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7 Best Australian Road Trips This Summer

When the Aussie sun hits the Pacific Ocean, the sparkling vision is known as ‘glitter’ – but we like to think of it as your sign to pack the car, and start an adventure!

The Aussie road trip is more than a holiday, it’s a rite of passage, so check out these seven sublime summer road trips.

Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria

Victoria doesn’t get quite as much love for its beaches as other states, but that’s what makes this trip unique.

At most four hours drive from Melbourne, this weekend adventure offers a sparkling reward at the end: Squeaky Beach.

To get to Wilson’s Promontory National Park, head south. If you can, make time to stop in in Cape Paterson or Inverloch, a sweet seaside town popular for swimming and windsurfing.

Inside the national park, you can camp, cruise alongside dolphins, or relax at Squeaky Beach, which boasts azure turquoise waters and sand so clean it squeaks – some say ‘sings’ – underfoot.

There’s also coastal scrub, granite headlands and a boulder maze on the beach to explore, which glows orange at sunset.

Epicurean Way, South Australia

Got five days and a passion for wine?

This trip is ideal for four friends, each taking a turn as designated driver, as you sip your way through world-renowned wine country.

Departing Adelaide, this trip will take you first to the Southern Vales, where you can indulge your inner gourmand overlooking stunning Port Willunga Beach.

Next, head for the hills, where 200 vineyards await to woo you with cool climate drops and artisan cheeses.

Then, it’s on to Barossa, where natural delights like figs and mushrooms are paired with wines from some 80 cellar doors, and you can picnic in apple groves. Ooh-la-la.

Finally, hit the Clare Valley, where you can burn off those calories on the 35-kilometre Riesling Trail, a no-longer-used railway line dotted with picnicking spots.

Of course, it’s not just wine that makes this region amazing, the scenery’s divine, too!

Matilda Way, Queensland

Technically, this drive starts over the border, in Tamworth, but it explores the Queensland bush and our heritage, making it a wonderful family-friendly 16-days!

Your journey starts in Cunnamulla, famed for its Slim Dusty connection, and winds upward to Charleville, where you can meet a bilby, stargaze at the Cosmos Centre, and then crash at the caravan park.

Over the next week, stop at Tambo (famed for teddies), and Blackall, before heading onward to Longreach, home of Australia’s stockmen, then Winton, where Banjo Patterson penned Waltzing Matilda!

Finally, make your way to Karumba via Cloncurry. After all that driving, you will have deserved a cold one.

Happily, Karumba is home to a tavern where the sunset-over-river view is a sight for sore eyes.

Coral Coast Highway, Western Australia

If your idea of a perfect road trip is unforgettable vistas and new animal friends, hit the Coral Coast Highway.

Travelling from Perth to Exmouth, this 1,200-kilometre trip winds north along the coast, offering animal encounters and postcard-perfect photo ops at every turn.

This drive encompasses Hutt Lagoon, Port Gregory‘s stunning pink lake, the majestic Pinnacles at Nambung National Park, and Kalbarri, where you can swim in protected bays and stroll through 1000 species of wildflower while learning indigenous history.

Finally, you’ll find yourself in Unesco World Heritage paradise; frolicking with the dolphins and dugongs of Shark Bay, and Ningaloo Reef – the only place on Earth where whale sharks, humpback whales and manta rays join you in the waves.

Great Eastern Drive, Tasmania

Tasmania enjoys four summer long weekends (more if you cash in the odd sick day) and is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth for a long drive.

Travelling along the east coast from Hobart, this six-and-a-half-hour round trip takes in vineyards, beaches, bush, and more, making it the perfect mini-break.

Start with a short 90-minute drive to Swansea, overlooking Great Oyster Bay, with views of the Hazards Mountains.

To the east, explore the Freycinet Peninsula, setting aside a good half a day to trek to beautiful Wineglass Bay, where the views from the walk make for amazing photos.

Cap off the trip at Bay of Fires in St Helens, a fishing village where 50 kilometres of pristine coast offers the chance to snorkel all day long.

Parkes to Bourke, New South Wales

If you like the idea of exploring far-flung parts of the universe, journey through remote New South Wales for a celebration of the celestial.

Start your adventure in Parkes, a gold rush heritage site, five hours west of Sydney and home to the famous Radio Telescope Discovery Centre.

Next, head north, through Dubbo, to The Warrumbungles National Park.

As Australia’s only internationally recognised ‘Dark Sky’ Park, it’s unsurpassed for displays of glittering beauty.

Nearby, get even closer to our nearest planetary neighbours at Siding Spring Observatory.

Finish your tour in the historic outback town of Bourke, where you can take an evening cruise along the Darling, before setting up camp and dining beneath the clear night sky.

Darwin to Katherine, Northern Territory

When you find yourself with eight days spare (plus a couple for flying, should you not call the top end home), there are few better ways to spend it than trekking Darwin to Katherine.

On this trip, you’ll fish for Barra in the territories’ capital before heading south to 1,500-square-kilometre Litchfield National Park, where impressive waterfalls hit crystal-clear pools (plus a quick beer break at the iconic Humpty Doo Hotel).

One unique (well, for Darwin) thing about the park is that you can swim here without seeing the smile of a crocodile.

After you’ve stayed a night or more, it’s onward to Katherine, where Nitmiluk National Park invites you to enjoy waterfalls, red-rock gorges and hot springs.

Finally, drive the 90-minute leg to Kakadu National Park, where wildlife, Aboriginal culture, and unbelievable sunsets will fill your dreams under a blanket of stars.

No doubt, Australia screams ‘summer road trip’. All you have to do is decide which way to drive.

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