Iconic Australian road trips to do before heading overseas


Alice Piper

Posted April 06, 2022

With international borders open, many Australians are keen to get on a plane and jet off, but with so much beauty in our own backyard, you might want to do these scenic road trips first. 

It’s understandable many Australians are keen to hit the skies and explore overseas destinations after two years of border closures.

Before packing your bags and heading to the nearest airport, it’s worth looking at the amazing landscapes within our own country and finally ticking off those bucket list ideas with a good old Australian road trip. 

Iconic Australian road trips to tick off

The Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Duration: 3 days 

Is there a more iconic road trip in Victoria than the one along the Great Ocean Road? No matter how many times you do it, that rugged coastline never gets old.  

Starting in Torquay, it’s about a three-day route from Victoria's surfing capital, heading past the iconic 12 Apostles, and finishing in the beautiful town of Port Fairy.

On the first day of your trip, continue along the Great Ocean Road before stopping in Lorne for some fish ‘n’ chips. Post lunch, admire the cliff tops as you make your way to Apollo Bay, which offers incredible beaches and ocean views. 

Day two, you’ll see the famous 12 Apostles as you head towards Port Campbell, while further west in Warrnambool, you can explore some interesting maritime history. End the day in Port Fairy and enjoy an evening in the famous fishing village. 

On the final day of the road trip, head back to Melbourne by completing the journey in the opposite direction or choose one of the many exit points on the Great Ocean Road and do a little more exploring.   

car travelling along coastal road in Victoria

The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 240-kilometre stretch of road.

Melbourne to Sydney 

Duration:  5 days  

If you’re after incredible coastal vistas, then taking the scenic route from Melbourne to Sydney is the road trip for you – and while it might extend the journey from an hour’s plane trip to up to a week or so, it’s well worth the experience.  

Along the way you’ll be treated to some quirky little towns where the regional hospitality is still strong, like Mallacoota, about six hours east of Melbourne. Think picturesque beaches, secluded swimming holes, locally made products, boutique stores, fresh produce, and even Croajingolong National Park with lush hiking trails. 

Five hours straight up the east coast you’ll find Jervis Bay, where some of the most untouched and stunning beaches in Australia are located. If you have the time, you can take a dolphin cruise, go whale watching, kayak around the bay, hike around Booderee National Park, or just take in the surrounds. 

Perhaps the best part of the Melbourne to Sydney road trip is winding your way around the coast on the stunning Grand Pacific Drive north to Wollongong, where crystal blue waters lap underneath as you sit on an elevated road right above the sea – you truly do feel like you’re on the water’s edge.  

Then onwards to Sydney where there is so much to see and do

beach with buildings in background

Wollongong, a few hours south of Sydney, is a beach lovers' paradise. Credit: Destination NSW. 

Red Centre Way, Northern Territory 

Duration: Allow for 14 days  

Those who have already been to Central Australia are likely to tell you that the massive canyons, red desert sands, and lush forestry within the national parks makes it an unforgettable experience. 

Plus, with so many hidden gems throughout the trip, there's something for everyone.  

The ultimate way to see Central Australia is via the Red Centre Way, which is a drive from Alice Springs to Uluru via Kings Canyon, and delivers unparalleled natural beauty. 

In Alice Springs, you can immerse yourself in traditional Aboriginal culture and head to one of the many galleries, such as Papunya Tula Artists, Yuba Napa Gallery and Studio and the Araluen Arts Centre.  

From here, head towards Simpsons Gap, where you can spot native wildlife from the cliff tops above, and the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park, which offers secret swimming holes, as well as a 223km long Larapinta Trail.

Don’t forget the most famous landmark of all. Known as the ‘heart of the Red Centre’, Uluru is recognised as a World Heritage Site and one of the seven Natural Wonders of Oceania – just make sure you catch a beautiful sunrise or sunset at the viewing area.

family walking through desert landscape

Central Australia is full of breathtaking experiences you won't find anywhere else. 

Victoria’s High Country 

Duration: Approximately 4 days  

Victoria’s High Country is a place that is amazing to explore throughout the year. 

Once you’re in Healesville, drive towards Toolangi where you’ll pass many lookouts giving you views of lush forest and country landscapes. If you’re needing a bite to eat beforehand, Healesville is full of great dining options.  

Keep driving along the alpine road towards Mount Buffalo National Park, again checking out the lookouts on the way, in particular Murmungee Lookout and Mount Stanley Lookout. 

You’ll then find yourself in Bright, one of the more popular villages in the High Country, perfect for big and little kids alike.  

You can bike ride from Bright to Porepunkah and experience the incredible views of Mount Buffalo or take a short walk along the canyon where you can spot a platypus. 

Or head to the Bright Brewery for lunch, and finish your day with another short walk, the Apex Lookout Walk, where you’ll be blown away by the views of Mount Bogong, the highest mountain in Victoria. 

Next on this road trip, you can continue to Falls Creek, Beechworth, Rutherglen, Mansfield, or even Mt Hotham, all of which offer stunning hikes, adventures like trail bike riding, world-class food and wine, and great accommodation. The High Country allows you to go anywhere, do anything, and have a blast while you’re doing it. 

couple driving in car

Update your car insurance and purchase emergency roadside assistance before leaving on a road trip. Image: Getty.

Travel tips for happy road trips

Before hitting the road on an iconic Australian road trip, ensure that your comprehensive car insurance is up to date and that your car is running at its best with a service.

From flat batteries and lock-outs to tyre issues and empty petrol tanks, RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance is a road trip essential that will help you get moving again if you run into trouble.

Another thing to be mindful of before you hit the open road is your fuel economy. Doing things like avoiding peak hour traffic, packing less luggage, and getting your car serviced before you leave, can all help reduce fuel consumption on your road trip.

Get RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance before you head off. 
Discover more  →

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. RACV Car Insurance issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.​