Any experienced traveler will tell you that a road trip is about the journey, not the destination. In a land as vast and striking as Australia, this couldn’t be more true. We’ve put together our favourite five ocean drives in Australia – they’re perfect for fun family trips, a romantic getaway with your partner, or an adventure with friends.
The Great Eastern Drive, Tasmania
This 450km route begins in Hobart and stretches north along the coast to the Bay of Fires. You’ll need a good amount of time to complete the drive – about five days. Stop at the holiday town Orford and from there visit Maria Island National Park where you can go on a bushwalk, explore convict ruins, or spot local wildlife like geese, kangaroos and wombats. An hour north at Swansea you can frolic on glorious beaches, visit berry farms and enjoy a tipple at one of the local vineyards. Further north you can enjoy a fresh seafood meal at Bicheno and see the penguins of Diamond Island, or try your hand at sea kayaking and snorkelling. The quaint fishing village of St Helens is worth a stop on the way to your final destination, the Bay of Fires. Walk through the Bay’s deserted beaches and soak in its pure white sand, clear blue water and striking orange-hued granite for the ultimate way to unwind.
Great Ocean Road, Victoria
This is one of the most famous Aussie coastal drives, and it’s where you’ll find the famously rugged rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles. Running a 200km stretch from Geelong to Portland, the Great Ocean Road is best spread out over a few days so you can fully appreciate the stunning coastal scenery, hidden waterfalls and beaches, cliff top views and seaside walks. Don’t miss Loch Ard Gorge or Apollo Bay, and if you fancy a spot of surfing, Torquay is an ideal stopover.
Indian Ocean Drive, Western Australia
This route begins in Perth and finishes in Geraldton, 420km north of the capital. Make sure you visit Nambung National Park to admire the incredible natural limestone structures of The Pinnacles at Cervantes. Stop off at twin towns Dongara and Port Denison for a charming village-like vibe, fresh seafood, local wine, and white sandy beaches. Half an hour away you can go on a ghost hunt at the historical town of Greenough, and then you’re on your merry way to the finish line at Geraldton.
Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Northern Queensland
Escape to the tropics with this 150km ocean drive from the golden beaches of Cairns to Cape Tribulation. Along the way you can experience two of Australia’s most beloved natural beauties: the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient Daintree Rainforest. But that’s not all this coastal drive has in store. You can also explore the tropical oasis of Port Douglas, stroll over white sandy dunes at Four Mile Beach, and hike through the lush rainforests of Mossman Gorge.
Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
Following the distinctive shape of a boot, this drive has endless ocean views, rustic lighthouses, jagged shorelines, and some of the best surfing beaches South Australia has to offer. Along the way, you can visit spectacular Innes National Park and take a stroll along Minlaton Walking Trail to see local kangaroos, emus, wallabies and natural river red gums. At nearby Stenhouse Bay, marvel at the Althorpe Island Lighthouse whose lamp was first lit way back in 1879. While you’re on the road, keep an eye out for quaint tearooms, fresh seafood and mining towns.
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