Australia. The first country I ever visited, which I guess is pretty easy if that’s where you were born! As the song says, “no matter how far or how wide I roam, I still call Australia home”.
No matter where in the world you are from, I will always highly recommend that you visit Australia. It is a country unlike no other, from the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the luscious rainforests of Northern Queensland to the dry, red and dusty Outback.
There really is something for everyone in Australia.
Australia is a HUGE country, driving from Sydney to Perth is the equivalent of driving from Spain to Syria!
Despite the size of the country and ALL of the deadly creatures, driving around Australia (or at least part of Australia) is something you have to do at least once in your life.
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Planning a trip to Australia? Check out these other posts:
12 Best things to do in Beechworth
13 of the best things to do on the Mornington Peninsula
Three day Great Ocean Road Itinerary
- 1 Tips for Driving Around Australia
- 2 Road Trip Essentials
- 3 Best places in Tasmania
- 4 Best places in Victoria
- 5 Best places in Western Australia
- 6 Best places in Northern Territory
- 7 Best places in Queensland
- 8 Best places in New South Wales
- 9 Share it!
- 10 My BEST Travel Resources
Tips for Driving Around Australia
As I mentioned above, Australia is a very big country. You could drive for nine hours and not come across anything or leave the state you are in!
Make sure you have plenty of fuel, snacks and water before you head off every day. There is nothing worse (or more dangerous) than being stuck in the middle of the outback without any fuel or water.
Plan for some very long days of driving. If you are driving in remote parts of Western Australia, The Northern Territory or Queensland, there may be a long way between your stops.
We drive on the left in Australia! Make sure you go the correct way around the round-a-bouts.
Despite our “small” population, our cities can get very busy, so make sure you take your time when you’re driving in the city.
In remote parts of the country you may struggle to find a GPS signal so make sure you pack some paper maps.
Be mindful of Kangaroos, deer, wombats, or any animal when you’re driving at night time. They will come out of no where.
Have the time of your life. The Great Australian Road trip is something you will remember for ever.
Road Trip Essentials
When going on a road trip you need to make sure you are prepared for anything.
You can’t start driving around Australia without the following essential items:
A phone mount: These days our phones are used for everything from maps to music. In Australia, the fines for using your phone whilst driving are huge! So do yourself a favour and invest in a phone mount.
Phone charger: If you are relying on your phone for maps and music make sure you pack a charger.
Snacks: Make sure you before you leave every day you have some food. Not every servo (service station/gas station/road house) will have the most appetizing food so make sure you have some of your favourite snacks on hand.
So lets get into the stops you MUST make when you’re driving around Australia
Best places in Tasmania
Sharon, Tasmania Explorer
There’s something special about islands so if you want something extra special on your Australian road trip, visit this island off an island off an island! At 362 square kilometers, Bruny is big enough to give you plenty to explore while still being small enough to discover on a weekend. It’s beautiful, full of wildlife and a fun place to explore unlike any other in Australia.
Located off the south east coast of Tasmania, Bruny Island is a surprisingly easy place to visit as part of your Tasmanian adventure.
The car ferry to the island runs regularly and is only a 40 minute drive south of Hobart. Despite being easy to get to, this small extra level of difficulty with the ferry helps keep the masses away and gives Bruny an untouched feel.
There are many things to do on Bruny Island which tend to revolve around nature and delicious food and wine.
First stop has to be at The Neck which is pictured here with the Tasman Sea on one side which has a noticeably different sea level to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel on the other.
In the evening, penguins call this area home and you can watch them arrive on the beach and settle in for the night,
South Bruny National Park is the place to head for hiking and discovering the rugged coastline of this island with Labillardiere Peninsula a good place to start down the south.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite get ready for a progressive meal with oysters fresh from the ocean at Get Shucked, lunch at Bruny Island Wines and then chocolate for dessert at the chocolate factory and cheese at Bruny Island Cheese.
