See the best of Australia from the road
Written by Dale Erdmier
Everyone can dream up a sunrise morning driving along a coast, but with some picturesque drives in Australia — the real thing is better than the dream. We gathered a few must-see drives that will not only make your Instagram feed, but your top campervan trips list. It might be time to request those days off, pack up your van, and set out for the road trip you’ve been meaning to take. These are just some of the drives we recommend.
The Great Ocean Road, VIC
- Distance: 234 km
The Great Ocean Road: 234 kilometres of sun-drenched coastline, koala-abundant national park, and dreamy ocean-side campsites. This is one of Australia’s most popular road trip drives and you can see why. Plan to leave from Torquay (but be sure to stop by the surf haven, Bells Beach) and make your way down the coast. This drive offers incredible coastline views, including the iconic Apostles. Not sure where the other five are? While this spot is known as the Twelve Apostles, only seven of the limestone stacks are visible!
Wondering what time of year to visit? We recommend winter.
The Grand Pacific Drive, NSW
- Distance: 140 km
I love a drive with the chance to see coastal cities and stop at breathtaking cliff faces. Driving your campervan along the Grand Pacific Drive will offer New South Wales views at their best. The show-stopper, Sea Cliff Bridge, sits in Wollongong. When you get to the bridge, there will be a small parking bay where you can park. From here, you can stop and walk down to the main lookout to soak up the views. If it’s whale season, keep your eyes on the ocean and see if you can spot any whale friends.
Watermelon Avenue (Lake MacDonnell), SA
- Distance: 15 km
What, pink lakes exist? That was my first thought. I think it’s normal to look at a photo of Lake MacDonnell and wonder if it’s photoshopped…but guess what: it’s real. A drive down ‘Watermelon Avenue’ places you next to Lake MacDonnell – which is South Australia’s very own pink lake. Just outside of Penong this drive is actually part of the Nullarbor (more on that below). This epic pink lake stop doesn’t take a lot of time, but make sure your camera battery is charged because you’ll want to capture this beauty.
Great Barrier Reef Drive, QLD
- Distance: 140 km
The Great Barrier Reef Drive is a crown jewel up in Queensland. This drive covers two epic World Heritage-listed areas point-to-point, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. You’ll see immaculate beaches, rainforest, and beautiful reefs — all from the road. Set time aside to explore the world’s oldest living rainforest and the wildlife in this historic place, and don’t leave until you’ve experienced the reef! If you have extra time, I’d recommend stopping in Port Douglas too for some beautiful hikes.
The Eyre Highway across Nullarbor Plain, SA to WA
- Distance: 1660 km
Driving across the Nullarbor Plain doesn’t offer heaps of places to stop off, but it is remote Australia in all its glory. This is Australia’s straightest drive. Eyre Highway is flat, treeless, and seems to go on forever, which is why driving a campervan is ideal. Make sure you have plenty of supplies with you, maybe your favourite audiobook playing through the speakers, and you could travel all the way from South Australia to Western Australia in a straight shot. This is a less touristy option that you could turn into an unforgettable holiday.
Alice Springs to Uluru, NT
- Distance: 450 km
The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru is a must-do. You’ll find yourself among the Red Centre with bright colours in sharp contrast to the blues and greens of Australia’s coastal drives. 4WD isn’t required, because there is an all sealed road option. But if you’re keen for an unsealed adventure, the Mereenie Loop is all yours. Once you arrive at Uluru, you can walk the 10km loop around the entire base before parking your camper up for an unreal sunset. Driving tip: make sure you do this one in the daylight. At night, there can be a lot of wildlife on the road!
Psssst! Feeling inspired for your next legendary road trip? I hope so. It’s hard not to want to pack up and go after reading this list. If you’re wondering how to school your kids on the road, read this before you drive off.