3 Iconic Caravan Road Trips to take in Australia

No matter your age or where you come from, a caravan road trip around Australia is one of the great Australian bucket list items.

Australia is a huge country and there are so many different routes you can consider depending on your interests or hobbies. But where to begin your research?

Below you’ll find three iconic Australian caravan road trips each catering to a different type of traveller!

The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road in Port Campbell, Victoria
The Twelve Apostles at sunset

Great Ocean Road

There is no road trip more iconic in Australia than the 243-kilometre stretch of road along Victoria’s south-east coast known as the Great Ocean Road.

Built by returned World War I soldiers, the road from Torquay to Warrnambool winds through quaint coastal towns, past farming towns, and through a rainforest complete. The most famous site along the Great Ocean Road is the towering limestone formations called the Twelve Apostles. Come at sunset for the best views.

While the drive can be done in one day, it is far better to savour it with a multi-day trip. The route is perfectly set up for campers and caravaners, and with so many travellers you will easily be able to find pre-loved camping gear – or even a caravan! – for sale on websites like Gumtree.

Top 3 attractions:

  • Sunset at the Twelve Apostles – these towering limestone pillars were once part of the coastline. Beaten down by the waves and wind, they now stand alone in the waters. Be sure to ‘walk with the Apostles’ by going down the steps near Loch Ard Gorge.
  • Surfing Bells Beach – renown as one of the best surfing beaches in the world; watch the pros during the RipCurl Pro tournament held here in April each year.
  • Ziplining through the rainforest at Otway Fly Treetop Adventures – an incredible experience. They also have plenty of walking trails to explore for those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground.
driving towards uluru at sunset

The Red Centre

It’s so far away from everything but it will leave you feeling spellbound. One of the most iconic Australian road trips begins in Adelaide and heading straight up the barrel towards Darwin – Australia’s northernmost capital city.

Along the way, you’ll find yourself in Alice Springs and near the ancient landscapes of Uluru and Kata-Tjuta National Parks. Walk the base of this sandstone monolith or take a camel ride. Explore its neighbour, Kata-Tjuta (known in English as the Olgas) with a member of the local Anangu society and learn about women and men’s business; and perhaps even take a dip in one of the freshwater gorges nearby.

If you come in August you might even see the annual Henley on Todd Regatta, the world’s only dry river bed boating regatta. You have to see it to believe it!

Top 3 attractions:

  • Dining with Uluru as your backdrop – have dinner under the stars at the Sounds of Silence experience. Shared open-air tables offer uninterrupted views of Uluru and after dessert a astronomer will guide you through the night sky.
  • Hiking Kings Canyon – spot fossils as you walk the Kings Canyon Rim Walk, a four-mile walk with sheer sandstone cliffs, Garden of Eden watering hole (popular with both animals and locals for a quick dip), and marine fossils.
  • Bush tucker dinner in West MacDonnell National Park – By far the best experience I had in the Red Centre was with Bob Taylor, owner of RT Tours. After a tour of Alice Springs, Bob – an aboriginal local – look us out to the West MacDonnell Ranges to prepare us an authentic bush tucker feast. Seriously delicious!
My friend Vickie experienced pure joy meeting – and feeding – rescued kangaroos in Tasmania

Tasmania’s North-East

Magically rugged Tasmania is blessed with dazzling beaches, astounding mountains, charming hamlets and a rich history. For those seeking to experience each of these things, I’d recommend them taking Tasmania’s north-east touring route.

One of the best things about Tasmania’s north-east touring route is that there is plenty to do for every type of traveller. There’s farm-to-table cafes and boutique wineries for the foodies; bays and mountains to conquer for the adventurous; and plenty of wildlife to meet.

One of the standout experiences will be discovering the Bay of Fires near Binalong Bay. Known for its pure blue water, white sand beaches and the huge granite blocks that are coloured by a bright orange lichen.
To really make the most of your time in the area consider camping and trying other beach activities, like boating, bird watching, fishing, swimming, surfing or walking.

To complete your Tassie experience, finish your road trip in Hobart. While there explore some of the states UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the quirky MOMA (Museum of Old & New) by day then sip local wines and eat locally produced cheeses by night. Ah, bliss!

A note: if you are travelling with a car or caravan, you can travel from Port Melbourne to Launceston (in northern Tasmania) using the Spirit of Tasmania which runs a daily service.

Top 3 attractions: 

  • Lavender fields in bloom – between December and January the lavender fields of north-east Tasmania bloom. For a small fee, you can wander through the purple carpeted fields and even taste lavender ice cream!
  • Experience natural beauty at Wineglass Bay – one of Tasmania’s most beautiful natural wonders, Wineglass Bay is nestled among Freycinet National Park. Take a hike around the bay, experience it by boat (I recommend a kayak!) or drink it in from any one of the lookouts scattered around the edge. Speaking of drinking, there are boutique wineries in this area well worth a visit. Just don’t drink and drive!
  • Learn about Tasmania’s convict history – while this is not along the north-east touring route, it is just a short detour on the drive to Hobart. Tasmania was considered the perfect jail by the British settlers in the early 1800s and many of the places and features they built to house the convicts are still standing today. The most well known is the Port Arthur Historic Site, around 90 minutes away from Hobart. A UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, there are more than 30 buildings and ruins to explore, along with tours of the nearby islands.

BONUS: The Big Lap (Highway 1)

Feeling adventurous? Taking your caravan around Australia or doing ‘the big lap’ is a dream of many people. One of the longest roads in the world, Highway 1 connects every mainland state capital and is a whopping 14,935 kilometres long.

Unlike the other caravan road trips I’ve mentioned, the Big Lap requires careful planning as you will be in some of the most remote locations in Australia. This means a standard mobile phone may not work if you get into trouble and its best if you have prepared for all types of emergencies, including flat tyres and overheated radiators.

There are some great tips in this article by Australian Traveller to get those keen to partake in this grand Australian adventure started!T

This article was created in partnership with Gumtree Australia.

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