Always keep a look out for the wildlife which can appear from anywhere.
For somewhere to stay, check out Bruny Island Escapes And Hotel for a range of room options.
Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park
Nina, Plentiful Travels
The Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage and undisputedly one of the most beautiful national parks in Australia. From the rugged peaks of Cradle Mountain to the mirrored waters of Crater Lake, this National Park is a must do on a road trip around Tasmania.
How to get to Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park
The Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park is located in the middle of Tasmania and is easily accessible from the two major cities of the island, Hobart and Launceston. The park has two main entrances: The northern entrance is about 1.5 hours from Launceston and the southern entrance is located 2.5 hours west of Hobart. Shuttle busses run every 15 minutes from the Visitor’s Centre to five different locations between there and Dove Lake.
What to do in the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park
One of the main highlights of the National Park is the view of the Cradle Mountain as well as the Dove and Crater Lakes from Marion’s Lookout. The track starts at Ronny Creek along a flat boardwalk and then slowly climbs to the Boat Shed and Crater Lake before hitting a junction up to Marion’s Lookout. It is a steep climb to the Lookout with chains to help one up on one section. The circular trail around Dove Lake is an easy, flat, about 6 km long hike that climbs a bit only in the east, where a small headland is crossed.
Furthermore, the Overland Track, which also starts at Ronny Creek and goes up to Marion’s Lookout, remains the most popular option for exploring the breathtaking National Park with its great views of mountain lakes and majestic mountains. The famous 65-kilometer trail which starts in the north from Cradle Mountain National Park and ends in the south in Lake St Clair National Park can be covered in six days and is quite challenging.
Platypus Bay Trail is an easy 90 minutes walk starting at the Lake St. Clair National Park Visitor’s Centre. The platypus lookout hide is the best place to scope platypus by dusk.
Where to stay in the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park
The Cradle Mountain Hotel is perfectly located as a starting point for hikes in the national park. The reception offers day passes and detailed information about the shuttle buses and hiking routes.
Freycinet National Park
Rachel, Rachel Off Duty
Frecyinet National Park is a stunning, spectacular road trip destination for anyone visiting Tasmania.
The landscapes here are unlike anything in the world, with secluded beaches, deep blue water, and rounded, pinkish-red granite rocks that give off a sort of cartoonish, other-worldly allure.
This national park is located on the Freycinet Peninsula, just 2.5 hours drive from Hobart, the capital of Tasmania.
While you can surely visit in one day, the best way to experience this national park in all its glory is to dedicate at least one full day and one night to the area!
From Hobart, rent a car and hit the road going north. You’ll find yourself on the Great Eastern Drive, one of the most stunning stretches of road in all of Tasmania.
Head towards Coles Bay, but be sure to stop in Swansea at one of the vineyards and tasting rooms dotted on the sides of the road for a quick tasting of some amazing Tassie wine and food.
Once at Coles Bay, you’ll be able to base yourself here for the night. Check in to the Freycinet Lodge, a secluded waterfront hotel at the beginning of the peninsula, with incredible views of Honeymoon Bay and even more incredible accommodations made to celebrate Tasmanian design and ecology.
It’s a bit of a splurge, but absolutely worth it for a one-night stay. Pro tip: get your breakfast delivered to your room in the morning while you enjoy the views. It’s free of charge!
At Freycinet National Park, be sure to visit Sleepy Bay, Cape Tourville Lighthouse, and Friendly Beaches. The colours wherever you go will be unreal – the crimson and burnt orange and rust colors of the Hazards mountain range, juxtaposed against vibrant cerulean water and deep green brush.
If you’re lucky, you’ll even glimpse some wildlife, like Tasmanian devils, echidnas, wombats, and wallabies. And of course, no trip to Frecyinet is complete without admiring Wineglass Bay, frequently referred to as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Best places in Victoria
Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s classic drives and the highlight of any trip there is a stop at the 12 Apostles.
