Breathe in the freedom of the highway and read all about our tips for 3 of the most iconic road trips in Australia.
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is known as one of the world’s greatest scenic drives.
There's a silver lining to every cloud – and @alextaylorphotography certainly found it on the @visitgreatoceanroad. Despite storm clouds looming, he was rewarded by a remarkable sunset over the #12Apostles, which tend to look particularly impressive at dawn and dusk. It's best to park at the Visitor Centre here, then follow the tunnel under the Great Ocean Road until you pop out onto the extensive boardwalk and can admire the incredible outlook from the viewing platforms.
Along the 243-kilometer stretch you will be spoilt by typical Australian wildlife, pristine surf spots, and rock formations unlike anywhere else on earth.
The road began construction in 1919 with three thousand WWI veterans putting their bare hands to work until its grand opening in 1932. Today it attracts a whopping 7.2 million visitors per year… that’s a lot of bucket list ticking indeed!
This stretch of Australian beach is unlike any other, it boasts some of the best surf spots in the world, beginning with the world famous Bells Beach where surfers gather from around the globe each year for the world’s longest running surf competition, the Rip Curl Pro.
Be sure to bring your surfboards or if you are new to surfing, rent one out and give it a go! If you choose to stop off in Port Fairy or Torquay, these are also great places to get yourself a surf lesson with one of the local surf schools.
This is where Australian surfing was born, so having a surf experience here is certainly a very worthy experience and one you’ll be able to talk about for years to come.
The Great Ocean Road also has many art gallery and wildlife stops along the way, so you can get a bit of a taste of everything, not to forget the very magical glow-worms and the oldest Australian lighthouse at Otways National Park.
Main Stops Along The Way
- Warrnambool. Go whale watching and visit the Maritime Village & Shipwreck Museum.
Campground of choice: Surfside Holiday Park @ 120 Pertobe Road.
- Twelve Apostles. The Quintessential Stop. See the limestone sisters up close.
Campground of choice: Apostles Camping Park @ 32 Post Office Road, Princeton.
- Lorne. Bustling beach town with some great café culture.
Campground of choice: Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park @ 2 Great Ocean Road.
- Port Fairy. 19th century heritage buildings and colourful fishing boats to admire.
Campground of choice: Gardens by East Beach Caravan Park @ 111 Griffiths Street.
- Colac & Cape Otway. Great Otway National Park where you’ll see glow-worms and Australia’s oldest lighthouse. Campground of choice: Bimbi Park Camping Under Koalas @ 90 Manna Gum Drive.
- Torquay. Surf culture, Bells Beach and the birthplace of Quicksilver and Rip Curl.
Campground of choice: Torquay Holiday Park @ 55 Surf Coast Highway.
- Aireys Inlet. Enjoy rock pools, walks, swims and the Split Point Lighthouse.
Campground of choice: Aireys Inlet Holiday Park @ 19-25 Great Ocean Road.
- Apollo Bay. Beaches, seals and waterfalls, a truly magical place.
Campground of choice: Apollo Bay Recreation Reserve and Camping Ground @ 70 Great Ocean Road.
Red Centre Way
If you really want to see, feel and taste Australia, the way you would in a travel brochure, this road trip is an absolute must. Along the Red Centre Way you will get to see the greatest of Australiana.
This trip has every type of backdrop imaginable, from never-ending gorges to red barren earth, mountainous sand dunes, lush rainforests and Aboriginal bush tucker on the menu. You’ll be especially blown away when your eyes catch a peek at some wild horses and kangaroos, the diversity is plentiful and a real photography playground the whole way along.
A rather unusual cloud formation over Kata Tjuta at sunrise, captured by @waitedesignsphotography in @ausoutbackNT. #KataTjuta is the traditional Aboriginal name for this group of ancient sandstone domes that are spread over an area of more than 20km, and believed to be around 500 million years old. There are various walking trails around Kata Tjuta, with plenty of relaxing places to sit and absorb the panoramic views of these incredible rock formations against the ever-changing landscape.
The main cities in Australia are great to visit, but this is the REAL Australia, a part that simply can’t be missed.
Although a long trip, 690 kilometres and a good five to seven days journey, you can rest assured you won’t get bored at any point.
One important thing to consider when planning your trip is the type of van you will settle on. It is really recommended that you seek out a 4WD campervan if possible.
As far as petrol is concerned, unlike other road trips, with this one you are clearing a lot of terrain, so be prepared as you could be looking at around $250-300 for the trip. When you arrive at Uluru, rather than climbing to the top, you might consider doing something a little different.
Getting in touch with local culture is what travelling is all about, so skipping the hike (out of respect for the Anangu people’s wishes) and going on a guided walk around the big rock will likely be a much more fulfilling experience in the long run. With an Anangu guide you can discover the Mala Walk or Mutitjulu Walk which will take you all around the big red, as they teach you about the old ways of the ancestors and get you truly in touch with this sacred place.
Another important part of this trip will be Alice Springs, the Indigenous Art Capital of Australia, a place bursting with Indigenous Art galleries, so be sure to spend at least one full day here.
