Young woman on the road standing next to a kangaroo warning
Destinations

10 Iconic Australian Road Trips – Top Experiences & Hotels

Road tripping is one of the best ways to see Australia’s scenic landscapes, from its stunning coast to otherworldly landscapes in the western outback. Whether you hire a campervan or 4WD, there’s an adventure to be had in the land Down Under. On the most iconic Australian road trips, you can enjoy the freedom of the open road while soaking up some of the world’s most incredible scenery.

Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles AUSTRALIAn road trip destination

Photo| Milky Way over the Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve| GETTYIMAGES – JOHN WHITE PHOTOS

With over 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve created a guide on the most iconic Australian road trips. Before you grab your wheels and plan your epic adventure, check out our list of must-see pit stops, the best experiences in each destination and where to stay.

The Great Ocean Road, Victoria

The Twelve Apostles, iconic australian road trip destination

Photo| Port Campbell National Park, Great Ocean Road, The Twelve Apostles| GETTYIMAGES – MANFRED GOTTSCHALK

tourists looking at the 12 apostles on the great ocean road,

Photo| Tourists looking a The 12 Apostles| GETTYIMAGES – JAMES O’NEILL

Recommended Trip Time: Less than a week

Distance: 728 kilometres

Spanning the south-west coast of Victoria, The Great Ocean Road is easily one of the most iconic Australian road trips. It’s one of the world’s best coastal drives, home to the famed 12 Apostles as well as notable surf breaks, pristine rainforest and cascading waterfalls. Take in captivating clifftop views on bushwalking adventures, stop at beachside villages or explore the various galleries, museums and heritage attractions.

Top Experiences

Where to Stay

Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs

Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs, hotel for an iconic australian road trip

Photo| Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs is a relaxing retreat for weary road trippers (and the first hot springs hotel in Victoria). In addition to cosy rooms there are stylish penthouse apartments with ocean views, as well as a spa with hot springs bathing and a Nourish Dome cafe. Alternatively, opt for casual dining or cocktails at the on-site restaurant and bar.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 104 – USD 151
Guest Rating: 8.6
Address: 16 Worm Bay Road, Warrnambool, VIC 3280, Australia

Great Eastern Drive, Tasmania

Mount William National Park at Bay of Fires, Tasmania, iconic australian road trip destination

Photo| Mount William National Park at Bay of Fires| GETTYIMAGES – POSNOV

The Bay of fires, aerial view

Photo| The Bay of Fires, aerial view| GETTYIMAGES – MONICA BERTOLAZZI

Recommended Trip Time: Less than a week

Distance: 300 kilometres

Experience the best of Tasmania’s east coast region on The Great Eastern Drive, which is considered by many to be one of the most iconic Australian road trips. With nearly 176 kilometres of scenic highway, it stretches from Orford in the south to St Helens and the Bay of Fires. Discover white-sand beaches on the coast, a thriving food and wine scene and award-winning walks that lead to uncrowded coastal views too pretty to resist.

Top Experiences

  • Stroll the orange boulder-dotted beaches at Bay of Fires dotted and snorkel crystal-clear waters in Binalong Bay.
  • Enjoy incredible bush walks, kayaking and swimming at Freycinet National Park.
  • Spot local wildlife at Maria Island, such as kangaroos, wallabies and Tasmanian devils.

Where to Stay

Freycinet Lodge

Freycinet Lodge, hotel for iconic Australian road trip

Photo| Freycinet Lodge| Provided by ICE PORTAL

One of the top eco-friendly resorts in Australia, Freycinet Lodge is set within Freycinet National Park. Stay in one of the luxe family, spa and mountain cabins, or upgrade to a waterfront pavilion for a private deck and bay views. Its on-site restaurant specializes in fresh seafood, while in-room massages, e-bikes and guided bush walks within the National Park are available.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 182 – USD 192
Guest Rating: 8.8
Address: Freycinet National Park, Coles Bay, TAS 7215, Australia

South West Edge, Western Australia

Lucky Bay lookout, iconic australian road trip destination

Photo| Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park in Western Australia| GETTYIMAGES – KIERAN STONE

Red Kangaroos on Lucky Bay

Photo| Red Kangaroos on the beach at Lucky Bay| GETTYIMAGES – JOHN W BANAGAN

Recommended Trip Time: 1 to 2 weeks

Distance: 1,600 kilometres

The South West Edge road trip offers a glimpse of the gorgeous South Western Australian landscapes. From Perth to Esperance, you’ll encounter white sand beaches, towering forests, acclaimed wine regions. Discover a road less travelled while meeting Lucky Bay’s beach-loving kangaroos, walking amongst the trees at Valley of the Giants and sipping local wines in the Margaret River wine region. Love animals? Visit between late January and April to join killer whale watching expeditions.

