On a self-drive holiday, travel by road at your own pace, stopping
at your leisure. Australia has a vast network of well-maintained
roads and highways with some of the most beautiful road
touring in the world and vehicle hire is simple.
There are plenty of opportunities to leave the main road and discover
Australia’s natural wonders. From the central deserts to the Top End,
Australia’s adventure routes are a paradise for explorers. Many of our
Outback roads are rough, unsealed dirt tracks unsuitable for anything
Not all road journeys are remote or dramatic however. Our picturesque
coastal roads lead past spectacular beaches and coastal scenery
through sleepy towns. You’ll discover a variety of landscapes as you
drive south through wineries and tall forests, head north to coral reefs
and canyons, or journey inland on an Outback odyssey.
You can take a road journey that takes a day or a month – it’s up to you.
A holiday on the open road is the best way to meet Australians and get
to know our country. Open and friendly, we are particularly proud of
showing off our country’s natural wonders to visitors. And remember,
we’re happiest if we can do this while having a chat.
Key drive facts
• The Eyre Highway at Caiguna in Western Australia has the longest
stretch of straight road in Australia – 146.6km
1. Crossing the southern edge of the Nullarbor Plain, it is the only sealed road from
Perth to Adelaide, a 2700km drive.
• There are over 800,000km of road crisscrossing Australia, of which
less than 50 per cent are sealed.
• Every working day, Australian governments spend $27 million
maintaining and reconstructing our transport network. This is among
the highest levels of road expenditure per capita in the world.
• Inter-state distances between our capital cities are large. A road trip
from Sydney to Melbourne or Sydney to Brisbane is around 1000km and
takes at least two days, while from Sydney to Perth is around 4000km.
• The Canning Stock Route is the world’s longest most isolated stock
route, traversing the Great Sandy Desert far north Western Australia.
Our most challenging and remote drive, it stretches 1800kms
between Halls Creek and Kalgoorlie, takes a recommended 14 days
to drive by 4WD between water wells, and travel is only advised
between May and September.
• It’s unwise to set out on remote Outback roads without a
large supply of water and petrol, mobile phone and other
communications, in case you’re stranded.
• The Birdsville Track is a four-wheel drive Outback odyssey. The
quintessential Outback journey, and once an important cattle
droving route, the Birdsville Track with its famous pub has become
an Australian icon that draws 25,000 vehicles annually.
• Step back in time on Tasmania’s Heritage Highway between Hobart
and Launceston, a journey into our colonial past, full of historic
sandstone buildings and stunning scenery.
• Be postman for a day on the one day Oodnadatta Mail Run out of
Coober Pedy. You’ll travel more than 600kms with the postman in
his 4WD delivering post to Outback towns and remote cattle stations.
• Cross The Nullarbor Plain. The 1200km Eyre Highway is one of the
great Australian road trips and a key Outback experience. Once riddled
with potholes, this tree-less road is now completely sealed from
Norseman in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia.
• The Pacifc Coast Touring Route stretches from Sydney to Cairns,
following the beautiful coastline of the Pacifc Ocean. Along the
way discover an endless array of beautiful beaches, pretty bays
and relaxing coastal towns, with excellent surf, fantastic views,
great camping sites and friendly communities.
• Travel the Grand Pacifc Drive, a scenic road that stretches 140kms
south of Sydney, from the Royal National Park – the world’s second
oldest national park – to the coastal city of Wollongong. The route
takes you through coastal rainforests, over the dramatic Sea Cliff
Bridge, past secluded beaches and pretty coastal towns such as
Austinmer and Kiama.
• Recognised as one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Great
Ocean Road follows the stunning coastline of Victoria’s south-west
stretching 300kms past the breathtaking Twelve Apostles. The road
winds along cliff tops, up breathtaking headlands, down to the
edge of beaches, across river estuaries and through lush rainforests
offering panoramic views at every turn. Discover small seaside
villages along the way.
• The Great Southern Touring Route is a 777km journey that you
can drive in as little as 12 hours or take fve days. Starting with the
spectacular Great Ocean Road, it crosses to the majestic Grampians
Hit the open road in search of sun, fun and adventure across the wide reaches of our continent.
A UNiqUely AUSTRAliAN iNviTATiON National Park with its woodland walks, Aboriginal art, waterfalls
and rock formations, then on to Victoria’s rich Goldfelds region.
• Drive from Melbourne to Sydney, the best way to take in the beauty
of the coastline. See national parks, wildlife, beautiful surf beaches,
the amazing stretch of Ninety Mile Beach and the whales at Eden.
