With its vast distances, Australia is perfect for long road trips.
And extensive drives along the country’s magnificent coastline or through the emptiness of the Outback continue to be perennial favourites with senior travellers.
‘Grey Nomads’, as they are affectionately known to Aussies, are a common sight on the roads – often embarking on trips of several months or more.
Sometimes driving a camper van or towing a caravan behind the car, they criss-cross the countryside year-round.
A lengthy trip ‘around Australia’ has almost become a rite of passage for newly-retired seniors and popular road trips include:
This highway runs right around the rim of Australia. To complete this trip fully covers more than 25,000 kilometres and can take nine months.
The Great Ocean Road
The 244-kilometre Great Ocean road from Torquay to Portland around the country’s south-eastern coastline. Built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to those killed during World War I, the road is the world’s biggest war memorial.
Winding through varying terrain along the coast, the road provides access to several prominent landmarks, including the Twelve Apostles limestone stack formations.
A popular road trip involves circumnavigating the island of Tasmania via Hobart, the East Coast, Launceston and the West Coast.
Darwin to Uluru
Another popular road trip route runs through the Northern Territory between Darwin and Uluru (Ayers Rock)
The main route is via the sealed Stuart and Lasseter highways – a distance of 1,956 kilometres.
This goes through remote areas and requires a sound, recently-serviced vehicle, with a spare tyre, tools, plenty of extra fuel, food and water. There are long distances between towns and facilities , so it’s important to thoroughly plan the trip before setting off – try to travel in groups and ensure you tackle it at the best time of year.
Inform family or friends of your intended route and expected arrival time. You may also consider hiring emergency communications equipment like a satellite phone or an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPRIB) device.
Crossing the Nullarbor
Crossing the vast, treeless Nullarbor Plain on the Eyre Highway, where the Southern Ocean strikes the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight on one side of the road, and the desert stretches to infinity on the other.
While this is a sealed road, it also travels through extremely remote areas and requires the same precautions and thorough preparation as the Darwin-Uluru trip. You need a 4WD vehicle to venture off the highway.
The Blue Mountains
Exploring the natural attractions of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, just west of Sydney is always popular.
This area includes seven national parks and a conservation reserve. The Greater Blue Mountains Drive includes 18 discovery trails that branch off the main route.
Along The Sunshine Coast
Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has famous beaches and coastal resorts – and a cool, moist hinterland featuring the Blackhall Range, which is ideal for a scenic road trip.
The south-west of the west
Western Australia’s south-west region features a 200-kilometre drive from Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin.
Midway along this coast, a detour inland leads to the Margaret River area, one of Australia’s premier winegrowing regions. There are about 130 high quality wineries in the area.
The legendary Pacific Coast
The Legendary Pacific Coast covers 900 kilometres between Sydney to Brisbane. It includes the city of Newcastle, superb beaches, green hinterland and a host of iconic Australian holiday resorts.
The Grand Pacific Drive
In the other direction, the Grand Pacific Drive stretches from Sydney starts in the Royal south along the coast to Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama.
This drive runs through rainforests and past seaside villages along a strip of stunning coastline.
And, that’s just a sample.