These stunning rock formations were created by the erosion of the limestone coastline 10 – 20 million years ago.
When first documented by European settlers, there were 12 stacks however now only 8 remain, constantly battered by the strong surf and winds of the Southern Ocean.
They are still an incredible sight, especially at sunrise and sunset which are the best times to visit and capture the different colours bouncing off the rocks. Day trippers have not arrived or left for the day so it’s the perfect time to take photos and take in the beauty around you.
A large carpark and visitor center are well sign posted as you travel along the Great Ocean Road. There is a gentle walk to several viewing points where you can appreciate the rock formations at different angles.
To really appreciate the scale and grandeur of these natural phenomena you can walk along the beach at nearby Gibsons Steps where two similar rock formations rise 70 meters above you.
If you want to stay overnight close to the 12 Apostles, the township of Port Campbell, has several options for different budgets. The Sea Foam Villas are conveniently within 2 minutes’ walk of shops and restaurants and it’s only a 15 minute drive to the 12 Apostles.
Mark, Wyld Family Travels
The Grampians Located in the western districts of Victoria Australia. The magnificent Grampians National Park is best accessed from the town of Halls Gap.
From the flat semi-arid countryside to the step rising mountains with their rock faces and alpine vegetation, the Grampians are amazing.
For your visit to the Grampians, you will find no shortage of things to do in Halls Gap and the surrounding area. Waterfalls, lookouts and hiking are the most popular activities in the region. Some of the best waterfalls include McKenzie and Silverband falls.
Those looking for a view head to the Pinnacles with its all-encompassing views of the western districts. You will find a number of wineries and breweries in the local area, while for kids there is the ever-popular Halls Gap Zoo, Grampians Adventure Golf and the e-bike hire in Halls Gap.
The Grampians National Park is around 3 hours drive away from Melbourne via the Western Highway. It is recommended that you do drive but if you don’t have your own car you can easily hire one in Melbourne.
The local YHA Grampians Eco hostel is a fantastic place to stay with the good-sized room, outstanding facilities and close to the center of Halls Gap
Mark, Travels in Gippsland
The Gippsland Lakes are located in the Gippsland Region of eastern Victoria. The Gippsland Lakes are a made up of lakes, marshes and lagoons. The Lakes system is fed by water from the ocean and a number of rivers that flow into the system The lakes cover an area of about 354 square kilometers.
The Gippsland Lakes are a popular destination for day-trippers and holidaymakers from all over the state of Victoria and beyond.
Lakes Entrance located 322 kilometres east of Melbourne is the largest town on the Gippsland Lakes. The 90 Mile Beach runs parallel to the lakes system allowing you to access both the lakes and the ocean for swimming, fishing and boating opportunities.
Lakes Entrance is aptly known because it is the only place on the coast that the ocean meets the lake via an entrance. This makes Lakes entrance a hot spot for ocean creatures.
You will regularly see seals and Dolphins. The Burrunan Dolphins are not found anywhere else on Earth besides the lakes system of Gippsland.
The Lakes are popular for boating, fishing and all types of water sports. The other major towns on the lakes system include Metung, Paynesville, and Loch Sport.
The famous Raymond Island Koala walk is easily accessed from Paynesville. The trail allows you to see Koalas in their natural environment. Metung is an upmarket village with the biggest yacht club on the lakes.
If you are looking for a place to stay, Bellevue on the Lakes is a great option. With a BBQ area, a private jetty, cocktail bar and two pools at your disposal you will have everything you need for a great stay.
The Gippsland Lakes are a great place to explore for your next trip
The Silo Art Trail
Carol, California Crossings
Yes, you need to add the Silo Art Trail on your Australia road trip, because amazing street art happens in the most unlikely places, even rural Victoria.
If you are doing the Great Ocean Road and/or the Grampions on your road trip, adding an extra 200/k (give or take) will take you on a vertical visual journey featuring portraits of local farmers, ranchers and athletes.
