This guide to road trips in Australia will help you dive head first into exploring the country by car / campervan. The Land Down Under, of course, is a place famous for such delicacies as Vegemite, Tim Tams, and pretty much anything you can throw on the barbie.
Sure you could go on a European road trip or head over to America for a road trip in the USA but, let’s be honest, planning a trip Australia sounds like the escapism we could all do with right about now. Maybe you fancy flying down the Pacific Highway, and bracing yourself for Brisbane. Perhaps you want to take on Australia’s Red Centre Way and experience the Australian outback. There is so much happening in the largest country in Oceania, and we’re to help you get a sense of what’s on offer.
The Savannah Way
Route: The Savannah Way
Distance: 2175 miles (3501 km)
Duration: 14-21 days (recommended)
If you’re looking for a great way to experience Australia, then the Savannah Way is an excellent choice. Get down to exploring the Northern territory by taking on a monster stretch of 3,500km.
Those in search of an Aussie road adventure will not be disappointed with the Savannah Way. If done at a moderate pace, you can make this last at least three weeks. You’ll definitely need some time to explore the ecosystem here, so make the most of it.
Beginning west from Cairns, take a small drive on the Atherton Tablelands to Mareeba. Waiting for you here will be stretches of plantations and mango orchards that this particular part of Queensland is well known for.
If you’re after some replenishments for the journey, then be sure to grab a bite to eat from the hip cafés along the way. You’ll be able to chow down on sprouted-grain breads and homemade yogurt with lashings of coconut.
Exploring the route in stages is by far the most enjoyable way to do it. Spending a little time in each place you visit is a must as each stop offers up a little bit of a surprise. Believe it or not, one of these places is Mount Surprise. Get lost in the history of this railway town that sits on the edge of an impressive lava flow, one formed by an ancient volcano to the south east. If you’re looking for a watering hole, be sure to grab yourself a beer at the Burketown Pub in Burketown. It claims to be Australia’s most remote pub.
As you delve deeper into the Savannah Way, you will see more and more of the outback. Heading to Timber Creek will give you the opportunity to see stunning boab trees, gorges, and the vast red landscape that this part of Australia is so famous for.
Before you know it, you’ll be ‘vrooming’ to Broome where the route meets its end. This Australian resort town is strong end to the journey. From dinosaur footprints to Purnululu National Park, where you’ll find the amazing Bungle Bungle Range, Broome has a lot to offer.
Great Central Road
Route: Great Central Road
Distance: 700 miles (1,126km)
Duration: 7-14 days (recommended)
We wouldn’t dream of leaving out the Great Central Road, one of Australia’s most iconic roads that goes through the middle of the country. Drivers of this road always come to see the famous landmark of Uluru – a gargantuan sandstone monolith.
The starting point for this 700-mile drive is Laverton, a place steeped in gold rush history. Who knows, maybe it has some lost loot for you to plunder?
The next stage on this trip is a famous waypoint on the Great Central Road, the Tjukayirla Roadhouse. This is a place where you can recuperate and get some energy back by purchasing drinks and snacks. You can even stay the night and see the myriad of stars that light up the Australian sky. If you want to find out more about the Tjukayirla Roadhouse, have a look at Vollebak’s video on one of the world’s most remote stores.
The Great Central Road is known as “Australia’s Longest Shortcut” due to the road taking you from Western Australia to the Northern territory. As you can imagine, there’s a lot happening on it. This is certainly the case in Warburton, which is home to the Ngaanyatjarra Indigenous Community. Heads up, you will require permits to enter Aboriginal communities. Each vehicle requires one of these, and all drivers and passengers must be accounted for before entering.
From Warburton, the next port of call will be Warakurna. This is a location that will treat you to a viewing of the Rawlinson Ranges, and which’ll give you the opportunity to discover some indigenous art on the trail.
A stone’s throw away from here is Docker River. Known for its campgrounds where you can pitch up a tent, or park up the campervan, and be at one with the Australian outback – just make sure that you’ve packed some insect repellent.
After this, the exciting finish will be firmly imprinted on your mind as you set a course to Yulara. When you touch down, Uluru will be waiting for you with its spectacular and stunning colour that epitomises the Australian outback.
Although reaching this spot marks the end of your Great Central Road experience, it’s only the beginning of your time within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Grab yourself a pass and get ready to fall in love with the Red Centre.