the rigours of harsh Australian roads and 4WD tracks.

They come in either soft or hard floor. The soft-floor are cheaper and allow you to have a large tent space (like ours) which is great for families who need the space for all the beds.

The hard-floors are quick to put up and bring the tent area off the ground but it does mean that the inside the tent space is limited.

trip around australia youtube

There are lots of camper trailer manufacturers here in Australia, we’ve compiled a big list below, as well as the pros and cons of our own camper trailer.

trip around australia youtube

Tent / Roof top tent

The roof top tent is a design that will not limit where you can go.

Quick and easy to set-up, your bed is off the ground (and away from any wild animals), yet it packs up into a compact unit that sits permanently on the roof of your car.

This is a great option for serious 4WD enthusiasts, not needing to worry about towing anything and not adding too much height to their vehicle. It’s perfect for the person that wants to be outside all the time (except when they’re sleeping), because that’s where you’ll be.

The Right Set Up for your Road Trip Around Australia - Which would suit you and your travel style best? A caravan, campervan, motorhome, rooftop tent or... should you just stay in hotels?

Bus / Class A

I do look on these a bit jealously sometimes.

With all that space, and huge windows, it’s as close to an actual home on wheels as you can get, I think.

But the idea of having to drive one of these things make me shudder, and then having to park it!

That’s why the bigger the bus, the more likely it is to have a car being towed behind.

trip around australia youtube

Fifth Wheel

There are not as many fifth wheels in Australia as there are caravans, but they are around.

While they are large in both length and height, they do look like they could have every mod-con (so you can get your laundry done without having to find a laundromat) you could want.

There are a couple of manufacturers in Australia but not heaps.

I can’t wait till they take off here in Australia and New Zealand and the prices start to come down (I might just be dreaming about that) because I would love one of these.

trip around australia youtube

Love the idea of a fifth wheel, but not enthusiastic about their massive size? These are all the fifth wheels we’ve found in Australia that are small (less than 25ft).

trip around australia youtube

To Rent or Buy?

You’ve got two options for a vehicle to road trip around Australia, you can rent one, or buy one. There are two main factors which will determine the option that will suit you best.

  • How long are you coming for? If it’s only a couple of weeks, then it certainly doesn’t make sense to go through all the hassle of buying a vehicle. If you’re planning on staying for a couple of months? Well then it starts to make more sense financially, if you buy a vehicle.
  • The other factor to consider is whether or not you’re planning to go off-road. If it’s a 4WD drive adventure that you want, purchasing your own vehicle may be best option.

Some of the best views and campsites can be found down the dusty dirt roads, if you’re looking to escape the crowds and explore the raw (and often harsh) Aussie outback, then you may want to leave the sealed roads.

Having said that… you can travel all the way around Australia without leaving the seal. Just keep this in mind when you’re deciding whether you’re going to rent or buy.

If your Australian road trip is a couple of months or less, and you want a campervan or motorhome, then renting a vehicle will probably be your best option.

Just a couple of things to note:

Insurance – particularly for off-road

If you’re going to go off the sealed highway (at all!) then make sure you get the right vehicle and insurance package to go with it. It will cost you more, but if anything happens while you’re on the unsealed road you could be up for a hefty insurance excess … and that’s if you’re lucky enough to still be covered.

One-way rentals

You would need to fly into a main city and pick up your vehicle there. Main cities include: Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns or Darwin. But if you’re planning on doing a one-way rental, for example flying in to Perth, driving a rental vehicle across to Sydney and leaving it there, make sure to check out the costs. One-way rentals can be very expensive here in Australia.

Renting a caravan

There are places where you can rent a caravan, but then you’ll need to hire a tow vehicle as well. While it can be done, they are not as popular as campervan and motorhome rentals, and you will likely have to do a lot more searching for this. Campervan and motorhome rentals are everywhere, you can easily pick up your rental at the airport making it super easy and convenient.

Guaranteed Buy Back

There are some campervan hire companies that will sell you an ex-rental campervan and give you a guarantee to buy the vehicle back from you at an agreed price. They’ll buy it back at approx. 30-50% of the original purchase priced, based on when you bring it back (it needs to be within 12 months). You just have to have it regularly serviced.

This option looks like it’s set up to appeal to the young backpacking crowd, as I’ve only seen older vehicles in this category which are on the lower end of the price scale, but there’s no reason why it should be limited to the young. ☺

trip around australia youtube

If you’re going to be in Australia for more than a couple of months, then this option probably makes the most sense for you.

Dealership or Private Sale

In Australia, there are two main ways you can purchase a vehicle, caravan, campervan. By buying from a dealership, or from a private party.

When you buy from a dealership it’s less hassle than buying privately. A dealership:

  • Will have inspected the vehicle and made repairs if necessary
  • Gives you more legal protection because they can only operate within strict laws
  • Will handle all the paperwork such as transfer of ownership
  • Must provide a history check of the vehicle
  • Can offer extras such as warranties and road side assistance

I suppose the biggest turn-off about dealerships for most people, is that you’re dealing with professional sales people. While I don’t want to tar all used-car sales people with the same brush, many of us have had experience with that one salesperson that made us feel uncomfortable, or duped. Obviously, they’re not all like that and there are things you can do to protect yourself, such as getting a pre-purchase inspection.

Generally, the biggest benefit to buying private, rather than from a dealer, is that the seller may have more room to negotiate on their price. That can mean a saving of thousands of dollars, but offers less security for the buyer.

Petrol or Diesel

Having only ever bought regular 2WD cars before, I have never considered whether or not I should buy a petrol or diesel vehicle, they’ve always just been petrol. But once you start looking at 4WD vehicles, there are many that are diesel.

You can get both fuel types, pretty much everywhere around Australia.

Personally, I’ve found that in more metropolitan areas there are fewer diesel bowsers at the gas station. If there are 10 bowsers, then maybe 2 of them will be diesel. (But then, there are less diesel vehicles in metro areas too.)

The more rural you go, the more often diesel is found. I’ve read that in some of the really remote places, you can only buy diesel, and if you happen to get stranded with no fue, a passing motorist, local road workers or nearby farmhouse, is more likely to have diesel than petrol.

I like having diesel because I feel it’s safer to transport, and we have two 20L jerry cans which we carry with us.

Research before you get here

Once you’re figured out which city you’ll be starting from, start looking for the vehicle that you would like to buy, and follow the marketplaces websites.

These are the websites that I recommend keeping an eye on.

The reason why I recommend this, is that it gives you an idea of what types of vehicles are available, the prices, and which types of vehicles sell faster than others. This can help you to get an idea of prices, the condition you can expect a car to be in (at a particular price range) and the availability of different types of vehicles.

Gumtree.com.au – for cars, caravans and motorhomes. Gumtree is probably the equivalent of eBay or Craigslist and both dealers and private sellers advertise on here.

CarSales.com.au – for cars

CaravanCampingSales.com.au – for caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes etc

Just a note – I know that for Gumtree, I wasn’t able to contact any of the sellers (their contact details were hidden from me) because I was in New Zealand at the time that I was doing all the research. When we got to Australia, Gumtree still thought I was in New Zealand and still wouldn’t allow me to see the sellers contact details. A quick phone call to their Helpdesk confirmed that I was now in Australia and they were able to clear my account.

Checks that need to be done prior to purchase:

Rta checks for ownership – by different states.

If you’re doing a private purchase, then you must do a check of who is the legal owner and if there is any finance on the car. This is easily done online at: https://checkrego.com.au/

Pre-Purchase Inspection

Regardless of whether you’re buying from a dealership or a private party, I would still recommend getting a pre-purchase inspection of the vehicle. If you’re confident to do that yourself, that’s cool, but if you’re as clueless as me about all things mechanical, you’ll need to book a pre-purchase inspection with a local mechanic or an organisation like the NRMA.

We chose NRMA , which is a nationwide organisation that does insurance and road-side assistance.

We ordered two pre-purchase inspections through them and found them to be great. It seems that they have inspectors out on the road all the time so once you book they’ve got a team of people they could assign the job to.

For us in Sydney, this meant that we were able to ring up for the inspection and have it conducted within 24 hours. They provide you with quite a comprehensive report (emailed to you) and give you a fairly good idea of what you’re getting yourself into.

We’re so glad we did this.

The first car we had inspected was, in our inexperienced opinion, okay. It was a good price and there didn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. The pre-purchase inspection showed that there were a number of items that would need some serious work in the near future.

The second vehicle we had inspected actually gave a glowing report and we’ve been really happy with our purchase.

The pre-purchase inspections, while not fool-proof, give a bit of peace of mind for those of us mechanically challenged.

Checklists for inspecting a second-hand caravan / camper trailer etc

I’d like to say that I have a comprehensive checklist for anyone purchasing a second-hand caravan or camper trailer. But I don’t, which is pretty much how we ended up with the camper trailer that didn’t have half the features that were listed on it’s ad. But it was road-worthy and safe, thank goodness.

Here are some checklists that will help you on your initial inspection.

Camper Trailer Checklist

CamperTrailerAustralia.com.au – Buying a Used Camper Trailer

AussieLeisureLoans.com.au – Checklist for Buying a Camper Trailer

Caravan Checklist

CaravanBuyersGuide.com.au

Big4.com.au – Important Tips for Purchasing a Used Caravan

Outdoria.com.au – Ultimate Guide to Buying a Used Caravan Online

Campervan Checklist

Camplify.com.au – Ultimate Guide to Buying a Used Campervan

RollingSolo.com.au – Killer Checklist for Buying a Motorhome or Caravan

Motorhome Checklist

Buying a second hand motorhome becomes a little bit trickier if you’re planning on buying privately. When buying privately, you have no recourse should you find issues with the motorhome. From my research, it seems that the sensible option for buying a motorhome is to buy one from a dealer. Unless you’re able to do the inspections yourself, of course.

There are companies that will do an inspection for you, however there are not as many as there are vehicle inspectors, which makes sense.

Ownership Costs

Of course, there is always costs associated with owning a vehicle. For any international visitors, here’s what you’ll need to consider for Australia.

Car registration

Vehicle registration is different in each of the eight states of Australia. But here’s the general information:

  • Registration lasts for a year
  • You may need to have your vehicle inspected (at a registered inspection centre, such as a mechanic) for road-worthiness
  • If the registration runs out while you’re on your trip, you may need to return to the state that the vehicle is registered in, to re-register.
  • You are required to purchase Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance when you register your vehicle.

The rules and costs are different for each state, so if you already know where you’re going to buy your vehicle here are the links to each states vehicle registration information:

Australia is not like the USA where you need massive insurance in order to just walk down the street, but you will want to have vehicle insurance.

In Australia we have Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance which is paid when your vehicle is registered (you can’t register without it). CTP is not comprehensive insurance, it only provides the driver cover for any legal liability for injury or death as a result of an accident for which the insured is responsible.

You can easily purchase comprehensive insurance online. When we bought our car, I organized our insurance over the internet (on my phone) while Ben went through the sale process with the seller. By the time we drove off, we were fully covered.

Roadside Assistance

This isn’t a pre-requisite of owning a vehicle, but it’s a very, very high on the list of ‘should haves’.

Unless you’re a mechanic yourself, travelling with all your tools… and spare parts, then you should have road side assistance. ESPECIALLY if you’re travelling to remote areas. You’ve got to remember that in some parts of Australia it could be 300kms to the nearest town, and by town I mean a pub, general store and a gas station. Getting a tow truck could cost you thousands and if your vehicle is broken down, you’ve got no way to tow your home. It gets very complicated, very quickly. Just get roadside assistance, okay?

Options include:

The various RAC is each state:

Once you’ve got your vehicle sorted, you’ll be looking for somewhere to park each night…

I want to talk about camping in Australia, because the type of camping you want to do will help determine the type of set-up you need and any of the accessories you’ll likely want.

Caravan Parks

Caravan parks can be found all over Australia. In every city and town and sometimes even in the very smallest of towns that, if you blink, you’ll miss it.

All caravan parks will have the following facilities:

  • Powered sites – where you can plug into 240V power and water, and drain your grey water.
  • A facilities block – with toilets, showers & laundry room
  • A kitchen – with basic cooking (sink, stove, fridge, bench space) but many have extra things such as toaster, oven, blender, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery.
  • Dumping – so you can empty your toilet cassette or black tank.

Caravan parks can vary widely, from a basic campsite with not much appeal (or grass), to resort-like complexes with multiple pools, children’s play areas, cafes, games rooms and mini-golf.

Private Camping Sites

With the popularity of WikiCamps (an app that lists all the campsites around Australia – see section ‘How to find campsites’ below) it’s been much easier for people to set up campsites on their private property. Since campers will use the app to find their next campsite, the private campsite owners don’t need to spend a fortune on traditional advertising. They just list their campsite on WikiCamps and that’s it.

This could include farms, lifestyle blocks, the local pub with a big garden out the back or some other business with space out the back.

Since this is not regulated, you will get a huge range of options. It may just be grassy spot down by the river with no facilities, or a powered site with water and access to a bathroom block.

Prices are also variable, it can be quite pricey if you’re in a popular tourist area, or it may be ‘free’ but with the expectation that you will buy a drink and/or a meal in the pub.

National Parks

There are National Parks all over Australia and they provide some of the best outdoor experiences. Each of the National Parks is managed by the state government, so they’re all different.

You will find that there is a huge array of camping options, from free camping with no facilities, to fully managed campsites with power, water, dump points and a kitchen.

Some of the National Parks require that you pay a fee to enter the park, and then you pay camping fees on top of that. But they’re all different, so search the website of the National Park for each state. These links should get you started:

Free or Low-Cost Camps

First lesson… you will not find free camps in very touristy areas.

For example, if you’re travelling anywhere along the east coast, don’t expect to find any free camps on the beach. For free camps, you will need to head inland and further away from the main touristy areas and then you’ll find HEAPS of free or low cost camping options.

The one caveat I have to not being able to find free camping along the east coast, is rest stops. There are quite a lot of roadside rest stops where you’re able to stop for the night. But they’re not exactly in scenic areas, can be noisy since they’re right beside the highway and may or may not have facilities. Most will have at least a long drop toilet, but that’s about it.

Oh, and don’t park in designated truck parking areas, these are rest areas for truck drivers only.

More info on free camping in Australia:

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How to find campsites

Here are the two most common ways to find campsites in Australia:

This app is a crowd-sourced database of all the campground and caravan parks across Australia. It shows the details of the campsite, the facilities available, the cost, as well as other information such as whether they allow dogs, local sites to see and the proximity to other amenities. The value of the app lies in the comments, ratings, photos and updated costs of fellow campers.

The app also shows places of interest, dump points, day use areas and even has a map feature to direct you straight to the campsite.

At just $7.99 it is worth every single cent.

Camps Australia

This is a physical book – now I haven’t used this myself, but people that I’ve talked to have been pretty happy with this book. They also have an app which is still only $9.99. I think that the main difference with the Camps Australia list of campsites, is that they’re all verified sites.

Okay, so now that you know the different types of camping that you can do in Australia, hopefully you’ve got an idea of the type that you and your companions will want to do.

If you’re going to be staying in caravan parks for the duration of your trip, then you will be fine with a more basic set-up; you can use the caravan parks’ toilet, shower, kitchen and laundry. You can charge up your electronic devices each night using the supplied power, you can get fresh drinking water and dump your toilet (if you have one).

But if you’re planning to do free or low-cost camping then you’ll need to be self-sufficient . And that means having access to the following things:

  • Water supply
  • Grey water disposal

When you’re free camping you probably won’t have access to drinking water, so you need to take enough for you and your travelling companions, for the number of days you plan to stay.

Your caravan/motorhome/campervan is likely to have a water tank already, but consider how big the tank is, and all the things you’ll be using that water for such as: drinking, cooking, washing (dishes and people) and the toilet.

In order to extend your stay you’ll need to think about ways to conserve water, carry more water or have a way of re-filling your water. This may include things such as:

  • Taking navy showers, or no showers, especially if there is a river or lake where everyone can go for a swim. (No soaps in the waterways though!)
  • Taking extra water such as a tank in the tow vehicle, water jerry cans, water bladder or even just extra plastic bottles of drinking water.
  • It may be that you’re able to fill your water containers (e.g. jerry cans) when you’re out and about sightseeing and use these to fill up the tank in the caravan.

You’ve got to remember that in some areas of Australia (i.e. the whole middle of Australia) water is scarce and you need to be mindful of where you’re going and if there’ll be water.

It’s no problem in built up areas, but you’ll need to think about this fact when travelling in remote areas.

When we first set out on our road trip around Australia, I had thought that an on-board toilet wasn’t such a high priority. I figured that if we’re free camping with no toilet facilities, then I’d just go in the bush. But not all free camps are out in the bush. Some are beside the highway, or in an open field, or jam-packed with other free campers.

This is where it really comes in handy to have your own toilet on-board.

There are a couple of different types of toilet, that I think it would be handy to know about.

Cassette Toilet

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This is the most common caravan/motorhome toilet that you will find in Australia. It’s not too dissimilar to a regular toilet, you open the flap at the bottom of the bowl, you do your business and when you flush it empties into a small holding tank/cassette, and then you close the flap.

Emptying the cassette involves taking the cassette out (usually accessed from outside the caravan or motorhome) and dumping it into a dump station or in a toilet.

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Holding Tank Toilet

These are the most commonly found toilets in large RVs in North America; where the toilet empties in a holding tank (black tank) and can be pumped out at a designated dumping point. These are not hugely popular in Australia, they are around, but cassette toilets are well and truly the most popular.

Portable/Chemical Toilet

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The porta potty or chemical toilet is a self-contained unit you can use anywhere. It works on the same principle as the cassette toilet above, but the porta potty comes in two parts with the holding tank or cassette part right under the toilet seat part. You can easily separate the bottom half of the toilet from the top half so that you can dispose of the contents.

The porta potty can be easily moved around (just pick it up, it’s not attached to anything and doesn’t have any hoses etc) which makes it a great emergency loo.

Store it anywhere on your rig and just bring it out when it’s needed.

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In less populated areas of Australia, it’s acceptable to go to the toilet out in nature. However, there is a bit of etiquette involved in this.

Here’s some basic tips for going bush toilet in Australia:

  • Be discreet. No one wants to see you flashing your bits around and definitely no one needs to see you defecating.
  • Number two’s require you to dig a hole. Don’t just break ground , but dig a decent depth hole that isn’t just going to have the dirt blown away.
  • Toilet paper – now this is really important. We have a little bit of an ongoing problem with toilet paper being disposed of incorrectly and creating a despicable scene at some of our most beautiful spots. DO NOT leave your toilet paper behind. Don’t bury it, because it will get dug up by some curious critter. You have two options:
  • either put a match to your toilet paper and burn it (although not in the middle of a dry field or during a fire ban!) OR
  • just put it in the rubbish. Take a little rubbish bag with you and put your loo paper straight in there after use. It’s so easy to do, yet some people seem to think they’re exempt from this problem and refuse to dispose of their toilet paper properly. Once you see toilet paper strewn around, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, and you’ll be as annoyed (and flabbergasted) by it as I am.

Central to your power solution is your batteries. You’ll use them to keep power hungry things going, like:

  • Electronic devices such as laptop, phone, camera equipment
  • Microwave, coffee maker, TV

But you’ll need to keep the batteries topped up, and you do this by recharging them by either:

  • Charging from the car alternator when driving
  • Solar panels
  • Battery charger when connected to mains power or a generator

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If you’re renting a motorhome or campervan, then this is most likely to be set up already. But if not, here are the BASICS of what you’ll need.

1. Battery – Deep-Cycle Battery

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First question I get is: can you use the battery that’s already in your car – the one that’s used to start the car – to power everything?

No – you need another battery that is a deep-cycle battery. You may hear this referred to as an auxiliary, secondary, or a dual battery system. This is the battery that will be used to power the fridge, lights, devices etc.

A deep-cycle battery is a lead-acid battery designed to be regularly deeply discharged using most of its capacity. In contrast, starter batteries (e.g. most automotive batteries) are designed to deliver short, high-current bursts for cranking the engine, thus frequently discharging only a small part of their capacity.  Thank you Wikipedia.

There are different types of deep-cycle batteries, the most commonly used types in Australia are the Lead Acid Battery and the AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery.

 Lithium batteries are becoming more and more popular as they are more efficient, lighter (in weight) and last a lot longer.  They are also much more expensive, you can read more about them in  this article.

The deep-cycle battery can be fitted under the bonnet of some cars (if they have a space already available) or they can be fitted into the cargo area of your car or in the camper trailer/caravan. It will depend on the type of battery you have and the space available.

What do the different sizes mean?

The battery size is determined by the Amp Hours (Ah) of the battery. If the battery is 100Ah, this means that you have 100 Amp Hours of power available (theoretically).

If you have power consumption of 10 amps per hour (for example, you’ve got a fridge that uses 5 amps of power per hour, lights that use 2 amps per hour and other devices that are using 3 amps per hour) then that means the battery will last for 10 hours before it is completely flat.

Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work like that, AGM batteries should only be discharged about 60-80% before you need to recharge them again. But the Amp Hours is a good way of defining the size of a battery.

Now let’s talk about how a battery is recharged.

2. Recharging by Driving

Your deep-cycle battery can be charged by being hooked up to the start battery in your car, which is charged up by the alternator when you’re driving.

he Basics of Battery Power for Camping - one way of recharging your deep-cycle batte

If you’ve heard of things like a DC-DC charger or VSR (Voltage Sensitive Relay) these are pieces of equipment that go between your car’s start battery and the deep-cycle battery, this is to make sure that the battery is charged enough, but not too much and to make sure that the start battery never gets drained.

3. Recharging with Solar Panels

If you want to recharge your batteries using solar panels you will need to have a solar controller or regulator between the solar panels and the battery. The solar controller ensures that the battery does not get overcharged.

he Basics of Battery Power for Camping - solar panels are one way of recharging your

The size of the solar panels you need, will depend on how much power your devices consume. A set-up with a large fridge, multiple lights and devices will need more solar panels than a smaller set-up. I’ve found a very informative article on Hema Maps on the  The Basic Guide to Camping with Solar Power .

4. Recharging with a Battery Charger

attery Power for Camping - when you're at a spot that has mains po

When you have access to mains power, you can also recharge your AGM battery with an AC battery charger . You just plug the charger into the power point and connect it up to the battery.

Battery chargers come in different amp sizes, the larger the amps the quicker the battery will charge. For example, a 10A battery charger will take about 12 hours to recharge a 120Ah battery. Whereas a 20A battery charger will take 5 hours.

Or from a generator – If you have a generator, you can use the AC outlet to plug in the battery charger, and use it just like it were mains power.

5. Powering your 12v devices

Anything that uses 12v can be plugged straight into the battery . This includes things like your portable fridge or lights. You need adaptors or a battery box that are connected to the battery so that you can plug the cigarette lighter plug into the battery.

6. Using 240v devices – you need an inverter

There are other electronic equipment that doesn’t use 12v power, things like laptops, microwaves and toasters. They have the normal plug that you use in your house and run on 240v AC power.

In order to power these devices, you will need an inverter that will convert the 12v DC power of the battery, to 240v AC power for your devices.

he Basics of Battery Power for Camping - you can use your deep-cycle battery to powe

The size of the inverter you buy, will depend on the power consumption of the devices you’re running (i.e. the watts). For example, charging a laptop uses less power than running a microwave, so you will need a bigger inverter if you’re planning to take a microwave with you.

Air Conditioners

Here’s a question that we’ve pondered ourselves as we’ve sweated away in hot and sticky Darwin, or fried in the dry, but 40°C heat of Dubbo: can we run an air-conditioning unit while we’re free-camping?

From batteries? NO

From a generator? Maybe. I’ve heard plenty of people are able to run their air-con from generators, you just have to make sure you get a generator that is rated high enough to power your air-con.

These should be part of every travellers set-up, as important as your batteries, or your hat, or your phone, but so many people forget these.

First Aid kit

Make sure you have a suitable first aid kit and check that everything is within date (i.e. not expired) and that you know how to use everything in there.

Have you all taken a first aid course? Don’t forget, when you’re out in the middle of nowhere (i.e. much of Australia) then you must all look after each other, and that includes having a well-stocked first aid kit and the knowledge to use it.

Search more first aid kits here.

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Personal Locator Beacon / Satellite phone

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Consider taking a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) with you.

Having this device with you can mean the difference between life and death, particularly in remote areas. PLBs are designed to be used on land, and are designed to stay with individuals rather than vehicles. You should make sure that you get one that has GPS as this means it will be much quicker for emergency services to find you. See the Australian Maritime Safety Authority website for more details.

Another option would be to either buy or hire a satellite phone.

While not as cheap as a cell phone, they do mean that you can make calls even when you’re out of cell phone coverage.

And there are satellite messenger devices like the SpotX , where you can send text messages via satellite.

Search more PLB / Satellite phones here

Fire Extinguishers

This one is a no-brainer really. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your vehicle and in your caravan/camper trailer.

Search more fire extinguishers here

Emergency Contact List

This is a simple, free and easy to do thing that will save you mountains of stress should you have an emergency situation.

A piece of paper that is easily locatable to you and those travelling with you, that has all the important contact phone numbers and details.