The Silo Art Project started with Guido Van Helten, an Australian muralist who likes to go big. He was looking for a large mural project and contacted Yarriambiack Shire about doing a large grain silo mural. They settled on an abandoned silo right across from a dusty bus stop in Brim and it was completed in 2016.
The Shire loved it so much that they raised extra cash and now have a series of 5 silos dotted along a 200 kilometer rural trail. The murals have been created by world-class Australian artists like Rone, Kaff-eine, Adnate, Finatan Magee and Julia Volchkova. All of them are realistic, tender portraits of people who actually live in the shire.
The first silo is about an hour drive north of the Grampions and you can drive all of them in one day, using this map, before heading back to either Melbourne or Adelaide.
Audrey, See Geelong
Tucked away in southern Victoria the Bellarine Peninsula is a hidden gem that’s just an hour and a half’s drive from Melbourne.
It’s relatively unknown outside of Victoria and it’s often overlooked by the more touristic Great Ocean Road. So, if you’re looking to get away from the crowds for a while The Bellarine is the perfect place to do it.
The area is home to historical seaside towns and tiny fishing villages. Each one is different from the last with their own attractions, heritage, and individual character. Visit art galleries, museums, historic buildings, vintage shops, and cool cafes.
The Bellarine Peninsula is one of the largest grape growing regions in Victoria and is home to gorgeous boutique wineries. Treat yourself to a tasting of local cold-climate maritime wine surrounded by uninterrupted views across endless bays and verdant vines.
With its diverse coastal landscape, the peninsula has an abundance of beautiful beaches. From world-class surfing at Barwon Heads to sheltered family friendly bays in Portarlington there’s bound to be a beach to suit you. There’s plenty of water activities available from surfing and sailing lessons to the ever-popular snorkelling with dolphins and seals.
The Bellarine is home to an array of fun-filled festivals and events that are held throughout the year. From cultural events and music festivals, to more intimate local festivities and food extravaganzas there’s something for everyone. It’s a good idea to plan your visit to coincide with one of these celebrations. We recommend the Queenscliff Music Festival, the Portarlington Mussel Festival, or the Wallington Strawberry Fair.
Dave, Dave Chant
Phillip Island is an island to the south east of Melbourne that makes a perfect day trip, or a few days if you want to get a slower feel for the island. It makes up for its relatively small 40 square miles by packing two fantastic natural attractions amongst others.
Arguably the biggest and best draw to the island is the Penguin Parade at the Phillip Island Nature Park. There are 31,000 little penguins on the island and it is apparently the only place in the world that you can witness penguins in their natural environment. Each evening at dusk Little penguins emerge from the sea to make their way up the beach to their burrows.
The other main draw to Phillip island is Nobbies Centre, or more specifically Seal Rocks, a colony of fur seals that live on the Western end of Phillip island. There are boardwalks around the end of the island, allowing you to visit and witness the largest fur seal colony in Australia – 16,000 in total.
Don’t miss the Nobbies Centre itself where you can grab a coffee as you look across at Seal Rocks through the floor to ceiling windows.
Other attractions include the Koala Conservation Centre where raised boardwalks allow you to get close and personal with koalas in their environment, and Churchill Island which hoses its own farm.
Surfers will want to visit Cape Woolamai, and the coastline also gives visitors access to other beaches and headlands.
Cowes is the only real town on the island towards the North and makes a good base if you want to stay the night. Try the Kaloha Holiday Resort with a pool and close to the beach for around $150 a night.
The island is visited by 3.5 million people annually and the Penguin Parade is such a big attraction that some tips will help improve your visit.
Firstly penguins can be seen all year round but you may want to consider Dec/Jan time for the babies. This is Australian Summer so days are warmer and longer, and you can get a full day on Phillip Island if you want to do this in a day trip from Melbourne or elsewhere.