Top Experiences

Where to Stay

Rendezvous Hotel Perth Scarborough

Rendezvous Hotel Perth Scarborough, hotel for iconic australian road trip

Photo| Rendezvous Hotel Perth Scarborough| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Offering the perfect beginning or end to your road trip, Rendezvous Hotel Perth Scarborough offers a relaxing beachside retreat in Scarborough. Road trippers will love the modern facilities here, which includes a lagoon-style pool with ocean views, tennis courts, a games room. Spacious oceanfront rooms boast private balconies, flat-screen TVs and mini bars, as well as 24-hour in-room dining.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 104 – USD 202
Guest Rating: 8.3
Address: 148 The Esplanade, Scarborough, WA 6019, Australia

The Explorers Way, South Australia and the Northern Territory

Florence Falls

Photo| Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park| GETTYIMAGES – POSNOV

Aboriginal hand stencils on cave wall. Watarrka National Park, Northern Territory, Australia., iconic Australian road trip destinations

Photo| Aboriginal hand stencils on a cave wall. Watarrka National Park| GETTYIMAGES – TED MEAD

Recommended Trip Time: More than 2 weeks

Distance: 2,805 kilometres

An epic journey from Adelaide to Darwin, The Explorers Way is for true adventurers. Set against dramatic Australian scenery, the almost 3,000-kilometre road trip has heavy hitters such as Uluru and Kata Tjuta and Watarrka/Kings Canyon on the itinerary as well as the Clare Valley wine region and the spectacular Flinders Ranges. Expect to see numerous walking trails and abundant wildlife, as well as dramatic natural rock formations and vast open spaces full of hidden wonders.

Top Experiences

Where to Stay

Sails in the Desert

Sails in the Desert, hotel for iconic Australian road trip

Photo| Sails in the Desert| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Sails in the Desert is nestled in the heart of Australia’s Red Centre, contrasting beautifully with Uluru’s natural beauty. The hotel features a gumtree-lined swimming pool as a variety of dining, bar and lounge options, while parking, Wi-Fi and an Indigenous activities program is available. Alternatively, opt for a quiet in-room dinner (available 24/7) or a massage at Red Ochre Spa.

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 160 – USD 1,100
Guest Rating: 8.1
Address: 163 Yulara Drive, Yulara, NT, Australia

Hotel Location

The Nullarbor, South Australia

Nullarbor drive, iconic australian road trip destination

Photo| Nullarbor drive| GETTYIMAGES – KIERAN STONE

The Great Australian Bight, on the coastline of South and Western Australia.

Photo| The Great Australian Bight| GETTYIMAGES – PAILIN S. KULVONG

Recommended Trip Time: 1 to 2 weeks

Distance: 1,256 kilometres

If you enjoy wide-open spaces, set your sights on The Nullarbor. Undoubtedly one of the most iconic Australian road trips, it’s Eyre Highway goes through remote areas on the Nullarbor Plain. Visit old gold mining towns, see space junk that fell to earth at Balladonia and observe wild camels, kangaroos and emus in their natural habitat. Admire the coastal scenery at Nuytsland Nature Reserve, sand dunes at Eucla National Park and sea cliffs at Nullarbor National Park.

Top Experiences

  • Visit the Head of Bight and see southern right whales nursing their calves (between May and October).
  • Play at Nullarbor Links, the world’s longest golf course at 1,365 kilometres in length.
  • See Australia’s southern edge drop dramatically at the 90-metre high, 200-kilometre long Bunda Cliffs.

Where to Stay

Nullarbor Roadhouse

Nullarbor Roadhouse, hotel for iconic australian raod trip

Photo| Nullarbor Roadhouse| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Nullarbor Roadhouse is set in Nullarbor National Park, offering laid-back accommodation with modern amenities. After driving all day, travellers will appreciate the cosy rooms with flat-screen TVs, mini fridges and coffee makers. On-site you’ll find a general store selling food and drinks, as well as a restaurant serving “Nullar” burgers and fully licensed bar with pool, pinball and a jukebox.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 80 – USD 96
Guest Rating: 8
Address: Eyre Highway, Nullarbor, SA 5690, Australia