Things like:

  • Everyone’s mobile number – because you may not have memorised their numbers since they’re all in your mobile phone anyway
  • Phone numbers of close relatives – like parents and siblings
  • Your doctors name and number
  • Your medicare numbers
  • Your car insurance phone number and policy number
  • Health insurance numbers

It’s simple stuff, but when it’s an emergency and your phone happens to be flat, you’ll be super glad to have all this info handy.

I’ve got a free emergency contact form template over here if you would like.

There are a couple of large mobile phone providers in Australia like Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, Virgin as well as many smaller companies.

Without a doubt, the company with the best coverage around Australia is Telstra. They have the largest infrastructure network and therefore the largest coverage of Australia.

Update: I’ve been reading reports of Optus setting up cell towers in some remote towns so it will be worthwhile keeping an eye on them too.

Telstra Coverage Map

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Vodafone Coverage Map

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Telstra seem to have a bit of a reputation for not-that-great customer service, but that hasn’t been our experience at all. Yes, you’re going to get put through to a call centre in India, but each time they’ve been knowledgeable and able to help out with our situation.

Also, Telstra is certainly not the cheapest, but with the coverage they have (in both cell service and customer service) they really are the best choice.

If you live in Australia already, then you’ve likely got your phone sorted out already.

If you’re travelling to Australia from somewhere else, then you will probably want a prepaid service. The costs for prepaid phone are not too bad… it’s data that’s the big cost.

Ahh, the bane and blessing of every travellers existence!

Getting internet in Australia isn’t too hard, especially if you don’t need lots of gigs and you’re not in a remote area. But if you need/want heavier internet usage, things get a little bit trickier, and a lot more expensive.

Here’s how you’re going to get internet in Australia:

Free Wi-Fi can be found in all the regular places: shopping malls, airports, MacDonalds, hotels and libraries. Most often this will be capped, so of course this is only good for checking email, social media and browsing.

Hot Spot from your phone or mobile modem

This is a popular, and easy solution. If you’re with Telstra you’ll be able to get internet most of the time. For those on pre-paid it may be your only option.

If you’re not on unlimited data, then please take note, you must change your internet habits!

We found that on the road we had to be a lot more conscientious of our internet usage. You can’t watch whatever you like, whenever you like. You’ve got to stop going down the rabbit hole of endless Facebook or Youtube videos and make the most of free wi-fi when you get it, buy cheap DVDs from the second-hand shop, or read a book. Seriously, you have to get off your laptop / devices for this trip. I think you’ll find that it’s not hard though, there’s so much to see you’ll be glad to see how much you don’t need the internet.

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TV in Australia

I think people who watch TV while their on their road trip around Australia cop a bit of flak for doing so.

I used to be one of those people that gave them flak. :-/

But now that we’re on the road ourselves, I totally understand peoples desire to watch some TV.

After a day of adventuring and exploring, it’s really nice to be able to relax in the evening, catch up with the news, watch your favourite TV shows and maybe even a movie.

We do exactly the same thing, but we don’t have TV, we use our laptops and internet.

Since TV isn’t my thing, I’m going to refer you to Free Range Camping who know more about it than me.  See their article all about getting a satellite TV kit here .

So you’ve arrived in Australia, you’ve got your home on wheels, you’ve packed in your clothes and bedding, you’ve stocked up the cupboards and fridge and you’re ready to hit the road!

But which way do you go?

Well, that will depend on a few factors; where you’re flying in and out of, the time of year that you’re visiting, how long you’ve got and your bucket list of must-see places. But the main factor that you’ll want to keep in mind is the weather.

Because Australia is so large, it has a wide variety of landscapes… and weather. In the north you have tropical rainforests, in the south and east you have mountain ranges and the centre is one huge dry desert.

So you’ll want to consider the timing of your visit to some of these areas.

The north of Australia is semi-tropical, making it very hot and humid in the summer (Dec-Feb) and subject to monsoonal type rains and tropical cyclones. The rainy season runs from approximately November to April and can severely hamper travel in the region. Some roads become impassable, being either washed away or totally underwater.

The vast expanse that is the middle of Australia is desert or semi-arid. In the summer, temperatures can be in the high 30’s to 40°C (104°F) during the day.

The winter months are a popular time to travel to the centre of Australia because the day time temperatures are comfortably warm, but you do need to be aware that at night the temperature plummets and you’ll want to have warm clothing and bedding.

A more temperate climate is found in the south-east and south-west regions of Australia. While it’s cold for us, it will rarely get as cold as 0°C (32°F) so it’s not nearly as frigid as our northern hemisphere visitors would be used to.

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Southern Hemisphere Seasons

The southern hemisphere seasons are:

  • Summer – December, January, February
  • Autumn – March, April, May
  • Winter – June, July, August
  • Spring – September, October, November

You will find that many, if not most, people travelling around Australia will travel to the northern half and centre of the country in winter, and enjoy the warm tropical weather while avoiding the monsoonal rains and heat of summer.

Then in summer, they’ll head back south again where it will still be a hot summer, but not as hot.

Shoulder Season

We found ourselves travelling in the north of the country during the spring shoulder season (August/September) and we loved it. While literally hundreds of caravans were heading south as we went north we got to enjoy much less crowded camps but still pleasant temperatures.

Public Holidays & School Holidays in Australia

Being mindful of the public holidays will most likely help you with ‘crowd-control’ more than anything.

Starting your trip in Sydney? Well you DO NOT want to be picking up your campervan from the airport at 2pm on the Thursday before Easter and be heading north. You will be joined by every Sydney-ite desperate to leave the city limits on their first long weekend since summer.

Sure you could do it, but it will save yourself a heap of stress if you knew it was a long weekend and decided to stay the night near the airport instead.

You can find all the public holidays here and since it would also be best to avoid school holidays, if possible, here’s the link to them here too .

Bucket List items

And then, of course, the other thing to take into consideration is those ‘bucket list’ places that you’ve always wanted to see.  

Planning the actual route

For our trip around Australia, it was a case of ‘head north’ and then figure out the rest as we go.

However, if it’s a shorter trip, or you have limited time then you might like to plan out your itinerary a bit more.

Online Trip Planners – these are where you can input your start and finish points, and stops along the way, and it will show you your route along with some tourist attractions along the way. I find them to be a little bit limiting, but they can be a great way to start your planning and give you some ideas.

Here’s one from the NRMA that you may find helpful: Holiday Finder

Pre-made Itineraries – you’ll find lots and lots of itineraries already planned out for you, if you’d like to go that route. For example, Tourism Australia has some great self-drive itineraries here , that you could just follow these trips and you’ll have a great time.

But chances are, you’ll use them as a guide for planning your route, taking note of the things they recommend that appeal to you, and ignoring the rest.

Google Maps – if you enjoy the planning process, you could use something as simple as google maps and enter in your start and finish points, and the places on your bucket list in between.

It’s great how google maps gives you the drive times so you’ll be able to gauge how far you can travel each day.

While you’re there, you can search for local accommodation, restaurants and things to do. You can have a look at the map and see how far away the water is, the next town, the next interesting site to visit.

You can use the information that you find from itinerary examples and online trip planning tools to give you some idea of what would make a good trip, but then totally design it to your own needs, desires, budget and timeframe.

Personally, it’s my favourite way of planning for a trip because I’m in total control.

Packing is a bit of a personal preference and I’m certainly no fashionista, so I won’t be listing out the clothes I think you’ll need. But rather, some of the items that you may not think about bringing.

So of course, bring the shorts, t-shirts, nice dress, button up shirt, comfy undies and high heels if that’s what you want, these are the other things:

Protection against bugs

Light coloured and loose, long sleeve top and long pants.

As dusk approaches and you want to sit outside with your glass of chardonnay or tinnie of VB, there’s a good chance that the mosquitoes or sand flies are also thinking of settling in for their happy hour feast… of you!

It’s no fun wearing longs when it’s so hot, but it’s either that get eaten alive. Or sit inside.

This is a particularly sore point for me, because the insects seem to LOVE me. Insect repellent and long everything doesn’t seem to deter them. They find their way in and it’s no fun.

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This photo is what happened in Darwin when we left our window flaps open. All the doors and windows had fly screens but on one side the weave of the fly screen was a bit bigger than all the other openings, we normally kept it shut but it was so hot we made sure that every one was open. The tiny little blighters got through the bigger weave (which happened to be right beside me) and had a feast of my legs. Itchy. For. Days.

Insect Repellent

Everyone says that the only insect repellent that is any good must have DEET in it to be effective. While I’ve been happy enough to buy this at the supermarket I have to admit, it is a pretty ‘corrosive’ product. We had a roll-on insect repellent that leaked and while I can’t remember what it corroded or stripped, but it was dramatic enough that we did quickly decide that it need to be stored in a zip lock bag from now on. And we put this stuff on our skin!?

I’ve read quite a few recommendations for natural products available here in Australia. I’m not endorsing them, because I haven’t tried them; but I’ve heard them mentioned a quite a few times so I’m putting their website links here for your reference: Good Riddance & The Locals

Heat & Sun

Okay okay, everyone sees pictures of sun-kissed Aussies enjoying the beach, splashing around in their next-to-nothings and looking youthful and happy.

That picture is not so common anymore.

More and more people are becoming painfully aware of our harsh Aussie sun and seeking protection from it.

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While a cap may look cool, if you’ve got a favourite wide-brimmed hat then I’d bring that with you. If not, you’ll be buying one when you get here anyway.

Long sleeves and pants

You know, when you see anyone that works out in the Australian sun all day (think road workers, farmers, those crazy cyclists and hikers that walk through the outback) they are most often wearing long pants and sleeves and a wide brim hat. Take your cue from them, especially if you’ll be spending your whole day outside in the summer.

In the water is where we are usually having the most fun and so forget to reapply sunscreen. Rashies are so, so popular now, so join the trend. They are especially great for kids, and everyone is wearing them, so you won’t be the odd one out.

It’s not as effective as staying out of the sun in the first place. But if you can’t/won’t keep your skin out of the sun then at least find a high SPF sunscreen and reapply regularly.

Yes, it does get cold!

I’ve reminded you a few times throughout this post that it can get really hot in many parts of Australia, but it’s certainly not hot all the time and in all places!

If you’re going to be in the middle to south of Australia during the winter months, then you’ll need to pack your warm clothes too. Average winter temperatures would get as low as single digits in ° Centigrade (34-48°F).

And don’t be fooled into thinking that the middle of Australia is hot all the time. In the winter, while day time temperatures may be warm, it can get down to zero (°C) overnight and take a couple of hours to warm up again in the morning.

There are a few considerations that you need to be aware of when it comes to driving in Australia. Things that may be quite different to where you come from, so let’s list them out:

International Drivers

In Australia we drive on the left side of the road and the majority of vehicles have the steering wheel on their right side.

You can use your overseas license in Australia for your entire visit, as long as you remain a visitor. If your license is not in English you must also carry an English translation or an International Driving Permit (IDP). Information on the IDP can be found here .

Australian Road Rules

Just like you would in any new country, it makes sense to familiarise yourself with the local road rules. A good article which outlines the major parts of the road rules (especially those pertaining to international drivers) can be found here . (Scroll about a third of the way down the page to get to the heading ‘Australia Road Rules’).

Driving at dawn or dusk

What might be quite different for our international visitors is that it if you are in a country area, it is recommended that you don’t drive at dawn or dusk times of the day. This is when the wildlife is the most active, and the chances of you hitting a kangaroo, wallaby, wombat or other creature, increases greatly.

You may not think that hitting a wallaby is that big a deal, but if you were to hit a large kangaroo that’s decided to bound across the road at the last minute, these can be big enough to cause serious damage to your car.

Driver Fatigue

In some parts of Australia you can be driving for hundreds and hundreds of kilometres, with little change in the landscape and huge distances to cover. Don’t push it. If you’re tired, there are plenty of designated rest stops, so make the most of them.

GPS and maps

You may think, like us, that phones are so useful now and that getting a GPS is a waste of time and money.

Or you may have figured out already, unlike us, that in the middle of the outback a phone is useless if you don’t have any reception. So at the time when you really need reassurance that you’re heading in the right direction to your intended campsite… you have no idea.

Unless you’re able to use an app that doesn’t require an internet connection but still uses the GPS function.

Otherwise, I’d recommend getting a GPS so you can have your navigation running all the time and there’s no arguments when you want to use the phone to take pictures and videos to post on Instagram!

And don’t forget the good old paper map. You remember them, right? You know that a paper map isn’t ever going to leave you stranded because it can’t get an internet connection, or doesn’t have a line of sight to the sky or has gone flat. There is nothing quite so old school, yet safe and practical, as having a physical map. You’ll find these in every Information Centre around the country.

Most Useful Apps

There are gazillions of apps that you could be using to plan and navigate your way around Australia. But for us, there were just a handful that I couldn’t do without:

I mentioned WikiCamps in the camping section and this is, without a doubt, the most used app on my phone. Ok ok, maybe facebook and Instagram are used more often, so I should probably say that WikiCamps was the most important app on my phone. I used it everyday that we needed to find a new camp.

It’s just $7.99 and worth every cent.

This app used to be part of the WikiCamps app but they’ve separated it out into it’s own app. There were a couple of times that we became a little concerned that our fuel was running low but we weren’t sure how far it was to the next town. Or we were at a town with half a tank of diesel left but diesel was $1.55 per litre. A quick look on the app assured us that the next town was 130 kms in the direction we were going and it was $1.42 per litre. So we kept driving. It helped us to save money and, more importantly, keep the stress and anxiety levels in check!  This app is free.

Special Considerations for Outback Travel

I’m just going to put this map of Australia here, superimposed over a map of North America, to remind you of just how large Australia.

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But while the population density of the United States is 33 people per km 2 , the population density of Australia is a measly 3 people per km 2 .

Population Density – Australia Map ( Source )

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Once you have a look at the geography of Australia, it all starts to make sense when you see that most of the middle of Australia is largely uninhabited. Sure there are small towns, and even a large town (Alice Springs) but no cities, and lots and lots of space in-between.

See all that pale yellow expanse in the Population Density – Australia Map above? All of that space has a population density of less than 0.1 person per km 2 . So that’s just one person per 10km 2 . That’s hardly any people.

I think I’ve made my point. You get it, that much of Australia is large and remote.

It’s not only remote and sparsely populated, it’s also desert or semi-arid. Which means you MUST ensure that you have enough drinking water on-board your vehicle so that, should the unforeseen happen, you can at least stay alive.

It’s also going to be hot. Depending on the time of year that you travel, it’s going to be really hot. Make sure you’ve got appropriate clothing, that your set-up affords you some shade when you stop, and that you have ways to cool down when you need to.

Some of the ideas we had are a 12v fan, a fridge or freezer for cold drinks, and a spray bottle with water that you can squirt on yourself every now and then.

Fuel & Other Spares

Use the FuelMaps app to see where your next fuel stop is. Carry extra fuel if possible.

Make sure your vehicle is in good working order before you leave on your trip.

Make sure to take the common spares such as oil, water, spare wheel & wheel changing kit, some basic tools.

Road Conditions

Anyone who’s driven on an unsealed back country road will know the displeasure of road corrugations / washboards. Having everything shaken to within an inch of your life is bad enough… doing so for over 500km is just soul-destroying!

We found this out ourselves due to some less than stellar planning. On the road from Burketown QLD to Boroloola NT, I couldn’t understand why the Maps app kept wanting us to go the longer 1,255km route instead of the more direct 523km route.

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If I’d taken just a few moments to notice the time difference between the two routes, I might have put two and two together.

I didn’t.

And hence, we had two days of bone rattling corrugations. Our car and camper trailer handled the corrugations with aplomb – even though EVERYTHING was covered in red dust – but imagine if we’d had a caravan. I think that would have, literally, shaken a caravan to pieces. With our light little camper trailer we could afford to make mistakes like that and be none the worse for wear.

When we get a caravan, we’ll have to be more careful and aware.

We have no regrets taking that road though. What ensued was a great little adventure that involved a lot of laughing as we shuddered down the road, a couple of exciting (to us) river crossings and picking up three locals in the middle of nowhere to give them a ride to the next town… 150kms away!

Alcohol Restricted Areas

Here’s something you may not be aware of:

There are parts of Australia where alcohol restrictions are in place. You will come across these areas in parts of the Northern Territory, Far North Queensland and some parts of Western Australia. The restrictions vary in each state and area, and are constantly changing, but can be a total ban on alcohol consumption or a limit on how much you can buy, when you can buy and what you can buy.

There will be signs on the road as you enter into these restricted areas, but you’ll also be made well aware of any restrictions when you buy alcohol. If in doubt, just visit the nearest Information Centre and they’ll have all the info you need.

In one bottle store I heard a lady complaining loudly that she was a visitor to the area and shouldn’t have to be subject to the same restrictions as the local people.

But you’ve got to remember that while these restrictions may be a bit of a nuisance to you as a visitor because they limit how many drinks you can have at your daily happy hour; the restrictions are certainly not for your benefit.

It’s for the benefit (in terms of safety and health) of the local community. In the aboriginal communities where these restrictions are in place, the goal of the restrictions is to minimise the dreadful harm caused by rampant alcohol abuse and misuse, and associated violence.

Now, this is going to be the hard section to write. Of course you already know that everyone is different so eveyones road trip around Australia budget is going to be wildly different.

If you’re on holiday for a limited time, you may not be so worried about costs because you’re going back to work as soon as you get home anyway; compared to the person who has made being on the road their new lifestyle, and is now a lot more selective about what he spends his limited resources on.

First up, particularly for our international visitors, Australia is expensive.

All cost estimates are in Australian Dollars.

I think the most helpful thing I can do here is to share our budget with you, tell you how we came up with this budget, and whether it proved to be practical on the road.

Setting a budget

This is the budget that we had set ourselves before we’d even left New Zealand . Setting a budget for something when you don’t even know what you’re getting yourself into, can be quite hard. But I did lots and lots of research and did the best I could.

Our budget was divided into two parts, the One-Off or Set-Up Costs that we would incur within the first few weeks of arriving in Australia, and then our Living Expenses for six months on the road.

One-off costs

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Getting to Australia $2,100 – Fights, rental car, hotel etc. This will be zero if you live in Australia already, significantly more if you have to come from the other side of the world.

Vehicle $10,000 – I had a look at sites like carsales.com.au and gumtree.com.au to see what type of vehicles were available and the price range. While $10k is on the low side for a 4WD vehicle, we were recommended a Hyundai Terracan so I did a heap of research on them and we decided it would be perfect for us and our small budget.

Camper trailer $5,000 – Once again, it was only by looking online at lots and lots of camper trailers, caravans and campervan etc that we came up with a budget of $5,000. We realised that we could get a good quality camper trailer for that price and still afford all the things we thought we’d need.

Toilet & Tent $300 – This is for one of those pop-up shower tents and a porta-potti.

Solar, Battery & Fridge $3,000 – We were hoping we’d get lucky and find a camper trailer that already had a dual/portable battery system, but we weren’t banking on it. So we set this budget of $3,000 after doing lots of looking for batteries, fridges & portable solar panels online and figuring out how much it would cost us.

Insurance $500 – I just used www.iSelect.com.au to figure out what insurance would cost if I purchased one of the cars I’ve been looking at.

Roadside Assistance $250 –  through NRMA

Maintenance $2,400 – I guessed this one. Based on $100 per week for 6 months…ish. Oil changes, punctured tyres, ummm other stuff?

Misc – because there’s always miscellaneous!

Business costs $1,700 – this won’t apply to everyone, but for us I needed to keep some money aside for regular payments for things like hosting, domain name renewals and other business costs.

Other bills or giving – mortgage, car or caravan loans, charitable giving – anything else that you will keep paying regardless of the fact that you’re heading off on a trip of a lifetime.

Six Months Living Costs

When trying to come up with a ‘living budget’ for our road trip around Australia, I racked my brain for all the things I thought we’d need to pay for. I started with the things we already pay for in our lives – rent, food, petrol, phones, internet, entertainment, gifts, subscriptions. And then added all the things that would be extra being on this trip.

The thing is, you won’t know everything. You’ll get some of it wrong, when you’re on the road you’ll realise that you needed to allocate more money to one area and you allocated too much money to other areas. But figuring out a budget beforehand, allows you to know how long your money is going to last you. If you’re waaaay overspending your weekly budget you’ll be able to know in advance that you’re likely to run out of money. Either that’s fine… and you break out the credit card. Or you tighten your belt and cut back on the less important things.

I probably did things a little bit backwards, but I calculated (sometimes guessed) how much we would spend each month and therefore for the whole six months. Then I divided it by 26 weeks to come up with the weekly budget.

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So here’s how I determined our monthly budget:

Camping fees $400 – would be just like paying rent, or paying for a hotel/motel every night. From some quick online research I could see that $30 per night for a caravan park (unpowered site) was reasonably normal. Ben and I talked about trying to free camp for four nights per week and staying in a caravan park for the other three nights per week. That gave us a budget of $90 per week for camping fees, which I rounded up to $400 per month.

Not exactly a science to my methods, but at least it gives us something to work with.

Food $1,000 – we’ll still eat generally the same things as we do now and in the same quantities, so that shouldn’t change too drastically. Having lived in Australia previously we knew that the food prices between NZ and Australia are reasonably similar.

For any international readers, I would suggest taking the time to go through one of your regular weeks grocery list and jumping on to an online shopping site like www.shop.coles.com.au to price each of the items. It’s a time consuming exercise for sure, but it will give you a really good idea of what you should budget for.

Fuel $800 – it’s gonna be a lot, I mean you are driving around Australia. Here’s how I roughly calculated how much fuel would cost us.

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Expected KMs – I used google maps to give me an approximate kilometres for a half loop starting in Sydney, following the coast up to Cairns, across to Darwin, down through the middle via Uluru to Adelaide, and then across to Dubbo.

This came to 10,175km. Since this amount is just direct distances between major cities I added on another 50% to account for the fact that we wouldn’t be on the main highway the whole time, and for sightseeing etc. It’s just an aroundabout figure so that I knew we were talking about 15,000kms rather than 5,000kms.

Fuel Consumption per 100km – I found some figures online as I was doing all the general research for this trip, that showed people reporting fuel consumption of 12-20L per 100km. I just took a stab and guessed that ours would be 18L/100km. I guessed this because:

  • we wouldn’t be in a vehicle with a huge engine, towing a massive (heavy) caravan, so it wouldn’t be the highest number
  • but we would be in an older vehicle which I just presumed we have worse fuel consumption
  • I was guessing so I thought I’d better err on the generous side (notice a pattern here?)

Cost of diesel – $1.60 per litre. Online I found people quoting an average diesel price of $1.55 per litre, so I added another .5 for good measure.

Add all those figures into my calculation and this is what I got.

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I rounded the per month cost up to $800 (because I’m continually adding in padding when I’m doing lots of guessing like this).

Electricity $0 – will now be zero as it’s covered in the nightly rate at caravan parks, or our battery system with solar will cover our needs

Gas – we didn’t have a budget for this because we only used gas for cooking so it was hardly anything. But if you’ve got a gas fridge or water heating system you’ll need to factor that in.

Phone / Internet  $100 – presuming you’ll be going with Telstra, just look up their website and see which pre-paid or contract plan (depending on which suits your circumstances) works for you. For us we figured we’d have two phones with each one on the $50 per month pre-paid.

Spending $400 – yeah, this one is a total guess. You’ll need to think about what kind of travel you enjoy.

While we love a good tour or attraction or night at the pub as much as the next person, we also get a lot of joy from a bundle of newspaper-wrapped fish and chips while sitting on the beach. If it happens to include a glass of Veuve Clicquot then you’ll find me in a world of happiness!

While we would LOVE to have a much bigger budget here, we knew this was the most flexible area of the budget because it is all about our ‘wants’, not our ‘needs’. Just because we’re tight-arses, doesn’t mean that you have to be.

You may find it helpful to break this bucket down even further. Here are some other categories that could go under ‘Spending’:

Coffee – although I love a good coffee, I would only buy one as a treat, so I don’t need a separate budget for it.

Alcohol – this on the other hand… we probably should have budgeted for. :-O

Sightseeing Trips – you’ll need to factor in museum or attraction visits or any of the we’re-only-here-once-so-we’d-better-do-it visits.

You know, things like swimming with whale sharks, a scenic flight over Uluru or a sunset cruise on Sydney Harbour. If there are must-dos on your list, then I would find out the price of each of those attractions (online) and add them to the budget.

Eating out – any takeaways, pub, café and restaurant meals.

Hair and beauty – haircuts and styling, nails, waxing – anything that you know you’ll want to get done while you’re on the trip.

Dog sitting services – if you’ve got an extra family member with you

Kid expenses – I don’t know what extra costs kids have, but I hear they’re expensive. ☺

It cost us…

I kept pretty good records of our expenses for our whole trip and I’m pleased to report that I wasn’t too far off. I had way under-budgeted for in one area, but we made up with my over-budgeting in other areas.

Here’s how it panned out at the three month mark:

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Not too shabby.

We’re happy with this, we didn’t stress over every dollar, but we did keep an eye on things.

And here are the ‘Living Costs’ for the first three months. Though it fluctuated wildly each week, it averaged out to being on budget .

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Every person and family will have a different budget, but by taking the time to at least price out what you think it will cost you, it will help you the plan your trip.

This is the question that has always stumped me the most.