The normal viewing platform can accommodate 1500 people. Though twice the price, a Penguin Plus ticket will give you access to the smaller 300 seater platforms and is worth the price.
There is also an Underground Viewing ticket and VIP packages that you may be interested in. This is an outside viewing of penguins in their natural surroundings so wrap up warm and consider taking a rug/blanket. Weekdays are also quieter than weekends if you can accommodate.
Best places in Western Australia
Kalbarri National Park
Delphine, Lester Lost
If you venture along the coast of Western Australia, you will most likely come across Kalbarri National Park. Located 600 kms north of Perth, Kalbarri is a small town on the edge of the Murchison River.
The national park is quite remarkable by its size: 180,000 hectares! The park actually consists of two areas: the Coastal Park offers some stunning views of the West Australian coast, especially at sundown.
The Bigurda Trail is an 8-km coastal footpath running along the cliff edge, with views of several rock formations: Natural Bridge, Eagle Gorge, Red Bluff…
The Inland Park is even more fascinating with deep gorges and rugged cliffs, a scenery no less than 400,000 years old. Nature’s Window and the Z-bend gorge make for fantastic photo opportunities.
In spring, the park is home to an explosion of wild flowers. This section of the park has some great hikes with the promise of a refreshing swim in a waterhole at the end.
The combination of green bush and red earth, against a backdrop of blue sky is an unforgettable sight!
If you are coming from Perth, you might want to break down your journey with an overnight in Geraldton, and see other things along the way. Unless you take a tour, having your own car is the only way to visit Kalbarri National Park.
The park is very popular from December to May but that’s also the hottest time of the year.
If you are visiting in summer, make sure you have an early start and carry plenty of water. Winter will be milder, however there can be some heavy rain.
Karijini National Park
Steph, A Nomads Passport
Karijini National Park in Western Australia’s Pilbara region is one the best places to visit in Australia. With its stunning landscape full of red gorges and flourishing flora and fauna, this national park is a real hidden gem of Australia.
Located 4 hours east of Port Hedland, Karijini is quite far inland, but it is well worth the trip. After all, it is the place to be for nature lovers that want to hike or climb in gorges and to swim in crystal clear natural pools.
The best time to visit the national park is between April and October. Outside of this timeframe it either rains too much to drive down the unsealed roads or it is too hot to safely venture into the gorges.
The only real way to get to Karijini National Park is by driving there yourself. With a size of over 6.000 km2, it is the second largest national park of the state and the many gorges to explore can be quite far from each other.
One of the highlights of Karijini National Park is the picturesque Fern Pool in Dales Gorge, where a small stream of water runs down a small red cliff surrounded by lush greenery.
It is a very serene location and looks stunning as the sun is setting. Other highlights include the Handrail Pool in Weano Gorge and the area at the foot of the Joffre Falls.
All accommodations in Karijini are campsites, but if you wish to stay in a more upscale surrounding, you can opt to stay in one of the deluxe tents with a private bathroom and actual beds in Karijini Eco Retreat.
Ariana, World of Travels with Kids
The South West of Western Australia is the “boot” or foot of Western Australia, the bottom corner south of Perth.
As there is a unique microclimate, a range of insanely beautiful trees grow in the area, and the distinctive karri tree is amongst the tallest hardwoods in the world. The Tingle tree, an extremely rare tree growing in a tiny area on the south coast is a Gondwanan relic, means that when you walk in these forests it feels like you have stepped back in time.
The Tingle is also one of the largest based trees in the world, meaning you could have up to 20 people hugging the bottom of the tree. If all of this wasn’t amazing enough, the South West of Western it encapsulates rugged magnificent coastlines and some world class food and wine options.
That’s right, you might have heard of Margaret River wines and foods – and that area is the epicenter of a rocketing food connoisseur’s paradise.
The South West of WA is beautiful all year round, with mild weather in the summer (compared to other parts of Australia), though it can be very wet in winter.
