The Perfect Australian Summer Road Trip Itinerary
There’s nothing quite as thrilling as the open road. And there’s no place nearly as rugged and magical as Australia. Put the two together, and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect road trip.
But where to begin? In a country that’s almost 2500 miles across, there’s plenty of choices. Sydney? Melbourne? Darwin?
Why not see it all? Check out this road trip itinerary that will help you make the most of your holiday and see as much of Australia as possible.
Part 1: Perth – Exmouth, Western Australia
Begin from WA’s beautiful capital city of Perth and head north along the coast. This is one of Australia’s most spectacular region’s, but is far less touristed than the east. Enjoy secluded beaches, fascinating natural land formations, and plenty of wildlife.
Monkey Mia – see dolphins being fed daily
Exmouth – go swimming with whale sharks
The Pinnacles – bizarre rock formations in the desert
Coral Bay – exquisite snorkelling and swimming
Part 2: Exmouth – Broome, WA
Broome, Western Australia deserves a few nights of your stay. If you travel at the right time of year, you could savour several different iconic Broome experiences, including riding a camel across a sunset-streaked beach and witnessing the moon rise over the sea at low-tide in an eerie phenomenon known as “staircase to the moon.” Australia is truly an incredible destination.
Part 3: The Red Centre
From Broome your road trip takes you slightly to the north with a stop at Katherine in the Northern Territory. Here you can take a boat tour through impressive gorges or relax in a nearby hot spring. If you’re curious about Australia’s saltwater crocodiles, pop up to Darwin or Kakadu National Park, where you can join a croc tour and see these powerful creatures from a safe distance.
Then, it’s time to drive south. This is the outback, and you’ll seldom encounter other travellers along your journey. Your main stops will be Alice Springs, an oasis of civilisation after endless driving, and the spiritual rock of Australia, the place known as Uluru.
Part 4: From the Northern Territory into South Australia
Part four of your adventure brings you down into SA, with a stop in the charming city of Adelaide following a few nights in Coober Pedy. A major opal mining town, Coober Pedy is a fascinating desert outpost where many of the inhabitants actually live underground the escape the daily heat. Ever wanted to stay in an underground hotel? This is your chance!
Part 5: Adelaide to Melbourne, including the Great Ocean Road
As you drive from Adelaide towards Melbourne, you’ll have the opportunity to take in the Great Ocean Road, a true Australian bucket list item. This coastal highway offers breathtaking views with countless places to stop and take in the marvelous scenery. Don’t miss the famous Twelve Apostles rock formations or the majestic Loch Ard Gorge.
Part 6: Melbourne to Sydney
There are a few different routes to take between these two important cities, but you’ll certainly want to spend time exploring both. Melbourne is known for its coffee and its vibrant arts culture, while Sydney boasts significant icons (the opera house) and beaches (such as Bondi).
Part 7: To Paradise
The final part of your Australian road trip brings you up the Queensland coast, where nearly every city you pass will beckon you to stay awhile. But your ultimate destination is the Whitsunday Islands. You’ll have to take a break from the car, however, and hop onboard a boat to reach these 74 heavenly isles. After so much driving, you won’t be able to wait to stretch out on those white sandy beaches and enjoy a nice long nap.
Congratulations, you’ve found paradise.