Legendary Pacific Coast, New South Wales & Queensland

Hyams Beach, Australia

Photo| Hyams Beach, Australia| GETTYIMAGES – KEVIN MIRC – EYEEM

The Gold Coast strip, Queensland, iconic australian raod trip destination

Photo| The Gold Coast strip, Queensland| GETTYIMAGES – SHANNONSTENT

Recommended Trip Time: 1 to 2 weeks

Distance: 900 kilometres

Sit back and savour the views along the Legendary Pacific Coast road trip, which extends from Sydney to Brisbane. Visit the wineries in the Hunter Valley, soak up the sunshine on the beaches of Port Stephens or see a different side of the Gold Coast on its Hinterland Great Walk. Showcasing the country’s famed wineries and beautiful beaches, it’s one of the most iconic Australian road trips for nature lovers, from the white sand beaches of Port Macquarie to snorkeling adventures at Solitary Islands Marine Park and bohemian vibes of Byron Bay.

Top Experiences

  • Soak up the sun at Newcastle’s Nobby Beach before sampling Semillon and Shiraz in nearby Hunter Valley. (Don’t miss McGuigan and Tyrrells.)
  • Join dolphin and whale watching tours in Port Stephens or enjoy panoramic views of the bay at Nelson Head Lighthouse.
  • Marvel at the stunning coastline views from the lookout of the Tomaree Head walk.

Where to Stay

Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges

Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges, hotel for iconic australian raod trip

Photo| Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges Provided by ICE PORTAL

Embrace the laid-back coastal lifestyle at Sails Port Macquarie by Rydges, a beautiful waterfront hotel with stylish rooms and suites with balconies. Just a 10-minute stroll from the CBD, the hotel boasts an outdoor heated pool and spa with private cabanas overlooking Hastings River. Also, you can enjoy watersports like kayaks and canoes or dine at the on-site restaurant with marina views.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 125 – USD 331
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 20 Park Street, Port Macquarie, NSW 2444, Australia

Grand Pacific Drive, New South Wales

Sea Cliff Bridge, New South Wales Aerial, iconic Australian raad trip destination

Photo| Sea Cliff Bridge, New South Wales| GETTYIMAGES – ALEXWISE

Headland of Wollongong city on Pacific coast

Photo| Coastloop| GETTYIMAGES – TARAS VYSHNYA

Recommended Trip Time: Less than a week

Distance: 140 kilometres

Perfect for family road trips, the Grand Pacific Drive offers a dazzling tour of New South Wales. It’s got something for everyone, from white-sand beaches and hinterland towns to migrating whales. This easy yet epic trip leads to Wollongong’s famous Sea Cliff Bridge, the surfing mecca of Werri Beach and the popular White Sands Walk in Jervis Bay. If you have time, you can extend your trip to Canberra to experience the nation’s exciting capital.

Top Experiences

  • Stop at Kiama to see its famous blowhole, then spend the day at Seven Mile Beach in Shoalhaven Heads.
  • Spot dolphins, fur seals, penguins and whales in Jervis Bay, which encompasses Jervis Bay Marine Park, Jervis Bay National Park and Booderee National Park.
  • Surf and snorkel at Bawley Point or visit nearby Pebbly Beach to see a colony of kangaroos along the seashore.

Where to Stay

Novotel Wollongong Northbeach

Novotel Wollongong Northbeach, hotel for iconic Australian road trip

Photo| Novotel Wollongong Northbeach| Provided by ICE PORTAL

Sat across from a surf-patrolled beach, Novotel Wollongong Northbeach boasts chic rooms with ocean views. In addition to flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi and a mini bar, posh Suites add separate living rooms. Start your day with a buffet breakfast or beachfront stroll, then take advantage of the free bus that connects to the city centre or relax poolside or at the sauna.

Star Rating: 4.5*
Price: USD 111 – USD 361
Guest Rating: 8.5
Address: 2-14 Cliff Road, North Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia

The Gibb River Road, Western Australia

Gibb River Road,Kimberleys, Western Australia, iconic australian road trip destination

Photo| Gibb River Road, Kimberleys| GETTYIMAGES – ROBIN SMITH

Termite mounds in outback

Photo| Termite mounds in outback| GETTYIMAGES – JOHN W BANAGAN

Recommended Trip Time: 1 to 2 weeks

Distance: 660 kilometres

Traversing the rugged Kimberley wilderness, The Gibb River Road is one of the most iconic Australian road trips for 4WD adventures. Stretching from Derby to Kununurra, this legendary outback route offers access to rocky ridges, bulbous boab trees and secluded gorges. You can explore Windjana Gorge National Park, which is considered one of the best places in Australia to see freshwater crocodiles in the wild or hike the scenic trails that lead to majestic, four-tiered Mitchell Falls.

