Best Australian Road Trips – On the road and looking for the perfect spot to explore? Trying to get inspiration for a road trip to remember or a quick getaway?
Check out these unique parts of Australia — perhaps they are just down the road, or perhaps they are on your road-tripping bucket list.
Or perhaps travelling online is your only option, if so grab a coffee pull up a chair and enjoy your online roadtrip of Australia.
Litchfield National Park, NT
You can go down about 150 steps to go for a swim, there is another nearby attraction — Buley Rockhole pools, which are a series of rock holes a short drive off the road to Florence Falls.
The Buley Rock Pools are a beautiful place to go for a swim, and are much easier to access for those who find the 150 steps a bit daunting.
These are hot springs in the Elsey National Park, Bitter Springs have a natural current so you can just put your goggles on and go with the flow.
The nearby Roper River is the daily beneficiary of more than 30 million litres of warm water that flows from subterranean springs around Mataranka into the river.
This fresh water keeps the Roper running throughout the year.
Daly Waters, NT
Australia’s most remote traffic light, Have you been there?”
The Daly Waters Pub has erected the fake lights as part of its array of quirky outback attractions, which includes decorations of bras, pants, shirts, hats, stickers, and currency donated by visitors from far and wide.
Visitors can also pick from the menu including a “stake samige”, “am buggers”, “Te and Koffy”, and “Bum Nuts on Toast”.
Petermann Ranges, NT
There is a simple way of expressing the satisfaction of climbing the Petermann Ranges, which run 320km across the border between Western Australia and the south-west corner of the Northern Territory.
Mount Isa, Qld
You will need a four-wheel drive to traverse the back road to Three Steps (signposted and also known as Three Sisters).
After heavy rain, locals visit the waterfall created by three large rock formations, as well as the nearby Lake Moondarra.
Chilli Beach, Qld
On the eastern edge of Cape York Peninsula, Chilli Beach in Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park provides welcome respite for travellers.
After miles of red dust road we let the sea air revive us, as we wandered along the white quartz sands and revelled in the remoteness of the ancient coastline.
The Top End as “truly a magical place”. But if you plan to visit, brace yourself for relentless winds coming onshore.
Mulgrave River, Qld
While tempting to jump in for a refreshing dip, it is not advisable, with freshwater stonefish and crocodiles found in the river south of Cairns in Far North Queensland.
Fishers say it provides some of the best estuary fishing in North Queensland, and it is also a popular spot for kayaking.
But it is when the hot, dry summer months suck the water from the river and a carpet of brown leaves spread over the earth, that it becomes my favourite time to snap the river.
Porcupine Gorge National Park, Qld
Porcupine Gorge, 60km north of Hughenden is “considered Australia’s mini Grand Canyon thanks to the contrast its towering sandstone cliffs and lush vine-forest create as they sink abruptly within the surrounding plains.
The 1.2km track to the tiny ribbon of water in the gorge is well worth the hike.
At the bottom our first stop is a cool swim in the clear water of Porcupine Creek, where all aches and pains are instantly forgotten.
It’s changeable down here, sometimes dusty and barren, sometimes lush and green.
You will often see large flocks of raucous birds and sometimes other wildlife such as snakes and wallabies — all out in the hot midday sun.
Eungella Dam, Qld
Eungella Dam is one of Queensland’s more established freshwater fisheries, with sooty grunter, saratoga, sleepy cod and barramundi up for grabs.
Where the landscape turns from rainforest into high country farms — complete with wandering stock — the road turns from bitumen to unsealed.
This is the Tree of Knowledge, a 200-year-old ghost gum, which was poisoned in 2006.
It’s known as the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party and headquarters of the 1891 Australian Shearers’ Strike.
The strike was broken after five days with the arrest of the shearers’ leaders on a number of charges, including sedition and conspiracy.
Thirteen ringleaders were then sentenced to three years’ hard labour on Saint Helena Island, Moreton Bay.
Lake Mckenzie (Boorangoora), Fraser Island, Qld
The lake is known for its incredibly clear waters and soft white sand.
It is a ‘perched lake’ as the sand and organic matter forms an impervious layer, meaning it contains only rainwater.
The sand filters the water, making it so pure it can support very little life.
Until the motorway between Tweeds Heads and Byron Bay opened, the 90kph road through Pottsville was the way to travel to the towns of Pottsville, Cabarita, and Hastings Point.
And it is because of the motorway that the road through Pottsville allows a slower pace through perennially green farmland, banana plantations, and roadside produce stalls.
The traffic is near non-existent, except for the odd truck or the farmer on his motorbike.
Dusty roads and one-lane bridges, cane fields, blind corners, and light filtering onto the road through the trees.
Brunswick Heads, NSW
Brunswick Heads is a small town north of Byron Bay, on the mouth of the Brunswick River.
Like its bigger sibling — Byron Bay — ‘Bruns’ also boasts great cafes, restaurants, shopping, and safe beaches, but it is usually much easier to get a car park.
