Australian songs for the ultimate road trip playlist

couple happy on a road trip


Posted January 25, 2024

Enjoy the best Aussie music from every state, with a road trip playlist designed to have you rocking across the country.

Australia has as much musical talent as we do open road, so why not fuse the two on your next cross-country road trip Down Under? 

For your next long-distance holiday across the country, rather than pumping out the same top 20 pop hits, support your local music scene with our rocking playlist featuring the best Aussie artists from every state and territory in Australia.

A small caveat: while of course, musical taste is subjective and there are thousands of artists to check out across the country, the following are some of the best to start pumping your road trip off on the right note.

And remember, whenever you travel, stay Road Trip Happy by packing your emergency car kit, and making sure your emergency roadside assistance is up to date.


The best Aussie music for each state of your road trip


Travelling through the Garden State? Whether you’re going down the famed Great Ocean Road, taking a trip to the High Country or rocking on to the Murray River, here’s some iconic Victorian artists to get you from Melbourne to Mildura: 

Kylie Minogue – Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia’s highest-selling female artist of all time has a library of albums spanning five decades – more than you’ll need to cross the state. They’re so good you can’t get them out of your head. 

Nick Cave – Originally from the small town of Warracknabeal, Australia’s answer to Johnny Cash has a brilliant discography if you’re looking for something dark and broody. Bonus points for his collaborations with other Vic artists like Kylie Minogue and Warren Ellis. 

Jet – Skyrocketing to international stardom with their 2003 album Get Born, the Dingley natives will have you singing Rollover DJ quicker than them picking up six Grammys in one night. 

Crowded House – Don’t hold it against front man Neil Finn that he is technically a Kiwi. The Melbourne-based band even have a street in Elwood named after their late drummer, Paul Hester Walk. Now we’re getting somewhere! 

The Living End – Shooting to fame after meeting in Wheeler’s Hill in 1997 with their punk rock single Prisoner of Society, these now-40-somethings are still touring and rocking as hard as ever.

John Farnham – Affectionally known as ‘Farnsy,’ or ‘Whipsering Jack,’ is it even an Aussie road trip playlist without Australia’s (preferred) national anthem, You’re The Voice? 

Vance Joy – Getting the top spot on Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2013 with Riptide, James Keogh (aka Vance Joy) gave up a promising career as an AFL player to follow his musical aspirations that will make you wanna sing the words wrong.

Tones and I – Taking the world by storm with her hit Dance Monkey in 2019, the Mount Martha native went on to go 17 x platinum and reach #1 in over 30 countries. 

Honourable mentions: Hunters & Collectors, Amy Shark, Daryl Braithwaite, The Cat Empire, Something for Kate, Airbourne, Taxiride, Area-7, Tash Sultana, Killing Heidi, Little River Band, Chrissy Amphlett, Baker Boy, Xavier Rudd, Tina Arena, Archie Roach.

New South Wales

Cruising along the east coast to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or on a quest to see all of Australia’s Big Things? Whatever your trip, here’s what to press play on once you cross the Murray: 

AC/DC – Founded in Sydney in 1973, AC/DC are the unquestionable kings of Australian rock and roll. With almost every track designed to be blasted down a highway to hell, each song is perfect road trip material.

Silverchair – Fronted by the iconic Daniel Johns, Newcastle’s Silverchair have a legacy that has spanned decades, generations, and genres – including grunge, rock, and alternative scenes to sing along to as you cross those Straight Lines.

Midnight Oil – Founded in 1978, Midnight Oil are one of Australia’s most politically charged bands with hits like Beds are Burning and The Power and the Passion. After disbanding in 2002 when front man Peter Garrett pursued his political career, the group reformed in 2016.

INXS – Inducted into the ARIA hall of fame in 2001, the legendary rock band headed by the late great Michael Hutchins are one of the few Aussie acts to mystify all those beforehand, getting nominated for Grammy, ARIA and MTV awards. 

Honourable mentions: Spiderbait, Grinspoon, Troy Cassar-Daley, The Kid LAROI, Wolfmother, Icehouse, The Presets, Flume, Hoodoo Gurus, Moving Pictures, Mental As Anything, Angus & Julia Stone, You Am I, Matt Corby.

Yothu Yindi performing in 2019. Image: Alamy.
Peter Garrett still has The Power and The Passion. Image: Getty.


Queensland is the sweet escape, whether you’re headed to explore the attractions of the Gold Coast, the relaxation of Noosa and the Sunshine Coast, or you’re going up north for a full Great Barrier Reef adventure in Far North Queensland.

Powderfinger – With five consecutive number-one-selling studio albums, watch the sun set over the beaches with singalongs to one of Australia’s most successful Brissie rock bands. 

Savage Garden – Exploding onto the scene in 1993, The Brisbane duo’s brand of pop rock earned them international fame that took their success to the moon and back. Hopefully you can find the drink of the same name on the way as you sing out ‘chica-cherry cola!’ 

Amy Shark – Being awarded eight ARIAs Awards from 29 nominations is no small feat for any singer, but the Gold Coast alum has gone on to perform with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, and judge on the new Australian Idol. Hope she tells them all we said hi.  