For us, not only did we need to save for the caravan or motorhome, but also for our living expenses while we were on the road.

I had always thought it would be at least $100k for a motorhome and then $50k to travel for a year. While that is a HUGE amount of money and already felt out of our reach, the idea of then having to go back to work, well, I think that might have been the most frightening prospect of all.

So a few things had to happen before we could even contemplate setting out on this trip.

  • We had to downsize our motorhome expectations A LOT, and
  • We had to either figure out ways of making money online, or get comfortable with needing to stop and work as needed.

Downsizing our motorhome expectations

I’ve always been obsessed with RVs.

I love reading about all their features and new developments. I love reading blogs from people that have been travelling and working in them. And most of all, I love looking at RV floor plans, trying to decide which layout, size and type would be best for us.

So I decided to start my own blog about RVs, appropriately titled RVObsession.com.

Now, I could read anything and everything on the subject of RVs, all in the name of research!

It was this obsession with RVs and all my reading from so many different types of RVers that it started to dawn on me that we didn’t need the fanciest rig in order to travel. We just needed something we could afford and then we’d figure it out from there.

When I started looking for something that we could afford , rather than something we wanted , a world of options opened up.

We realised that a camper trailer was the cheapest option (while still being a step up from a tent because the bed and much of the kitchen was already set-up) for a road trip around Australia but we would still be reasonably comfortable.

Our budget for a camper trailer and car was $15k… a far cry from the $100k I thought we’d need for a motorhome.

Downsizing our expectations meant we could get on the road in three months… not three decades.

Figuring out ways to make money online

In all honesty, we’ve been trying to make money online for years (and years).

We’ve spent thousands of dollars on programs and tools and information products (probably enough to afford us a nice caravan by now :-O) and, while we’ve made some money here and there, it hasn’t been much.

And only recently we started making enough money from our blogs to cover our living expenses. 

You can read more about how we’ve been making money to fund our travels here:

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Just a caveat about making money online: we’ve been involved in some really good quality programs and learnt from some really great people.

We’ve done everything from MLM, blogging, affiliate marketing to advertising, creating courses and sponsored posts. We’ve bought ads and traffic, learnt copywriting, created autoresponders and email newsletters.

We’ve done lots of stuff, but we totally recognise that we have lacked focus, discipline (argh) and the tenacity to consistently apply these things to one business idea.

We’ve learnt that we have to fix those things (discipline etc) first, and then consistently apply all the technical skills we have.

All that to say: just because we’ve not seen much success with making online money YET, we still believe it’s a valid and valuable way to fund your travels, and we’re still working very hard at it.

Phew, caveat over.

Okay, so on to what we are doing to create an online income:

We have two blogs (this one and RVObsession.com) where the aim is to make money from advertising on the blogs, affiliate marketing and sponsored posts.

Both RVObsession and this blog make money through ads and affiliate marketing.

It’s always been my goal to make money from blogging, and it’s a slow, long and hard process… not helped by the fact that I’m very inconsistent at posting new content.

Blogging is the long game.

So in the short term, the two other ways we make money online is through offering virtual assistant services and freelancing.

Virtual Assistant

It can be a little tricky to define exactly what a virtual assistant is/does but in a nutshell:

A virtual assistant is someone who helps you run your business, whether a traditional or online business, by doing any online tasks that you need.

This could be ANY tasks that can be completed online.

It could be admin tasks anyone in the corporate may undertake like: diary management, minute taking, email management, answering the phone, ordering stock, managing a database, customer service or cold calling.

Or it may be scheduling posts on your blog, social media management, email marketing or running ads.

Currently, I help one blogger by running her Instagram account, and the other client I have is a motorhome manufacturer who’s Pinterest account I have set up and manage.

I think that being a virtual assistant is a fantastic way of creating an online income. It what I’ve done and this is how I got started as a VA .

Freelancing

Generally this is someone who has a specialist skill that they provide to businesses on either a one-off project or an ongoing basis. This includes services like: writing, website development, design, app development and more.

Currently I have one freelancing gig where I write articles for a motorhome manufacturer every month.

Casual & temping work

This is our least favourite way to make money as we road trip around Australia, but it’s what we’re the most used to and there’s plenty of it around.

When we stopped in Dubbo, Ben had a casual job at a tyre shop. And I had a casual admin job and then a temping contract for a couple of months.

It’s not our favourite way of working because it means we’re tied to the one location, plus you have to wear work clothes every day.

But it’s easy and familiar and as I said before, there’s plenty of it around.

This is the main way we’ve made money on this trip so without it we’d be screwed.

This is just what we are doing to make money and hopefully it will give you some ideas about what you could do if you also need to make an income while you’re travelling.

This topic could be a whole ‘ultimate guide’ in itself, but I’ve written a bit more about ways that I’ve seen people making money while on a road trip around Australia. You can read that here .

I realise that’s a lot to take in and maybe you’re stuck in the stage of, ‘yeah that’s great to know all that stuff… but what to I do now!?’

I’ve put together a timeline planner to help you go through all the steps that you need to think about and set up, in order to turn your dream into a reality.

I wish it could be as easy as saying, ‘follow these steps, and in one year you’ll be on the trip of a lifetime!’, but we all know that a cookie-cutter approach will not work for everyone. We’re all so completely different, with different needs, wants, budget and level of compromise!

This planner will help you to determine what things you should be thinking about, and at what stage. Just go to our Free Resources page to download it.

If you want to download this huge post as a PDF, you can purchase it below for $9. 

Phew, that’s my take on Getting Set Up for a Road Trip Around Australia ! I really hope you got some value out of this tome. If you have any questions, please feel free to add them in the comments below and I’ll get to them as soon as I can.

Save the ‘Guide to getting set up for a road trip around Australia’ to Pinterest

Car and caravan on outback road. Text overlay: Getting set up road trip around Australia

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

Hi Michelle and Ben.

I’ve stumbled across this blog and have found it a brilliant read. So well done! And just what I need! Thank you. I’m all inspired and more confident in giving it a go and making my dream a reality. Thank you x

Olivia Confidus

Friday 3rd of April 2020

Just lucky I found your blog! Great, thanks for the beginner's guide on planning an Australian trip! I hope after quarantine I can do it.

Saturday 4th of April 2020

Yes, once this is all over (who knows how long that's gonna take?) I can't wait to get out on the road again! M :-)

Removalists

Monday 25th of March 2019

Great content, you should also include the removalist services that are somethimes necesessary when moving on Australia. Thanks and looking back for more informative articles.

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The PERFECT 1, 2 or 3 Week Australia Itinerary [2024]

Gabby Boucher

  • Last Updated: January 30, 2024

Whether you have 1, 2, or 3 weeks in Australia, here are some suggestions for an Australia itinerary that will help you make the most of this huge, diverse, and stunning country!

Planning a trip to Australia can be quite difficult, simply because the country is so huge. 

Lots of its best attractions, cities, and natural landmarks are very spread out, so it’s impossible to see everything in a short amount of time. 

Australia is also an expensive country to visit, so most backpackers and average travellers won’t be able to visit every single point of interest without spending a lot. 

Despite these challenges, planning an epic trip to Australia is definitely possible. 

You just have to be smart about your Australia itinerary, sticking to one or two major areas and picking travel routes that are logical. 

For example, you won’t be able to fit Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne, Uluru, Tasmania, and beaches and national parks of Western Australia and the Northern Territory into a 1 week Australia itinerary. 

To see all those incredible places, you’d need at least one month, and even then you’d be rushing to get everywhere. 

What you can do, is pick the areas that appeal to you the most and plan your trip accordingly. 

READ MORE: Check out our comprehensive guide with everything you need to know about travelling in Australia !

So you’d be better off picking either the east coast or the west coast and hanging around there if you only have 1 or 2 weeks in Australia. 

In this article, I’ll provide a few sample Australia travel itineraries. 

Each Australia itinerary will include a few of the country’s best places to visit, while maintaining reasonable travel times.

Whether it’s your first trip to Australia or you’ve been here for a while, there is always something incredible to see!

Table of Contents

How to Get Around Australia

Days 1-2: sydney, days 3-5: brisbane , days 6-7: airlie beach and the whitsundays, days 1-3: sydney, days 3-6: melbourne , day 7-8: the great ocean road, day 9-10: adelaide, day 11: kangaroo island, day 12-14: perth, days 3-4: byron bay, days 5-6: the gold coast, days 7-8: cairns, days 9-10: port douglas and the great barrier reef, days 11-13: cape tribulation and the daintree rainforest, day 14: darwin, days 15-17: kakadu national park, days 18-20: uluru and the red centre, the ultimate australia itinerary travel guide.

Having travelled all around the country, we’re excited to share these epic 1, 2 and 3 week Australian itineraries that’ll cover the best places around.

But first, a tip…

It’s also important to consider how you’ll get around Australia during your visit. 

As I mentioned, the country is huge and public transport like buses or trains is expensive. 

If you’re staying in one area, it’s worth renting a car for a few days so you can explore and do day trips, but driving from one city to the next may take 12+ hours of driving. 

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars , which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

Catching cheap domestic flights is the best way to jump from one state to the next, and you can take public transport or drive within smaller areas. 

Though every traveller will have their own unique preferences and modify these itineraries as necessary, here are some sample Australia itineraries that will hopefully help you plan your dream trip!

Qantas Plane Australia Itinerary

7 Day Australia Itinerary

One week in Australia goes by quickly, but some people can’t afford to take much longer off of work or their other responsibilities. 

You can still manage to experience some of the Aussie culture and natural beauty in one week. 

In this 7 day Australia itinerary, you’ll be sticking to the middle east coast. 

You’ll begin in Sydney, then head up to Queensland to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef. 

This plan is perfect for 7 days in Australia because it doesn’t require huge amounts of travel time. 

READ NEXT: 25 Amazing Things to Do in Australia

Sydney Harbour Australia

After arriving in  Sydney  and getting settled, you have two days to enjoy the city. 

You can spend one day visiting all the popular tourist attractions, like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Tower Eye, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and maybe some of the museums. 

Another day can be spent swimming and sunbathing on one of the city’s main beaches. 

The northern beaches around Manly, or the western beaches around Bondi and Bronte are great options for a fun day in Sydney.

Bondi Beach has a very strong health and fitness scene, so they have lots of incredible healthy cafes where all the locals like to fuel up. 

Visit  Berri Bar Bondi Beach  for a refreshing Acai bowl,  Porch and Parlour  for a healthy breakfast on homemade bread, or  Umu  for some nourishing organic lunch bowls. 

After 2 days in Sydney, you can catch a quick, 1-hour flight up to Brisbane. 

Check out this post on how to spend one day in Sydney if that’s all the time you have.

Bondi Iceberg Pools

Brisbane is another incredible city to visit in Australia. 

After 2 days in Sydney, however, you may be sick of the crowded city streets. 

Luckily, Brisbane makes a great gateway for exploring more peaceful areas of Queensland. 

There are tons of amazing day trips from Brisbane that allow you to explore nature and see more of Australia, including:

  • Burleigh Heads:  a charming coastal town with a massive beach and national park
  • Hervey Bay:  one of the best spots in Australia for whale-watching
  • Lamington National Park:  full of hiking trails and waterfalls
  • Stradbroke Island:  a beautiful location that’s great for kayaking, paddleboarding, and trying other water sports
  • Fraser Island:  the world’s largest sand island

After exploring Brisbane and the surrounding areas, catch another cheap domestic flight from the city up to Airlie Beach. 

Read our list of the best things to do in Brisbane for more inspiration!

Brisbane Sign

Airlie Beach is known as one of Australia’s most stunning beaches, complete with soft white sand and clear turquoise water. 

From here, you can soak in the postcard-worthy views in the Whitsundays Islands and do a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef and the famous Whitehaven Beach. 

Book an  ocean rafting day tour  that include all your snorkelling gear and takes you to Whitehaven Beach and the best locations in the Whitsundays.

BONUS –  Booking ahead of time ensures you won’t miss out on the tour, and get the best price too! And just for NOMADasaurus readers, if you use the Klook discount code  “NOMADS10”  on the website when checking out, you’ll get $10 off your first booking!

Snorkelling, scuba diving, and sailing through the Great Barrier Reef will make an unforgettable ending to your 7 day Australia itinerary.

At the end of your week in Australia, you can fly from Airlie Beach back to Sydney for your departing flight. 

Island Whitsundays

2 Week Australia Itinerary

Two weeks in Australia allows you a bit more time to see different areas of the country. 

This two week Australia itinerary will start in Sydney, move down to Victoria to explore Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road , and will then curve up to Adelaide in South Australia and end in Perth in Western Australia. 

So with two weeks in Australia, you can still manage to visit 4 states! If you’d prefer to spend more time in one place rather than jumping around so much, you can always modify this. 

For example, you could skip Perth and spend a few more days exploring New South Wales, Victoria, or South Australia. 

But here is a sample two weeks in Australia itinerary. 

Opera House

Once again, you’ll fly into Sydney and begin your Australian adventure in the capital city of New South Wales. 

In addition to all the touristy stuff like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House and touring a local art gallery, you could spend one of your days in the lush nature surrounding the city. 

Two perfect day trips from Sydney are:

The Blue Mountains:  Full of waterfalls, scenic lookouts and hiking trails, connected to Sydney by train so you don’t even need a car. Here’s what you should do there .

The Royal National Park:  Dramatic coastal scenery with rugged cliffs and secluded beaches. Check out these awesome Royal National Park walks .

After 3 days in Sydney, hop on a plane for a 1-hour flight down to Melbourne.

Wattamolla-Falls-Royal-National-Park

As one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in Australia,  Melbourne  is a favourite among travellers and locals alike. 

Spend your days in Melbourne visiting street markets, sipping cocktails from rooftop bars, checking out all the cool cafes and restaurants, and experiencing the wild nightlife. 

You can also visit St. Kilda Beach in the south of Melbourne, or head to Brighton Beach to photograph the colourful Brighton Bathing Boxes.

Or take a day trip to Phillip Island or tour the Melbourne Cricket Ground .

After you visit Melbourne, continue on to the famous Great Ocean Road.

Melbourne Skyscape And Trees

One of the highlights of Victoria is the natural wonders of the Great Ocean Road. 

This coastal road runs for 243 kilometers in total and is full of Australian wildlife, quaint little towns, surfing spots, picturesque viewpoints, campgrounds, and overall gorgeous scenery.  

Be sure to see the Twelve Apostles, Split Point Lighthouse, Port Campbell National Park, Apollo Bay, Loch Ard Gorge, and other stunning landscapes along the way.

You can either rent a car from Melbourne and drive the road on your own, or  book a day tour . 

It only takes one day to see all the best spots along the road, but you’ll need to save some time to make your way back to Melbourne and you don’t want to rush. 

You can also stop by the Australian National Surfing Museum in Torquay at the start of the Great Ocean Road.

Fly from Melbourne to Adelaide. 

12 Apostles

Spend the next days of your two weeks in Australia itinerary soaking in the culture of  Adelaide . 

Enjoy the delicious food, the museums and galleries, and the laid-back charm of South Australia’s capital. 

One of your 2 days in Adelaide should definitely be spent touring a vineyard and wine tasting in the Barossa Valley. 

Again, you can either rent a car in the city and drive yourself around the vineyards (make sure you don’t drink too much!), or you can book a day trip. 

Adelaide University

As one of the most unique places in South Australia, Kangaroo Island makes a super fun day trip from Adelaide. 

Take photos of the interesting rock formations in Flinders Chase National Park , stroll along the pristine golden beaches, or search for some local animals like wallabies, koalas, and of course, kangaroos. 

Head back to Adelaide after Kangaroo Island and hop on another quick flight to Perth to finish up this two week Australia trip.

Read next: 8 Amazing Things to Do in Kangaroo Island, Australia

Kangaroo Island Sunset

Your last few days of visiting Australia will be well-spent in Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. 

Enjoy the beaches, explore the Fremantle Markets, visit wineries and wildlife parks, and more.

You could also treat yourself to one last epic adventure in Australia by taking a day trip to Rottnest Island . 

This island is full of fun activities, natural wonders, beautiful views, and cute little quokkas, which are small, native Australian marsupials similar to wallabies. 

After a few days in Perth, either catch your departing flight from here or fly back to Sydney if your flight leaves from there. 

You could also consider a day trip to Margaret River , one of the top wine and surfing regions in Western Australia.

It’s a 3 hour drive from Perth to Margaret River, so only make the trek if you feel like you have time.

Arial View Of Perth Western Australia

3 Week Australia Itinerary

3 weeks in Australia allows you to visit some big cities and tourist spots, but it also allows you to venture out to more remote and isolated areas. 

In this 3 week Australia Itinerary, you’ll visit Sydney and Byron Bay at the start. 

Then you’ll head up to The Gold Coast, and tropical north Queensland to the Daintree Rainforest. 

Continue your journey up north by travelling to Darwin and Kakadu National Park, and then venture inland to Uluru (Ayer’s Rock). 

Koala Australia

Again, spend your first couple days in Australia checking out Sydney and maybe doing a day trip to the Blue Mountains of the Hunter Valley Wine Region.

Be sure to visit Sydney Harbour, Darling Harbour, and the famous Bondi Beach during your time in Australia’s largest city.

Then fly to Ballina, a small airport 30 minutes away from Byron Bay. 

Check out our Sydney to Brisbane road trip guide if you’d prefer to rent a car and drive up the east coast.

Byron Bay  is a hub for backpackers, and it is a very fun place to experience when you visit Australia. 

From bar crawls and drum circles on the beach, to night markets and street art, to coastal walks and lovely beaches, a couple days in Byron Bay will feel like bliss. 

Even if you aren’t on a strict backpacker budget, Byron Bay has so many great hostels that it’s worth immersing yourself in the backpacker scene. 

Some of the best hostels in Byron Bay include Wake Up! Byron Bay and Byron Bay Beach hostel. 

Both of these have hundreds of great reviews from travellers cost around $30 per night, which is pretty cheap for Australia. 

If you want to meet other cool people and take part in all the fun social activities of Byron Bay, you may want to stay in one of these fun hostels instead of a hotel!

You can choose to hang out in Byron Bay for a few more days, or catch a flight from Ballina to the Gold Coast for a taste of the Sunshine Coast surf vibes. 

Byron Bay Lighthouse

The  Gold Coast  is one of the best places to learn how surfing when you visit Australia. 

You can take a surf lesson from an experienced local and ride the waves, or just relax on the beach, eat some great food, and hit the bars and nightclubs in the evening. 

The Gold Coast combines the excitement of the city with the salty air and water sports of a beachside town, so it’s a diverse and fun place to visit. 

Fly from the Gold Coast up to Cairns. 

Gold Coast Cityscape

The next few days of your 3 week Australia Itinerary will take you up along the coast of Tropical North Queensland. 

This corner of Australia is hot, humid, and jam-packed with rich jungles, Aboriginal culture, waterfalls and the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Keep in mind that during the rainy season, from October to April, you can’t swim in the ocean here because there may be crocodiles and jellyfish. 

Cairns  is the gateway to tropical north Queensland. 

The real beauty lies outside the city, but spend a couple days adjusting to the heat, partying with the many backpackers, shopping at Rusty’s Fruit Market, and swimming in the big public swimming pool called the Lagoon. 

Also check out Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and the nearby Barron Gorge National Park near Kuranda.

Then you’ll take the local bus up to Port Douglas. You can buy your bus ticket from any tourism agency or from the main bus station, and take the Cairns to Cooktown route. 

Barron Falls Cairns Australia

Only about an hour north of Cairns is Port Douglas, a small, relaxed town with one backpacker hostel, a few amazing restaurants, and a nice park lined with palm trees for viewing the sunset. 

This is one of the best places to book a Great Barrier Reef  snorkelling or diving tour  because up here, the reef isn’t as crowded as near Cairns. A snorkelling reef trip is one of the most popular Australia tours and shouldn’t be missed!

So spend one of your days in Port Douglas swimming in the crisp, blue waters of the reef and seeing some incredible, colourful marine life. 

From here, get back on Cairns to Cooktown bus and continue north up to Cape Tribulation in the Daintree Rainforest. 

Great Barrier Reef

Located in the midst of the jungle, Cape Tribulation is the perfect place to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. 

There is only one main road running through the town, if you can even call it a town. 

Cape Tribulation has a few resorts and hostels, a couple tourism companies and about two shops, and that’s it. 

But the powerful presence of the rainforest is more than enough to entertain you for a couple days.

The Daintree is the oldest rainforest in the world, and is one of the true natural wonders of Australia.

Go hiking, ride horses on the beach, book an ATV sightseeing tour, do an exotic fruit tasting at Cape Trib Farm, visit the Daintree Discovery Center, or take a boat cruise on the Daintree River to spot some crocodiles. 

Try to avoid visiting Tropical North Queensland in December through February, however. This is the wet season and many roads may be flooded and tours will be closed.

On your third day, take the bus back to Cairns then fly to Darwin. 

Cape Tribulation Daintree Rainforest

Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, and it is a convenient starting point for a trip into Central Australia and Ayers Rock, in the south of the state.

Use this day to walk around and sightsee a bit, relax and unwind, and plan your journey into Kakadu National Park. 

Check out our guide for the best things to do in Darwin!

Darwin Nt Australia

Rent a car in Darwin and spend the next couple days exploring the largest national park in Australia!

You can swim in waterfalls, find ancient Aboriginal rock art, and go hiking through some incredible landscapes. 

If you have a van or a tent, you can camp at one of the park’s campgrounds. Otherwise there is a handful of resorts where you can stay overnight in Kakadu. 

Most of the accommodation in Kakadu is located in Jabiru, the main town of the park. 

You could also  book a guided tour  to Kakadu as a day trip from Darwin. This is a good option for those who want to take a break from planning and driving. A tour will take you right to the best spots in the park, which is handy because the park is so huge.

After exploring the national park, drive back to Darwin and then fly to Alice Springs at the heart of Australia’s Red Centre. 

(Alternatively if you don’t want to keep travelling so much, you could stay in the Northern Territory and explore more natural wonders like Nitmiluk National Park.)

Kakadu National Park

From Alice Springs in the center of the Northern Territory, it’s time to begin your journey to Uluru!

The Red Centre is the central desert area of Australia, consisting of Alice Springs and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a sacred monolith and it one of the most famous places to see on a trip to Australia.

You have two options for getting to Uluru. 

Option 1:  Rent a car in Alice Springs and complete the 5-hour drive on your own. Keep in mind it’s also 5 hours to get back, so that’s a 10 hour road trip in total. You should also have your own camping gear and pack enough food and water for the road trip.

Option 2:  Book a tour from Alice Springs if you are tired of driving. You can  choose a straightforward day trip . It’s a bit pricier to do a guided tour, but it takes away a lot of the effort on your part. 

Either way, watching the sunrise and sunset bathe Uluru in soft, natural hues is a sight you’ll never forget, so the journey is worth it. 

If you are renting a car and doing your own road trip, consider also heading out to Watarrka National Park and Kings Canyon. This amazing spot is a 3 hour drive from Ayers Rock, which is a short drive for the Outback!

READ MORE: Check out all the incredible things to do in Uluru !

Uluru Nt Australia

Your final day of the 3 week Australia itinerary will mostly be spent travelling. 

Drive back to Alice Springs, then fly back to Sydney for your flight home.

I just want to add that there are many other natural wonders that I didn’t get to mention!

Australia is massive so it’s hard to fit in so many cool places in a short time.

For example, the north of Western Australia is stunning, but it’s very remote and not convenient to add to a few weeks in Australia.

Few Australians even make it out here on holiday.

But riding a camel on Cable Beach , snorkelling with Whale Sharks in Exmouth , or camping in Cape Range National Park are amazing experiences that you can have if you have the time to venture out there.

Tasmania is also one of the most gorgeous places in Australia. The island is home to some of the best hiking and camping in the country , but it requires lots of prior planning and preparation and gear.

You could also road trip around Australia, taking more time to see all the attractions and not having to rush.

But it would take you months or even years to road trip all of Australia!

Regardless of how much time you spend here, don’t stress about seeing everything!

It’s impossible to see everything, and no matter where you go, you’re sure to have an epic time.

Camel Riding In Broome

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Gabby Boucher

Gabby Boucher

Hi, We’re Alesha and Jarryd!

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Have you got any info/tips about Central Australia? Adelaide, Coober Pedy, Alice Springs to Darwin (Stuart Hwy).

Would like more information on all inclusive 3 wk itinerary for family of about 12.

All the best with your research. Have a great trip.

Terrific article. Thanks so much for the insight!

Thank you so much. Glad the article was helpful 🙂

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Driving the Big Lap of Australia - 12 things to know

11 January 2021

Time

Dreaming about driving off into the sunset and doing a big lap of Australia?

Travel writer and photographer Lee Atkinson has just returned from an epic 10-month, 40,000km road trip around the country, and written a book about it (see below). Here are her top 12 road trip travel hacks you need to know before you hit the road.

1. What to drive

You don’t need a 4WD to drive around Australia, but you do need low range gearing to reach some of the most beautiful bits, because the really wild, wondrous places are almost always in out of the way places. If you are towing a van or camper trailer opt for a turbodiesel, because this type of engine works more efficiently than a petrol for towing and diesel is more readily available in remote areas. And go for an automatic, because autos allow you to just stick it in drive and concentrate on other things.

lower tyre pressure

Deep sand means it’s time to lower tyre pressures (photo: Lee Atkinson).

