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7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips
23 Dec 20202,9341

Still don't know where to spend your summer holidays? Here we reveal 7 of the greatest all-time road trips around Australia. Buckle up!

Table of Contents

1. Brisbane to Whitsundays Road Trip
2. Sydney to Byron Bay Road Trip
3. Darwin to NT National Parks Road Trip
4. SA South Coast Road Trip
5. Tasmania's East Coast Road Trip
6. Perth to Ningaloo Road Trip
7. Great Ocean Road Trip

1. Brisbane to Whitsundays Road Trip

Duration: 14 days


2 nights: Hervey Bay (3hr 30mins drive)

2 nights: Yeppoon (5hrs drive)

4 nights: Airlie Beach (5hr 30mins drive)

1 night: Rockhampton (5hr 30mins drive)

2 nights: Agnes Waters (2hr 40mins drive)

2 nights: Noosa (4hrs drive)

End road trip: Brisbane (2hrs drive)

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Head north from Brisbane along the Bruce Highway to Airlie Beach. Driving directly takes 13 hours, but with so much to see, it's worth turning it into a two week adventure.

The beautiful Whitsundays, heart of the Great Barrier Reef, is teeming with marine life, dense rainforest, hiking trails and white sand beaches. The crystal-clear aqua waters and pristine silica sand of world-famous Whitehaven Beach and Hamilton Island, are easily enjoyed on a one day day tour by boat, seaplane or helicopter.

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Hill Inlet, Whitsundays, QLD. Photo credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

On the return journey why not try sand boarding the dunes in Agnes Waters or sample the local craft beers on Noosa's Brewery Trail.

2. Sydney to Byron Bay Road Trip

Duration: 10days


2 nights: Port Macquarie (4hr drive)

4 nights: Byron Bay (4hrs 30min drive)

1 night: Coffs Harbour (2 hrs 30min drive)

2 nights: Port Stephens (4hrs drive)

End road trip: Sydney (2hr 45min drive)

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Driving from Sydney to Byron Bay is one of the most iconic drives in Australia. Enjoy this popular holiday destination known for its beaches, surfing and scuba diving sites. Why not evey try a surfing lesson yourself!

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Wategos Beach, Byron Bay, NSW. Photo credit: Destination NSW

Make the most of the trip by stopping at Coffs Harbour and Port Stephens on the return journey.

After some much needed R'n'R, get the adrenaline pumping again with a skydive landing right on Coffs Harbour beach! Port Stephens has its fair share of adventure too, with sand dune 4WD tour to see more than just the scenic harbour.

3. Darwin to NT National Parks Road Trip

Duration: 10 days


3 nights: Ubirr / Kakaku National Park (1hr 45mins drvie)

3 nights: Katherine / Nitmiluk National Park (1hr 30mins drive)

3 nights: Florence Falls / Litchfield National Park (2hrs 30mins drive)

End road trip: Darwin (1hr 40mins drive)

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

If you want to experience the Australian Outback, there is nothing better than a the Northern Territory. Home to spectacular gorges, pretty as a picture swimming holes and abundant wildlife, the area also has a rich indigenous history and is the perfect place to learn about their ancient culture.

You will need at least three days to explore the enormous, biodiverse nature reserve of Kakadu National Park. It is the largest national park in Australia covering almost 20,000 square kilometres.

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Nawurlandja lookout, Kakadu National Park, NT. Photo credit: Tourism NT & Kyle Hunter & Hayley Anderson

The next stop is Nitmiluk National Park (previously Katherine Gorge National Park) to explore the impressive gorges carved from the ancient sandstone country. Take the opportunity to emerse yourself in the indigenous culture with the Didj Cultural Experience & Art Gallery experience, before heading off to the cascading waterfalls of Litchfield National Park.

4. SA South Coast Road Trip

Duration: 10 days


1 night: Whyalla (4hr drive)

2 nights: Baird Bay (4hr drive)

2 nights: Lake Macdonnell / Pink Lake (2hrs 45mins)

3 nights: Port Lincoln / Lincoln National Park (5hrs drive)

1 night: Port Augusta (3hrs 30mins drive)

End road trip: Adelaide (3hrs drive)

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Road trip through the Eyre Peninsula's oceanic utopia and stop to swim with sea lions or wander along pristine beaches where the waters are literally teeming with seafood.

