Sick of having the winter blues? Want to hit that Ozzy sun and road-trip your way into the new year? Here’s the ultimate roadtrip itinerary for 1 month in Australia. It encompasses the best of the East Coast itinerary, plus the iconic Great Ocean Road and an epic trail through the outback to Uluru added on the end. If you’ve even longer (lucky thing), you can easily tag the West Coast on, too
Day 1: Pick up your camper in Cairns and become acquainted with the newest member of your wolf pack on a day-drive north to Cape Tribulation via the Daintree. Head back to Cairns for sunset.
Day 2: Head south down the coast to Mission Beach where you can skydive, snorkel or just hang in a hammock. Paradise!
Day 3-5: It’s a six-hour drive from Mission Beach to Airlie Beach, the jumping off point to the Whitsunday Islands. Townsville makes for a fun lunch stop. Spend a few days island hopping the Whitsundays on a cruise or tour with like-minded travellers before hopping back into your campervan! Who knows – you might have gathered a land convoy on your voyage.
Day 6: Head south for a few hours to Rockhampton, a small town famous for its steak production. Choose to have a rest stop here before you complete the long drive down the Sunshine Coast to Rainbow Beach in the same day, or set up camp for the night.
Day 7-9: Rainbow Beach is the jumping off point for Fraser Island, home of Lake McKenzie, Champagne Pools, a pretty cool looking shipwreck and that amazing beach you can blaze along in a jeep! Enjoy!
Day 10-11: Head to Brisbane via Noosa for a night of bright lights and big city livin’. Or drinking, and the rest.
Day 12: It’s a short drive to the Gold Coast – if you can, rise early and take in Springbrook National Park along the way before catching the sunset at beautiful Burleigh Heads.
Day 13-15: Byron Bay is only an hour south of the Gold Coast. Set up camp or check into one of the buzzing hostels, hop on a surfboard, and spend an afternoon exploring nearby Nimbin, a colourful, offbeat traveller community founded in the seventies.
Day 16: Drive three hours from Byron Bay to Coffs Harbour – choose to road trip to Dorrigo National Park today too, or chill on the beach.
Day 17: It’s a long drive from Coffs Harbour to Sydney, but there’s plenty of beaches to soak up along the way.
Day 20-22: After a few nights exploring Sydney’s insane beaches and the nearby Blue Mountains National Park, head south down the Pacific Highway to Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne.
Day 22-25: Head down the Great Ocean Road – the daddy of all roadies, towards Grampians National Park. Warning: these views will blow your backpack off. Spend your 25th night in Adelaide and get some rest before an early rise to start the Outback stretch of your four-wheeled adventure.
Day 26-30: The Adelaide to Alice Springs stretch of your roadie will take you north up the Stuart Highway through the heart of the red centre. We recommend you stop off overnight in Glendambo, before carrying onto the interesting mining town of Coober Pedy where you can spend another night under the stars.
Day 31: Hello, Uluru! Watch the sunrise over Australia’s most famous rock formation… from the back of your trusty four-wheeled friend. Romantic, ey.
How do we know this’ll work? Because we go!
Here’s more tips and advice on the above itinerary from some of the Travel Experts here at STA Travel HQ…
If you can drag yourself away from Sydney’s cosmopolitan culture and picture-perfect beaches, the Blue Mountains are an absolute must-see, and only a couple of hours’ drive away. The National Park is a massive 11,400 km2 of blue haze hovering over millions of trees with abundant wildlife all around you, perfect for a day trip. Opt to visit for the scenic lookouts or get your walking boots on – the hiking tracks range from ‘I didn’t come to Aussie to exercise’ to ‘I really need to walk off three months of bad diet choices while travelling’, so all fitness levels are covered. Don’t miss the small town of Katoomba, the world-famous Three Sisters or the epic Wentworth Falls – let’s just say TLC had no idea what they were talking about when they told us not to go chasing them.
Byron Bay to Sydney via Dorrigo National Park
Driving across the East Coast can get a bit beach heavy, so if you’re in the mood for switching your views of ocean blues to forest greens, Coffs Harbour has to be a stop on your Road Trip. Head straight for Dorrigo National Park for panoramic views across luscious, thick jungle-scapes and gentle hikes to Crystal Waterfall, where you can even walk behind it.
Funniest tale: befriending a lovely little llama on the side of the road, who we named Cuzco.
Luke Moss, Social Exec behind all things Facebook at STA Travel
Three friends and I travelled across every state in Australia in a 1988 Nissan named Roy over a period of two months (it can be done!) – probably the best two months of my life.
What was our itinerary? We didn’t have one… just a map and a boot full of goon (for whoever wasn’t driving, of course!) Yes, there were sketchy moments e.g. close encounters with kangaroos, spiders, snakes and echidnas; But the laughs, sights, stories and memories I have from those two months will live with me forever. If you’re in Aus, I would recommend buying or renting a camper and going as far as you can. The freedom to drive where you want, when you want that makes it the ultimate adventure.
My favourite places? Josephine Falls natural rock slides, near Cairns, and Lichfield National Park near Darwin.