One of my favourite times to visit the area is during the spring, which is wildflower season and the country comes alive with brightly coloured wildflowers.
The best way to get around the South West is by car – while it is not a massive area, most of the attractions are quite isolated and spread out, and so the best way to be able to access them easily is to have your own wheels.
There are so many cute little towns you could base yourself in the south west, but Margaret River certainly has some of the most amazing luxury properties for a splurge (We enjoyed the Pullman Bunker Bay).
In addition, there are a range of cute farm stay and innovative properties that allow you to get up close and personal with nature.
Best places in Northern Territory
Kakadu National Park
Bailey and Dan, Destinationless Travel
Kakadu National Park is one of the most spectacular national parks in Australia. Filled with breathtaking landscapes and some of Australia’s oldest history, Kakadu really is an impressive place to visit.
As one of the best things to do in Darwin, the best way to access the national park is from there. You can explore Kakadu on your own without a tour, just be sure to research where you’re going before you leave. This is the Australian outback, and preparations should be made before leaving.
This way, you get the true Australian outback experience all while having the comfort of a professional guide (great for safety especially because of the crocodiles!)
Some of the must-visit places in Kakadu include attractions such as Barramundi Gorge, Twin Falls, Jim Jim Falls, and Ubirr (where rock paintings over 40,000 years old can be found.) All these places are considered some of the most beautiful attractions in Australia’s top end!
If you do plan on visiting on your own, then there are a few great hotels closer to the park in a town called Jabiru. Jabiru is located just outside Kakadu National Park (unlike Darwin that is over 3 hours away.) And, what better place to stay than the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile. This beautiful hotel is actually shaped like a crocodile in true Kakadu fashion!
Regardless of how you decide to visit, Kakadu is one of the best places to visit in Australia and should be at the top of your bucket list for a true Australian adventure.
Best places in Queensland
Susan, Australia Bucket list
Magnetic Island, affectionally known as ‘Maggie’ to the locals, is located just off the coast of North Queensland, near Townsville. With its endless white sandy beaches, Magnetic Island is the perfect place to kick back and relax.
However, if you are feeling a bit more energetic there is lots to do including swimming, snorkelling, a tour, going a boat tour, doing a three hour circumnavigation of the island on a jet-ski or even hiking. With a third of the island being National Park there are over 25km of bush walking trails to explore including the popular Butterfly Walk.
Animal spotting is another popular activity while on Magnetic Island. Wildlife on the island includes koalas, possums, echidna as well as rock wallabies which are a popular tourist attraction.
Rock wallabies can be found in several locations including Geoffrey Bay and on the rock walls near the ferry terminal at Nelly Bay.
Getting to Magnetic Island is easy, with ferries travelling back and forth regularly between the island and the mainland all year round. The passenger ferry is a short 20-minute ride to the island or you can go across on the car ferry in 35-minutes.
Magnetic Island is about 52 km2 (20.1 sq mi) so to having access to a car will be the easiest way for you to explore all the hidden beaches and coves. If you opt not to take your own vehicle across on the ferry, there are plenty of rental options available on the island including the extremely popular topless beach buggies. Alternately there is a public bus service or you could hire a bicycle.
Magnetic Island is a beautiful island to visit and a ‘must do’ on your Australian Road Trip.
Sophie, Australian Kitchen and Home
A road trip around Australia wouldn’t be complete unless you made the “trip to the tip”. It’s a 4wd adventure through the beautiful but remote area of Cape York in Far North Queensland to earn the right to stand at the northern most point of Australia and take a photo in front of the famous sign.
There is some amazing scenery and wildlife long the way and it really is a once in a lifetime experience. Bordered by the lush green rainforest on one side and the Great Barrier Reef on the other, it really is a beautiful spot.
Cape York is only accessible during the dry season (around April to December) by road and you’ll need a fully equipped 4wd vehicle to make the trip.