Christine Anu – One of Australia’s most beloved female artists, Christine Anu’s rendition of My Island Home continues to be heralded an Australian anthem, which you can enjoy with sunshine on a rainy day.

Regurgitator – The Brisbane-based trio’s second studio album, Unit, was released in November of 1997 and has since gone triple-platinum featuring hits like I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff  and Polyester Girl.

Bee Gees – While The Disco Kings were raised as children in Manchester, they moved to Brisbane in the 1950s and became the Bee Gees in the Sunshine State, so we’ll take it! Giving the world hits like Staying Alive and Night Fever, there’s no doubt you should be dancing to these disco tracks your whole drive. 

Keith Urban – Everyone’s favourite TV judge and country singer grew up in Queensland, although it’s in the USA where his career really took off, spanning four Grammys, six ARIAs, 13 Country Music Awards and 15 Academy of Country Music Awards. 

Honourable mentions:Custard, Violent Soho, Pete Murray, Sheppard, The Go-Betweens, The Amity Affliction, The Saints, George.

Northern Territory

Planning a trip down Red Centre Way? It’s time to pump the air con along with these classic territorial tunes: 

Yothu Yindi – While their song Treaty will forever be synonymous with the Northern Territory, the indigenous rock group will be remembered for bringing Aboriginal culture to the world.

Baker Boy – As the winner of Triple J’s Unearthed National Indigenous Music Awards in 2017, this young RnB artist has already opened for 50 Cent and performed at the AFL Grand Final, so enjoy the ride.

Jessica Mauboy – Discovered on the fourth season of Australian Idol in 2006, Mauboy is now an acclaimed musician, actress, and tv judge – and singing along is just inescapable. 

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu – Known as Gurrumul and Dr G. Yunupingu, began his career as a backing vocalist for Yothu Yindi. Gurrumul went on to create triple-platinum albums telling stories of the land.

Leah Flanagan – The Darwin-born singer-songwriter has collaborated with Paul Kelly and the late Archie Roach, and appeared on shows such as Spicks and Specks and Rockwiz.

Honourable mentions: Ted Egan, Nokturnl, Gus Williams, Martine Locke, David Blanasi, Isaac Yamma.


Rollover DJ, it's Nic Cester from JET. Image: Alamy.
Amy Shark and Archie Roach share a moment on stage. Image: Alamy.
Can I Get a Moment to sing Jessica Mauboy's hits on the drive? Image: Getty.

Western Australia

Known for its pristine beaches, snorkelling adventures, wine regions and extraordinary Kimberley Ranges, play gentle soft rock as you coast along the country’s sunniest state. 

Jebediah – Formed in 1994, the alternative rock band was a regular main-stager at the historic Big Day Out and Homebake festivals during the 90’s and early 00’s.

Tame Impala – Though the psychedelic pop group Tame Impala is known as a band, all songs are written, recorded, and performed in the studio by Kevin Parker.

John Butler Trio – While the trio may be more aligned with Byron Bay than Perth, this rock band had three debut #1 albums -what can be Better Than That? 

Eskimo Joe – Born out of Freemantle, these schoolmates have stuck together for more than 20 years and still regularly tour around the great Foreign Land.

Honourable mentions:End of Fashion, Birds of Tokyo, Baby Animals, Pendulum, Little Birdy, Gyroscope, Brian Cadd, Karnivool.

South Australia

You could be travelling down to the wineries of the Barossa Valley, on a day trip to Kangaroo Island or exploring the state’s capital of Adelaide. Make it a party with these stateside South Australian hits: 

Cold Chisel – Fronted by Jimmy Barnes, Cold Chisel is without doubt Australia’s quintessential pub rock band, certain to feature on every Aussie playlist as you pass those Flame Trees nationwide. 

Paul Kelly – He’ll have you singing along Before Too Long. One of Australia’s greatest storytellers, the Adelaide-born singer-songwriter has been rocking Australia’s music scene and radio waves for almost 50 years.

Sia – While the faceless singer has her own Unstoppable music career, she has also written songs for international pop icons including Rhianna, Beyoncé and Britney Spears.

Hilltop Hoods – The kings of Aussie hip hop with have you singing all the way to the Exit Sign. Debuting in 1991, they went on to have six albums go to #1 on Australia’s album charts.

Kasey Chambers – The Adelaide-born country music superstar was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame following her incredible fourteen ARIA Music Awards sweep in 2018. 

Guy Sebastian – Our very first Australian Idol way back in 2003, Adelaide-raised Sebastian has had a musical career spanning 20 years across music and television, including 10 albums on the ARIA Top 10 charts. Just remember to Turn It Up. 

Honourable mentions:The Angels, The Superjesus, Orianthi, No Fixed Address, Wolf & Cub, The Masters Apprentices, Redgum, GANGgajang.


While Tasmania's music scene is yet to produce an international household name, here are some of the up-and-coming bands that are making a splash in the mainland Australian music scene: Dan Tuffy, Miles Brown, Greeley, Reuben Koops, Heart Beach, Tiger Choir, The Sleepy Heads, The Innocents, Christopher Coleman Collective. 

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