I’ve been to Australia 23 times over the last decade, it’s my second favourite country to visit. While many Australian cities are great places to visit, you need to hit the road to really understand what is so special about Australia.
I’ve done nine road trips, ranging from a few days to a couple of weeks, through all six states and two territories. They’ve all been great, but this is how I’d rank them. Click on the trip name for more information.
1. Darwin to Broome
My first real experience of the Outback, through possibly the most spectacular part of it, The Kimberly. This was the first of five road trips I did with Intrepid Travel (through their subsidiaries) in groups of between six and twenty people, with a local tour leader / driver looking after us. This is a cost effective and safe way to see the more remote parts of this vast continent, travelling with enjoyably varied groups.
2. Perth to Broome
An epic trip along the coast of Western Australia and inland to the stunning Pilbara region, with a mix of hostel stays and camping. I didn’t think the Darwin to Broome trip could be topped, but this one came close, for the incredible natural beauty and wildlife of the region.
3. Adelaide to Alice Springs
Another good group and an incredibly knowledgeable tour leader for this trip through some of the highlights of South Australia (Wilpena Pound and Coober Pedy) into the Northern Territory. I was expecting to be underwhelmed by Uluru, as such a familiar landmark, but was instead blown away by this strange, vast monolith in the middle of the Outback.
4. Sydney to Melbourne Inland
A wonderful trip with my parents between Australia’s two largest cities, through the capital Canberra, Gold Rush era towns Bendingo and Ballarat, and varied places including Wollongong, Albury and Echuca. Everyday was different and a delight.
5. Tasmania Loop
A week long loop of Australia’s largest island, taking in the heritage of the second oldest state, and it’s impressive landscapes. There weren’t many big ticket sights, but plenty of small scale things of interest. Hobart is a beautiful and historic city, and the Central Plateau was hauntingly bleak.
6. Around Cairns
The odd one out on this list as these were day trip drives out of Cairns to explore the surrounding region. I expected the ancient Daintree rainforest to the north to be impressive, but hadn’t realised how lovely Port Douglas is, or how beautiful the Atherton Tablelands to the south are.
7. Perth to Esperance Loop
The last Intrepid Australia trip I did, I’ve done most of them now. This was a six day loop around the south coast of Western Australian, home to some of the most stunning beaches I’ve seen, and a number of enjoyable day walks.
8. Great Ocean Road
My first Australian road trip, and one that I enjoyed a lot at the time, but looking back it struggles to compare with the ones above. It’s famous for good reason, but I found the trips above more spectacular, and shared with fewer people.
9. Brisbane to Sydney
A sequel with my parents to the Sydney to Melbourne trip that struggled in comparison. Partly this was down to the unseasonably bad weather, but also there was just far less of interest to see along the way.