There are countless camping spots along the way with some fantastic views and real bush camping experiences. If camping isn’t really your thing though, it would be possible to stay at motels and roadhouses along the way, as long as you planned and booked in advance.
Be sure to turn off the main road and take a day or two to explore the Iron Range National Park, Lockhart River and the historic township of Portland Roads. The national park is home to the iconic Chilli Beach with white sand and fringed with palm trees.
Here you can book a fishing charter to the Great Barrier Reef through “Cape York Experience” and snorkel or fish some of the last untouched stretches of the reef.
There’s also some extremely rare and beautiful wildlife in the area, as well as all the usual crocodiles, butterflies, cuscus and much more.
If you’re looking for somewhere comfortable to stay, The Greenhoose offers modern, air conditioned accommodation surrounded by lush tropical rainforest.
More and more people every year are choosing to take an adventure holiday touring Cape York. Now is the perfect time to get in quick before the road is full bitumen and the area becomes much busier.
Great Barrier Reef
Becki, Meet Me In Departures
A must-see in Australia is the Great Barrier Reef. This is the world’s largest coral reef system which covers a staggering 344,400km squared! You can see it from space! Along with being one of the natural wonders of the world, it’s also one of the planets top wildlife experiences.
There are various ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef, naturally, you want to be under the waves to do this as it’s home to over 600 different types of coral, over 1600 types of fish as well as numerous sharks, turtles, rays, whales and dolphins! The chance of seeing something amazing is pretty high!
If you’ve seen the film ‘Finding Nemo’, you will certainly, find the cast of the movie here, there are dozens of Anemone Fish (aka Clownfish!) as well as a colourful array of Damsel Fish, Trigger Fish, Parrot Fish and Angel Fish all flitting about the colourful coral and sponges.
You can visit the Great Barrier Reef all year round, although if you’re planning on diving then June through to November offer the best visibility. The stormy season falls between December to February, which often drags a lot of muck into the water, so at times visibility can be low.
A tip of safety is to listen for reports on ‘stinger season’. There are two jellyfish that you want to be aware of, the Box Jellyfish and Irukandji, both of them can give fatal stings. Although the precise date varies year on year, it usually falls in the Australian wet/summer season.
Make sure if there are sightings in the area that you wear a stinger suit before getting in the water and follow advice which can be found at dive shops, the lifeguard and tourist information.
Also, be aware of Trigger Fish during mating season, they can have a nasty bite and are known to chase divers who get too close to their nests.
The Great Barrier Reef stretches along a big portion of the northeast coast of Australia with some of the major gateways located in Airlie Beach and Cairns. There are also numerous other access points dotted along the coast, so if you’re on a road trip, there’s no excuse not to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
Matt & Lorna, Two Souls One Path
Fraser island, named by the local indigenous population as K’gari, meaning paradise, is not only a unique island to Australia, but on a global stage.
As the worlds largest island made of sand, it is a place of pure natural beauty and wildlife. This world heritage site is renowned for its epic stretch of beach on the east, which doubles up as the longest sand “highway” in Queensland.
Fraser is a great place to meet some of Australia’s famed wildlife. With an abundance of mammals including Dingoes which can be spotted along the beach if you get lucky. It is also a great place to spot sealife, such as migrating humpback whales, dolphins and many species of shark that patrol the bountiful oceans along Frasers coastline.
The island is accessible via ferry from Inskip Point on the northern end of Rainbow Beach or River Heads (20 minutes south of Hervey Bay). As the roads are mainly made up of sand, only 4WD’s are permitted to navigate the island. Depending on budget, there are several accommodation options and plenty of camping spots to choose from.
Joining a tour group is arguably the best way to discover everything that K’gari has to offer. We would recommend “Dingos Fraser Island 4WD Tours” where you can spend 2-3 days getting to know the island with one of their fantastic tour guides.