2. To tow or not to tow?

The number one mistake most people make when choosing whether to buy a caravan, motorhome or camper trailer is to think in terms of what it will be like to live in, rather than where they can take it. If you’re planning to spend most of your time on main roads and want to stay in towns or caravan parks, a caravan or motorhome is a great option. But if your idea of a good time is taking the roads less travelled and getting out into national parks and wild places a camper trailer or a roof-top tent is a better choice. Bigger is not always better. There’s an exponential relationship between the size of your caravan or trailer and the extent to which you can get off the beaten track.

3. Before you go…

If you’ve never been outback or off-road before sign up for a 4WD training course. It will teach you how to use the vehicle to its full potential, how to get yourself out of tight spots and, most importantly, how to use recovery gear. Google ‘4WD driver training’. Same goes for towing: not only do you get plenty of time, and traffic-free space, to learn how to manoeuvre and reverse park your vehicle with a caravan or trailer in tow, you’ll also pick up lots of technical and safety information and handy tips. Tow-ed operates courses in most capital cities and regional centres and will lend you a van if you want to learn before you buy.

Colourful campsite Rainbow Cliffs Arnhem Land

Colourful campsite, Rainbow Cliffs, Arnhem Land (photo: Lee Atkinson).

4. What tools do you need?

A basic tool kit should include a jack, jacking plate and wheel replacement tools, spare tyre, fire extinguisher, emergency fuel supplies (if heading off the beaten track), engine oil, coolant, jumper leads and spare radiator hoses and fan belts and the tools you’ll need to replace them – check out YouTube for DIY tips and bush mechanic lessons. Don’t even think about leaving home without ultimate get-out-of-jail repair kit: cable ties, gaffa tape and fencing wire – with these you can fix just about anything.

5. Getting out of trouble

Getting stuck is inevitable when you’re travelling off the beaten track. You can spend a fortune on fancy recovery gear but there are five things you really can’t do without: we took a pair of Maxx Trax ramps, which you put under the wheels when you’re bogged in sand or mud. They give the tyres something to grip and, as a rule, will launch you out of trouble easily. We also had a long-handled shovel for digging and a snatch strap for those moments when all else failed – all we needed then was somebody else to come along to pull us out, but it was never used. The best way to not get bogged in the first place is to drop tyre pressures to 20psi or less, so we also carried a quality air compressor and an accurate pressure gauge.

6. Essential kit

Never travel without a first aid kit and always carry extra drinking water. Mobile phone coverage can be non-existent in the outback. Hire (or buy) a satellite phone so you can call for help if needed. Some tourist information centres in remote areas have sat phones you can hire, or visit Satellite Hire or   Rent a Sat Phone .

Lee Atkinson's Big Lap map.

Lee Atkinson’s Big Lap map.

7. Map it out

Fighting over which is the right way to go is a major cause of holiday (and marital) breakdown. Don’t rely on the mapping app on your phone – invest in a good GPS. We used Hema Navigator, which features off-road tracks as well as major highways.

8. Keep in touch

These days you can get most of your bills, banks statements etc electronically, which means you can keep the home fires burning relatively easily. Skype is the best thing ever for keeping in touch with friends and family for next to nix. We carried laptops and a 4G mobile wi-fi modem which connects up to 10 devices. Telstra’s the only network that consistently works outside of capital cities.

Troubridge Point Yorke Peninsula SA

Coast hugging, Troubridge Point, Yorke Peninsula, SA (photo: Lee Atkinson).

9. Where to go when

Clockwise or anti-clockwise, that’s the million-dollar question when you’re about to head off on the Big Lap. Whether you turn left or right out of your driveway depends on when you go – if it’s summer, head south, if it’s winter, head north or aim for the red centre. The wet season, which cuts roads and closes national parks anywhere north of the Tropic of Capricorn, can be anytime from November through to May, although it (usually) really only starts to rain in mid to late December and can be all over by April.

The back way, Gippsland, (photo: Lee Atkinson),

The back way, Gippsland, (photo: Lee Atkinson),

10. How long will it take?

How long have you got? Know that however long you go for, it won’t be enough – Australia’s a big place and you could spend a lifetime and still not see it all. On the other hand, you’d be amazed at how far you can go in just four weeks. We spent 42 weeks on the road, and didn’t go where most do go, but did go where many people don’t.

11. How much will it cost?

Everyone’s trip is different, depending on what you drive, where you go, where you stay and what you eat and drink. We were in a 4WD and towing an off-road camper trailer. In terms of day-to-day expenses we averaged just under $150 a day, including fuel, camping fees and the occasional night in a pub if the weather was foul, food and alcohol – we probably could have got that down a little if my partner was a better fisherman, and if I’d chosen cheaper wine, but hey, life’s too short!

12. Can I take my dog?

Many caravan parks will accept well-behaved pets on a leash, but always check before you book rather than on arrival. Pets are not allowed in national parks, even for day visits or picnics. If you want to bush camp with pets, choose state forests instead.

You can read all about Lee’s epic road trip in her book, The Big Lap .

The Big Lap by Lee Atkinson

The Big Lap by Lee Atkinson.

“We took the road less travelled whenever we could, camping in national parks and other wild places where few other travellers go,” says Atkinson. “We found some truly amazing places and saw some fantastic things, and this book is the result, a showcase of some of the most scenic spots in Australia.” Featuring hundreds of beautiful images, the book is the pictorial diary of her journey with detailed captions telling the stories behind the images. The Big Lap costs $35, (including postage), from ozyroadtripper.com.au

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Comments (14)

Great tips, thanks for sharing.

No worries, Ian. Is there a Big Lap in your future?

Any tips for solo female travellers doing The Lap?

Hi Jill, Lee recommends: “sat phone no.1 thing for safety. Really use commonsense if camping alone in remote places. And know how to change a tyre. Best of luck on your Big Lap. Let us know how it goes. Cheers,

Kimberley ! Love it! Best holiday ever!!

Great write, Four of us planning a full lap trip, which in google maps i calculated roughly 20,000 kilometers. Where to hire the camper trailer and 4WD ? any reference will be helpful. and what time of the year is better for the round trip, which we plan to start at melbourne, canberra, sydney, brisbane, Seisa QLD, Darwin NT, perth, adelaide and end in melbourne. any suggestions will be great.

Big lapping it as we speak… 6 weeks into our 12 months. I totally agree that its common to make the mistake of picking a van for the inside rather than where you can go. Next time I’d love to have a off road option as we’ve already had to miss out on some amazing spots (but with a 7 month old baby size and comfort won this time around so we opted for a big family caravan).

To anyone thinking about it, just make it happen.

You definitely rock the road Lee. You are certified traveller touring around Australia for 10-months. For sure your books defintely has lots of amazing stories with your travel. Need to have one, I been planning for a road trip for a week self-driving. Never done that before and your blog post helps me a lots how to prepare for a long drive.

I’m 63 and have always been interested in walking around Australia’s perimeter for charity, I’m fairly fit and just trekked Everest Base Camp. How long approximately do you think it would take if I don’t have to stop to long because of possible blisters, then maybe u might say how long is a piece of string

Good advice. I am planning a 100-day big lap trip August-November, counter-clockwise from Sydney. I live in the US, so I won’t be able to bring too many things on the plane. Things like ramps to get my car unstuck will have to buy in Sydney before I head out. But I will be bringing my tent. What kind of car should I get for good clearance? I DO want a 4Wd because I plan to do off-the-track places like Cape York and Gibb River Road.

Well said and interesting reading

Enjoyed reading your comments on “The BIG Lap”, have been planning a BIG LAP trip for sometime now and due to the pandemic here in Victoria it’s on hold for now. My wife and I are semi retired and looking forward to getting on the road as we are keen Caravanner’s and rough it campers, do you recommend storing a caravan at a caravan park to venture off the track? A good example might be leaving the caravan in Alice Springs and go camping at one of the gorges.

Thank you !for inspiring me to’Just do it!

Thanks for sharing such an incredible post. Very well written and contain important information on driving big lap.

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The Travel Intern

The Ultimate Australia Road Trippin’ Guide — 10 Itineraries For The Perfect Adventure of a Lifetime

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From cities to coasts and national parks to natural beauties, an epic road trip is the best way to explore Australia!

Recently, I rented a Blue SG car with my best friend and had a wild time driving 17km from Yishun to Hougang. It barely qualifies as a road trip, but it reminded me of my last trip to Australia . If you didn’t know already, it’s one of the sweetest places for a truly epic road trip!

Driving in Australia - Australia ETA (Visa Application)

Across the country, there are tons of routes packed with scenery, action and adventure. And it’s friendly for beginners (a.k.a. driving noobs) too!

It’s a bummer we can’t travel right now, but I’ve found that an instant mood lifter is to get your ‘ revenge travel ‘ plans in order (i.e. a long post-COVID-19 trip that makes up for lost time) — so here are 10 of the best Australia road trips to go full throttle on once we get the green light! 🟢

Overall Map of Australia Road Trip Itinerary

1) Coastal drive from Sydney to Melbourne

Coastal Drive from Sydney to Melbourne Australia Road Trip Itinerary Map

Journey time: 4–8 days (~1,300km) Starting point: Sydney Airport (~8hr flight from Singapore)

Between two of Australia’s largest cities, the coastal drive from Sydney to Melbourne (or vice versa) is sensational. Every inch of the way from New South Wales to Victoria offers quirky seaside towns, golden beaches and wondrous ocean views.

Part of the route includes the Grand Pacific Drive , a 140km stretch along New South Wales’s South Coast . It covers gorgeous attractions like the Royal National Park and the stunning Sea Cliff Bridge .

The drive from Sydney to Melbourne is perfectly beginner-friendly. There are many stops along the route whenever you need to stretch your legs.

Read more: Sydney South Coast Road Trip — 7-Day Itinerary From Sydney to Eden

Skydiving over Woollongong - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Now, onto the epic must-dos. First, sign up for some adrenaline-pumping skydiving over Wollongong . Above the magnificent coast, you’ll freefall at speeds over 200km/h, wayyy faster than you’ll ever go on your road trip!

Kiama Blowhole - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @kattgao via Instagram

After Wollongong, drop by the Kiama Blowhole and be blown away. Well, not literally, but there’s a good chance of getting soaked.

Alternatively, if you’re road trippin’ during summer, spend a night or two in Jervis Bay . You might be lucky enough to catch the phenomenal sea sparkles , or bioluminescence.

Penguin Parade on Philip island - Sydney to Melbourne Drive

Once you’ve crossed the border into Victoria , get ready for even more wow’s (and aww’s ). For nature lovers, don’t miss the adorable Penguin Parade on Phillip Island . It’s a heart-melting treat watching these little fellas waddle out of the ocean and scuttle around the beach.

Check out other island activities like scenic walks and visiting the cuddly Koala Reserve too!

Cape Schanck Trail at Mornington Peninsula - Australia road trip itinerary

Photo credit: @helenabradbury via Instagram

Before you reach Melbourne , make one last stop at Mornington Peninsula . Here, you can drink deep at exquisite wineries and explore the stellar coastline at Cape Schanck (recommended by Chris Hemsworth 🤩).

Got another week to spare? Extend your road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide just next door! Alternatively, if you’re flying out from Sydney , make the return drive from Melbourne to Sydney via the inland route . After coasts and busy beaches, you can now enjoy the quiet countryside and historic gold-mining towns.

2) Ultimate Australian Outback road trip from Darwin to Adelaide

Outback Darwin to Adelaide Australia Road Trip Map Itinerary

Journey time: 10–14 days (~3,000km) Starting point: Darwin Airport (4.5hr flight from Singapore)

Cutting across the vast outback, the drive from Darwin to Adelaide takes you through a series of wonderful and unusual landscapes. You’ll pass miles of red earth in the Northern Territory before reaching South Australia’s world-renowned wineries.

This adventurous route is more suited for seasoned travellers as you might be driving long distances (depending on your itinerary). Petrol stations are also few and far between, so plan carefully and refuel at every stop.

To eager first-timers, don’t let the long drives stop you from diving into this road trip! Just add a few more days for exploration and extra rest.

Uluru Ayers Rock in Northern Territory - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @exploreuluru via Instagram

Deep in the heart of the Red Centre , the hallmark of this outback road trip is the monumental Uluru . Get to know it your way — see it from above with a badass helicopter ride , or join a cultural tour and learn about the sacred land and Aboriginal culture.

Coober Pedy Underground Comfort Inn Motel Room - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @nealjennings via Instagram

Eight hours away lies the strange town of Coober Pedy . It’s the opal mining capital of the world, but the show-stealer is that the locals live underground to avoid the scorching heat!

Staying a night here is a must. It’s not every day you get to live in a posh B&B carved out of natural sandstone, especially one located 25m below .

Aerial view of Wilpena Pound in Flinders Range National Park South Australia - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @alan.timms1 via Instagram

If you thought Coober Pedy was mind-blowing, wait till you hit the Flinders Ranges .

The national park is home to incredibly dramatic landscapes like Wilpena Pound , a massive bowl-shaped crater made up of craggy mountains. The best way to see it is through an exciting scramble up to its rugged ridges or a relaxing scenic flight .

Barossa Valley - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @ashhughesphotos via Instagram

After days of non-stop adventure, wine down in the Barossa Valley — reputed as one of the world’s greatest wine regions. There are over 150 wineries and 80 cellar doors, so take your time to swirl and sip Australia’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon or special Barossa Shiraz.

The excitement doesn’t have to end in Adelaide ! Not too far from the city, there are plenty of jaw-dropping coastlines that are ripe for exploring, which brings us to our next route…

3) Scenic South Australia road trip — Southern Ocean Drive from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island and Mount Gambier

South Australia Southern Ocean Drive Road Trip Map Itinerary

Journey time: 5–7 days (~500–1,200km) Starting point: Adelaide Airport (~7hr flight from Singapore)

With an abundance of coastal scenery, tasty wines and native wildlife, the Southern Ocean Drive is one of the loveliest, lesser-known road trips in Australia. In fact, some consider it a ‘sequel’ to Victoria’s Great Ocean Road drive (more on this later)!

The route is great for beginner road trippers as there are plenty of stops to pull over at. Plus, attractions are relatively nearby one another. It’s likely you won’t drive for longer than three to four hours each day.

Fleurieu Peninsula McLaren Wine Region - Places to visit in Adelaide

Photo credit: @officialfleurieupeninsula via Instagram

South Australia produces half of all the wine in the country, so there’s no excuse not to indulge! Make your first stop at McLaren Vale in Fleurieu Peninsula . It’s home to some of the world’s oldest grapevines, and serves the most delectable wines and local produce you might ever taste in your life.

Wild Kangaroos on Kangaroo Island - Places to Visit in South Australia

Photo credit: @promotemytown via Instagram

Nature and wildlife lovers would adore Kangaroo Island . A good part of it is protected in nature reserves, so it’s no surprise to meet wild ‘roos and see other wildlife roaming free!

Cape Willoughby Lighthouse Cottage - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: TripAdvisor

To make your Kangaroo Island experience more unique, stay the night in a quaint cottage by Cape Willoughby Lighthouse . You’ll enjoy a well-deserved package: Exclusive privacy, calming sounds of crashing waves, and a magnificent sunrise view.

If you only have a few days, keep the road trip short and explore Kangaroo Island fully. Otherwise, take a ferry back to the mainland and continue your coastal journey.

Blue Lake Mount Gambier - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @discover_mount_gambier via Instagram

Situated along the Limestone Coast , Mount Gambier is a city built atop an extinct volcano. Its main attraction is the mysterious Blue Lake , a huge crater lake. From April to November, the water is a distinct greyish-blue colour. But once November rolls around, it transforms into a striking turquoise blue.

The Blue Lake is not permitted for swimming, but its smaller cousin is! Satisfy your urge to dip at the Little Blue Lake , a giant sinkhole filled with pleasantly cool waters. It’s free to enter, and makes an awesome photo spot too!

Little Blue Lake Mount Gambier - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @sarahafindlay via Instagram

4) Northern Territory Top End Nature’s Way Drive from Darwin to Katherine

Northern Territory Nature's Way Drive Road Trip Itinerary Map

Journey time: 8 days (~900km) Starting point: Darwin Airport (4.5hr flight from Singapore)

Top End Nature’s Way features a fantastic mix of tropical wonders and the fascinating Australian outback. Peppered with spectacular national parks, timeless Aboriginal culture, and the charming town of Katherine — this triangular route is especially geared for outdoor lovers.

Adventurous as it may be, the drive from Darwin to Katherine is actually easy. Main attractions are about three hours from each other. Roads are also well-paved, so you don’t need four-wheel drives (4WD). What you do need, though, are your best hiking shoes!

Kakadu National Park - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @_danieltran_ via Instagram

The first must-visit is Kakadu National Park , Australia’s largest. Take a walk through  Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) , an ancient rock art gallery that showcases Aboriginal traditions. Or, pack your bathers and dip in the beautiful Gunlom Plunge Pool .

Crocodile Spotted at Kakakdu National Park - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @traveling_yorick via Instagram

The huge park is also home to boatloads of exotic wildlife, including 10,000 crocodiles ! Feed your curiosity and join a croc-spotting cruise — you might catch these prehistoric beasts basking lazily in the sun, or silently stalking their next meal.

Canoeing at Nitmiluk National Park - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: Tourism Australia

In Katherine, travellers usually make a beeline for Nitmiluk National Park , and it’s easy to see why. The highlight is the Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge , a deep sandstone gorge that transports you to another realm.

While cruises are available, enjoy a bigger thrill by hiring a canoe . During the dry season (May–Sep), you’ll get enchanting views while paddling through ancient landscapes.

Swimming at Litchfield National Park Waterhole - Lesser-known things to do in Australia

Photo credit: @fewdaysbetween via Instagram

Finally, after days of fast-paced action, cool off at Litchfield National Park on your drive back to Darwin. The park has plenty of lush swimming holes, great for refreshing soaks.

In need of more adventure? Fly down to Alice Springs from Darwin and explore the Red Centre Way ! The route snakes through mighty attractions like Uluru and Kings Canyon . Seasoned travellers can rent a 4WD and zip through Mereenie Loop , a dusty dirt road.

Read more: 40 Lesser-Known Things to Do in Australia Highly Recommended by Locals, Travellers and Celebrities  

5) Grand Tasmania road trip — Great Eastern Drive from Hobart to Bicheno and the Bay of Fires

Tasmania Great Eastern Drive Road Trip Itinerary Map

Journey time: 2–5 days (~300km) Starting point: Hobart Airport (~8.5hr flight from Singapore)

Whether you’ve got a week or a weekend, Tasmania’s Great Eastern Drive promises a road trip getaway that’ll clear your head. Expect breathtaking coastal drives, pristine beaches and some of the freshest seafood around.

The drive from Hobart to Bicheno is mainly on sealed roads and highways, making it suitable for both beginners and seasoned travellers. Plus, attractions are less than two hours from each other!

Tasmania Maria Island Hike to Painted Cliffs - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: Maria Island Walk / Great Walks of Australia

Start your trip by disconnecting from civilisation. Take a 30-minute ferry ride from Orford to Maria Island . Hike to the Painted Cliffs , made magical by its bold swirls of earthy colours. The best time to view it is at sunset when the colours truly pop — just be sure you make it back to the ferry on time!

Sunrise at Wineglass Bay - Places to Visit in Tasmania

Photo credit: @itsworthashot via Instagram

Back on mainland Tasmania , dedicate a full day for Freycinet National Park . Wake early (or try your best to) and follow the Mount Amos trail to see Wineglass Bay at sunrise. The famous azure bay looks completely different when it’s bathed in a warm orange glow.

For the rest of the day, treat yourself to juicy, succulent oysters from Freycinet Marine Farm . Or, you could always work a little harder and harvest oysters straight from the waters.

Bicheno Penguin Tour - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @lady_siu_mei via Instagram

Wildlife lovers, stop by Bicheno for a cute penguin tour . Every evening, little penguins splash out of the waters and waddle around their burrows on the beach. The tour lets you get up close to watch them go about their adorably busy routines.

Couple relaxing at Bay of Fires - Places to visit in Tasmania

Photo credit: @_aswewander via Instagram

Finally, drive an hour from Bicheno to the legendary Bay of Fires . Clumped together on the white sand beach, the orange lichen-covered granite boulders are a great place to rest, swim, and take lots of lit photos .

Read more: 16 Picture-Perfect Places Every Australia Itinerary Needs

6) Best of Victoria road trip — Great Southern Touring Route from Bellarine Peninsula to Great Ocean Road and the Grampians

Victoria Great Southern Touring Road Trip Itinerary Map

Journey time: 5–8 days (~850km) Starting point: Melbourne Airport (~7.5hr flight from Singapore)

No Australia road trip is more iconic than the Great Southern Touring Route ! You’ll feast well at the gastronomical Bellarine Peninsula , before winding along the marvellous coastline of the Great Ocean Road , and end with adventures in the Grampians .

The weeklong, round-trip drive is great for beginners. Most attractions are within two to three hours from each other, and there are plenty of stops along the way for rest and photos. Add more days if possible — this is one brilliant journey you don’t want to rush.

Bellarine Peninsula Little Mussel Cafe - Places to visit in Melbourne

Photo credit: @littlemusselcafe via Instagram

If you’re travelling to the coasts first, make a quick detour to the Bellarine Peninsula . Bring an empty stomach — the up-and-coming region serves delicious local produce, from insanely fresh seafood to full-bodied wines and decadent desserts.

Recommended eateries include the Little Mussel Cafe , Scotchmans Hill , and the Scandinavian Ice Cream Company . Or, plan your own yummy Bellarine Taste Trail !

Great Ocean Road 12 Apostles - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

And now, the main event: The Great Ocean Road . Take your time for this leg of the journey! It’s totally normal to stop every few minutes and take photos of the unbelievable coastline. But, make sure you’ve allocated enough time to see all its classic sights — the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, the Arch and the Grotto.

Pinnacles Hike Grampians Victoria - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

As you drive back inland, stop at the Grampians , another must-visit attraction. The National Park is popular with outdoor lovers and travellers, who come to rock climb or conquer its adventurous treks.

If you only have time for one hike, make it the Pinnacle Lookout , one of the park’s highest peaks. The journey from Wonderland Car Park is moderately challenging, but filled with scenery that makes it a highly Instagrammable spot .

MacKenzie Falls Grampians Victoria - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

For a less gruelling hike, head to MacKenzie Falls . It’s one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria that flows all year round.

Read more: 8D Melbourne Road Trip Itinerary — The Ultimate Road Trip Around Victoria’s Best Adventures

If you’re craving more coastal scenery, extend your Victoria road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide . The route includes Port Fairy , a whimsical seaside town, and picturesque Mount Gambier .

7) Hidden gems in the Australian Capital Territory — Canberra and Coast road trip

Canberra and Coast Road Trip Itinerary Map

Journey time: 5–6 days (~650km) Starting point: Canberra Airport (8hr flight from Singapore)

For an unhurried escape, go on a picturesque road trip around Canberra and the South Coast . This round-trip route meanders from the city to the countryside and coast, topped with a mix of culture, adventure, and best of all — food!

As the road trip is relatively short, it’s great for beginners. Depending on your itinerary, you might be driving for a maximum of three hours a day. But there are many places to rest and take a breather along the way.

Hot Air Balloon over Canberra City - Places to Visit in Canberra

Photo credit: @balloonaloftcanberra via Instagram

Canberra is Australia’s capital, but not many travellers get to know the place! Rent a car and explore the city, teeming with friendly locals and cultural gems.

If you’re big on views, sign up for a fancy hot air balloon ride over the city. If not, tour around the impressive Australian Parliament House or the scenic National Arboretum .

Hunting for Truffles in the Truffle Farm - Things to do in Australian Capital Territory

Photo credit: @avenuehotelcbr via Instagram

After ticking off the city’s attractions, drive out to the peaceful countryside. There’s an abundance of fresh, farm-to-plate produce to savour, so bring your biggest appetite! During truffle season (Jun–Aug), many truffle farms offer hunting experiences, where you get to team up with a cute truffle dog that’ll sniff for this superb delicacy.

Other places to check out include traditional cider from Sully’s at the Old Cheese Factory , and Tilba Real Dairy for some rich, premium cheeses.

Breakfast in Tilba Lake Camp - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Get some peace and quiet with some overnight glamping! There are many sites to choose from in the South Coast, but the one that holds a special place in our hearts is Tilba Lake Camp . Located in the middle of a sprawling green pasture, you get a cosy lotus bell tent, a comfy bed and a delicious homemade breakfast.

Bermagui Blue Rock Pool Sapphire Coast - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Further down the coast, dip into the beautiful Bermagui Blue Pool . The good news is the natural rock pool offers some of the best views of the ocean, but be prepared — the waters can be quite chilly!

Once you’ve soaked up enough of the coast, end your road trip in Canberra.

8) Fun-filled Western Australia road trip — Indian Ocean Drive from Perth to Kalbarri

Western Australia Indian Ocean Drive Road Trip Itinerary Map

Journey time: 5 days (~1,800km) Starting point: Perth Airport (5hr flight from Singapore)

Few road trips are as vibrant as the Indian Ocean Drive . From Perth to Kalbarri , you’ll get a splash of colour driving past earthy landscapes, pink lakes and rich, red gorges. Arrive between Jul–Oct, and there’s also an explosion of multi-coloured wildflowers.

