Road-tripping through Australia is on many travelers’ bucket lists for a reason. The interesting wildlife, stunning scenery, and pristine beaches have drawn local and international tourists to jump in a car or van and discover the great outdoors.
From the tropical green rainforests, and the 40,000 km of coastline to the desert dust of the Outback, the sheer variety of spectacular road journeys available in Australia makes it almost too difficult to choose a top 5.
These inexpensive Australian road trips should provide you with all the motivation you need to start traveling, leading to some of the best adventures.
By taking a road trip, you’ll see some of the most incredible hidden gems. Even Australians include a road trip of some sort on their travel wish lists. If they have not seen a lot of Australia in their earlier years you will see many retired Australians in motorhomes and campers traveling the northern parts of Australia, throughout the year.
Compile your favorite song list, pack your bags, and prepare for a life-changing road trip experience!
1. Great Ocean Road Victoria
From Melbourne to Adelaide, the Great Ocean Road is one of the most stunning Australian road trips. From Torquay to Peterborough, the famously scenic road follows the clear blue coastline, detouring briefly through the Otway Ranges. It then joins the Princes Highway near Warrnambool, which continues on until Adelaide.
Although the entire Great Ocean Road is a beautiful drive, the area near Port Campbell has some of the most renowned and stunning views. Including some breathtaking geological features like London Bridge and the Twelve Apostles, you will see this part of the Great Ocean Road is popular with tourists from all over.
Accommodation along the coast can be expensive, especially in the summer, given its popularity for all types of travelers. Camping could be costly unless you plan ahead and stay in a number of free campgrounds.
Budget trips for Australian road trips on the Great Ocean Road:
- Enjoy free camping
- Carpool to share fuel costs
- Pack snacks and water.
2. NSW South Coast
A trip down the south coast of New South Wales is highly worth considering as it will take you past picturesque shorelines, quaint boutiques, and renowned restaurants and wineries.
This road trip is ideal in any season by motorhome or car. You will enjoy the freedom to decide how long you spend in each location, and slow travel is encouraged for you to really take in this part of Australia.
Compared to traveling north from Sydney, the NSW South Coast is typically more peaceful. The towns are charming, the beaches are undeveloped, and there is an abundance of locally grown food. The south coast of NSW is perfect for all types of vacations, including family vacations, road trips for two, and getaways with friends.
Budget tips for Australian road trips on the NSW South Coast:
- Find free camping in NSW
- Plan ahead for meals and snacks
- Travel in the off-peak season.
3. Eyre Peninsula
Located in South Australia the Eyre Peninsula is one of Australia’s most popular road trips, and best done in 2 to 4 days to take in all the stunning locations. The main stops along this part of Australia’s south coast are Mintaro, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Coffin Bay, and Streaky Bay.
Australia’s Eyre Peninsula is the place to cage dive with great white sharks in the morning, view whales at lunchtime and eat oysters by the sea in the evening.
The Eyre Peninsula is well-known for its outstanding white sand beaches, variety of wildlife, and excellent fishing and seafood. In addition, there are plenty of luxurious accommodation options, two national parks, and calm, protected bays.
Budget tips for Australian road trips on the Eyre Peninsula:
- Travel in the off-peak seasons
- Book everything well ahead.
4. Regional Victoria
While many tourists choose to drive the whole of Australia on a road trip, regional Victoria offers many incredible locations to discover that cover a lot of Australia’s geographic and biological variety.
Regional Victoria is filled with beauty and adventure, including world-class vineyards, natural springs, lush mountain ranges, and magnificent coastlines.
Here are some key locations to consider when traveling in regional Victoria:
Wilsons Promontory National Park
The renowned Wilsons Promontory National Park clings to the southernmost edge of the Australian peninsula. The national park affectionately referred to as The Prom has a stunning variety of landscapes: granite-studded hills, white sand beaches, and flaming orange rocks contrast with the clear turquoise waters. There are few places where you can feel more remote than Wilsons Prom, which is home to fern gullies and thriving wildlife.
Camping is encouraged here for the full Prom experience, amongst the protected nature and wildlife. There are cabins for hire as well, depending on your budget and preference.
Regional Victoria’s preferred retreats for relaxation include Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. These cities, which are renowned for their natural mineral springs and picturesque landscape, also encourage a healthy way of life by fostering physical and spiritual wellness. They also have lovely mountain views, woodlands, gardens, rich cuisine, opulent spa services, and lakes.
The iconic Twelve Apostles are part of the Great Ocean Road, which is one of the region’s must-see destinations and stretches 243 kilometers around Victoria. The Great Ocean Road is considered one of nature’s most magnificent masterpieces and should be visited at least once in your lifetime. There are numerous hidden gems to find along the Great Ocean Road, which runs in entirety from Torquay to Port Fairy.
Budget tips for Australian road trips in Regional Victoria:
- Hire or buy a second-hand van
- Stay in free campgrounds
- Bring your own snacks
- Book ahead and search for discounts.
Don’t forget to include Tasmania on your list of must-see locations in Australia. There are plenty of beautiful places to visit, whether you drive the entire state of Tasmania, or choose key sections for your road trip like the Launceston to Hobart drive.
MONA, Cradle Mountain, Wineglass Bay, and experiencing the exceptional food and wine in this region are only some of the best things to do when road-tripping in Tasmania.
Budget tips for Australian road trips in Tasmania:
- Staying in hostels can be an excellent way to cut costs, immerse yourself in the local culture, and make friends with other travelers, whether you’re only visiting for the weekend or longer.
- Because there are fewer hostels in Tasmania, it is best to plan ahead and make reservations well in advance.
- Carpool on road trips.
Ready to embark on the best Australian road trips this year?
There are hundreds of road trips to be taken in Australia and this list is only some of the top budget ways to travel Australia. If you have a road trip budget to stick to, keep in mind peak seasons, varying food and entertainment prices, and any additional costs which might pop up unexpectedly.
Everyone can take a road trip in Australia. Both experienced off-roaders and families who require all the conveniences can choose a section of the road that is ideal for them to explore.
No matter how challenging your road trip will be, always be ready with a functional phone, enough bottled water, and access to roadside help. This will ensure a smooth trip and great memories for years to come.
Australia is best seen via a road trip to really experience the culture and history. If planned well, it could be the road trip of a lifetime!
Kate Rae is a travel blogger at Not A Tourist, providing alternative and unique travel tips for Australia. Kate loves coffee, sunshine, and wandering through new cities discovering neighborhoods and incredible sights.
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