Top Experiences

  • Hike Windjana Gorge National Park to see abundant birdlife and crocodiles bathing in the sunshine.
  • Follow the two-kilometre walking track at Lennard River Gorge for dramatic views over the gorge and waterfalls.
  • Immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture at the Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Cultural Centre.

Where to Stay

Home Valley Station

Whether you prefer a rugged outdoor adventure or intimate experience, Home Valley Station has got you covered with its various accommodation options. Choose from eco-tents in the bush or luxe grass castles, which feature floor-to-ceiling and water views. Refuel at the outback pub The Dusty, then sign up for fishing, helicopter and walking tours.

Star Rating: 2*
Price: USD 165 – USD 350
Guest Rating: 8.7
Address: Gibb River Road East Kimberley, Kununurra, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef Drive, Queensland

Daintree River Bends

Photo| Daintree River Bends| GETTYIMAGES – MICHAEL COOK – ALTAI WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY

Nudey beach on Fitzroy island near Cairns, iconic australian road trip destination

Photo| Nudey beach backpacker| GETTYIMAGES – JOHN CRUX PHOTOGRAPHY

Recommended Trip Time: Less than a week

Distance: 140 kilometres

While a short drive, the coastal Great Barrier Reef Drive has no shortage of excitement. Despite its distance, this iconic road trip showcases the best of tropical North Queensland and its windswept beaches, colourful coral reef and rainforest landscapes. In addition to two World Heritage sites (the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest), you can join crocodile spotting tours, soak in freshwater swimming holes and explore the rainforest on a 4WD tour.

Top Experiences

  • Visit Clifton Beach, Trinity Beach and Ellis Beach, then savour the panoramic Coral Sea views at Rex Lookout.
  • Enjoy the trendy restaurants, boutique shopping and popular Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas.
  • Admire Aboriginal art in Mossman’s Janbal Gallery or dive into the cool, clear swimming holes at Mossman Gorge.

Where to Stay

Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas

Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas, hotel for iconic Australian road trip destination

Photo| Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Break up your road trip with a luxury stay at Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, a lavish resort nestled amid white-sand beaches and verdant tropical gardens. Enjoy luxury living in the swim-up rooms with direct access to the saltwater lagoon pools or upgrade to a multi-room villa. In addition to delectable cuisine offered at multiple on-site eateries, you can tee off at the hotel’s 18-hole golf course.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 261 – USD 2,422
Guest Rating: 8.7
Address: Port Douglas Road, Port Douglas, QLD 4877, Australia

The Red Centre Way, Northern Territory

 red centre roads in the Australian Outback, iconic australian road trip destination

Photo| Red centre roads in the Australian Outback| GETTYIMAGES – FELIX CESARE

Rock Formations At Kings Canyon Against Cloudy Sky, australian road trip destination

Photo| Rock Formations At Kings Canyon| GETTYIMAGES – KAY HNER – EYEEM

Recommended Trip Time: 1 Week

Distance: 1,148 kilometres

It will take you about a week to complete Australia’s Red Centre Way. Certainly one of the most iconic Australian road trips, this journey boasts ancient landscapes and weaves through Alice Springs, Kings Canyon and Uluru. Seeing the beauty of the central Australian outback is a rite of passage with its incredible rock formations, stunning gorges and tranquil swimming holes best seen on foot, from the air or on the back of a camel.

Top Experiences

Wildflower And Mountain

Photo| Wildflower and Mountain| GETTYIMAGES – ANITA BUNK – EYEEM

Where to Stay

Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters

Crown Plaza Alice Springs, hotel for iconic australian road trip

Photo| Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Just a few minutes from Alice Springs CBD, Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters is nestled under the MacDonnell Ranges. In addition to spacious rooms and a resort-style pool, spa and sauna, it boasts multiple on-site restaurants. After hours in the car, travellers will appreciate the spa’s menu of pampering massages, facials and beauty treatments.

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 110 – USD 248
Guest Rating: 8.6
Address: 93 Barrett Drive, Alice Springs, NT 0870, Australia

Add These Iconic Australian Road Trips to Your Bucket List

Maze of weathered sandstone domes at Watarrka National Park

Photo| Maze of weathered sandstone domes at Watarrka National Park| GETTYIMAGES – POSNOV

Australia offers a multitude of gorgeous landscapes perfect for road tripping, with your only limitation being the time you have to explore. Hire a car and pack your sense of adventure, as these iconic Australian road trips offer bucket list-worthy scenery, from the outback to the shimmering coast. After a long day of sightseeing, recharge at one of these top hotels with luxe amenities.

What do you think are the most iconic Australian road trips? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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