This route is part of Australia’s Coral Coast , and highlights some of the most exotic things you’ll ever see in the country. It’s also fairly easy for first-timers as there are many rest stops along the way. If you’re a seasoned traveller, don’t overlook this stretch — you might just discover something new!

Sandboarding at Lancelin Sand Dunes - Places to Visit in Perth

Photo credit: @szjanko via Instagram

Just two hours from Perth, kickstart your adventure with some rad sandboarding at Lancelin Sand Dunes ! It’s a great winter sport substitute if you’re not a fan of cold or frozen snow. Plus, the fine sand makes a soft landing too!

The Pinnacles Desert at Night - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Like the ruins of an ancient city, the Pinnacles Desert at Nambung National Park is one of Western Australia’s definite must-sees. Each limestone structure stands perfectly unique, eroded by centuries of wind. You can stroll around in the daytime, but we’ve found that this place makes an exceptional stargazing site once night falls.

Pink Lake Hutt Lagoon in Western Australia - Places to Visit in Perth

Hutt Lagoon is a classic case of “you must see it to believe it”. The high salinity is what gives the lake its striking pink hue, which changes with the seasons and time of day. Naturally, it’s an Instagram hotspot — so dress your best and get snapping!

Nature's Window Kalbarri National Park - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

The final stop in the Indian Ocean Drive is Kalbarri National Park . It’s one of the most spectacular parks, with beautiful natural attractions around every corner.

Peek through Nature’s Window at the rocky gorge beyond, or check out the Kalbarri Skywalk . The park’s newest addition hovers more than 100m over the Murchison River, offering panoramic views of the arid landscape below.

If you’re here between Jul–Oct, wander around the Everlasting Wildflower Trail . The space comes alive with a burst of pretty, blooming wildflowers .

Kalbarri Wildflower Trail - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @roadtrippersaus via Instagram

Afterwards, follow the road back to Perth on your final day. But, if you have more time, extend your road trip down the Coral Coast .

Read also: 11D Western Australia Itinerary — Coastal Road Trip From Perth To Ningaloo

9) Epic Queensland road trip — Great Beach Drive from Noosa Heads to Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island

Queensland Great Beach Drive Road Trip Map Itinerary

Journey time: 4–7 days (~420km) Starting point: Noosa Heads (~1.5hr drive from Brisbane Airport, 8hr flight from Singapore)

Here’s something for the young, wild and free! The Great Beach Drive to Fraser Island is as rugged as Aussie road trips get. In a comfy 4WD, you’ll cruise over 100km of beaches, sandwiched between wild bushland and the dazzling Coral Sea.

As the road trip requires a 4WD for off-road driving, it’s perfect for seasoned travellers. The backseat drivers can handle the road trip playlist and the vehicle access permit 😛

Wild Kangaroo Lazing at Noosa North Shore - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @t.becs via Instagram

Starting from Noosa Heads, take a 5-minute ferry ride from Tewantin or make a 40-minute detour to Noosa North Shore . In this unspoilt paradise, enjoy some beachside activities, or play a game to see who can spot wild kangaroos the fastest.

Teewah Beach Great Beach Drive - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @manuelo.pro via Instagram

Further up, bask in the endless white sands of Teewah Beach . It’s only accessible via a 4WD so this is where your beachy journey begins! It’s also largely undeveloped — check that you’ve packed enough water and supplies, especially if you’re camping overnight .

Rainbow Beach - Places to Visit in Brisbane Queensland

Photo credit: @tracks.we.travel via Instagram

Continue on to Rainbow Beach . The lovely coastal town is famous for its coloured sand cliffs, caused by minerals staining the sand over thousands of years. Take a slow stroll and observe the natural swirl of colours ranging from white to ochre and red.

Maheno Shipwreck at Fraser Island 75 Mile Beach - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Photo credit: @alexxsadventures via Instagram

Finally, brace yourself for the grand event! From Inskip Point, take a short ferry ride across the ocean to Fraser Island . It’s the world’s largest sand island, and many come to conquer the glorious ‘highway’ that is 75 Mile Beach (that’s ~120km, FYI).

During your drive, swing by the Maheno shipwreck for photos and the Champagne Pools for a natural bubbling ‘jacuzzi’. Be sure to visit Fraser Island’s amazing rainforest too — it’s the only one on this planet that grows on sand!

10) Legendary Pacific Coast Touring Route from Sydney to Byron Bay

Legendary Pacific Coast Drive Road Trip Itinerary Map

Journey time: 9–14 days (~1,000km) Starting point: Sydney Airport (~8hr flight from Singapore)

The Legendary Pacific Coast is another iconic route. The drive from Sydney to Byron Bay up to Brisbane is full of quintessential Aussie experiences — bucket-list-worthy adventures, soft, sandy beaches, and countless places to surf.

The route itself is a 10-hour stretch, but it’s pretty manageable if you break the distance down over two weeks. Following this, beginners would drive for a maximum of two hours every day on smooth, sealed roads.

Bouddi National Park Putty Beach - Places to Visit in Sydney

If you’re not keen on exploring the famous Blue Mountains , opt for the quieter Bouddi National Park . Hop on the many scenic tracks , which feature sandstone cliffs, isolated beaches and vibrant native bush.

Group of People Quad Biking on Stockton Sand Dunes - Places to Visit in Sydney

Photo credit: @sand_dune_adventures via Instagram

Further up north, the adventures begin! Port Stephens is where you’ll find the Southern Hemisphere’s largest moving coastal dunes — and there’s no better way to explore this shifting desert than with quad bikes (your first step to a 4WD!).

Read also: 9-Day Australia Road Trip Itinerary Around The Best Of NSW — Sydney, Blue Mountains and Beyond

Byron Bay Main Beach - Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Warning: Once you’re in Byron Bay , you might find it terribly hard to leave. The sun-kissed seaside town is arguably the best-kept secret in New South Wales , and there’s absolutely no shortage of things to do.

Read also: Byron Bay Guide: 25 Things to Do in NSW’s Ultimate Hipster Paradise

Experiences we 100% recommend include surfing at Main Beach , dining on fresh seafood at Catch-A-Crab , and watching the sunrise at Cape Byron Lighthouse . Meanwhile, Chris Hemsworth recommends diving at Julian Rocks (no kidding!).

Wet N Wild Theme Park - Places to Visit in Gold Coast

Photo credit: @goldcoast_themeparks via Instagram

If you’re itching for more road trip adventures, drive a little further up to the Gold Coast or Brisbane in Queensland . Take your pick from hair-raising Gold Coast theme parks or the mellow Brisbane Brewing Co .

Read more: 2-Week Australia Road Trip from Sydney to Byron Bay — Discovering NSW’s Legendary Pacific Coast

Driving tips and planning for an unforgettable road trip in Australia

Long Road in Western Australia - Australia ETA (Visa Application)

In a land so vast and wondrous, not exploring Australia on a road trip is a real shame. Even then, whether you decide to stay in the cities or hit the road, this country won’t have any problems curing your wanderlust !

All you need to do is find underrated things to do , or seek out socially-distant natural wonders . Hey, safety is sexy, no?

Renald and Sherry Reviewing a Map

Speaking of safety, here are some useful driving tips for the long road ahead 👇 (1) Rent a GPS or download offline Google maps. Mobile reception isn’t available in remote places like National Parks. (2) Follow the speed limit — even in rural areas. Take it from us, the fines are hefty. (3) Watch out for wildlife on the roads. Drive at the recommended speeds, so that you can slow down or brake in time if an animal crosses in front of you. (4) Similarly, avoid driving in the dark as animals are more active then. If you do, use your high beam to see further ahead. Drop it when there are cars in the other direction (they’ll do the same too).

Need more ideas to plan your next Australia road trip? Find more guides and detailed maps for self-driving itineraries here !

Featured and Facebook image credit: @tracks.we.travel via Instagram

Which Australia road trip are you keen to go on? Share your plans in the comments!

This post is brought to you by Tourism Australia .

For more travel inspiration, follow us on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube , and Telegram !

View this post on Instagram A post shared by thetravelintern.com (@thetravelintern) on Jul 29, 2020 at 4:31am PDT

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The best outback road trips in Australia

There’s no adventure quite like one through the Australian outback.

By Leah Dobihal

Big skies, incredible landscapes and absolute freedom – that’s what an outback road trip in Australia is all about. On these remarkable routes, you’ll witness some of the world’s most powerful nature; it’s exhilarating, unforgettable and even spiritual. Find out why Australia’s outback is your ultimate adventure on these incredible road trips.

The Nullarbor

Camping in Eyre Peninsula, SA © Greg Snell

Eyre Peninsula, South Australia © Greg Snell

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Nullarbor Links Golf, Nullarbor, South Australia © Carly Kruger

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Nullarbor Roadhouse, Nullarbor, South Australia © Michael Waterhouse Photography

The Nullarbor is a true outback adventure, extending across Australia’s southern edge from Western Australia to the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia . Wild, windy coastlines and red-sand deserts will show you just how vast Australia’s outback really is, and wildlife like kangaroos and emus bring the scrubby plains to life. Plus, with quirky country pubs and even a 1,365km (848mi) long golf course, you’re sure to get a taste of Aussie life in the outback.

Explore the The Nullarbor

Gibb River Road

4WD driving through the Cockburn Ranges, Gibb River Road, WA © Tourism Western Australia

Cockburn Ranges, Gibb River Road, Western Australia © Tourism Western Australia

Hikers at Bell Gorge in the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges Conservation Park, Kimberley, WA © Tourism Western Australia

Bell Gorge, Kimberley, Western Australia © Tourism Western Australia

Couple enjoying sunset drinks by the Pentecost River with the Cockburn Ranges in the background, Home Valley Station, WA © Tourism Western Australia

Pentecost River, Home Valley Station, Western Australia © Tourism Western Australia

One of the world’s great 4WD adventures begins on Western Australia’s Gibb River Road . It’s a trek into the Kimberley – a wilderness frontier where waterfalls, ancient gorges, mountain ranges and natural thermal pools may be commonplace, but they are anything but common. There’s also an unexpected level of luxury along this drive, should you need a little rest and relaxation. Scenic helicopter flights, chic homesteads and private wilderness parks are all on offer.

Take on the epic   Gibb River Road

Red Centre Way

Redbank Gorge, West MacDonnell National Park, NT © Tourism NT/Jess Caldwell & Luke Riddle

Redbank Gorge, West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Jess Caldwell & Luke Riddle

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Alice Springs Kangaroo Sanctuary, Alice Springs, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Jewels Lynch

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Kings Canyon Rim Walk, Kings Canyon, Northern Territory © Tourism Australia

When you imagine the outback, you might think of red sand, the mighty r u">Ulu r u monolith and auburn kangaroos hopping across the desert. You’ll get all of that and more on the Red Centre Way , which begins in Alice Springs . The Red Centre is a uniquely spiritual place, and the freedom of the open road only further ignites this deep connection with the earth. Time will slow down as you watch the sun sink behind a fiery Ulu r u, walk along the ridge of Kings Canyon and hear Dreamtime stories passed down through generations.

Spend seven days on the Red Centre Way

The Savannah Way

Man diving in to the water at Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill), Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland

Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill), Queensland © Tourism and Events Queensland

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Curtain Fig Tree, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland © Tourism Australia

Daly Waters Pub, Daly Waters, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Helen Orr

Daly Waters Pub, Daly Waters, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Helen Orr

The northern regions of Australia are rich with natural wonders, so a road trip that links Cairns in Queensland with Broome in Western Australia is sure to be an epic adventure. You’ll pass through diverse landscapes – from rainforests to mountain ranges – and each day will bring new experiences. You won’t soon forget having a secret fishing spot to yourself and diving into an outback waterhole.

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Australia’s best outback experiences

Nature’s Way

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Nourlangie Rock, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Hello Emily

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Cathedral Termite Mounds, Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory © Tourism NT, Jackson Groves

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Wangi Falls, Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Matt Cherubino

Rich in both culture and rugged nature, the Nature’s Way road trip in the Northern Territory takes in some of Australia’s most beautiful national parks. Begin in Darwin before exploring Kakadu National Park – home to pounding waterfalls and ancient Aboriginal rock art – and Litchfield National Park , where fern-lined swimming holes and bizarre termite mounds await. There’s a new memory around every turn. 

Plan your Nature’s Way road trip

Explorer’s Way

Woman viewing Uluru, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Plenty of Dust

Ulu r u, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Plenty of Dust

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Pikes Beer Company, Clare Valley, South Australia © Tourism Australia

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Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, Darwin, Northern Territory © Tourism NT

The Explorer’s Way  cuts straight through the heart of Australia’s outback. It’s perhaps Australia’s most diverse road trip, beginning with the green vineyards of South Australia before winding around the red domes of Ulu r u and Kata Tju t a and ending with pastel sunsets in Darwin. It may be a long journey, but the sense of awe will stay with you forever.

Explore the  The Explorer’s Way

The Explorer’s Way cuts straight through the heart of Australia’s outback. It’s perhaps Australia’s most diverse road trip, beginning with the green vineyards of South Australia before winding around the red domes of Ulu r u and Kata Tju t a and ending with pastel sunsets in Darwin. It may be a long journey, but the sense of awe will stay with you forever.

More articles like this

Picnic of wine and food set up on the lawn at Cupitt’s Winery © Destination NSW

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Australia Your Way

26 MUST-SEE STOPS ON YOUR LAP OF AUSTRALIA

Dreaming of completing a lap of Australia is something many of us do. It’s the ultimate road trip, an adventure of a lifetime that offers almost every type of terrain imaginable. Along the way, you will discover incredible places by accident, but some epic places should be jotted onto your dream map to make sure you don’t miss them. For this collection we interviewed a number of travellers who had been on their own Australian road trips for their favourite places.

How long do you need to do a lap of Australia?

Which direction should you take on your drive around australia, when is the best time of year for each state, what is the best vehicle for completing your lap, albany, western australia, alice springs, northern territory, atherton tablelands, queensland, blue mountains, nsw, cairns, queensland, charleville, queensland, coober pedy, south australia, cooktown, queensland, coral bay, western australia, exmouth west, australia, flinders ranges, south australia, grampians national park, victoria, great ocean road, victoria, kangaroo island, south australia, kings canyon, northern territory, lakes entrance, victoria, lightning ridge, nsw, magnetic island, queensland, margaret river, western australia, mornington peninsula, victoria, mount gambier, south australia, mount tamborine, queensland, narooma, nsw, strahan, tasmania, the tasman peninsula/turrakana, uluru, northern territory, wineglass bay, tasmania.

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Questions About the Big Lap

If you are planning your lap, you will have loads of questions. Many relate to distance and time that you need to cover it. Australia is 4000km from east to west and 3860 from north to south, and there are spots in each corner where you will be blown away.

Before we get into the must-see stops, here are some of the most common questions that come up when you begin planning.

The world record for completing a lap of Australia is 5 days, 13 hours and 43 minutes via Highway 1. This was achieved with four drivers, and the car was only turned off once in Darwin for a quick break.

Highway 1, the ring road that traverses Australia, is 14,500 km long

The average time to do a big lap is six to twelve months, and many say it is much more enjoyable if you can take a year or more. The least amount of time we would ever consider is four months, but you would need to be moving around at a decent pace and limit how many diversions you take—that kind of defeats the point.

If it’s winter when you start, head north; if it’s summer, head south. Whether you drive clockwise or anticlockwise really should depend on your starting point and the time of year.

The most important thing to remember is that the north of Australia has a tropical climate with distinct dry and wet (humid) seasons. May until October is the ideal time to be at the top end. The East coast gets insanely busy in summer, pushing prices for campsites and accommodation through the roof, and southern Australia and Tasmania are cold and wet in winter.

Highway 1 is fully tarred, so technically, any roadworthy vehicle can make the trip. The two most significant factors here really are budget and comfort. We have made some longer trips in a motor home which we loved but had some drawbacks. We intend to buy a caravan next to allow us a bit more freedom to go off road.

Whether you have a camper trailer, a campervan or a high-end motorhome, make sure you have roadside assistance before you hit the road.

Have questions about exploring Australia? Head over and join our Facebook Group and we will be happy to help

Places We Think You Should Include in Your Lap of Australia

We asked travel writers who have experienced some of Australia’s most impressive sites to share the spot they believe should not be missed.

The small town of Albany is on the southern coast of WA. If you’re planning a big road trip around Australia, it’s a stop you won’t want to miss! Albany is jam-packed full of stunning natural scenery, fascinating history and plenty of unique things to see and do.

Albany Gap rock formation Western Australia

A few of Albany’s best attractions are within Torndirrup National Park, a 20-minute drive from the town centre. The Gap is a massive split in the granite cliffs that run along the Southern Ocean. Take a walk to the viewing platform that hangs out over the cliff for a dramatic view. A short walk from The Gap will bring you to The Natural Bridge, an equally impressive rock formation.

Albany is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the state. Little Beach in Two People’s Bay Nature Reserve is particularly scenic and one of the most popular beaches to visit near Albany. Not too far from there is Nanarup Beach, which is a local favourite and doesn’t attract the same crowds that Little Beach does.

National Anzac Centre Albany

Learn about Albany’s history by visiting the National Anzac Centre, a beautiful museum dedicated to the soldiers who fought in WWI. Don’t forget to stop at the Old Convict Gaol, where you’ll gain insight into some of WA’s first convicts.

Suggested by Ann Kelly from The Road is Life

Where to eat: Due South located on the waterfront serving delicious food with excellent views. Where to stay : BIG4 Middleton Beach is a highly rated caravan park with a great location right on the beach.

Alice Springs is an outback centre worth spending time on your road trip. Explore museums that highlight central Australia’s pioneering history and discover the stunning natural landscapes between the East and West MacDonnell Ranges.

You’ll need at least three days or more to see the major sites in and around Alice Springs.

Of all the best things to do in the area is to visit Alice Springs, Desert Park where you can meet some of the outbacks unique creatures including thorny devils and the Australian Bilby.

The Desert Park is split into three desert habitats connected by pathways and a microcosm of the Australian outback and a place to experience the desert environment in one place. Here, you can learn the stories of the Arrernte people and hear the Akngwelye and Yeperenye Altyerre (Wild Dog and Caterpillar) dreaming stories. Visiting the park will show you why the Australian desert is such a special place.

Don’t miss the impressive birds of prey, ‘Nature Theatre’, where raptors fly freely in the sky. The demonstration is offered daily at 10 am in summer and twice a day at 10 am and 3 pm in winter.

A bird of prey at Alice Springs Desert Park

Where to eat : Red Ochre Grill Restaurant for modern Australian fare. Where to stay : Discovery Parks Alice Springs with fire pits, a pool and water slides and a gym

Suggested by Christina from Travel2next

One essential place to visit on a road trip through Queensland is the Atherton Tablelands. Situated just 90 kilometres southwest of Cairns, it is one of the best destinations to visit in North Queensland.

You will find interesting and quirky villages dotted throughout the tablelands, including the townships of Herberton, Mareeba, Millaa Millaa, and Yungaburra. On a drive through this region you will see lush tropical rainforests, volcanic lakes, waterfalls, national parks, and World Heritage-listed sites.

Mareeba Heritage Village

One of the must-see attractions in Atherton includes the Chinatown and Hou Wang Miau Chinese Temple in Atherton, which will provide an insight into the essential role Chinese settlers played in North Queensland.

If you would like to learn more about Australian pioneering history, you will love the Historic Village in Herberton. Also, a visit to Paronella Park should not be missed, but ensure you allow enough time for both the day and evening tours.

If you want to experience nature at its best, explore the Millaa Millaa Waterfall Circuit or visit the volcanic lakes of Lake Barrine, Lake Eacham or Lake Tinaroo.

MIllaa Millaa Falls near Cairns

If you are lucky, you may even be able to spot a Platypus along the Peterson Creek Walking Creek in Yungaburra.

The town of Yungaburra is the perfect place to base yourself when exploring the Atherton Tablelands.

Recommended by Peta and Jonas of Exit45 Travels

Where to eat: The Yungaburra Hotel – good pub grub Where to stay : Lakeside Caravan Park on Lake Tinaroo – located only 5 minutes from Yungaburra town.

Only 90km from the centre of Sydney, the Blue Mountains is one UNESCO site in Australia you should not miss. Its spectacular scenery is well known but the range of walking tracks to suit all abilities make it a must-see on any lap around Australia.

The Dharug and Gundungurra are the Traditional Owners of the land encompassed by the Blue Mountains

The area was mined for coal in the 1800s, but when the coal seam was exhausted, it became a tourist town. It quickly gained popularity with day-trippers from Sydney looking to escape the heat.

By the mid-1920s, it was a popular weekend destination, and there are many gorgeous historic properties and lavish gardens that date back to this period.

Pulpit Rock lookout in Blackheath

Pop into the Carrington Hotel for a drink or the Hydro Majestic for coffee and cake to experience the grandeur of the early days. History lovers should also book a tour with Mountain Tales . Sue the owner has done significant first hand history to be able to tell the stories of the mountains towns and villages. I have done all her tours and loved them.

There are more than 30 lookouts in the Blue Mountains, many only a short walk from the roads. One easy walk that should not be missed is the 2km Katoomba Cascades walk which is also floodlit at night, allowing you to see the mountains after dark. It’s suitable for most abilities.

Where to eat : In Leura, we recently enjoyed The Bunker at the top of Leura Mall and in Katoomba visit the Bowery, great food in a stunning old building. Where to stay : The Blue Mountains Tourist Park – Katoomba Falls is a great base. Alternatively, there is another caravan park at Blackheath. If you are not travelling in a van or camping, there is a huge range of accommodation at every price point.

Cairns, or Gimuy-walubarra Yidi, as it is known traditionally, is an essential part of any trip through far north Queensland. Not only is the city itself a great place to base yourself for a few days of sunshine and relaxation. It is also the perfect destination to take in some of the many day trip options from Cairns !

While Cairns itself is not the place you go if you want to spend your days lazing on the beach, there is so much to do within the city or nearby.

There is a free swimming pool in the centre of town, playgrounds and wildlife attractions within walking distance from the city centre.

Cairns lagoon, an ocean front pool area in Queensland

Take a day tour of the outer Great Barrier Reef. This experience is a perfect way to experience a small part of the reef with snorkelling, glass-bottom boat tours and plenty of fun in the water.

If the idea of being in the middle of the ocean makes you nervous, a Green Island day trip is a wonderful alternative and only a short 45-minute boat ride from Cairns Marina. From here you can snorkel right off the beach with a lifeguard on duty making it a great choice for families or those who get a bit seasick and don’t want to spend a day on a boat.

Another must-do is riding the train up the mountain to Kuranda and catching the Skyrail back down for aerial views over this beautiful part of Australia.

Check out our full list of things to do in Cairns once you have seen the reef.

Suggested by Holly from Four Around The World

Where to eat : For a casual lunch, try Hemingways Brewery. For dinner, Ochre Restaurant on the Marina. Where to stay : Shangri-La, The Marina , Cairns or NRMA Cairns Holiday Park

You will find the outback Queensland town of Charleville 683 km west of Brisbane, at the intersection of the Warrego and Mitchell highways. Charleville is set on the picturesque Warrego River and is home to about 3300 people.

The traditional owners of the land around Charleville are the Bidjara people.

The town is a convenient stopover point on the way to pretty much anywhere else in Queensland, with reasonable motel accommodation and caravan parks, and some decent places to eat.

The most popular things to do in Charleville are visits to the Cosmos Centre , the WW2 secret airbase and the Bilby Centre. The Cosmos Centre offers visitors the opportunity to observe the night sky through its large telescopes. Book in advance to avoid disappointment and keep your fingers crossed for a cloudless sky.

WW2Secret Military Base in Charlesville

A visit to the recently opened Secret military base at Charleville is an absolute must. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the base’s history and its role during WWII. The base was home to 3500 United States Army Air Force personnel in the mid-1940s.

The Bilby Centre, located next to Charleville’s train station, is dedicated to protecting this native Australian species from extinction. They have raised funds, educated people and also made great strides to reintroduce the endangered Bilby back into parts of Queensland.

There is also an opportunity to observe some of the Bilbys living at the centre – a rare opportunity to see this rare Australian animal.

Where to eat : On the Rocks Restaurant has a great range of vegetarian meals alongside some serious outback steak and rib offerings. Where to stay : Bailey Bar Caravan Park offers impressive outback hospitality with meals available three nights a week and hobby horse racing on Wednesday nights.

Coober Pedy may just be the most weird and wonderful place in Australia. In the heart of the outback in South Australia , it’s famous for being the opal mining capital of the universe and home to a community that mostly lives in underground houses.

Sign warning of dangerous deep mine shafts in Coober Pedy South Australia

The town’s name comes from the Aboriginal words Kupa Piti – meaning “white man in a hole”.

It earned that name for the fact that since the early 20th century, white men have been coming here to seek their fortunes, lured by the promise of buried treasure – opal.

Opal is one of the world’s most precious gemstones, but unlike diamonds or gold, it cannot be mined industrially. So individuals can come here, stake a claim, and start digging. Over the decades, this has led to a bizarre but otherworldly landscape, full of mineshafts and spoil heaps, that looks like alien creatures have been burrowing here.

