With over 31,000 miles of coastline and a stunning variety of unique ecosystems, Australia has become a premier destination for overland adventurers and the following are the 8 best scenic drives for your next Australia trip.
While a journey behind the wheel takes time when traveling between major cities, an Australian road trip reveals rainforests, coastal cliffs, snow-capped peaks, fertile farmlands, and white-sand beaches, in addition to winelands, charming towns, lively cities, and a chance for ultimate discovery.
Whether eager to explore the popular and well-known or less-famous driving expeditions around the continent, you can find inspiration here on how and where to explore on your next Australian adventure.
Australia’s most popular drive travels approximately 150 miles from the beach town of Torquay to the coastal town of Allansford. The drive consistently garners the title of Australia’s best road trip. The two-lane highway hugs the rugged and gorgeous coastline, along with the state of Victoria, consisting of remarkable cliffs, picturesque karsts, and lush rainforest. The limestone cliffs and marvelous stalactites, known as the 12 Apostles, remain the most iconic image of the rock formations along the shoreline. Drivers can take up to three days enjoying the casual twists and turns of the roadway, while stopping at particular points along the coastline.
Australia is not known for its snow-capped peaks and steep slopes, however, the Snow Mountain Drive in New South Wales travels over 300 miles through the frosty Kosciuszko National Park. The circuitous route offers gorgeous views of Australia’s tallest peak, Mount Kosciuszko, which hosts attractive ski slopes and marvelous resorts around Charlotte Pass and Thredbo. In winter, the slopes also offer access to bobsledding tracks for thrill-seekers, while those disinterested in skiing or snow could enjoy horseback riding and mountain biking in summer.
This distinctive and epic adventure spans nearly 2,300 miles of the Australian continent, unveiling the biodiversity of the tropical landscape and wildlife of northeastern Australia leading from Cairns to Broome. The gulf lines the interior leading to the coastline of the Great Barrier Reef to the west and the Indian Ocean to the north. Residents compare the landscape to the African savannah, but instead of lions and zebras, long drives lead to sightings of kangaroos and emus, as well as snakes, crocodiles, and poisonous plants. The inspiring drive winds through the unmatched Outback, revealing the immensity of the continent’s vastness.
The drive through the Kimberly region extends over 1,000 miles, offering the picturesque landscape for which Western Australia is known. The rugged road leads from Broome and takes you along the King Leopold Ranges and Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek national parks. Waterholes along the route create picturesque stops amidst sundrenched gorges that lead to Bungle Bungle Range and Mitchell Falls. The amount of time it takes to complete the route depends on how many stops you make to discover the different niches of the sunbaked landscape.
Most roads in Tasmania lead to a secluded outlook overseeing lush forests or a pristine coastal getaway, but the magnificent road offers gorgeous drives that connect the three World Heritage areas of Cradle Mountain, the waters of Franklin and lower Gordon rivers, and the 3,000 lakes around Lake St. Clair. Follow the road to historic post-settlement mines, preserved settlements, and historic railways surrounded by elegant mountain peaks and winding rivers or opulent reflective lakes. You will stop at trailheads for guided nature walks, canoeing excursions, or kayaking expeditions along the way.
The scenic drive encompasses the quintessential images of Australia’s vast desert landscape, including the city of Alice Springs and the bulbous domes of Kata Tjuta. The route guides you through the heart of central Australia’s best sites on a loop studded with desert plains, rugged ramparts, and waterholes hidden in deep gorges and filled with surprisingly ice-cold water. You will reach the fascinating image of Australia’s Red Centre upon arriving at Uluru, the towering sandstone monolith known for its size, sacred connection to indigenous peoples, and unparalleled sunrises and sunsets.
Many of Australia’s scenic drives reach epic proportions in terms of their ecological diversity and expansive scale, but the two-hour Bowman Scenic Drive highlights the beauty of South Australia, beginning near the town of Beachport. The Limestone Coast boasts staggering cliffs and fascinating caves, in addition to the soil that supports some of the country’s best vineyards, halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne. While not as long as other scenic drives, the small parcel of scenery highlights endless views of the coastline, with deserted beaches for visitors to relax on the sand, fish, or stroll near the waterline.
The island beach track has become one of Australia’s best-known four-wheel-drive adventures, stretching across the sands of Fraser Island off Australia’s eastern shores of Queensland. The surface has a smooth texture, with occasional bumps caused by hidden humps and dips in the sand. The stretch of road is classified as a highway and located along the sugary sands of Fraser Island’s east coast, overlooking the Indian Head. It shares marvelous coastal scenery along the route past the landmark SS Maheno shipwreck.
Absorb the magnificent Australian landscapes and seascapes along the 8 best scenic drives on our handpicked Australia Tours & Vacations. From Gibb River Road to Snowy Mountain Drive, each route shares unique scenery to seduce you during your preferred vacation. If you wish to learn more about Australian travel or book your tour today, simply complete a Trip Request or call us at 1-888-265-9707 and a travel specialist will be in touch with you.