Mutawintji National Park, NSW
Cold refreshing water, a mossy carpet for our feet and nature’s very own slippery dip.
Mayfield Garden, Oberon, NSW
The privately owned garden spans more than 64 hectares within a 2,000-hectare working farm, and includes a rose garden, creek garden, aviary, and cascade.
Like many spots along the NSW coast, Austinmer boasts sea baths that provide a safer option, along with the exhilaration of swimming in the ocean.
There are two pools side-by-side: a deeper one for swimming laps, and a shallower one with a sandy bottom for younger swimmers. There is also a nearby cafe for sustenance.
Beecroft Peninsula, NSW
Mermaids Inlet and Honeymoon Bay are just two of the romantically named beaches along the Beecroft Peninsula on the spectacular northern headland of Jervis Bay, NSW.
If you are after hard-to-get-to places, Gosangs tunnel is just the ticket.
A detour on the 9km Coomies Walk will lead to a tunnel, which visitors crawl through to emerge on a shallow ledge to view the cliffs of Point Perpendicular.
A 90-minute drive south of Sydney lies Kiama, a coastal township with popular surf beaches and surrounded by pastures and forests.
It is known as the place where the mountains touch the sea.
Kiama is the site of two volcanic flows that came out of Saddleback Mountain, now a collapsed volcanic vent.
One of the main tourist attractions is the Kiama Blowhole, which can spray water up to 25 metres in the air, saturating unsuspecting visitors.
The name of the town is derived from the Aboriginal word ‘kiarama’, which means ‘place where the sea makes a noise’.
Mount Gulaga, NSW
Previously known as Mount Dromedary, Gulaga is an extinct volcano rising near the coastal town of Narooma.
It includes sacred sites where Aboriginal women would retreat for storytelling, ceremony, and childbirth.
Meanwhile, Mumbulla was a traditional men’s mountain.
A half-hour drive south will get you to Wallaga Lake, the largest lake in southern NSW.
This lends itself perfectly to a variety of water sports, as well as bushwalking and wildlife watching.
Tanjil South, Victoria
The name Tanjil was derived from the Tangel pastoral run in 1844, which got its name from an Aboriginal word meaning frost or snow.
You will find the Blue Rock Dam, whereas Tanjil South is an active community of about 700 people.
McHarg Ranges, Victoria
The McHarg Ranges as the relatively unexplored relation to the more popular Macedon Ranges, as the picturesque and less-travelled back roads meandered through granite-strewn hills and volcanic plains linking the hamlets of Pyalong, Baynton, Toobarac and Lancefield.
Millions of years of erosion has left gigantic rock formations, ancient and worn, like megalithic monuments, impressive in their own surroundings.
Middle Island, Victoria
The penguin colony on Middle Island, off Warrnambool, was being decimated by foxes until a local chicken farmer came up with the idea of using maremma guardian dogs to protect the penguins.
Visitors can tour the island and see the dogs at work.
Peterborough, Great Ocean Road, Victoria
This vista near Peterborough, in the heart of the Great Ocean Road, about three hours’ drive from Melbourne.
The town is part of the Shipwreck Coast and is close to The Twelve Apostles and London Arch — formerly London Bridge, until part of it collapsed in 1990, leaving two tourists stranded on the outer span.
Peterborough is a popular destination for families with its golf course, shorefront playground, and children’s riding loop.
Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
Wineglass Bay is billed as one of the world’s top 10 beaches — even before the cute marsupials are taken into consideration.
It is a short walk from camping grounds at Coles Bay, but it involves an uphill climb through pink granite peaks known as The Hazards to a rocky lookout, followed by a downhill walk to the beach.
Kunanyi/Mount Wellington, Tasmania
Huon River, Tasmania
One of the best and most accessible places to view the mighty Huon River in southern Tasmania is from the Tahune AirWalk.
It is 29km from Geeveston — about an hour’s drive south of Hobart — and is a metal structure perched in the treetops over the banks of the Huon River.
It is on the doorstep to the Wilderness World Heritage Area and home to some of the longest-living trees in the world.
Lake Eyre, SA
The largest salt lake in Australia, Lake Eyre, is also the lowest natural point in Australia, at about 15 metres below sea level.
It occasionally fills — at which point it becomes the largest lake in Australia, covering 9,500 square kilometres.
Coober Pedy, SA
About 32 km north of Coober Pedy, the Breakaways take their name from the way these colourful low hills seem to have broken away from the Stuart Range.
Point Pass, SA
Located along the Worlds End Highway, 11km north of Eudunda, is the tiny, almost forgotten hamlet of Point Pass.
It was once a thriving town with several sporting teams, two blacksmiths, a saddler, a cheese and butter factory, and its own hospital.
Unfortunately, as with so many of South Australia’s smaller towns, the population declined, services relocated to the larger towns, and today there are only a couple of churches, a pub, and a handful of occupied homes.