It’s so hot and dusty in the desert environment that many people live in houses underground where it’s cooler. This gives the town an eerie, remote feel, but it’s definitely unique. Visit the opal mining museum to learn about the industry’s history and see some impressive opals, take a trip out to the opal fields, or even try your luck searching for opal yourself!

Suggested by Bella from Passport & Pixels

Where to eat: John’s Pizza Bar is a local institution, centrally located, with a vast range of toppings to choose from. Where to stay : Try the Underground Motel for the authentic Coober Pedy experience. Alternatively, the Big4 Stuart Range Outback Resort is a great option when travelling with a van or tent.

Not surprisingly, a bucket list destination for many people on a Lap of Australia is the tip of Cape York, the northernmost point in Australia. However, unless you’ve got a proper 4WD, plus plenty of experience and determination, it’s out of reach for many travellers. Instead, consider heading to Cooktown.

Cooktown is the northernmost town along Australia’s East Coast , about 170km north of Cairns. The most direct route from Cairns is along the Bloomfield Track, a 4WD route that hugs the coast north of the Daintree. However, if you’ve got a 2WD or a caravan, instead, take the inland Mulligan Highway, sealed relatively recently in 2006.

Cooktown lighthouse in Queensland as sees on our Lap of Australia

Arriving in Cooktown feels like arriving in Cairns as it must have been decades ago, just a sleepy small town located on the Endeavour River. The town has a long history dating back to a nearby gold rush in the 1870s, but its isolation has kept it a backwater.

Cooktown is most famous for its visit from Captain Cook, after whom the town is named.

While in Cooktown, a popular spot to visit is the James Cook Museum, don’t also overlook the perspective of the local Aborigines, who call the area Gangaar. Make sure you visit Reconciliation Rocks and the Milbi Story Wall. The local Botanic Gardens are also impressive.

If you are travelling to Cooktown with your four-legged friend, check out this dog-friendly Cooktown guide.

Suggested by Shandos Cleaver from Travelnuity.

Where to eat : Head to the Cooktown Hotel for pub food and cold beers. Where to stay : The Cooktown Caravan Park, which promises to be midge-free, is a great choice!

Australia has no shortage of seaside holiday spots, but few compare with Coral Bay . This small holiday town, 1100km north of Perth, has easy access to the world heritage listed Ningaloo Reef. From your accommodation, it is a short walk to the beach, then an even shorter swim onto this fantastic coral garden.

clear water at Coral Bay Western Australi

Ningaloo Reef is home to hundreds of colourful fish, sea turtles, rays and dugongs. Whether you snorkel in Bills Bay or drift along Paradise Beach, it’s all as little as 50 metres from shore.

Besides snorkelling, you won’t find a prettier spot to launch a stand-up paddleboard or kayak or go for long walks on the beach. The accessibility of the reef and sheltered bay makes this a brilliant location for families.

The best time to visit Coral Bay is from May to October.

For an unforgettable experience, go on a wildlife cruise. Coral Bay has a resident population of manta rays. The tours not only give you a chance to swim with them, but you’ll also cruise through a turtle sanctuary and get to snorkel on the outer reef.

Suggested by Natalie from Curious Campers

Where to stay : Ningaloo Coral Bay Bayview –is big, bustling, and has a great holiday vibe, perfect for families. Where to eat : Fin’s Café–located outside The People’s Caravan Park. Fin’s has a great range of food. The outdoor area is the perfect setting to relax after a day in the water.

When taking an Australian road trip, the journey to Exmouth in West Australia may take a little extra effort, but once there, you will discover one of the most beautiful places in Australia.

Vlamingh Head Lighthouse Exmouth WA

Driving to Exmouth, you will pass a vast desolate terrain that is breathtaking in its harshness. Hidden within this stark landscape are the pristine waters of the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area and the rugged grandeur of the Cape Range National Park.

Exmouth has many natural attractions and is famous for the majestic whale sharks that visit the region between March and August. Whale watching is also popular, and the best time to see them is during their migration between June and November.

To get a bird’s eye view of Exmouth, head up to Vlamingh Head Lighthouse to see stunning panoramas of the coastline and Cape Range National Park.

One of the most spectacular beaches is Turquoise Bay, which has bright white sand and vibrant turquoise waters. We enjoyed our time here swimming with fish around us, it was perfect for snorkelling.

Scenic landscape at Turquoise Bay in Cape Range National Park near Exmouth, Western Australia

Another good snorkelling beach is Lakeside. Just a short 500-metre walk from the car park, you can snorkel straight from the beach in the Lakeside Sanctuary Zone.

The Cape Range National Park has several walking trails, and one of the most picturesque is the Yardie Creek Trail, a family-friendly trail with views of Yardie Creek and Gorge.

Suggested by Ros Cuthbertson from Road Trip Australia

Where to eat : Stop by Whalebone Brewing for some beer and pizza Where to stay : RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park has a stunning resort-style swimming pool and a large well set-up camp kitchen. It’s also pet friendly on request.

The Flinders Ranges are a mountain range located in South Australia . They are home to the tallest mountains in the state. Often called “South Australia’s Outback”, we found them every bit as unique and beautiful as the red centre.

The ranges cover an area of 1,800 km² and span across the border between South Australia and the Northern Territory. They are home to many species of plants and animals, which are found nowhere else in Australia.

WIlpena Pound views from the the hiking trail

The best-known feature of the area is Wilpena Pound , a natural amphitheatre that is a sacred place for the traditional owners and was once part of a vast station owned by the Hill Family.

Adnyamathanha people are the Traditional Owners of the Flinders Ranges area, including Wilpena Pound (Ikara)

Flinders Ranges was named by South Australian Governor Gawler in 1839 after explorer Matthew Flinders, who explored and mapped the area in 1802.

Wilpena Pound is a popular place for bushwalking and photography. There are walks for all abilities from beginners to those after a challenging hike. We enjoyed a sunrise walk to Wangarra Lookout which was a 7.2km return, with only the final section to the top lookout being challenging. Alternatively, you can finish at Hills Homestead for a 6km easy return hike.

a storm on the horizon in Bynyeroo Gorge Flinders Ranges Views

The colour and diversity of the landscape are among the most beautiful I have seen. Be sure to include a drive along the Brachina and Bunyeroo Gorge Scenic routes. We only had a two-wheel drive SUV, and it was okay, but if there had been any rain, it would have been too tricky, so check the weather and road conditions with the visitors centre before heading out. Or better still, join a guided tour, either a drive-along or a full escort if you don’t have your own vehicle.  

We suggest you spend at least 3-4 days in the area ; we had three nights and four days and would have happily stayed longer. A week would pass easily here if you have the time.

Where to eat : Flinders Fine Foods in Hawker was the best meal of our visit, and we have it at the top of our list when we return. Where to stay : Wilpena Pound Resort or Rawnsley Park Station are both excellent choices with everything from campsites to comfortable rooms available.

Grampians National Park – also known as Gariwerd National Park – is a stunning reserve 255km from Melbourne. The natural beauty and the rich biodiversity here are breathtaking. If you’re interested in short day hikes and exploring flora and fauna, the Grampians National Park is definitely for you. This heritage site is also known to be some of the best indigenous rock art sites in all of Australia!

views over the Grampians National Park Victoria

The park has several small towns and villages in it. One of the most popular of these is Halls Gap. Halls Gap is an excellent base with campsites, caravan parks, and hiking trails nearby.

A short sunset hike up the Pinnacle lookout is highly recommended . Overlooking many different peaks of the national park its a view you will remember.

Another more demanding hike one can do is up to Mount William – or Mount Duwil – which is the highest peak in Grampians National Park. Apart from these two walks, strolling through the flatlands of the park and bumping into kangaroos and emus is a great way to spend your time!

Famous Mackenzie falls near Halls Gap in Grampians National Park, Australia

Where to Stay : Breeze Holiday Parks in Halls Gap has wood cabins, as well as a dedicated caravan park. The park also features a community kitchen, free wifi, a swimming pool and a play area for kids.

Suggested by Avantika, from Wayward Wayfarer

The Great Ocean Road is a 243-kilometre stretch of coastline in the southeast of Australia extending from Torquay in Victoria to Allansford near Warrnambool. This coast road was built as a memorial to those who lost their lives at sea during World War I and is now one of Australia’s most famous tourist attractions.

The Twelve Apostles is the third most recognised natural landmark in Australia after Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.

Twelve Apostles at sunrise

There are several places we suggest you stop off along the drive. These include Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet, the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch near Lorne, Mariners Lookout near Apollo Bay, Cape Otway Lighthouse and finally, the 12 Apostles Visitors Centre.

Staying somewhere near the visitor’s centre is a good idea as this allows you to view the rock formations at sunset and sunrise the following day.

The next day continues to Warrnambool via Loch Ard Gorge, The Arch, London Bridge and The Grotto and the Bay of Islands National Park.

If you are returning to Melbourne, allow half a day to visit the waterfalls in Otway National Park. These are quite beautiful and not too challenging to reach.

Check out our easy to follow 2-day itinerary for more ideas.

Where to eat: The biggest range of cafes and restaurants are in Port Campbell. We enjoyed the coffee at Grassroots Deli Cafe and breakfast at Forage on the Foreshore. Where to stay: Princetown Recreation Reserve and Camping are the closest to the visitor’s centre. There are also plenty of motels and bed and breakfast style offerings nearby.

Off the coast of SA, at the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo Island offers some of the best coastal drives in Australia. The natural beauty of the landscape and the diversity of its wildlife make it one of our favourite places in the country.

Amoung Kangaroo Island’s biggest attraction is its beaches. There are many to choose from, with each one effering something different. We loved Pennington Bay and Vivonne Bay on the south coast and Emu Bay on the North Coast.

Seal Bay Kangaroo Island view from above

The wildlife on Kangaroo Island provides many opportunities to experience the Australian wilderness in a way that you might not otherwise. Watching the sea lions at Seal Bay, the seals at Admirals Arch and swimming with the dolphins are as much fun as meeting the kangaroos and the koalas.

The island also has a fantastic local food and wine industry, with many small producers to visit. Don’t miss Bay of Shoal wines with fabulous water views matching the delicious wines. On the south coast, False Cape and Dudley Wines have beautiful cellar doors.

You can see what we got up to on our five-day visit here

Where to eat: There are not many dining options on the western end of the island. In Kingscote, we enjoyed Bella Cafe and Pizza Bar. Where to stay : Western Island Caravan Park

Watarrka National Park is an incredible natural reserve within Northern Territory. It’s between the famous Uluru and Alice Springs, making it a great stop on your way to the belly button of the earth. The national park has a rugged beauty with lots of canyons, red rock mountains, and unique rock formations and landscapes that you won’t usually see in the rest of the world.

Aerial view of Kings Canyon

One of the most visited places in the park is the Kings Canyon . This is an exciting hiking spot for active travellers and has some truly breathtaking views.

The most challenging part of the hike is the first 15 minutes, as more physical strength is required to climb the steep slopes to the top of the canyon; after that, it is a rather pleasant walk on the edge of the canyon descends to the lower ground.

While you are walking on the rocks, check out the ripples on the stones that were carved by lake water and wind. Looking up, the entire plateau is covered by beehive-like domes, also carved by wind and rain through a process in the last 20 million years.

If you plan to stay there for a few days, there are various campsites in the area with cooking and showering facilities. Nothing beats a barbecue dinner and a night in swag to stargaze.

Where to eat: The Outback Bar and Grill at the resort is your best bet. There is not a lot of choice so perhaps bring some supplies with you. Where to sleep : Kings Canyon Resort has all accommodation levels, from five star to a well appointed campground.

Suggested by Kenny Chow from Knycx Journeying

One place you have to visit on your lap of Australia is Lakes Entrance in eastern Victoria. This fantastic seaside town is packed with things to do. From the famous 90-mile beach to mighty mountains a short trip away, you will find plenty to keep you busy.

Lakes Entrance is the largest coastal town on the Gippsland Lakes. The Gippsland Lakes are over 350 square kilometres of marshes, lagoons and lakes, which hold some amazing boating, fishing and unique wildlife opportunities.

The area is home to the Burranan dolphin, only found in the lakes system and Port Phillip Bay. Seals rest on the rocks of the entrance or play in the waves on a choppy day.

Panoramic view over Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia.

If fishing or boating is not for you, sample some of the fresh food on offer. Many shops sell local produce, with most nearby towns having a farmers’ market on the weekends. From cheese to fresh fruit and craft beer, there is always something delicious on offer.

From Paynesville, you can take the 5-minute ferry ride to Raymond Island Koala colony.

From Lakes Entrance, you can also do some day trips to some old mountain towns like Omeo and Orbost. Learn about the mountain cattlemen that rode through the high country of Gippsland, see the mighty Snowy River or walk through some amazing Aussie bush.

Recommended by Bec from Explore Victoria Australia

Where to stay : One of the most popular caravan parks is the Eastern Beach Caravan Park . It is an easy walk or ride into town. Alternatively, check out the nearby villages. Metung and Paynesville are two of the most popular as they still have all the necessities that lappers need.

I think Lightning Ridge is one of Australia’s most unique places and should be included on every lap of Australia. Along with learning more about opals and soaking in the town’s free thermal pool, you may encounter some friendly and unique locals.

Artesian Pools in Lightning Ridge

Take all or at least a few of the Car Door Tours , while a four-wheel drive is best for most of these you can do parts with a regular car, the visitors’ centre will let you know which ones are suitable for you. They also sell maps for $1 that are invaluable.

Artist John Murray calls Lightning Ridge home and has a gallery there. You will also notice some pretty cool street art around the town’s main streets.

We also recommend that you make the drive to Nettleton’s First Shaft Lookout for the best sunset in town.

Lightning Ridge Sunset

Where to eat: We cooked most of our meals in the van. The local IGA has fantastic prices and a great range of ready-made meals and things for easy to pull together feasts. Where to stay : We spent three nights at Lightning Ridge Holiday Park and loved it. The owners are fabulous, and the park is friendly and close to everything you need. It’s a three-minute walk to the supermarket and restaurants, and many of the town’s sites are within walking distance.

Tropical Magnetic Island, known as Yunbenin by the Wulgurukaba people, is known for palm-lined beaches and a generous supply of sunny days, making it a great addition to the lap of Australia, particularly when the weather cools down south.

Take your vehicle or hire one island-side. Sealed roads connect five bays, and with a 4WD, you can visit West Point for a secluded sunset.

Horseshoe Bay in Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia

Vehicular and passenger ferries leave from Townsville NQ, taking 40 minutes and 15 minutes, respectively. The arrival point of Nelly Bay has supermarkets, cafes, chemist, vehicle hire and Real Estate office, although accommodation is best booked ahead.

With 26km of island walking tracks, most of which are in National Park, Magnetic Island offers plenty of opportunity for spontaneous wildlife encounters. Look for koalas on the Forts Walk, which takes in real Military Forts and artillery sites from WWII. Alternatively, meet wild wallabies at Arcadia Wharf without stepping off the tarmac.

My favourite island day is boulder climbing above the bays, a cooling ocean dip and snoozing beneath the beach Casuarinas, but it has fun water sports, boat trips, snorkelling trails and diving.

Suggested by Jan from Budget Travel Talk

Where to Eat: Scallywags in Nelly Bay is a bright and breezy Pirate themed café for all the family. Open from 7 am. Indoor kids play area. They are known for fantastic breakfasts and burgers. BYO. Where to Stay: Pure Magnetic Villa 4 in Nelly Bay is 50 metres from the Beach, fully self-contained with air-conditioning and a Share Pool. Bungalow Bay has great campsites.

Margaret River is a small, picturesque town situated around three hours south of Perth, within the Boojarah region of Noongar Country.

The area is renowned for its food, wine, and surf. The region is home to over 200 wineries that produce some of the country’s best Cabernet Sauvignon and chardonnay. Beer lovers will not miss out, though, as there are a handful of craft breweries, as well as artisan distilleries in the area.

Margaret River Vineyard

You will not be disappointed when dining out; from quirky cafes to fine dining, Margaret River has it all! There is an abundance of fresh and local produce to sample, such as specialty cheeses, olives, chocolate, and venison.

Arrange a wine tour before arriving–you will need a car to reach the wineries and a driver to ensure you can safely make the most of your tastings.

Margaret River is also home to some stunning landscapes including spectacular underground caves of limestone, plenty of bushwalk trails and lookouts, and excellent beaches.

Contributed by Nadia Cuthbertson from Perth Weekend .

Where to Eat : Leeuwin Estate offers a fantastic degustation lunch–The Ultimate Leeuwin Tasting Experience. Enjoy seven courses, each paired with wine, while overlooking the beautiful landscape. Where to Stay: Margaret River Tourist Park has a swimming pool and free BBQ facilities. It’s ten minutes from Prevelly Beach and a good choice for visitors wishing to stay close to the attractions.

The Mornington Peninsula is a glorious region of Victoria just south of Melbourne, which offers some of the state’s best places to stay, eat and play. It is also the most popular Victorian coastal holiday spot, so it is a destination that requires a little planning when it comes to securing reasonable accommodation! Add to the list its reputation as foodie heaven, and you have a region worth adding to your Lap of Australia.

The Mornington Peninsula is Boon wurrung/Bunurong Country

Local attractions include Arthurs Seat, Peninsula Hot Springs , Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens; glorious coastal towns such as Sorrento, Portsea and Mornington; wineries; and incredible Farm Gates to secure local produce and even pick some yourself!

Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs Kid Bucket List (1)

With its collection of seaside towns and bevy of beaches, you will have a hard time deciding which to stop at on your trip. My top picks to visit are; Sorrento and Portsea Back Beaches, Point King, and Portsea. While the beaches usually entice visitors to explore the area, the Peninsula Hot Springs are my favourite spot in the region for the ultimate relaxation and indulgence.

Making use of the area’s geothermal mineral spring, the Peninsula Hot Springs boasts numerous bathing areas that are spread out across the grounds. It is total bliss. Make sure to head to the stunning hilltop pool with its panoramic views across the Mornington Peninsula, which, from 10.00 am each day, is only open to adults.

Hot Tip: if you want to get to the Great Ocean Road quickly, you can take a ferry from Sorrento across to Queenscliff. It doesn’t save that much time, but it is an experience to cross Port Phillip Bay, and you may spot a whale or dolphins (plus it’s a break from driving)

Where to Eat : Ten Minutes by Tractor, The Rye Hotel or the Rye Hotel are great choices. Where to Stay : Make sure you book way ahead of time as accommodation books out far in advance of school holidays and long weekends. Big 4 Mornington Peninsula is a great choice.

Suggested by Leah from Kid Bucket List

The second-largest city in the state, Mount Gambier , is full of unique geological wonders, and for this reason, is a must-stop on your lap of Australia.

Home of the Booandik people, the Mount (as the locals call it) is the bustling city and the heart-beat of the Limestone Coast . Located halfway (400kms) between Adelaide and Melbourne, this is a great place to stop when road tripping between the two capital cities.

Blue Lake Mount Gambier South Australia

The most famous of Mount Gambier’s attractions is the Blue Lake. This stunning lake is a large crater lake on the edge of town and, as the name suggests, is breathtaking in its blue colour, especially between December and March.

Approximately a kilometre across and around 75 metres deep, a fantastic walking trail around the crater rim gives plenty of viewpoints for spectacular photos.

Next door to the Blue Lake is the Valley Lake, with excellent picnic areas and other hiking trails.

Another spot to add to the list is the Umpherston Sinkhole. Being that Mount Gambier is in the Limestone Coast, the limestone in the area is easily eroded, allowing for caves and sinkholes. Right in the centre of the town, this giant sinkhole can be explored via stairs to the stunning gardens located within the sinkhole.

Umpherston Sinkhole Park in Mt Gambier, Australia. Panoramic view on a sunny day.

Other attractions to visit while in Mount Gambier include Engelbrecht Cave, the Cave Gardens and for the more adventurous, go diving at either Ewens or Piccaninnie Ponds, which are freshwater diving sites with crystal clear water.

By Lauren – South Australia Road Trips

Where to Eat : The Barn in Mount Gambier is known for fantastic food and would be my recommendation. Where to Stay : Check out the Blue Lake Holiday Park or The Barn Accommodation if you fancy a night out the van.

Mount Tamborine is a charming little village nestled in a picturesque area of the scenic rim. A short 40-minute day trip from the Gold Coast , this popular town is a great place to connect with nature, stock up on delicious produce, catch a breathtaking sunset and buy a quirky souvenir. A great change of scene from the fabulous Gold Coast beaches .

Curtis Falls Mount Tamborine Queensland

There are many walking tracks in Mount Tamborine suitable for all fitness levels. One of the favourites is Curtis Falls, where you are surrounded by ancient sub-tropical rainforests and rewarded with a waterfall on the forest floor. It’s an easy 1km walk to view the falls, and if you are fortunate, you might spot a platypus!

Cedar Creek Falls is the spot for a refreshing swim with the water cascading into a series of spectacular plunge pools.

For a bird’s-eye view, visit the Mount Tamborine Skywalk, where you walk amongst the treetops at an incredible 30 metres above the rainforest and creek below.

Mount Tamborine is a haven for foodies , with boutique wineries, a distillery and a variety of cafes and restaurants. You will find most of the dining options along Gallery Walk, there are also unique stores, including fudge, fashion, craft, and gift shops.

For a change in pace, throw down a rug or take a stroll in the beautiful Tamborine Mountain Regional Botanic Gardens in the Scenic Rim. Boasting a range of colourful native and exotic flora, the gardens have a tranquil lake setting as their centrepiece and are the perfect place to watch the day fade away.

Suggested by Sharee from Inspire Family Travel

Where to eat: Three Little Pigs Bar and Bistro is a must for anyone who loves pork belly! Where to Stay : Southern Sky Glamping is a great spot to spoil yourself a little

Known for its pristine beaches and different shades of blue waters, Narooma is on the south coast of New South Wales. Initially inhabited by the Yuin people and the traditional owners Walbunja clan, the name Narooma is derived from an Aboriginal word that means clear blue waters.

Seal at Narooma Bermagui

Narooma has spectacular rock formations along the beaches. The most famous are the Camel, Horse Head, and the Australia Rock formations.

The bay just opposite the Australia rock is also home to many seals with a large seal colony. yu can go swimming with seals at a nearby Montague Island on a guided tour from Narooma.

Australia Rock Narooma

There is also a lighthouse that is not active, which now serves as an information centre.

With so many options for sightseeing, the coastal town of Narooma indeed makes a perfect stopover on a road trip along the east coast of Australia. It is best to spend at least two or three days in this town to experience everything that it offers.

Suggested by Raksha from Solo Passport

Where to stay : Narooma has a gorgeous holiday park called the Surf Beach Holiday Park. Along with being a budgeted stay option, it also provides camping sites right next to the lake.

Strahan (pronounced strawn–like prawn) is a must-see stop on your lap of Australia. It’s unique, and it won’t be a destination that fades into all the rest. On the west coast of Tasmania, the drive here through the ancient rainforest will help you feel like you have left civilisation behind. Despite its isolation, this town of only 700 is picturesque and punches far above its weight for tourist attractions.

waterfront at Strahan Tasmania

Strahan was once an important port for nearby mining settlements and the timber industry that once operated around Macquarie Harbour. It’s close to Sarah Island, an infamous penal colony best known for being the harshest in Australia. This past has left some interesting attractions and plenty of beauty in its position on the edge of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area.

There are two major attractions in Strahan that you have to do. The first is a cruise on the Gordon River. The stark beauty of this area is mesmerising. These tours also include stops and tours at the Sarah Island penal settlement and Heritage Landing, where you can get up close to the rainforest and Huon pines. The second is a ride on the West Coast Wilderness Railway. Built for mining companies, this stretch between Strahan and Queenstown through the rainforest on+B25, the rack and pinion gear system built into the tracks and the engine is quite a journey.

Suggested by Sharon from Tasmania Explorer

Where to eat : Hamer’s Bar and Bistro in the middle of Strahan’s waterfront area Where to stay: Big 4 Strahan or Strahan Beachside both offer powdered and unpowered sites. Ormiston House for atmospheric bed and breakfast style accommodation.

If you like a mix of history, nature and cool, quirky things, then you can’t miss out on exploring the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania. Most famous for being home to Port Arthur , one of the most notorious convict settlements in Australia, these days it is equally popular because of the many natural sites and excellent bushwalking opportunities – not to mention the possibility of seeing lots of native wildlife!

Tessellated Pavement at dawn

Famous natural sites include the “Devil’s Kitchen”, Tasman Arch, and the Tessellated Pavement.

The Tasman Peninsula is also a key area for the work to save the Tasmanian Devil from devil facial tumour disease. Visit the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo here if you want to guarantee sightings of these cute critters, as well as get to hand-feed wallabies while helping to fund devil conservation.

Tasmanian devil with it's mouth wide open looking threatening

It takes a bit over an hour to drive from Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart to the peninsula, which makes it ideal for exploring as a day or overnight trip. Still, I think it’s best enjoyed over a couple of days so you can get to see everything.