The Main Stops Along The Way
- Alice Springs. Art galleries, Aboriginal culture and an awesome kangaroo sanctuary where you can hang out with the roos. Campground of choice: Surfside Holiday Park @ 120 Pertobe Road
- Henbury Meteroite Conservation Reserve. Massive million year old craters from a meteorite that hit 4,700 yeas ago. Campground of choice: Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve is 145km south west of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway toward Watarrka National Park and then a 13km drive along rough terrain to the entrance of the reserve.
- Glen Helen. Redbank Gorge Pools. Great refreshment from the heat!
Campground of choice: Glen Helen Homestead Lodge @ 1 Namatjira Drive, Alove Springs.
- Finke Gorge National Park. The world’s oldest waterway and Finke Gorge.
Campground of choice: Finke Gorge National Park has visitor facilities with toilets, showers, barbecues, picnic areas and fire pits.
- Kings Canyon. The red cliffs and the dense forests of Watarrka National Park.
Campground of choice: Kings Canyon Resort in the Watarrka National Park. This outback resort is located at Luritja Road, Petermann.
- Uluru. The Mala and Mutitjulu walking trails with an Aboriginal ‘Anangu’ guided tour, or try your hand at a camel ride around the big red.
Campground of choice: Ayers Rock Campground @ Yulara Drive, Yulara.
- Kata Tjuta. The other red rocks worth checking out.
Campground of choice: Uluru—Kata Tjuta National Park @ 120 Lasseter Highway, Uluru.
Queensland Road Trip
Queensland spans the sub tropics and the tropics, so you can only imagine the vastness of land, scenery, and ocean that you will cover in this 5-day road trip. Beginning up north in Cairns, you will experience the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef with its 2,900 reefs and 900 islands stretching a whopping 2,300 kilometres.
The largest living structure on the planet, even visible from space, this is certainly a great way to start your road trip. Cairns has a real traveller community, so you will not be at a loss when it comes to fun, drinks or tours.
On your way down the coast you will surely run into many other travellers and locals, so you will get a touch of that buzz, while still getting to know locals and the local way of life.
From Cairns all the way down the coast you will be privy to a visual feast of tropical beaches, lush rainforests, native wildlife, and quaint little Queensland towns.
The world famous Whitsunday Islands are always one of the highlights of this trip, as is Bundaberg where the famous Bundaberg Rum factory is located.
Then you’ll arrive in Brisbane, the state capital, where you’ll be able to get yourself a little city fix. On the Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise and Burleigh Heads beaches in particular) will give you the chance to experience some of Australia’s most popular beach spots mixed in with some shopping and nightlife.
Finally on the last leg of the trip you will find yourself in Byron Bay (just over the state border) for some hippie vibes and local music.
🔁 📸 by: @snapair ~ 🚁 ~ a powerful picture capturing the eastern perspective of the Cape being lit by the sunrise. Follow these other Byron locals 😃 : ↠ @byron4kids 👫 ↠ @byronbazaar📰 ↠ @whatsonbyron🍻 ↠ @evolutionconcierge🔑 ↠ @thebyroncollective♻️ ↠ @byron_bay_2481🌈 ↠ @igersbyronbay🌏 For the ❤️ of Byron Bay 🌴 Heaven, 24/7.
If you are looking for a hell of an adventure, the chance to see kangaroos hopping around freely, sumptuous rainforests, pristine beaches, and some of the world’s greatest wonders, this is the trip to choose.
You’ll be privy to every type of backdrop imaginable, and experience many types of Aussie culture along the way.
The Main Stops Along The Way
- Cairns – Great Barrier Reef, indigenous culture and great nightlife.
Campground of choice: Cool Waters Holiday Park @ 2-14 Shale Street.
- Rockhampton – Australia’s Beef Capital. Good food & beautiful Victorian buildings.
Campground of choice: Riverside Tourist Park @ 2 Reaney Street, North Rockhampton.
- Airlie Beach/Whitsundays – Fun & bustling resort town. Doorway to Whitsundays.
Campground of choice: Nomads Airlie Beach Backpackers Hostel @ 354 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie beach.
- Frazer Island – World’s largest sand island.
Campground of choice: Cathedrals on Fraser @ LOT 51-53, 75 Mile Beach Road.
- Hervey Bay – Humpback whales from July to November.
Campground of choice: Hervey Bay Caravan Park @ 85 Margaret Street.
- Noosa –Boutiques, beaches, cafes and health food in a leafy village setting.
Campground of choice: Noosa River Holiday Park @ 4 Russell Street, Noosaville.
- Brisbane – The big smoke. Lots of day activities.
Campground of choice: Newmarket Gardens Caravan Park @ 199 Ashgrove Ave, Ashgrove.
- Surfers Paradise – City and surf. The surf capital of Queensland.
Campground of choice: Gold Coast Tourist Parks, Main Beach @ 3600 Main Beach Parade, Main Beach.
- Byron – Hippie vibes, beach time and café culture.
Campground of choice: First Sun Holiday Park @ Lawson Street, Byron Bay.
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