Most people pass through with barely a second glance, but if you do take the time to pull over and stroll along the main street, you can relive some of the forgotten history of the town.
Peer into the past through the lovely old buildings and read the plaques and memorials dedicated to first settlers.
Flinders Chase National Park, SA
A favourite with photographers and tourists, the precariously balanced granite formations of Remarkable Rocks are situated in Flinders Chase National Park, on the western end of Kangaroo Island, about 170km from Adelaide.
Also not to be missed in Flinders Chase National Park is Admirals Arch — a natural rock arch shaped by the pounding Southern Ocean — as well as wild beaches, wilderness areas, two lighthouses, and a visitors’ centre with a fossil dig pit for the young at heart.
Plumridge Lakes, WA
You see some strange sights while out in the desert.
This car wreck stuck in a tree also functions as a warning sign: Danger 1080 and strychnine.
Lake Ballard, WA
It’s the most moving art installation I’ve experienced. I found myself alone talking to a few of the 51 pieces placed on the lake.
Only eight hours from Perth, two from Kalgoorlie …Who’s keen?
They were built in the 1920s by early settlers to the area, using granite slabs that were drawn into position by horse sled from the nearby Wiacubbing Hill.
The site also hosts the remains of an original homestead constructed almost entirely from local granite and mortar.
The things you see in the Australian outback — a truck on top of a hill which is covered by wildflowers.
It can be found at Bennie Camp Road, just before Lake Newton.
These trees have a cabin/platform anchored to their top and are used to spot fires in the fire season.
The Gloucester Tree is 2km from Pemberton, WA, and the Diamond Tree between Manjimup and Pemberton is a 15-minute drive from either town, on the Southwest Highway.
At 1.7 km in length, the jetty has its own mini train to help tourists take the journey across the clear waters of Geographe Bay.
Those same clear waters make for good viewing from the Underwater Observatory that provides views of the sea life congregating around the jetty pylons, eight metres beneath the water’s surface.
Nambung National Park, WA
The Pinnacles Desert is truly fabulous. Limestone formations which formed thousands of years ago. Exactly how is still up for dispute, which in itself is fascinating.
However they formed, the thousands of limestone Pinnacles — some up to 5m high — have become a highlight of the Cervantes area.
The visitors’ centre, which is also “brilliant — interesting and educational”.
The township of Onslow in the Pilbara region of WA has a colourful history that includes pearl lugging, Japanese bombing in WWII, and devastating cyclones.
Visitors can enjoy heritage walks, a boardwalk over the beach, colossal salt mounds, and the Staircase to the Moon over the mudflats.
Karijini National Park, WA
Karijini National Park is centred in the Hamersley Ranges of the Pilbara region, and features breathtaking gorges carved out of rocks that are more than 2,500 million years old.
The national park is the traditional home of the Banyjima, Kurrama and Innawonga people, and the Banyjima name for the Hamersley Range is Karijini.
It is also home to the western pebble-mound mouse — the tiny rodents build mounds up to 50cm high and cover up to 9 square metres in diameter.
Sam’s Island, Dampier Archipelago, WA
Part of the Dampier Archipelago in WA’s Pilbara region, Sam’s Island (formally named Tidepole Island) has an interesting history.
In 1884, the British named the island after poles used to measure the tides, but when Yugoslav immigrant Sam Ostojich started building his ‘castle’ there in 1966, it became more popularly known as Sam’s Island.
Sam continued working on his castle even after breaking his back in an industrial accident in the early 1970s.
Hamersley Iron gave Sam a 99-year gentleman’s lease, allowing Sam to live out his days there with his cat, Tiger.
Sadly, Sam died in February 2005 and is buried on the island. Tiger passed away shortly after, and is buried at Sam’s feet.
Millstream Chichester National Park, WA
The thermometer in the 4WD read 54 degrees Celsius, but it dropped to 44 close to the creek bed in Millstream Chichester National Park.
No wonder it is referred to as an oasis in the desert.
Gantheaume Point, Broome, WA
Allow yourself to be dazzled by the amazing colours of Gantheaume Point in Broome, of the contrasting colours of the deep-red pindan cliffs and the turquoise Indian Ocean.
At very low tide, the point also offers a glimpse of dinosaur footprints preserved in reef rock at the bottom of the cliff. It is a 10-minute drive from the town centre of Broome.
King Leopold Ranges, WA
The Gibb River Road is one of the final frontiers of travel in Australia
It’s a 660km natural earth track that takes you through the wild heart of the Kimberley, and it’s one of the most remote roads in Australia, if not the world.
Fuel at one of the few roadhouses costs more than $2.15 per litre, twice as expensive as the metropolitan average.
It is also one of the Kimberley’s main attractions, and travellers can venture through a dramatically diverse landscape dotted with waterfalls, gorges, rock pools, and mountain ranges.