Traveling by car is hands down the best way to experience a country — and Australia is no exception. This vibrant land transforms from luscious coastal stretches dotted with long-haired surfers, paddle boarders and swimmers to the harsh, remote outback filled with endemic fauna. This countryside possesses a strength that leaves you in a constant state of awe (or, depending on your disposition, it might leave you in a state of angst thinking about all the deadly creepy-crawlies).
Either way, Australia provides an invaluable lesson in the power and overwhelming beauty of nature, and you wouldn’t be able to fit it all in without getting behind the wheel of a 4X4. In this article, we are going to be laying out the five best Australian road trips for your viewing pleasure. Be sure to add your favorite things to your BUCKiTDREAM list so others can have an adventure like yours!
Before we get into it, remove from your mind the overestimation of danger from snakes, spiders, scorpions and sharks (why do they all start with the letter “S”?). Although these creatures are dangerous, human interaction with them is infrequent. Instead, consider the danger of becoming sunburned, suffering from heatstroke or getting your car bogged. These are the far more real dangers of Australia.
Travel the Great Ocean Road As a particularly scenic coastal route, this is a classic among travelers. Check out the looming limestone stacks, known the 12 Apostles, off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. Along this route are many incredible white-sand, clear-water beaches perfect for surfing; delicious restaurants; and waterfalls, flourishing ferns and ancient plant life in the peaceful rainforest of the Otway Ranges.
Aye Kurumba! Drive From Cairns to Kuranda Moving from the tropical beaches of Cairns, you’ll soon find yourself in the refreshingly cool World Heritage Rainforest around the Kuranda Range, home to the magnificent Baron Falls. The constant, penetrating sound of cicadas is formidable. Just let it wash over you until it becomes nothing more than a gentle, reassuring hum. At Kuranda Village, you’ll be welcomed by a chill atmosphere with welcoming locals and markets that sell fantastic little trinkets and art — perfect for souvenirs.
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Heritage Highway The historically significant road between Hobart and Launceston in Tasmania was built by convict road gangs in the early 1800s and was once an infamous spot for highwaymen. Drive past extensive farmlands, and discover quaint Georgian villages where you can stay in cottages and soak up the vibrancy and history written in the land, the architecture and the people. A bonus: The food is scrumptious. It’s worth a visit.
Go From Uluru To Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory Go from the very vanilla coastal areas to the raw red earth of the outback with little poking out from the land to disturb you from the breathtaking blue skies. The colors out here are so vibrant that it’s hard to pull your eyes away from the pleasing display. Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a gigantic red rock with an impressive circumference of 5.8 miles that abruptly rises 1,141 feet above the ground in stark contrast to the flat, flora-filled desert plains that surround it in every direction. The formation’s surrounding area is home to a profusion of springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Both Uluru and Kings Canyon have a palpable energy and drip with the history of the aboriginal people. If you’re looking, you can spot some of their ancient artwork scratched into rocks. Kings Canyon has wonderful vistas of the craggy cliffs and gorges of Watarrka National Park. The canyon’s rock walls provide protection from the sun, allowing rare greenery to flourish in an otherwise inhospitable desert. So special is this growth that it is called the Garden of Eden.
Check Out the Nullarbor Plain in Western Australia From Ceduna, South Australia, head west for more than 1,200 miles to Perth across the stunning, open expanses of Nullarbor. You’ll be able to spot thousands of blue bushes across the plains and throngs of kangaroos that move around on and near the road. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the giant, graceful eagles that roam the skies above.
When planning your trip, keep in mind that Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, so their summer takes place during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter: December to February. The outback stays hot all year-round, but southern cities, such as Melbourne, are temperate, so they see a lot of rainfall and get very cold in winter months. For some, this may be ideal.
Well, that brings us to the end of the five best Australian road trips. But reading about it will never bring you close to the exhilaration, love of life and respect for nature. You’ll have to get yourself out there and behind a wheel to see it all for yourself. So get out from behind your pixelated screen, and go have the trip of your life. Don’t forget to take your favorites and put them on your BUCKiTDREAM list so everyone else can see the cool stuff you’re doing!
Check out more tarmac-themed adventures with 6 Classic American Road Trips and Italian Road Trip: 6 Places You Need To See Along The Via Emilia.