Planning a Road Trip in Australia

Australia is a massive country with an everchanging landscape and the best way to discover it is by taking a road trip. When it comes to planning a road trip in Australia there is a lot to think about, choosing the right destination and deciding the length and mode of travel is all part of the excitement of planning a trip.

This article is full of useful tips to help you plan the best road trip in Australia. Whether looking for an Australian road trip itinerary, advice on travel safety or helpful hints on what to do before leaving home, Road Trip Australia has you covered.

The road to Longreach in outback Queensland

Our Own Experience

Over the last 12 months we have been on a continuous road trip of Australia. Our travel style is a mixture of hotel stays and camping. I have to say that in the beginning this was a little daunting as we had not camped in a tent for over 20 years, thankfully we fell in love with our tent, and we have had many adventures together.

So far, our travels have taken us on a road trip from Brisbane to Longreach and Winton in Outback Queensland, travelled from Darwin to Perth, crossed the Nullarbor from West Australia to South Australia, and sliced up the centre of Australia from Adelaide to Darwin.

Along the way we have learnt many lessons, here are a few of the important ones.

Simpsons Gap outside of Alice Springs in central Australia

Check The Weather & Season’s

Australia has a variety of climates that range from snowy alpine to tropical. Make sure to research the climate of your destination before you make firm plans. For example, the north of Australia experiences a wet season between November to April and during this time you may experience flooding.

Be aware that you may be travelling through areas of extreme heat and cold, make sure to take the right clothing and be prepared to rethink accommodation options if need be.

Decide what you want to see at your chosen destination and remember that some attractions such as swimming with the whale sharks in Exmouth in West Australia or whale watching at Hervey Bay in Queensland are seasonal.

Pre Book Accommodation & Attractions

Make sure to book accommodation well in advance especially in the more remote areas as hotels fill up quickly. For example, hotel accommodation along the Nullarbor gets snapped up early during peak season.

If possible, avoid school and public holidays as prices escalate during these times. Pre book caravan parks as they are becoming increasingly popular with caravan and camping enthusiasts.  

Research attractions at your chosen destination and book early. Seasonal attractions are particularly sought after and need to be pre booked to avoid disappointment.

The Great Australian Bight while crossing the Nullarbor on our Australia road trip

Take The Right Equipment

This is especially true for anyone taking a camping road trip Australia or planning a trip around Australia by caravan. Not having the right equipment can either make or break a holiday. For us trading in the esky for a portable fridge was a game changer which allowed us to eat healthier and save money on the road.

Be Prepared

To travel this vast land, you will need to take precautions especially if you are heading to the outback regions of Australia. Prior preparation is essential when planning a road trip in Australia and is key to a worry-free trip.

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order.
  • Check all your tyres including spares that they are properly inflated and they have enough tread
  • Check that all your lights and indicators are working
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order.
  • Check all your tyres including spares that they are properly inflated and they have enough tread
  • Check that all your lights and indicators are working
  • Check under your vehicle for obvious leaks especially if it has parked for a period of time
  • Make sure your vehicle has had a recent service
  • Check that the wipers and washers are operating and cleaning correctly
  • Make sure you have your spare key’s in case you misplace the main one
  • If you have roadside assistance make sure it’s current
  • Carry a first Aid Kit
  • If travelling long distances especially in the outback make sure you carry plenty of water
Our car on Road Trip around Australia

Selecting an Australia Road Trip Itinerary

Planning a road trip in Australia is fun, there are so many interesting places to visit in Australia and the choice is only limited by your imagination, length of holiday and budget.

Where your Australian road trip takes you will depend on whether you have a short or long time frame. Australia is huge and drive times can take many hours depending on where you are going.

Holiday Road Trip

Most people will take a road trip during annual holidays and when planning a road trip around Australia travel distance needs to be taken into consideration.

We have all heard about the international traveller who wanted to drive from Perth to Darwin and Sydney in 4 days. Having knowledge of distance and realistic timeframes are vital when you plan a road trip Australia. 

The drive time will have a bearing on how many destinations you choose to visit and how far from home you want to go. This does not mean you have to miss out on those more remote adventures, with careful planning you can still experience the best road trip Australia.

Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island

Extended Road Trip Around Australia

For those with unlimited time the choice of travel is endless. For example, a 3 month road trip around Australia will give a good glimpse into the beauty and character of Australia.

If you have time try not to rush it, we took a month to drive from Bundaberg in Queensland to Perth via Darwin and regret not taking it slower.

If you have time, make sure to take a road trip in western Australia, I know the distance puts many people off, but West Australia has some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet.

A road trip in outback Australia should also be on your places to visit. These stunning sunburnt landscapes stretch as far as the eye can see and give a new appreciation of how large and isolated Australia truly is.

Emu in the outback

Before You Leave Home

When planning a road trip around Australia there are factors that need to be considered before leaving home.

Making sure your home is safe and secure, pets well cared for while you are away and having your vehicle in good working order are just some of the steps that need to be taken before heading off on your Australia road trip adventure.

Here are just some of the things that need to be organised before leaving home.

  • Make sure your home is secure
  • Cancel any regular deliveries
  • If possible have some lights set on timers to come on at night
  • Be mindful that posting travel plans on social media can advertise that your home is vacant
  • Book pets into kennels or engage house sitters
  • Get your vehicle serviced
  • Have mail redirected
  • Organise mowing while away so it appears someone is home
  • Check travel equipment

Last words on planning a road trip in Australia

Planning a road trip in Australia does take time but well worth the effort. Australia is one of the most fascinating places in the world, not only do we have unique animals such as kangaroos and koalas but scenery that will knock your socks off.

Where else can you experience the ski fields of Perisher, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, swim with whale sharks in Exmouth or be humbled by the size and changing colours of Uluru. Australia is a land of contrasts so make sure to get out there and see it!

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