Guest post by Chelsea Rogers
The land down under has a world of rolling landscapes and glistening shores just waiting to be explored.
With the diversity that awaits you in areas spanning kilometres, it’s high time that you reward yourself with an epic adventure of a lifetime. But before you jump the gun on booking your next trip, perhaps look into renting an electric vehicle.
Electric vehicle sales increased by 69.3% from 2019-2020 — which means they’re becoming incredibly popular.
They help keep the earth in pristine shape and save you money on trips. A win-win if you ask me.
With that in mind, let’s explore the five best road trip destinations that will show you what Australia is all about.
The Grand Pacific Drive
- Where: New South Wales
- Travel time allotment: less than a week
If you’re looking for a coastal drive, the Grand Pacific Drive in New South Wales is one you should not miss out on. The Grand Pacific Drive strikes a delicate scenic balance; the endless ocean on one side and rolling landscapes on the other.
At 140 kilometres long, this road trip touches the southernmost tip of Sydney where the Royal National Park is, and it stretches far down to the Shoalhaven region. On this trip, you’ll get to witness the spectacular views from the long, winding roads of the Wollongong’s Sea Cliff Bridge. There you can overlook shimmering waters and rugged cliffs from either of your sides.
Aside from that, you can also view a whale migration in Kiama that occurs in select months of the year (May to July and September to November). A little bit further down, you can stop and relax in the famous Werri Beach.
Head on over to Jervis Bay where you can also hike and stroll along the beautiful White Sands Walk, which leads to the marvellous white shores of Hyams Beach. For more of a coastal treat, you can head further down to Pebbly beach with its various kangaroo sightings. And to cap it off, a little bit further south and you can reach the Australian capital of Canberra and take part in its exciting city culture and nightlife.
Australia’s Red Centre Way
- Where: Northern Territory
- Travel time allotment: 1 week
Gorgeous rock formations, freshwater lakes, and stunningly beautiful gorges — all these landscapes and more make up the Australian outback. Central Australia for many is a land less travelled, but its place as the heart of Australia is uncontested with miles upon miles of ochre landscapes spread throughout the horizon.
The Red Centre Way begins and ends at the third largest town of the Northern Territory of Australia, Alice Springs. Along the way, you can visit gorgeous and culturally significant locations that truly represent Australia. Kata Tjuta and Watarrka National Park are some of the most frequented places around the area, but we’ll show two that we particularly enjoyed.
One scenic location we recommend visiting is Tjoritja (West MacDonnell National Park), located 161 kilometres west of Alice Springs. This national park is great for the wanderers-at-heart who don’t mind journeying across the wild side of the outback. Some of the notable things you could do here are swim in the various water holes sandwiched between towering ochre rock formations, discover the rare and threatened flora and fauna scattered across the region, or pitch a tent and sleep below the stars.
Uluru is the next spot on our list, and it’s the type of formation that you won’t ever drive past without noticing. Also known as Ayers Rock, Uluru is a massive sandstone monolith 450 km away from Alice Springs. Its rock formation glimmers tall among the arid landscapes of the outback, presenting itself as a true sight to behold. Besides its towering structure, this destination is also sacred to indigenous Australians. You better not miss this one.
The Great Barrier Reef Drive
- Where: Queensland
- Travel time allotment: <1 week
At just 140 km long, the Great Barrier Reef drive is by no means not the longest on the list. But each mile of this drive, from the tropical city of Cairns to the wilds of Cape Tribulation, is brimming with spectacular views around every corner. This drive also takes you to two World Heritage sites: The Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. What other place can expose you to gorgeous ocean reefs and lush, vibrant rainforest colours in less than a day’s notice?
The Gibb River Road
- Where: Western Australia
- Travel time allotment: One to two weeks
The untouched outback wilderness of Kimberley in this route brings out a new side of Australia that many city-dwellers don’t get to see. The Gibb River Road route stretches from Derby to as far as Kununurra, a nearly 1000 kilometre stretch of the outback as far as the eye can see.
While many portions of the road require you to drive a 4WD vehicle, it will be all worth it once you bear witness to the marvellous sights along this part of the outback. You can visit the vast expanse of the rugged Cockburn Range, which juts out 600 metres above the plains. There’s also the Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Cultural Centre if you’re interested in learning more about the rich Aboriginal culture in this territory. And if relaxing in tranquil waters while overlooking rolling hills is more your fancy, you can stop by Lake Argyle.
Nullarbor Plain Drive
- Where: South Australia
- Travel time allotment: One to two weeks
The Nullarbor Plain, located along the Great Australian Bight, features miles of flat terrain with remarkable landmarks sandwiched between them. Nullarbor means “treeless”, but there are a bunch of pristine sights in the flatlands that you wouldn’t want to miss on this road trip.
At the Eyre Peninsula, you can watch mother whales nursing their children between May and October. A few kilometres closer to the coast, you can also visit Nullarbor Links if a round of golf suits your fancy. That landmark is regarded as one of the longest golf courses in the world, also notably crossing Nullarbor Plain at the head of the Great Australian Bight.
If you would rather visit historical landmarks that showcase Aussie culture, you’re not short with options here either. There are old gold mining towns, crashed space shuttle remains, and roadhouses that give you a glimpse of the overlooked yet colourful heart of southern Australia.