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Baird Bay, Eyre Peninsula, SA. Photo Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission & Caroline Fisher

Then get your camera ready, as the salt pink lake of Lake Macdonnell is not one you will nwant to miss!

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Lake MacDonnell, SA. Photo credit: Riley M Williams

Next, Port Lincoln, but this is not a stop for the faint hearted... encounter great white sharks on a truly unique South Australian cage diving experience. Afterwards your courage will be rewarded as yousit back and sample the oysters of the Coffin Bay oyster farm.

5. Tasmania's East Coast Road Trip

Duration: 6 days


1 night: Orford / Maria Island (1hr drive)

2 nights: Coles Bay / Freycinet NP (1hr 30mins drive)

2 nights: St Helens / Bay of Fires (1hrs 30mins drive)

End road trip: Launceston (2hr drive)

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

From Hobart, follow the Tasman Highway north and take the 30-minute ferry to beautiful Maria Island for the day. With no shops or cars, this remote island is a tranquil haven for bushwalking, wildlife watching (not to mention the many wombats peacefully strolling the island), and a glimpse into Tasmania’s convict history.

Head on to the infamous Freycinet National Park. Hike the mountain range down to beaches, coves and marshland, or kayak, snorkel or scuba dive the sheltered waters. Even better, sit back and enjoy a day cruise of the much celebrated Coles Bay.

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Wineglass Bay, TAS. Photo credit: Jason Charles Hill

But there is more stunning scenery yet! Take in the panoramic views of the coastline and the Bay of Fires iconic red lichen-covered boulders, before ending your trip in the vibrant food and wine hub, Launceston.

6. Perth to Ningaloo Road Trip

Duration: 12 days


3 nights: Geraldton (4hrs 30mins drive)

1 night: Kalbarri National Park (1hr 45mins drive)

2 nights: Denham / Monkey Mia (3hrs 45mins drive)

2 nights: Carnarvon (3hrs 15mins drive)

3 nights: Ningaloo (3hr 30min drive)

End road trip: Exmouth (2hrs drive)

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

The 1,250km-long Coral Coast Highway, stretching from Perth to Exmouth, has been referred to as one of the greatest road trips on Earth, and takes in some of Australia’s best known and most loved attractions.

First stop, Geraldton which is up there with the top must-see surfing, kite surfing, windsurfing, diving, snorkelling, boating and fishing destinations. Take a half day seaplane tour to the spectacular Abrolhos Islands, head out and catch your own lobster, or take a scenic flight over the breathtaking Hutt Lagoon pink lake.

Next, Kalbarri National Park, an iconic location famous for its 80-kilometre gorge and coastal cliffs that plunge more than 100 metres to the ocean.

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Kalbarri Skywalk, Kalbarri National Park, WA. Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia

A Western Australia must-visit is Monkey Mia to see the bottlenose dolphins that have been coming close to shore for more than fifty years.

Last but not least is Exmouth and Ningaloo... snorkel or dive the vibrant coral of the Ningaloo Marine Park or at nearby Mui

7. Great Ocean Road Trip

Duration: 7 days


1 night: Torquay / Bells Beach (1hr 20mins drive)

1 night: Lorne (45mins drive)

1 night: Apollo Bay (45mins drive)

1 night: Peterborough / Bay of Islands (1hr 30mins drive)

1 night: Cape Otway (1hr 30min drive)

1 night: Geelong (2hr drive)

End road trip: Melbourne (1hr drive)

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

This iconic drive can be done in a day, but with so many things to see and do, why not make a week road trip out of it?!

Dose up on surf culture at Torquay, the home of Bells Beach and birthplace of iconic brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver. Lorne is more than just a pitstop when driving Australia's
Great Ocean Road, it's a destination in its own right, full of waterfalls, scenic hiking trails and another great surf beach break.

Next up is Apollo Bay, a seafood village embraced by tranquil beaches, rolling green hills and the Great Otway National Park.

7 Must-Do Aussie Summer Road Trips

Californian Redwoods, Beech Forest, Otway Ranges, VIC

Then see it all from the sky with a hot air balloon ride from Geelong or taste the local wears on a beer, wine and cider tour before heading back to Melbourne.

So go on an epic road trip, from calm coastal drives to outback adventures, discover Australia in summer your way!

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