Suggested by Kristy from Tassie Devil Abroad

Where to eat : Port Arthur Lavender has a lovely cafe with lavender-flavoured ice-cream, cakes, pancakes and more, as well as ‘regular’ yummy meals. Where to stay : NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park is ideally located 2.5km from the Port Arthur Historic site. It has great facilities, including a wood-fired pizza oven, fire pits and free wifi.

One of the country’s most recognisable natural landmarks, Uluru, is an essential stop on any trip to or within Australia. Like an iceberg rising out of the desert, the famous monolith rises 348 metres, with an estimated 2.5 kilometres of its bulk underground.

Uluru at sunset

The magnificence of Uluru can be appreciated in various ways. There are several viewpoints to admire the fiery red or rich pastel colours produced at sunrise or sunset.

One of the best ways to experience the diversity of Uluru is to walk or cycle its 9.4-kilometre base.

It’s an opportunity to explore the lush green belt and numerous waterholes that were an abundant source of food and water for the Aṉangu. Admire the beautiful examples of rock art that provide a vital historic and scientific record of the human occupation of the region.

Suggested by Anne Betts from Packing Light Travel

Where to stay: A variety of accommodation to suit all budgets and preferences is available at Yulara, 18 kilometres from Uluru. The complex also includes restaurants, a supermarket, a gas station, tour booking services, and other essential services.

Wineglass Bay is a jewel on Tasmania’s beautiful coastline and is a destination you should not miss. With pristine white sands and turquoise waters framed by mountains, the landscape is truly breathtaking. Wineglass Bay rates as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

From the Wineglass Bay Lookout, there are sweeping views over the Bay and the surrounding coastline. It’s a short walk to the lookout, and there are some steep sections on the popular trail. The path continues steeply down to Wineglass Bay Beach, where you can relax on the sand or swim in the crystal clear water.

Freycinet National Park has many beautiful walking trails and scenic spots to visit. Honeymoon Bay and the Cape Tourville Lighthouse are favourites. There’s also a challenging hike to the top of Mount Amos that delivers breathtaking 360° views.

Wineglass Bay Tasmania Lap

Take the Great Eastern Drive from north to south along Tasmania’s east coast to get to Wineglass Bay. You’ll enjoy gorgeous coastal views on one of Australia’s most scenic drives.

Suggested by Linda from Muy Linda Travels

Where to eat : Freycinet Marine Farm offers fresh salmon, oysters, mussels, East Coast Tasmanian Rock Lobster. Where to stay : BIG4 Iluka on Freycinet Holiday Park is an excellent choice if you are travelling in a van or motorhome. if you want a splurge, you can’t go past Freycinet Lodge

Got a question? Head over to our Australia Travel Tips Facebook Group and ask a local.

10 thoughts on “26 Must-See Stops on your Lap of Australia”

So much to see in beautiful Australia. I was lucky enough to get down to Tasmania earlier this year and absolutely loved Wineglass Bay and the Tasman Peninsula. I can’t wait to explore Australia some more…

The kangaroo island looks so exotic. I have been longing to visit Australia for the last 2 years. But, covid spoiled all my plans 🙁

It’s not likely that I’ll have enough time to do a loop, but hopefully I will be able to see all of these places at various times! Next up, Cairns and the Whitsundays.

This is my dream trip! An epic one at that, and I am not sure if I will ever get the opportunity, so it is great to read about it in this post. Thanks for the suggestions.

I can’t wait to travel to Australia and check out some of these locations! I’d love to go on a big road trip and stop off at all of these unique spots. Thanks for the tips!

Wow, I’m ready to book a flight to Australia! What an awesome compilation post. It really gives me a great lay of the land. Wineglass Bay is definitely calling my name!

Wineglass Bay and the hike to that view is a must on any visit to Tasmania!

It’s the Aussie dream! I hope you get the opportunity.

Yes, if you don’t have time to drive you can see many of the spots flying from state to state.

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Claire's Footsteps

All Destinations , Australasia , Australia , Road Trip Itineraries

Road trip in australia: an itinerary for the whole country.

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G’day mates, I’m here to take you on a 6 month long road trip in Australia.

Well, I’m not actually taking you (although maybe I’ll get the chance to do guided road trips around this beautiful country at some point, watch this space!), but, with this 6 month itinerary for the ultimate Australian road trip, you’ll know exactly where to go and when .

This Australia road trip planner is customizable depending on your wishes, but I’ve added suggested lengths of times in each location. I

’m recommending at least six months to orbit Australia (this Australia road trip itinerary takes you into the centre as well).

Australia is big and some days will consist of just driving.

Also, this itinerary doesn’t include for rest and admin days – so do take that into account when you plan your road trip in Australia.

I’ve also got dozens of more detailed itineraries for different segments of the road trip, as well as city and region itineraries for different parts of the country.

You can click through to them using the links below – all links open in a new window.

So wherever you’re visiting on this island, and whether you’re backpacking in Australia or on a road trip with toddlers , you can use this 6 month itinerary to plan your ultimate Australia road trip.

Shall we begin?

When to take the road trip in Australia?

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I recommend that you begin the road trip in Melbourne in March or April.

Of course, you don’t have to begin at this time, or even in Melbourne. Most travellers fly into Melbourne or Sydney, and as Melbourne is the most temperamental weather – wise, I thought it would be nice to give you two chances to see it in its glory.

Plus, Tasmania, which I’ve put on the end of this road trip Australia itinerary, is accessible from Melbourne.

I’d recommend starting your road trip from Melbourne in March or April, as this should give you the best weather everywhere – it’ll be a bit cold in the south at first, but it will quickly warm up.

Then once you’ve returned to Melbourne, you’ll have a summer there!

Of course, if you want to start in Darwin (which is the cheapest place to fly into from Asia), then you could do this loop starting in September or October, skipping the rainy season in the north and arriving back there for the high season.

Bear in mind that some parts of the north, like Kakadu and the Gibb River Road, are inaccessible during the rainy season.

The south is still great during the winter, but may be a bit chilly and it is more rainy. Some rough outback roads all over the country can be closed when it rains.

What to pack for the Australia road trip

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I’m going to be writing a full road trip Australia packing list very soon, but here’s some staples you’re not going to want to forget:

  • A car or van (just in case you forget!). If you want a car like my Subaru, you can find deals on a Subaru model on KBB, BCP, Edmunds and other huge sites. For my budget, I couldn’t have asked for a better car in Australia. It’s a great vehicle for road tripping, with AWD capacities and a fantastic reputation for reliability – actually, its Outback model is on the Consumer Reports’s best road trip vehicle lists!
  • High quality tent if you’re not sleeping in your car/ van
  • High quality sleeping bag suitable for both tropical and temperate climates
  • Mattress – a blow up, camping mat or full on double inflatable mattress (you might want to opt for the latter if you’re camping for six months).
  • An esky – that’s Australian for coolbox, by the way – or a cooler bag .
  • A camping stove
  • Gas for said stove
  • Pots and pans
  • High quality torches
  • Coolant, oil, jump leads, and a spare fuel tank for the car
  • Ask for some of these gifts for campers for Christmas as some extras!
  • If you’re planning on doing some serious off-roading and have a 4×4 (only do off-roading in a 4×4!) You might also want some quality 4×4 accessories. Check out Lifestyle 4x4s range here. 

If you haven’t left your home country yet, check out my what to pack for Australia list to check you’ve got all of the essentials covered.

Where to stay during your road trip around Australia

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I’m presuming you’ll be camping around most of Australia – download the app WikiCamps to help you find free and paid campsites, and check out my free camping in Australia post to get the basics.

In places where campsites, free or paid, aren’t readily available, I’ve recommended some hostels and hotels.

You can also of course use Airbnb (click here for money off your first booking) and Couchsurfing, depending on your travelling style.

Road Trip Australia Itinerary for 6 Months on the Road

Melbourne: 3 days.

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There are so many things to do in Melbourne; it’s been voted the world’s most liveable city time and time again for a reason.

From the wealth of museums to the amazing coffee, to cultural attractions like the AMCI and the Victoria Art Gallery, to the many vintage stores, to the beautiful library, you certainly won’t get bored during your time here!

You might not quite have seven days in the city, but this Melbourne itinerary will help you get to grips with the place.

Oh, and are you conscious of not spending too much at your first stop? I got ya! I had an erm… interesting time in Melbourne where I only had about $14 to my name.

Check out my tips for visiting Melbourne on a budget here.

There aren’t many places to free camp near Melbourne – I stayed at Urban Central Hostel, which is decent (although no free parking). You can book in by clicking here .

Victoria Hotel Backpackers is 5km from the city centre, but does have free parking. Click here to book .

Want to stay somewhere a bit more upscale? The Novotel Melbourne is a good option, close to the centre and with free parking. Click here for rates and to reserve .

Melbourne to Sydney: 1 week

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The Melbourne to Sydney road trip is one that’s well-trodden with travelers, but it still isn’t hard to find somewhere that’s a little off the beaten path.

Highlights include Wilson’s Promontory National Park , Lakes Entrance , Eden , camping in a NSW state forest and Jervis Bay .

Once you reach Jervis Bay, if you want, you can take a detour inland to Canberra , the nation’s capital and to the beautiful Blue Mountains National Park – a must-see about 3 hours west of Sydney.

Sydney: 3 days

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Sydney’s the most famous city of Australia, and one that all tourists want to visit, but there’s more here than just an opera house. Once you’ve seen the crowning glory from a few different angles – from Darling Harbour, Mrs Macquaries Seat and of course, up close are my favourites – check out some of the other things to do in Sydney.

It’s famous for its beaches of course; Bondi, Glebe and Manly are firm favourites. Click here for my three days in Sydney itinerary. There are some really great hostels in Sydney – although they’re bladdy expensive.

Bounce is really well facilitated, but it’ll set you back around $40 for a dorm room. I also really like YHA Railway Square, where you can stay in dorms in train cabins! Click here to book .

If you want free parking, you’ll need to stay a bit further out. I’ve also stayed in Cambridge Lodge Budget Hostel which is near Newtown – it has cheap dorm rates (for Sydney) and free parking. Click here to book .

If you’re looking for a hotel, Veriu Broadway is in a good location and has free parking. Click here to book .

Sydney to Brisbane: 1 week

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The Sydney to Brisbane road trip takes in some amazing nature spots, as well as my favourite place in the world, Byron Bay.

Driving north, you’ll reach Newcastle fun things to do in this town here (check out some ) and Port Macquarie before turning inland towards the Waterfall Way .

This hinterland is beautiful, so give yourself a bit of time to properly absorb it all.

Then head out toward Coffs Harbour and up to Yamba , a chill beach town with some great natural spots.

Then it’s time for Byron Bay and its surrounds – check out these great things to do in Bryon Bay and don’t forget to see its hinterland.

Then you’ll cross into Queensland – the Gold Coast is your first point of call, with Surfer’s Paradise being a place to let your hair down before relaxing on some of the other beaches!

Finally, you’ll arrive into the capital of the sunshine state, Brisbane .

Brisbane: 3 days

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Brisbane is often an overlooked Australian city, but it’s well worthy of a spot on your road trip around Australia. It’s a chilled out, breathable place, with lots of attractions to pass a few days in.

Check out the Brisbane Botanical Garden, the Brisbane Museum, the City Beach and the sunset from Kangaroo Point Cliffs.

If you’re already missing nature, head to Stradbroke Island which is very close to the centre and feasible as a day or overnight trip. You could even go camping at Adder Rock if you don’t want to return to the city for accommodation!

City Backpackers HQ is my preferred Brisbane hostel – and it has free parking! It’s reasonably priced and has a bar, a pool, a terrace with city views and $10 nightly dinner deals. Click here to book .

For a hotel option, Ibis Styles is a great option in the middle of the city. Click here for rates and book today .

Brisbane to Cairns: 3 weeks

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The most popular one of all the Australian road trips, Brisbane to Cairns is the one where you’ll see the most travellers – and for good reason.

There are tons of amazing spots here, and it’s also the perfect spot to make some friends!

Highlights include Noosa National Park , Fraser Island , surfing at Agnes Water , the Aboriginal cultural centre at Rockhampton , the Whitsunday Islands , Magnetic Island , diving or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef , and the beautiful Daintree Rainforest .

Cairns is another place you’ll probably be wanting to stay in a hostel – all of the free campsites are quite far out.

Gilligans has free parking, and the rest – it’s a really well facilitated place, with lots going on, but is only for those who are dedicated to partying!

If you want somewhere a bit more chilled, Cairns City Backpackers has free parking as well and has a calm courtyard and good atmosphere. It’s a 15 – 20 minute walk from the centre. Click here for rates and book today .

Want a hotel? Double Tree Hilton Cairns is a great place to relax and unwind! Click here for rates and book today .

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You’ll need a four-wheel drive for this segment of the road trip; and it’s somewhere really off the beaten track. Think rainforest, crocodiles, rugged tracks and beautiful beaches, eventually making it to the tip of Australia.

Accommodation on the way will be free camping, and there’s only the odd roadhouse or pub – this is proper off the grid living.

Cape York was a spot I didn’t make it to (and I can’t wait to return to Australia and go!) – here’s a great 7 day itinerary for the trip to the tip .

Cape York to Uluru: 1 week

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From the base of Cape York, rejoin the highway and head westwards, towards the Northern Territory border .

You’ll see a really distinct landscape here as the terrain changes, and experience towns like Karumba and Burketown (if you take highway one) or Charters Towers and Mount Isa (if you take the A6).

Either way, it’s a lot of country towns, desolate scenery and hot temperatures! Once you reach the Stuart Highway, turn down and head towards your ultimate destination: Uluru .

You’ll be able to see the attractions on the Stuart Highway on the way back up, but by all means stop at them on the way down as well!

Uluru is an unmissable place in Australia and at least 2 full days should be spent here.

Take some time to walk around the base and see the rock art, do some of the walks in the area to the gorges, and see Katja Tutja on the Valley of the Winds walk.

Uluru to Darwin: 2 weeks

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After some time at beautiful Uluru, make your way north. If you have a 4WD or an AWD (or you can do it in a 2WD if you’re daring – do double check road conditions before you head out though!) take on the Red Centre Way .

This is a loop that takes you to King’s Canyon and then to Alice Springs the back way.

You’ll get to check out the West McDonnell Ranges , which are really spectacular, and drive along rough, outback roads. You might see wild ponies and camels!

Then head to Alice Springs for a couple of nights.

Next, head north to Tennant Creek , stopping in Wycliffe Well – the UFO capital of Australia – and at the Devil’s Marbles . You’re approaching the top end now; after Tennant Creek spend a night at Daly Waters , a fantastic pub and campground.

Mataranka has some beautiful springs and sweltering Katherine is your next stop, with the Nitmiluk National Park . Then it’s on to Kakadu National Park and finally, to Darwin .

Darwin: 3 days

I love and hate Darwin at the same time.

It’s a great place to let your hair down and party, if that’s your scene – but the backpacker crowd is typically pretty OTT.

There are some fun things to do in Darwin , however – the Military Museum is a must, as is the Art Gallery and Museum of the Northern Territory.

If you have the funds, a day trip to the Tiwi Islands is a must-do as well.

Plus there’s Charles Darwin National Park and the lagoon which is perfect for a dip on a sweltering Darwin day.

Darwin hostels are… interesting. If you’re there to party and don’t mind sacrificing on sleep and erm a certain standard of cleanliness, Youth Shack is an option – I found the dorms and bathrooms not the cleanest, but there is a really nice pool area. (Have I sold it? Click here if you want to book after my rave review 😉 )

Melaleuca has higher cleanliness, but is even more of a party place (if possible!). Click here for more information .

If you want somewhere chill on a budget in Darwin, I’d recommend staying at a campsite out of the city, finding somewhere on Airbnb – use this link for $44 off your first booking – or Couchsurfing .

I’ve done all of these in Darwin!

The Argus Hotel is modern, comfortable and clean and has a pool and on-site restaurant. Click here for rates and to book .

Darwin to Broome (via the Gibb River Road): 2 weeks

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Heading south, your first stop should be Litchfield National Park .

I don’t find it as breathtaking as Kakadu, but it’s worth the stop.

Then head west, towards the border with Western Australia. It’s a long old drive, but once you’ve crossed it, head into Kununurra and check out some of the town’s attractions.

Then it’s time for Lake Argyle – this beautiful spot is perfect for kicking back in for a couple of days. Make sure you stay in the Lake Argyle campsite and enjoy its amazing infinity pool!

If you have a 4WD or AWD (I did it in an AWD, much to a lot of people’s disbelief!), take on the Gibb River Road .

This is my favourite part of Australia – 660 kilometres of gorges, waterfalls, secluded campsites and unmissable nature.

You’ll get off the road at Derby, from which it is a 2-hour drive to Broome.

Broome to Perth: 3 weeks

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Spend a few days recharging in beautiful Broome , making sure you don’t miss a sunset!

If you’re there during Staircase to the Moon, it’s well worth checking out.

Gantheaume Point is amazing for dinosaur footprints and cliff jumping, and if you have a 4WD Cape Leveque is a great spot to head up to.

Broome town centre has some interesting attractions which nods to its Indigenous heritage and history as a pearling town. If you’re wanting to stay in the heart of Broome or Cable Beach, you’ll need to pay for accommodation.

I spent a month at Cable Beach Backpackers, which is a small hostel with a really nice atmosphere. Click here for more information and to book .

If you want to stay in Broome town Kimberley Klub YHA is a good option. Click here for rates and book today .

For somewhere a bit more private, try Broome Vacation Village. Click here for more information and to book .

Once you hit the road again, your first stop will be 80 Mile Beach and then Port Hedland .

From Port, you can head southwards to Karijini National Park – one of the best in Australia.

Then head out to the west coast to Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef .

If it is the right time of year, you can go snorkeling with whale sharks here; a bucket list experience.

Diving at the Navy Pier is also incredible. From Exmouth, head south to the country town of Canarvon and then Shark Bay .

Going south more will take you to Kalbarri National Park , Geraldton and then the Coral Coast .

The Indian Ocean Drive here is incredible, as you drive right next to the sea. The Pinnacles, Lancelin and New Norcia round off your west coast itinerary before arriving in Perth.

Perth: 4 days

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Perth is my favourite Australian city .

I love the spaciousness, the blue skies, the copious amounts of water. Spend a day in the CBD, seeing the attractions there like Elizabeth Quay and King’s Park.

Day two should be spent in funky Fremantle, a hip suburb with lots of attractions .

On day three, head to the Perth Hills to see another side of the city.

Finally, take a ferry over to Rottnest Island for a slice of island livin’. Billabong Backpackers in Perth offers free parking and also has a pool, a large common area and free breakfast. Click here for more information and to book .

If you’re wanting to stay in Fremantle, the Old Fire Station is the one – check out my review here and book using this link .

OFS does have parking but it’s kind of expensive – I used to park at South Beach and take the free CAT bus there.

For a hotel option, Tribe Perth is clean, contemporary and has free parking. Click here for more information and to book .

Perth to Esperance: 1 week

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Once you’ve had your fill of Perth, head back down south (you could stop back into Freo on the way down, I wouldn’t blame you!) toward Margaret River .

This is a beautiful area where you could easily spend a few days. Next on your trip is the karri forests of Pemberton and swing by D’entrecasteaux national park .

There are some amazing beaches around Denmark and Albany , as well as some intriguing natural attractions. Then head to Fitzgerald River National Park and check out the unique biosphere here.

After, it’s time for Esperance , which has a picturesque ocean drive. Head to Cape le Grand National Park after, which has famous white sand beaches and lots of kangaroos.

If you have a 4WD, Cape Arid National Park is worth a visit too, before you head back to Esperance and start the drive north to the Nullarbor Plain.

The Nullarbor: 3 days

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The Nullarbor Plain is a place of mystery; it’s a long, arid stretch of road with not much at all to see. But it’s really beautiful, and the feeling of being so in the middle of nowhere is unbeatable.

Take three days to drive it, as you’ll want to take it in properly and avoid driver fatigue. Highlights include Australia’s longest straight road, various quirky road houses and the beautiful Great Australian Bight .

You can free camp near here and watch the sunrise in the morning – it’s a magical experience. At the end of the Nullarbor, the seaside towns of Ceduna and Streaky Bay are worth popping into.

The Eyre Peninsula: 2 days

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The Eyre Peninsula juts down at the bottom of South Australia, and is a great destination for 4WDing, beautiful beaches and wild camping.

The terrain varies from what you’ve just experienced on the Nullarbor, and there are a few small towns that are worth checking out around the peninsula.

Port Augusta to Coober Pedy: 4 days

things to do in Coober Pedy - big winch viewpoint

At the top eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula, arriving in Port Augusta will feel like you’ve reached a city. It’s time to head north, up the Stuart Highway, to a town called Coober Pedy.

This is a 550-kilometre detour (plus the return trip) to see a population 3,500 town where everyone lives underground; and I do think it’s worth it.

If you love the weird and wonderful, you’ll find lots of entertaining things to do in Coober Pedy . The drive up there is pretty mesmerizing as well!

Coober Pedy to the Flinders Ranges: 5 days

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And the good news is you don’t have to go back the way you came; from Coober Pedy, you can head south east on the Oodnadatta Track – an unsealed but generally in good condition (check before you head out) road connecting the Stuart Highway with the Outback Highway.

You’ll drive around the south side of Lake Eyre (if you have a 4WD and a sense of adventure you might have the chance to go off the track and see it more) and experience even more outback living.

It’s hard to ever get enough, really!

The Flinders Ranges are a beautiful national park that twin mountains and outback – looking otherworldly.

Adelaide: 3 days

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From the southern end of the Flinders Ranges, it is about a fiv hour drive to Adelaide (and this is their local national park – told ya Australia was big!).

Adelaide, like Perth, seems to get a reputation for being ‘boring’ but it’s actually a bundle of joy.

The city is really gorgeous, with markets, museums, a great state library and there’s lots of nature around the city, including beaches and vineyards. Make sure you check out the Barossa Valley.

Backpack Oz in Adelaide has a great atmosphere with a bar and organized trips, and is set in a historic building. There isn’t free parking right by the hostel, but there are spots nearby – the hostel staff can advise you. Click here for rates and to book .

If you’re after a hotel, Pullman Adelaide is a good option with free parking. Click here for more information and to book .

Adelaide to Melbourne: 1 week

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Between Adelaide to Melbourne, there are a few great attractions, both coastal and inland. Coolong National Park and Mount Gambier are great spots to visit with South Australia, and once you cross over the border, head north towards Gariwerd (The Grampians) National Park .

A couple of hours east from here is the historic city of Ballarat , with attractions geared around its gold-rush history.

From here, zig-zag back down to Warrnambool, where you can enjoy the gorgeous Great Ocean Road. Spend a few days here enjoying the beaches and attractions before completing your loop and reaching Melbourne city once again.

Tasmania: 3 weeks

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But your trip doesn’t stop here!

From Melbourne, catch the Spirit of Tasmania over to Devonport .

From here, you can do a circuit of the island state, enjoying attractions like the Bay of Fires, Wineglass Bay, the Tasman Peninsula, the capital Hobart (which is worthy of a few days in itself) and the mighty Cradle Mountain . Make sure you check out the north coast and the beautiful town of Stanley as well.

Three weeks is a great time to see everything properly, although because Tasmania is small compared to the rest of Australia, you can do it in less.

You’ll be able to free camp most of the way around Tasmania, but in Hobart, I recommend staying at Montacute Bunkhouse. It’s a beautiful boutique hostel with lots of features to make a really pleasant night’s stay. Click here for rates and book today .

If you want a bit more space, Riverfront Motel and Villas makes you feel like you’re still in nature while being very close to Hobart city! Click here for rates and to reserve .

Then take the spirit back over to Melbourne and conclude your road trip around Australia!

End: Melbourne, VIC in SEPTEMBER OR OCTOBER

You’ve done it! You’ve circumnavigated Australia, seeing the very best of the country.

If you’re in the country on a year’s working holiday visa, you’ve arrived in Melbourne just as the summer kicks off and the city comes alive. You’ve even got time to do your regional work for another year down under!

Pin Me if You’re Happy!

Planning a road trip in Australia? This road trip Australia itinerary takes you to the best spots in every state. It is a 6 month Australia itinerary covering more or less the whole country. Check out the Australia highlights by visiting this post! #australia #roadtrip

13 thoughts on “ Road Trip in Australia: An Itinerary for the Whole Country! ”

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Oh my goodness, this itinerary is AMAZING!!! What an adventure you would have had!! This is a total dream for my husband and I. I’ve stayed at the Urban Hostel in Melbourne, it’s a great little hostel. I wonder did you do much freedom camping? We dream of kitting out a van or minibus but we’ve heard it can be hard to find places to camp free. Will be bookmarking this itinerary to come back to if we’re lucky enough to get to do this trip someday!

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I’m glad you enjoyed this Rhiannon! Are you based in Australia currently? It’s a cool spot isn’t it! Yes I did mainly free camping 🙂 Wikicamps has lots of options and I never had any issues – many of them are serviced by pubs or roadhouses so I just spent a little in the establishments. I have an article about free camping in Australia as well! I hope you get to do this trip, it’s not too expensive and it’s the adventure of a lifetime!!