• Another way to travel from Sydney to Melbourne is via the Great
Alpine Road after frst passing through the nation’s capital, Canberra.
Australia’s highest year-round accessible sealed road, it winds past
lofty mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, vineyards and farms. Sample
local food and wine and you can fsh, cycle, climb or ride along the
way. See the stunning mountains, valleys, lakes and waterways of
this region, the land of high country cattlemen of The Man from
Snowy River fame. Hear about the bushrangers who roamed the
historic gold villages of the area during the gold-rush years.
• Take your time exploring Queensland’s beautiful coastline between
Brisbane and Cairns on the Pacifc Touring Route. Stop for a swim on
a deserted beach, go scuba diving among brilliant corals and marine
life or stop off to experience the action of a rodeo.
• Cruise past rainforest-lined roads on the Great Tropical Drive from
Townsville to Cairns. Stop at charming hinterland villages, pick up
some local artwork or take a walk in ancient forests.
• On a Cairns to Cooktown rugged driving adventure, you’ll cross the
Daintree River and discover the world’s oldest rainforest, ancient
Aboriginal rock art sites and the historic village of Cooktown.
Experience the adventure of driving yourself through one of the last
great wilderness areas of Australia, right to the most northerly point
on the Cape York Peninsula. Along the way, swim in water-lily lined
lagoons, fsh for barramundi and discover ancient Indigenous rock art.
• Follow the triangle of Australia’s most fascinating dinosaur sites
known as the Dinosaur Way. Journey back over 100 million years
and discover Australia’s largest and most unusual prehistoric locals.
You’ll see ancient remains of dinosaurs, dig with a palaeontologist
and hear about our ancient inland seas.
• explore the Gold Coast Hinterland. Slow down and enjoy winding
roads, stop at charming mountain villages to enjoy the local art
and cuisine, see ancient rainforests, dramatic waterfalls and cosy
retreats just waiting to be discovered.
• On an Outback driving adventure along the Matilda Highway, you’ll
start to notice fewer vehicles, friendly people and colder beer. Every
day brings genuine Outback characters, new attractions and natural
beauty that will take your breath away. The Matilda Highway
links Outback towns, each with their own fascinating heritage
and characters. From dinosaur digs and historic homesteads to
bush poetry under millions of stars, this is the essence of Outback
• Awaken your adventurous spirit on the Savannah Way, an epic
drive across northern Australia. Feel the heartbeat of an ancient
land when an Aboriginal guide shows you hidden rock art, and
experience an Outback sunset over a cold beer at a country pub.
The Savannah Way spans a 3700km arc across the top of the
country. Starting from tropical Cairns, you’ll see the Gulf Savannah
grasslands, the fshing town of Borroloola, the natural splendour of
the Katherine region and the great wilderness of Western Australia’s
Kimberley, ending in Broome.
• The Gibb River Road is one of Australia’s classic Outback drives.
Originally constructed in the late 1800s as a beef road to transport
cattle from surrounding stations to Derby and Wyndham, this old
stock route spans over 660kms. “The Gibb” has spectacular scenery
with many gorges, waterfalls and rivers along its length; including
Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek and the mighty Fitzroy River. Stop
to hike or swim in cool pools beneath plunging waterfalls.
• Drive the Wildlife Coast. The Coral Coast, a coastal strip from Perth
to Ningaloo Reef, is home to some of the most amazing marine life
on earth. Experience friendly dolphins, dugongs, manta rays and
turtles and swim with giant whale sharks. In the Shark Bay World
Heritage Area, you can meet dolphins at Monkey Mia, see rare
dugong and explore the rugged gorges of surrounding countryside.
Then journey north by four wheel drive to Coral Bay and Exmouth,
where you can swim with whale sharks.
• explore South Australia’s Barossa and Clare valleys – premier wine
regions – by car on a gourmet journey that will take you to some
of the country’s top wineries and eateries.
• Discover Kangaroo island, the food and wine, native wildlife and
scenery on a driving tour of our third largest island. Feast on a
culinary and wildlife smorgasbord as you weave your way around
• The Margaret River region is a superb blend of good living and
stunning nature just three and a half hours’ drive south of Perth.
Gourmet food producers, excellent restaurants and wines make
this the perfect destination for a weekend self-drive getaway.
• Seek out seasonal wildfower blooms on the Wildfower Way.
Extensive tracts of Western Australia erupt each year with
wildfowers in the Spring. Throughout the state you can follow
one of ten wildfower trails by car, stopping along the way.
• Go four wheel driving on Fraser island. Cruise along a 100km stretch
of pristine sand highway or head inland past coastal sand blows,
and lush rainforests to crystal clear lakes.