Nothing spells freedom like the open road. Let these epic photos inspire your next adventure and ignite your travel dreaming.
Whether you’re hugging the coastline or heading inland to the ochre-hued outback, Australia offers road trips like nowhere else. Why not wind down the famous Great Ocean Road and spot koalas sleeping in the treetops, or head to the rugged Eyre Peninsula in search of perfectly pink lakes.
If you’re dreaming of a road trip, let these incredible photos fuel your wanderlust.
PERTH TO ESPERANCE ROAD TRIP, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Where: Eagle Bay is three hours south of Perth
Dream road trip: Eagle Bay, a secluded escape on Western Australia’s southwest shores, is just one of the many stops along the more than 1,000-kilometre (645-mile) road trip from Perth to Esperance. The drive, also called the Great South West Edge, offers everything from urban exploring and winery touring, to coastal cruising and forest escapes. The beach paradise of Esperance, close to the sunbathing kangaroos of Lucky Bay, belongs on your bucket list.
ADELAIDE TO THE EYRE PENINSULA ROAD TRIP, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Where: Lake MacDonnell is nine hours from Adelaide
Dream road trip: When it comes to picture-perfect roads, it’s hard to compete with the one bordering Lake MacDonnell on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. Sometimes called Watermelon Avenue, this narrow track divides the pink waters of Lake MacDonnell with the neighbouring blue-green waterscape. You can make Lake MacDonnell your final destination from Adelaide, but for a more challenging outback adventure, cruise cross-country along the Nullarbor. Stretching from Adelaide to Perth, this road trip takes at least a few days, so plan ahead for an epic Aussie adventure.
THE GREAT BARRIER REEF DRIVE, QUEENSLAND
Where: Thala Beach Nature Reserve is an hour from Cairns
Dream road trip: Tropical adventures don’t come more picturesque than the 300-kilometre (186-mile) Great Barrier Reef Drive road trip, stretching from Cairns to Cape Tribulation. Following the Queensland coast, you’ll have the world’s largest reef system on one side and the Daintree Rainforest on the other. Stop along the way to snorkel in Port Douglas, learn about Aboriginal culture in the ancient Daintree Rainforest and spot saltwater crocodiles in Cape Tribulation. The drive only takes a day or two at a leisurely pace, but you’re sure to want to stay a little longer.
THE ROAD TO THE ROCK ROAD TRIP, WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Where: Mount Augustus is a three-day drive from Perth
Dream road trip: As Australia’s largest state, Western Australia has endless destinations to explore. Be amazed by the wide-open spaces on the 9-day Road to the Rock road trip, which leads from Perth to the massive Mount Augustus and back again. Stop by charming roadside restaurants, explore ancient Aboriginal rock art and cruise the open road as you venture into Australia’s Golden Outback.
THE GREAT EASTERN DRIVE, TASMANIA
Where: Freycinet is three hours from Hobart
Dream road trip: There are no wrong turns on Australia’s island state of Tasmania; there’s something breathtaking around every corner. As you wind along the coast on the 176-kilometre (109-mile) Great Eastern Drive, make sure you also wander off the main road to enjoy the region’s incredible food, wine and nature.
MELBOURNE TO CANBERRA DRIVE, VICTORIA AND THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Where: Woomargama National Park is about four hours from Melbourne and three from Canberra
Dream road trip: Take the 680-kilometre (424-mile) route from Melbourne to Canberra and find New South Wales’ Woomargama National Park along the way. This protected area of forest is perfect for reconnecting with nature through camping, hiking and 4WD touring. You might have to venture off the beaten track to find it, but isn’t that what road trips are all about?
AIRLIE BEACH TO CAPE GLOUCESTER ROAD TRIP, QUEENSLAND
Where: Cape Gloucester is about three hours from the city of Townsville
Dream road trip: Queensland’s Whitsundays region is brimming with tiny towns and coastal oases. Head north from Airlie Beach to find Cape Gloucester, a beautiful spot with tall palm trees, secret coves and sweeping views of the Coral Sea. Clocking in at just under a one-hour drive, this route can be made into a day trip, or continue on to Townsville and Cairns for a reef and rainforest getaway.
THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD, VICTORIA
Where: Between Torquay and Port Fairy in Victoria
Dream road trip: In need of some coastal bliss? There’s no better place to find it than along the Great Ocean Road, a seaside road trip full of sweeping views, free-roaming wildlife and laid-back Aussie towns. Begin in Melbourne to find the start of the road in the surfing capital of Torquay, then drive all the way to its end in Port Fairy. You don’t have to stop here; you can extend your trip to South Australia‘s festival city of Adelaide.
THE STUART HIGHWAY ROAD TRIP, NORTHERN TERRITORY
Where: The Stuart Highway runs from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Port Augusta in South Australia
Dream road trip: There’s something uniquely special about the red earth and vast plains of Australia. Coasting down the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory, it’s just you, the open road and the quiet beauty of the Australian outback. For an epic journey, take the route all the way from Darwin to Adelaide, stopping at iconic destinations like Kakadu, Uluru, and Alice Springs.
SYDNEY TO CANBERRA DRIVE, NEW SOUTH WALES AND THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Where: Australia’s capital of Canberra
Dream road trip: Nestled halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, Canberra is a worthy addition to anyone’s road trip itinerary. Take the Federal Highway from Sydney to Canberra, a drive of about three hours, to discover urban breweries, cool-climate wines, world-renowned museums and amazing road and mountain biking opportunities.