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Hi Claire! Going to Australia early in may to do my 3 months of work asap after arrival. Hopefully i will be ready to kick off my roadtrip somewhere in september starting in Southwestern Aus and travelling the country in a –> (N) <– looking route if you can understand what i mean. Doing this because a want the eastcoast summer and will probably stay there for a while. Im guessing this will take me approximately 7 moths to complete, I dont really have a timeline, but would like to get a full year on my second year visa to settle down and work etc.

What do you think about the route, does it make sense to you considering the weather and all or does it sound completely crazy?

Thank you for your inspo, noted many tips from you! 😉

I think it’s a great idea to do your farm work as soon as you get there. You should be able to find something in Southwestern, I’m not sure what the harvest seasons are like in Margaret River but I know it’s a popular spot for farm work.

In September I actually think I’d go the other way. It’ll be warming up by then down south, you’ll get over to the east coast around November and will still be there for summer (although you don’t really need to be there then above Brisbane, I’d say spring/ autumn are better weather, it is rainy season during the summer as well!), and then after summer you’ll get to enjoy the NT and the Kimberleys after the wet season (when waterfalls are at their best).

The other way would work too, but you’d need to rush the west coast/ Kimberleys/ NT to get it done before the wet season starts and they’re not places you want to rush, trust me!

But do whatever you think is best depending on your preferences 🙂 Let me know if you have any more questions and I’m glad the blog helped!

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This looks like an awesome trip! I will probably fly to Australia at the end of august/ beginning of september. Not sure where I will be landing yet, keeping my options open for now. If I would want to start this roadtrip , where would you suggest me to start if i would want to start in september?

Your blog is very helpfull btw!

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Hi Claire, We are a family of four (kids 3y and 5y) living in Rocky for one year. We are thinking of a roadtrip Rockhampton-Cairns-back to Townsville-Alice springs- Kings canyon- Aderlaide-Melbourne in 1,5-2 months. What do you think about that? We have a 2w car at the moment, would that be enough? Also thinking about getting a camper trailer for this roadtrip, or du you think it would be enough B&B, motels or hostel on the way to be ok? And we are thinking about doing it between May-August sometime. Or is it preferable a 4W car doing that roadtrip? We are just in the beginning of this plan, so I am happy with every advice you can give me. Regards Frida

Amazing! Your itinerary sounds good, although I’m guessing with kids you’ll want to add some time on so I’d definitely go towards 2 months in your case. As far as I know the only way you’d get from Townsville to Alice Springs on a 2WD track is via Tennant Creek, certainly doable but it will take a while. There is the Outback Way that stretches from Queensland all the way to Western Australia via the red centre but that’s 4WD only.

I love camping and would always recommend it, it does save a lot of money as well. If you’re happy to use tents they’re a great option without having to get a camper trailer! If not, you could probably just about get by without (staying at roadhouses and hostels in bigger places) but I wouldn’t want to say 100%.

May – August is a good time! It might be a bit cold in the south, so you might want to opt for some indoor accommodation then, but it’s still beautiful.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

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Claire, I have been planing a solo Australian cross country driving trip from Sydney to Darwin. What have learned is that car rental in Australia is different then USA. My original plan was to land in Sydney, rent a suv and start driving but it doesn’t seems that easy due to your car rental laws.

That said would you be able to advise the best approach to achieve my goal.

Kind regards Tom K. [email protected]

So I’m actually British but spent a long time in Australia, I bought a car in Melbourne no problem and sold it again 8 months later. I did however rent a car in Australia and didn’t have any issues. What is the problem that you are finding with the car rental? Let me know and hopefully I can help!

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Hi Claire, I am planning to do road trip with roughly the same itinerary, and I was wondering wether you think a 4*4 car is necessary or not ? And weather 4 or 5 months would be enough to do it? Thanks, Taís.

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Myself, my partner and our 2 yr old son are planning to go from Melbourne to Broome via Perth along the West Coast. Then possibly up to Darwin and back down through Alice Springs to Melbourne. We are taking a caravan with us. Firstly, do you think it’s going to be too long and uncomfortable for a 2 old to cope with being on the road so long. And also is 2 months long enough for this trip?

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This is a great itinerary! I’m looking to come to Aus and do a roadtrip of as much of the country as possible without rushing too much. I’ll be there late May-August. How much do you think is doable for 3 months? What would you cut out to squeeze this itinerary down?

Thank you!!

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hi lovely! wow your trip looked incredible! what an experience. i have 2 months with hubby and 2 kids to do round trip… any tips? i am using some of your stop off as the base 😀

starting in canberra.. wondering if we should head clockwise or anticlockwise? will be starting in june next year (ideally). driving in a 4wd with pop top tent.

thank you any feedback would be amazing. i have no idea where to start..

love from an amateur

Comments are closed.

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Planning a Trip Around Australia by Van

Updated on: April 2024

Life is a journey, and van life lets you explore places at your own pace.

Planning a trip around Australia is no easy task, but it is without a doubt the best part of all planning!

Are you planning on travelling around Australia? Here is our round-the-country road trip itinerary.

Vast distances

How did we decide on the travel itinerary.

Our road trip itinerary was literally built with a map of Australia in hand and Google Maps on the computer. Defining the best starting point, which roads to travel, how to fit the best times to pass through each state, avoiding extreme temperatures and periods of high flow in very touristy places were some of the things we considered.

Something to point out is that several times we had to convince ourselves that, even if our plan was to GO ON A TRIP AROUND AUSTRALIA, we are not going to visit ALL OF AUSTRALIA. When it comes to Australia, there are some places that even the hardiest adventurers won’t be able to reach. Whether off-limits for wildlife protection, military manoeuvres and sheer inaccessibility, there are certain places that we are just not going to get to. Cape York and some other remote places are an example of that.

The truth is that all these variables form a challenging puzzle to put together. In addition, it is necessary to accept that the future is uncertain and that, no matter how much we plan the best route, we will always be susceptible to changes. We are also aware that over time our desires change, opportunities appear, and we want to be open to any changes that need to be made during our Australian road trip.

In saying that, we designed our best estimate of the route, which passes through Australia’s six states and two territories over 1 year of travel.

The adventure begins on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, New South Wales, where Dani and I lived before jumping in the van. From there, we plan on going to the Blue Mountains for a few days and then travel north and follow our big lap to amazing places. You can see below our planned road trip around Australia.

What do you need to consider when planning your route around Australia?

Driving at night and kangaroos.

We do not advise driving at night due to the large number of kangaroos that will jump in front of your campervan. If one jumps in front of your van, it will not only cause damage to your vehicle, but you could also kill or injure the animal.

Kangaroos are often hit by cars and need to be rescued. If you see one on the road, check its pouch for a baby kangaroo if it is safe to do so! There are several kangaroo rescue centres around Australia. You should always google their phone numbers and addresses if you need their help.

If it’s late, a good advice is to stay at caravan parks or just park at free camping spots and leave your next adventure for the next day.

Australia is a vast country with many different climate types. The outback covers three-quarters of the country’s land which means that most places are semi-arid, with sparse rainfall.

The enormous, dry middle of Australia , which includes Alice Springs, is hot year-round, with temperatures around the high 30’s to 40°C (104°F), during the day but can get very cold at night. Visiting Central Australia during winter is an adventurous and rewarding experience. The daytime temperatures are comfortably warm, and you will have warm clothing and bedding to go through the night in the red centre.

The southern half of Australia , including Tasmania, has warm summers and mild winters.

Further north , seasonal variations lessen. At the Top End , which includes Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu and Arnhem Land, has a tropical climate with just two seasons: the dry season (which runs from May to October) and the wet season (stretching from November to April), with its monsoon rains and occasional tropical cyclones. Each season lasts for about six months.

Covering an area as large as the United States of America or the entire European continent, Australia’s landscape is highly diverse; it ranges from the dry Outback to lush rainforests. It also includes 36,000 km (22,300 miles) worth of coastal land!

The Best Way to Travel Australia is by Campervan

Hiring or buying a campervan , other than being the cheapest way to explore Australia, also allows you to do it at your own pace, be spontaneous, change plans as you travel, stop wherever you want to for as long as you wish.

The best way to enjoy an adventure-filled day is to have your home wherever you park it, with a kitchen right behind the driver’s seat. You can pull into any stunning location and make lunch while soaking up views of all that nature has offered you during this grand journey! It doesn’t get more convenient or affordable than this.

Man reading a book

Wade & Dani

Hi! We’re Wade and Dani, We’re currently travelling around Australia in our 2017 Mercedes Sprinter Camper van and sharing our best experiences, stories, reviews and adventures as we go along. Make sure to check out our socials

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Road Trip Around Australia

Around australia trip planner.

Build your own road trip around Australia or embark on one of our three suggested routes and itineraries with our Around Australia road trip planner. Maps, best camping, prices, top sights, awesome photos, drive times and distances, it's all here!  So, buy or hire a campervan from the departure point of your choice  and hit the road for an adventure of a life time!

Three Routes Around Australia

1. the circumnavigation around australia.

17,100 km | 244 hr drive time | 3 months or more

This road trip can be started and finished from any point you choose, but it misses the central desert region of Australia with Uluru, the Olgas, and Coober Pedy. 

Driving around Australia

Itinerary from Cairns (example) Cairns to Darwin – 3,260 km | 9 - 15 days Darwin to Broome – 1,900 km | 7 days Broome to Perth – 3,200 km | 14 - 19 days Perth to Adelaide – 3,700 km | 16 days Adelaide to Melbourne – 1,500 km | 7 - 12 days Melbourne to Sydney – 1,200 km | 5 - 10 days Sydney to Cairns (East Coast) – 3,500 km | 5 weeks

2. Our Favorite Road Trip Around Australia

18,100 km | 258 hrs drive time | 3 months or more

This is our favorite drive around Australia because it includes the central desert region and our beloved Uluru while missing out some of the less interesting stretches between Cairns and Darwin. You can start this road trip in Cairns and end it in Adelaide, or start in Adelaide and end in Cairns.

drive around australia itinerary

Itinerary from Cairns  

Cairns to Sydney (East Coast) – 3,500 km | 5 weeks Sydney to Melbourne – 1,200 km | 5 - 10 days Melbourne to Adelaide – 1,500 km | 7 - 12 days Adelaide to Darwin – 3,760 km | 9 - 15 days Darwin to Broome – 1,900 km | 7 days Broome to Perth – 3,200 km | 14 - 19 days Perth to Adelaide – 3,700 km | 16 days

Itinerary from Adelaide

3. The I-Don't-Want-to-Miss-a-Thing Road Trip Around Australia

20,300 km | 293 hr drive | 4 months or more

If you're like us, and don't want to miss anything, this road trip around Australia includes not only Uluru in the central desert region but Broken Hill, Mungo National Park and the rural regions of New South Wales. You can start this road trip in Cairns and end it in Sydney, or start in Sydney and end in Cairns. 

road trip around australia

Cairns to Sydney (East Coast) – 3,500 km | 5 weeks Sydney to Melbourne – 1,200 km | 5 - 10 days Melbourne to Adelaide – 1,500 km | 7 - 12 days Adelaide to Darwin – 3,760 km | 9 - 15 days Darwin to Broome – 1,900 km | 7 days Broome to Perth – 3,200 km | 14 - 19 days Perth to Adelaide – 3,700 km | 16 days  Adelaide to Sydney – 1,800 km | 7 - 14 days

Itinerary from Sydney

Build Your Own Road Trip Around Australia

Click the route to bring up the link.

Driving Around Australia

Vast Distances

Australia is larger than you might think - as large as the USA without Alaska and three quarters the size of Europe. It is also extremely diverse with everything from snow-capped mountains to lush tropical forests, the outback desert and rolling green pastures. If you fly from city-to-city, you'll miss all this.

The Best Way to Travel Australia is by Campervan

The best (and cheapest) way to experience Australia is to hire or buy a campervan and take a road trip. That way you can set your own itinerary, be spontaneous, take the road less travelled, and stop where you want for as long as you want.  With a kitchen in the back, you can pull into a stunning location, make lunch and soak in the views. It's the most convenient, affordable and memorable way to dine. And at the end of an adventure-filled day, your home is wherever you park it. 

Australia's Friendly Nomad Community

You will soon discover the camaraderie of the campervan community - kindred spirits who like to get off the beaten path, who appreciate the beauty of Australia, and are eager to share a few tips and their favorite camping locations with you. As Edith Wharton once said  "One of the great things about travel is you discover how many good, kind people there are." 

Traveling around Australia is a popular thing to do when you retire here, so much so that these travelers are known as the 'grey nomads'.

Kangaroos and Driving At Night

We strongly advise against driving at night due to the volume of kangaroos that will jump in front of your campervan. Not only will you damage your vehicle, but you'll injure or kill a kangaroo. When you see a dead kangaroo on the road, check its pouch for a joey when safe to do so. Kangaroo rescue centers can be located at Coober Pedy, Alice Springs, Darwin, Katherine and many other towns around Australia. You can find  wildlife rescue phone numbers here . Offer it water but nothing else until you get it to a rescue centre. You might save a life! 

Outback Driving Etiquette

If a truck approaches while travelling the outback roads, it is polite (and sensible) to pull over onto the side of the road and wait for it to pass. The trucker will thank you for it and you’ll protect your windscreen from flying rocks. 

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Campervan hire depots, airlie beach.

Heart of Reef Shuttles, 48-50 Carlo Drive, Cannonvale, Queensland 4802 Phone: 1800 216 223

20 Noble Avenue, North Gate, Queensland 4013 Phone: 1800 216 223

440 Sheridan Street, Cairns, Queensland 4870 Phone: 1800 216 223

273 Elizabeth Street, Coburg, Victoria 3058 Phone: 1800 216 223

23-25 Erskine Rd, Caringbah, Sydney, NSW 2229 Phone: 1800 216 223

Do you have any questions or need additional information?

18 Tips for planning a road trip around Australia

planning a road trip around Australia

After living and traveling in Australia for almost three years, we put together TOP 18 TIPS for planning a road trip around Australia . Our tips will not just help you save money but they will also reveal you all things you should be aware of, so you are well prepared for all that Australia has to offer. So let´s get start planning a road trip around Australia together.

Would you like to learn more about planning trips? Check our Reverse Travel Planning Strategy !

Here are our TOP TIPS for planning a road trip around Australia:

1) driving conditions.

Get yourself familiar with driving conditions and road rules in Australia. Police officers are the authority here in Australia and fines for violating the road rules are huge. Unlike in Europe, you can´t really talk yourself out of the fines here…

 2) AUSTRALIAN HIGWAYS

You should know that Australian highways do not usually look the same as in Europe. When I planned our road trip I thought it would be pretty quick and easy to travel on the highways. Oh, how wrong was I?

If you do not know already, most of the highways are just single-lane roads. That makes trucks or road trains overtaking much harder than on a typical multi-lane highway. Also, a speed limit is much lower than in Europe, just 110km.

Last but not least, watch for animals. Cattle, kangaroos, and wombats wander around the roads because most of the farms do not have fences. So allow yourself enough time to complete the trip. You might not travel as fast you think you will.

How-we-broke-down-in-the-Australian-Outback-car-insurance

How we broke down in the Australian Outback

Saving money while travelling belongs at the top of our priorities every time we travel. But as we learned from road tripping in Australia, there is one item on our list we never save money on and that is a car insurance. Road trip around Australia was rated as one of the most beautiful road trips in the world. Therefore there are thousands of people who drives around Australia every year. And every traveller face a dilemma, should they or shouldn’t they bought a car insurance? Is the car insurance worth the money? Full coverage car insurance Full coverage car

Cost to travel in Australia

How much does it REALLY cost to travel in Australia?

By googling how much does it cost to travel in Australia, you will probably be scared to death to even think about going there. Why? Because the internet is full of warnings how Australia is uber expensive. And yet, there are thousands of backpackers travelling happily around Australia every year. Yes, cost to travel in Australia can be high, but just if you choose it to be. Australia probably never will be as cheap country to travel around as Southeast Asia. However, with our tips, we will help you to lower your overall cost to travel in Australia significantly. Don´t

planning a road trip around Australia

After living and traveling in Australia for almost three years, we put together TOP 18 TIPS for planning a road trip around Australia. Our tips will not just help you save money but they will also reveal you all things you should be aware of, so you are well prepared for all that Australia has to offer. So let´s get start planning a road trip around Australia together. Would you like to learn more about planning trips? Check our Reverse Travel Planning Strategy! Here are our TOP TIPS for planning a road trip around Australia: 1) DRIVING CONDITIONS Get yourself familiar

The best car to travel around Australia

How to choose the best car to travel around Australia?

The best car to travel around Australia can be a challenge to find. Especially if you have never been in Australia before.  But, the first time for everything is always the most exciting one, right? However, choosing a perfect vehicle for your road trip around Australia for the first time can be little overwhelming. RVs? Motorhomes? Campervans? Trailers? What do these names mean? Which one is better? How to choose the best car to travel around Australia? What type of vehicle should you choose for your epic Australian adventure? What is the best car to travel around Australia? How to

 3) GAS STATIONS

Plan your fuel stops carefully – the price difference can vary big time!!! And always, always fill up when you see the gas station, especially in Outback. The distances between gas stations are sometimes enormous…

trip around australia youtube

 4) DISCOUNTS

Always watch for discounts. Check if Woolies still have discounts for grocery shopping. This supermarket often offers discounts. You buy food, they give you fuel discount.

Travel planning

 5) CUSTOM CONTROLS

Be aware of custom controls. On the borders of Northern Territory, Western Australia, and South Australia, custom control exists. It means that every car has to stop and it is searched by custom police. They are looking for vegetables, fruits, honey and other types of food. The reason is that pests, diseases, and weeds can travel with you as you cross the borders. You can face fines for taking prohibited items across borders.

So the rule is “Eat it or bin it.”

On every border, there are special quarantine bins and you must dispose of any restricted products there.

And what food are we talking about?

1) Animal products

2) Vegetables

5) Plant or plant products

Do not do the same mistake as we did. We did our grocery shopping just 5 km before borders. Custom controls took us almost every food we had just bought. So we had to buy all the food again after crossing the borders.

Travel planning

6) GAS BOTTLES AND OTHER EQUIPMENT

If you carry a gas stove in your campervan, always buy a spare gas bottle in big cities. You would not believe how hard is to sometimes buy those things in small cities in Outback. You can easily end up paying $50 for a small gas bottle instead of $10 in Bunnings.

 7) WATER TANK

Check the size of a water tank in your campervan. The most common one has volume of 20l, which is not a lot. So, consider buying another water tank into your campervan. It costs around $10 in K-mart.

Water can be a hassle in remote areas, not every water is safe to drink. In an area where water is precious, you will pay a big money to purchase it. And there is even a safety reason, if your car break down, 20l will disappear in matter of hours…

 8) ENTRANCE FEES

Be prepared to pay an entrance/admission fee in almost every national park, so plan your budget carefully.

 9) GROCERY SHOPPING

Consider doing your grocery shopping in bigger cities along the way. Prices are way cheaper there and the offer of goods is more extensive. But be nice and spend some money on local markets too. Locals usually produce fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat. By buying those products you support local farmers instead of big market chains.

There are villages around Australia that welcome backpackers and travelers with open hearts. These villages provide places to stay, BBQ areas and sometimes even hot showers for our convenient. Most of the time for free. So be supportive and spend some money in local shops.

10) BOOK YOUR TOURS

Avoid being disappoined by booking your tours and attractions well ahead. Especially those very popular ones are very early book out. We tried to book our tour to Great Barrier Reef two weeks ahead and they were completely booked out. So we had to wait another week, which delayed our next plans. So choose your tours and try to book them as soon as possible to secure your spot.

 11) TOLL ROADS

Check the toll roads. There are not many of them, nowadays tollways are found in the eastern states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. All are currently within the urban limits of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

 12) ACCOMMODATION

Plan your camps carefully. Especially free camps tend to be really busy so finding a free spot can be tricky after 5 PM. Also if your rental agreement states that you are not allowed to drive after dusk, start to look for an accommodation after 3 PM. That way, you have enough time to find a free spot for yourself without violating the rules.

 13) UNSEALED ROADS

Not all the Australian Outback roads are sealed. In fact, most of the roads in Outback and Western Australia are unsealed, and many require a four-wheel drive vehicle. The best maps for driving were proved to be HEMA maps. They have all the unsealed roads perfectly marked so you can not make a mistake.

For example, a few years ago, Google maps showed that you can drive from Uluru to Perth through Great Centra Road. The problem is that Google showed this road as sealed road. When in fact, this road is considered to be one of the toughest unsealed roads in Australia. So be careful when deciding which road to drive and if unsure ask locals.

 14) YOUR ITINERARY

The golden rule of every camping trip in Australia – Always leave your itinerary with someone. If you do not have anyone, use local information center, police or travel agents.

 15) SATELLITE PHONE

Always carry enough water, food, first aid, spare car parts etc. If you plan to travel to the remote areas or drive the unsealed roads, consider renting a satellite phone. Phone coverage is really bad around Australia, so you might be without a signal for few days.

 16) NO INTERNET CONNECTION

Always print or download all your tickets, itinerary and entrance tickets into your phone. Internet coverage and phone coverage is bad, really bad in some parts of Australia, especially in Outback. So you might not be able to access your email in days.

 17) BE PREPARED

Traveling is about gaining knowledge. So do yourself a favor and get familiar with basic skills like how to change a tire, refill oil etc. There might be a time when these skills will be very handy.

 18) DUCT TAPE

Always carry a duct tape 🙂 It seems silly, but trust us, it helps us a lot. It is a very cheap solution for almost all breakage around or in a car. Especially, the heavy duty one.

Planning a road trip around Australia

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Australia, New Zealand and small group touring make for a perfect combination on this wide-ranging 22-day journey. Highlights in Sydney include a catamaran cruise around Sydney Harbour; Featherdale Wildlife Park, where koalas roam; and the iconic Opera House. Fly to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and learn about the local Aboriginal culture during a dot painting experience with an Aboriginal artist, and watch the sun rise over the fabled monolith. In Cairns visit beautiful Mossman Gorge and swim and snorkel at the colossal Great Barrier Reef during a day-long excursion. After touring Christchurch, the “Garden City,” see sheepdogs at a farm. Explore spectacular Mt. Cook National Park and take a cruise through Milford Sound’s breathtaking fjords. Discover scenic Queenstown. In geothermal Rotorua, experience Maori culture at a traditional hangi dinner. The journey ends with sightseeing in vibrant Auckland. Enjoy additional time in the “City of Sails” with an optional 3-day/2-night post-tour extension.

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Mount Ruang Erupts in Indonesia, Spewing Lava Thousands of Feet Into the Sky

Hundreds of earthquakes were detected in the weeks preceding the eruption of the volcano in North Sulawesi province. Hundreds of people were evacuated.

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By Christine Hauser

Mount Ruang, a volcano in Indonesia, erupted on Tuesday, spewing fiery lava and ash thousands of feet into the night sky and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people in the North Sulawesi province, according to the authorities and local news reports.

The volcano erupted at about 7:19 p.m. local time, Antara, the national news agency, reported. The country’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said on Wednesday that more than 800 people in nearby villages were displaced by the eruption, many using ferries and taking shelter in churches and community centers.

A large cloud of ashes rises from a volcano into the clouds, illuminated by the orange flames from the lava. The light is reflected on the waters.

The authorities said supplies such as mats, blankets, cleaning materials, and tents were needed, and that more shelters might be opening for people fleeing the volcano.

Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago nation. It is spread across what is known as the Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates clash under the surface of the Pacific Ocean and spawn earthquakes and eruptions from volcanoes.

Mount Ruang is a stratovolcano , or a steep, conical volcano that has built up over years in layers from explosive eruptions of lava, rock fragments, ash and other properties.

“It is in a part of the world where there are a lot of active volcanoes,” said Dr. Tracy K.P. Gregg , who chairs the geology department at the University at Buffalo.

Its last major eruption was in 2002, when the column of lava and ash that it spewed reached up to 17 miles, Dr. Gregg said.

She said the volcano in 2002 measured 4, a “large” volcano on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, a scale used to measure the strength of an eruption by looking at several factors, such as duration, ash volume and plume height. Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 measured 6 on the index. Mount St. Helens in the United States in 1980 measured 5.

“So it is a little bit smaller than that,” she said of Mount Ruang. Right now, it is not as violent as the previous eruption, she added, but the volcano cannot be fully assessed while it is in progress.

More than 300 volcanic earthquakes were detected over a period of at least two weeks preceding the eruption of Mount Ruang.

It is not immediately clear why the volcano erupted when it did. “Every volcano has its own personality,” she said.

In the past few years, several volcanoes in Indonesia have erupted. In December, 2023, the bodies of 11 hikers were found on the slopes of Mount Marapi on the island of Sumatra, after an eruption that spewed an ash column of nearly 3,000 meters — about 10,000 feet high.

In December 2022, more than 1,900 people were evacuated from the area surrounding Mount Semeru as it erupted. In an eruption there the previous December , more than 50 people were killed and hundreds more were injured.

Christine Hauser is a reporter, covering national and foreign news. Her previous jobs in the newsroom include stints in Business covering financial markets and on the Metro desk in the police bureau. More about Christine Hauser

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    15) SATELLITE PHONE. Always carry enough water, food, first aid, spare car parts etc. If you plan to travel to the remote areas or drive the unsealed roads, consider renting a satellite phone. Phone coverage is really bad around Australia, so you might be without a signal for few days.

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