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Five most popular Aussie drives
We Aussies are a lucky bunch. Our sunburnt country has countless beautiful drives to discover. From the Red Centre right down to the Apple Isle, here’s our list of top five road trips to take with the whole family.
1. Great Ocean Road, Vic.
The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s best-loved drives, and for good reason. Beginning just 90 minutes from Melbourne’s city centre and finishing up 400km later on the Victorian and South Australian border, it’s a must-do drive for Aussies of all ages. And what’s in between? The 12 Apostles are definitely worth a look, but the best thing about this drive is the breathtaking views of the southern ocean, the sheer sandstone cliffs and the abundance of incredible camping spots dotted along the route. Beautiful almost-empty beaches, rich red earth, seaside caves and hiking tracks also abound, so take time to stop off and enjoy the natural wonders along the way.1
2. Nullarbor Crossing, WA–SA
Stretching all the way from Norseman to the South Australian seaside township of Ceduna, crossing the Nullarbor is a right of passage for road trippers the world over. Spanning some 1675km, it’s an epic drive across the world’s largest limestone karst, featuring some of the most beautiful country you’ll ever see. Travelling along the Eyre Highway, the mountains slowly slip away until the vast landscape becomes so flat you can actually see the curvature of the earth. While venturing off-road requires a 4WD, and in some cases a permit from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, if you’re in a car you’ll still be able to enjoy the mesmerising landscapes, tiny townships, stunning national parks and abundant wildlife of the Nullarbor Plain. And, once you reach the coast, you can literally stand on the edge of Australia and see where the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight drop hundreds of metres to the Southern Ocean.2
3. Red Centre Way, NT
An impressive five-day drive through Australia’s dramatic desert landscapes, Red Centre Way is an iconic journey all Aussies should do at least once. Starting in Alice Springs, you’ll loop around the beating heart of the outback to take in all the sights, sounds and experiences you could ever want to see. Watch Uluru rise up out of the land and explore the spectacular waterfalls and deep swimming holes dotted along the route. Although some parts of Red Centre Way are sealed, you’ll need a 4WD to experience the best the outback has to offer. Many hidden gems – including free campsites, swimming spots and landmarks are only accessible via unsealed roads.3
4. Pacific Coast Cruise, Qld–NSW
Want to uncover everything the east coast has to offer? Then the Pacific Coast Cruise is a must-drive. A three-week journey that aims to take in everything from the sights and sounds of Sydney Harbour to the tropical splendour of far north Queensland, this drive is for dedicated road trippers who enjoy the freedom and excitement offered by the open road. Starting in Jervis Bay, take the coast road literally over the ocean with Sea Cliff Bridge and past some of the finest beaches, sights, state forests and national parks, with camping, holiday parks and other accommodation available every inch of the way. Once in Queensland, don’t miss a trip to the sandy dunes of Fraser Island or the submarine beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. A hike through the Daintree Rainforest reveals ancient natural wonders, while Noosa is the perfect place to kick back, relax and reinvigorate after a long drive.4
5. Tasmanian Circle, Tas.
Take in everything about the Apple Isle in one fell swoop with this scenic six-day drive through lakeside highways, spectacular national parks, rich convict history and the best of Tasmania’s wine country. See beautiful buildings and world-class art as well as performances and events in Hobart and Launceston. Make time to explore the natural wonders of Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay, Cradle Mountain and the Sentinels. Hike, bike and driving routes abound, so you’ll be able to experience the world-heritage listed locations and beautiful, boulder-strewn beaches from every angle. Finishing off at Strahan or Stanley and you’ll be treated to fairy penguins, seals and rocky volcanic outcrops. Plus, tour the pine and myrtle forests and windswept beaches of Tasmania’s wonderful west coast.5
For more information, itineraries, recommended routes and other essentials, check out the Tourism Australia website.