Whether you’re after dramatic mountain ranges, lush rainforests or stunning ocean views, there’s a route in Australia that will make all your road trip dreams come true (and provide a welcome escape from life in the city). Don’t forget the essentials: a killer playlist, plenty of snacks, and the right car.
If you don’t have your own wheels, or just want to try something different, look into renting a car. Car sharing services are a great option because they often offer a wider variety of vehicles than traditional car rental companies. Car Next Door lets you rent cars from real people, and we’ve got everything from SUVs to utes, vans, small cars and luxury models.
Grand Pacific Drive, New South Wales
Heading south from Sydney to Wollongong, Grand Pacific Drives comes up with the goods if it’s stunning sea views you’re after. The 100-kilometre trip snakes its way through Royal National Park and along the coast, with dramatic cliffs giving way to deep blue ocean at every turn. A highlight is Sea Cliff Bridge, which winds away from the cliff face and out over the ocean below.
Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales
If you’re after an easy day trip from Sydney, a drive to Kangaroo Valley is the perfect option year-round. Although it’s only a two-hour drive from Sydney, there are plenty of places worth stopping along the way. Head towards Robertson where you can stop at the Robertson Pie Shop for one of their famous sweet or savoury treats. Continue to Fitzroy Falls for a stunning photo-op, then into Kangaroo Valley and on to Berry, for a stop at one of many great cafés, specialty shops or art galleries.
The Alpine Way, New South Wales
Kosciuszko National Park and The Alpine Way offer something for everyone, whether you’re after a relaxed day trip, camping weekend or adventure-filled getaway. The drive from Jindabyne to Corryong in Victoria will take you just over two hours through the National Park. To extend your trip, camp on the banks of the Snowy River among the native wildlife. If you’re keen to get a bit more active, try out one of the mountain bike or bushwalking tracks.
Canberra to Murrumbateman, Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales
Just 40 minutes north of Canberra is Murrumbateman, a wine-lover’s dream. The Barton Highway offers views of a classic Australian landscape (think open farmland and plenty of eucalyptus trees), before you arrive in Murrumbateman. Here you have your pick of excellent local wineries, like Four Winds Vineyard, Clonakilla and Shaw Wines.
Canberra to Tidbinbilla, Australian Capital Territory
Head west of Canberra on Cotter Road and you’ll find plenty of places to stop and enjoy nature. Mount Stromlo is just a few kilometres from the western suburbs and offers spectacular views over the city and the Brindabella Range. Continue on to Cotter Reserve on the Murrumbidgee River for a quick dip at Canberra’s favourite swimming hole, before going on to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Here you’ll find plenty of walking trails and the scenic Gibraltar Falls.
Photo by Elliott McFarlane
Great Ocean Road, Victoria
The Great Ocean Road is a classic for a reason: it’s hard to beat this world-famous route from Torquay to Warrnambool. An obvious highlight is the Twelve Apostles, but the Great Ocean Road also offers some beautiful beaches and delicious local produce. It’s worth stopping in some of the towns along the way – like Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Lorne or Apollo Bay – for a coffee and browse through some great specialty stores.
A stay at Halls Gap offers the opportunity for a road trip through the stunning Grampians National Park. The road to Dunkeld snakes its way right through the heart of the Grampians, allowing you to take in uninterrupted mountain views in one of Australia’s most scenic ranges.
Brisbane to Airlie Beach, Queensland
A beach-lover’s dream, this drive will take your north from Brisbane, through the Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg and Rockhampton, before reaching your final destination of Airlie Beach. With over 12 hours of driving time you’ll want to make a week of it, but what could be better than seven days of Queensland beach hopping?
Gold Coast to Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland
Make your way north through Brisbane and continue through Beerburrum and stop off at the Glass House Mountains lookout for uninterrupted, awe-inspiring views over 11 volcanic peaks and a patchwork of farming plains. Keep driving up to the Sunshine Coast Hinterlands and explore the local towns of Maleny, Montville and Mapleton for a day of delicious local produce.
Brisbane to the Noosa Everglades, Queensland
Head north out of Brisbane, through Beerburrum and Beerwah forests and past the Sunshine Coast. About 40 minutes north of Noosa you’ll find the Noosa Everglades, one of only two everglades system on the planet. This 60km stretch of pristine waters, protected by the Great Sandy National Park and the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, is nearly untouched. Rent a kayak for a paddle from Boreen Point, or make your way along one of the unspoilt tracks from Elanda Point to Mill Point.