All camping gear, food, ferry tickets and 4×4 rental necessary to navigate the 75 mile beach road is included in the cost. You will be guided to unmissable spots, such as Lake McKenzie, Lake Wabby, Eli Creek, and the Wreck of Maheno, and enjoy the experience with a group of likeminded travellers.
It is possible to visit the island via ferry, on foot, or, with your own 4WD independently. However, it is essential to do research prior to your visit.
As the island is a protected national park, you will need a permit to drive on to the island yourself, and to camp in the National Park area. Navigating the island with no local knowledge can be tricky but is doable, as long as you have access to a 4WD and be sure to watch out for the changing tides.
Best places in New South Wales
If you are road tripping from Sydney, a trip west to the Blue Mountains is not to be missed!
A little over an hours drive from the Sydney CBD the distant blue haze of the mountains emerges as Eucalypt bush lining sandstone cliffs.
This National Park is over 11,000 kilometers square and is filled with epic clifftop views, rugged Australian bushland, native wildlife and tumbling waterfalls.
Awarded UNESCO world heritage status in 2000 due to its unique fauna and natural value, it is one of the largest protected areas of bushland in Australia.
By car is the best way to make the best of your visit. While the majority of the mountains towns are along the Highway and rail line, the best of the views and bushwalks are to be found a little way off the main road.
Rich in Aboriginal history, evidence of the traditional owners is spread throughout the mountains.
Check out Red Hands Cave in Glenbrook for rock paintings and Kings Tableland in Wentworth Falls for rock carvings and grinding grooves.
Bushwalkers have hundreds of walks to choose from. No visit to the Blue Mountains is complete without checking out the iconic and world famous Three Sisters. Most visitors will head to Echo Point but head to Eagle Rock Lookout for a clear view without the crowds.
The Eagle Blue Escape is perfect to enjoy a little bit of luxury during your trip to the Blue Mountains.
Paula, Australia Your Way
Dorrigo’s is a small town west of Coffs Harbour and the Pacific Coast Highway. Its star attraction is the Dorrigo National Park, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Gondwana Rainforests thought to be more than 180 million years old.
Walking the tracks inside the park, you will find this easy to believe, the trees, many over 600 years of age quickly make you feel insignificant with their grandeur. There are several walks with a variety of difficulty, including 2 wheelchair accessible options.
We recommend you take the Wonga Walk, a 6km track that takes in both Crystal Shower and Tristania Falls. This walk is rated moderate, and most people of average fitness can complete it easily.
Crystal Shower Falls, one of the prettiest waterfalls we have ever encountered. It’s especially popular because you can walk behind the falls and take some amazing photos through the mist.
The park also attracts birdwatchers with over 150 species of bird found in the rainforest. There is an elevated boardwalk aptly named “Walk with the birds” perfect for the whole family and fully wheelchair and pram accessible.
Nearby in the town just outside the town center is Dangar Falls an equally lovely waterfall. Dangar Falls is a great place for a swim or a picnic, the walk from the car park to the base of the falls only takes about 15 minutes and your efforts are well rewarded.
Dorrigo town center is about 39 km from Coffs Harbour, and the drive takes less than an hour so even if you don’t have extended time to spend in the area you can visit on a day trip from a Coffs Harbour.
However, we think its fantastic overnight stop along the waterfall way, the road that travels between Coffs Harbour and Armidale and our favourite tourist drives in the county.
If you do decide to stay awhile, Dorrigo Mountain Holiday Park is a great place to spend the night with powered sites, campsites and cabins available.
The Lookout Mountain Retreat is another good option if you prefer to stay in a hotel. The views from retreat are stunning.
If you prefer something more upmarket, there are some stunning Airbnb properties in Bellingen which are only 20km away and offer plenty of restaurants and shops to explore.
Thank you to my fellow travellers for helping me bring you the Best Places to visit in Australia. Don’t forget to show them some love on their blogs.
Where are you favourite places to stop when driving around Australia? Let me know in the comments below
My BEST Travel Resources
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