Let's head to the land down under - a country with an amazing culture and stunning landscape. Yes, that’s right! We are talking about Australia! The home to unique wildlife, great beaches, delicious cuisine and picturesque natural and man-made sites. ??
Australia is quite unique in a way that many of its main cities are located along its coasts. As you head inland, the landscape changes into semi-arid and desert landscapes. The country is divided into 8 territories: Australian Capital Territory (where the capital, Canberra is located), New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania (an offshore island), Victoria and Australia’s largest state, Western Australia. ?
The best way to explore Australia is by car! ? Ready your driver’s license, rent a car and explore the different attractions across Australia, including the remote area of Uluru (or Ayers Rock) ?. We give you a list of different road trips you can take that are just simply amazing. Prepare to be blown away with the true beauty of Australia!
Driving in Australia
Before we kick off the list, let’s run through a few dos and don’ts of driving in Australia. Australians drive on the left side of the road and vehicles are right-hand drive. You would need a valid International Driving License in English to drive in Australia. Some car rental companies require you to be at least of a certain age (eg. above 25) and/or hold your license for a certain number of years.
Also, one way to get around Melbourne is by tram. ? The trams share the roads with other vehicles. Therefore, do obey the traffic rules/signs with regards to driving on roads with tram tracks.
There will be instances where you may encounter wildlife during your drive. Don’t panic and DO NOT slam your brakes! The last thing you want is to get into an accident. Instead, drive cautiously if you see animals approaching your vehicle and react accordingly to prevent causing any damage to your car or worst, injuries (whether minor or major) on the animal, yourself or the passengers in the car.
Do purchase insurance with the car rental company and follow the strict traffic rules in Australia. ?? A pleasant trip might just be ruined by traffic offences and unnecessary charges.
#HHWT Tip: Travel with at least 2 drivers, so you can take turns driving. ? Have enough rest and do not push through as a couple of these road trips are full-day road trips. We suggest making overnight stopovers to have a good night’s rest before continuing with your road trip.
Car Rental in Australia
Here’s the big question! Where and what companies can we rent cars for our road trip? Car rental companies can usually be found at International airports located in the main cities in Australia. Here are just a couple of recommended rental companies:
Hertz has car rental offices worldwide and 220 locations in Australia alone. They have an extensive vehicle fleet including mini buses and 4x4 vehicles for off-road travel.
Rental Requirements: Aged 21 and above (Aged 25 and above if vehicle is from the Prestige/Adrenaline/Dream collection. There will be a surcharge if driver is between the age of 21 - 24). All drivers must hold a valid International Driving License (in English). All drivers must also have held the license for 12 consecutive months and those above the age of 75 must produce a medical certificate if you are driving in Tasmania.
Locations: Visit their site to rent their vehicles and view their many locations in Australia.
Just like Hertz, Avis has car rental offices worldwide and they have many of them in Australia. Their extensive vehicle fleet ranges from ordinary sedans to luxury SUVs.
Rental Requirements: Aged 25 and above (Drivers who are aged 21 – 25 are required to pay a daily surcharge on top of their daily rental charges). All drivers must hold a valid International Driving License (in English). All drivers must also have held the license for 12 consecutive months.
Locations: Visit their site to rent their vehicles and view their many locations in Australia.
1. Great Ocean Route (4 hours)
We kick off this list with the most famous route and arguably the most beautiful, as you travel along the southern coast of Victoria with an epic view of the Southern Ocean. The route stretches from Torquay, a short drive from Melbourne through various towns and villages such as Apollo Bay, Warrnambool and Port Fairy.
The highlight of this 250km route is one of Australia’s many nature sites, The Twelve Apostles. ? The Twelve Apostles are rock stacks that tower out of the Southern Ocean. Erosion on the limestone cliffs caused by weather and coastal elements, formed caves millions of years ago. The caves would then collapse, leaving rocks structures in the ocean. These structures can be seen when you drive through Port Campbell National Park. Take a break from a long drive for an amazing photo of this beautiful nature site!
Loch Ard Gorge in Port Campbell National Park, a short 5-minute drive from the Twelve Apostles, is another attraction worth the visit. This beautiful gorge has a deep, interesting history behind it. In 1878, the Loch Ard, a large ship, crashed into a nearby island. Only 2 of the 54 passengers onboard survived.
Credit: Fraser Mummery on flickr
Due to weathering and coastal erosion over time, two prominent rock formations were formed around the gorge. These two rock pillars were named after the two survivors, Tom and Eva, to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the shipwreck. You can head down to the beach to have a better view of the gorge or just simply head to the many lookout points in Port Campbell National Park. Try to spot the Tom and Eva rock pillars while you are there!
2. Perth - Broome (Northwards) (1 day)
We head to the largest state in Australia, Western Australia. Here is where you can find many nature sites that are worth your visit. We start off from Perth, heading northwards, towards the small town of Broome.
It’s a full-day, 2400km road trip with amazing stopovers along the way so do stock up on necessities for the trip! Before moving off, head over to the nearest Coles or Woolworths supermarket in Perth to do your shopping!
Credit: Scott Lewis on flickr
On your way to Broome, stop by Lancelin Sand Dunes for a thrilling time as you sandboard down the dunes or just simply snap photos with rock structures in The Pinnacles, located in Cervantes (north of Lancelin). After spending time with the rocks, head north to Geraldton. Spend a night or two here and stock up on groceries before you continue your road trip. ?
Embark on your 20-hour drive towards Broome, passing by towns and villages such as Carnarvon, Coral Bay and Ningaloo Reef. Book a diving experience and swim with the sharks and manta rays in Coral Bay or hop on a glass-bottom boat at Ningaloo Reef! As you travel up the Northwest coastal highway, you can kick back and relax at the Eighty Mile Beach, a whopping 220km coastline before arriving in Broome.
3. Fremantle - Albany (Southwards) (8 hours)
How about the south of Perth? Be prepared for a long drive down south as you head towards the most South-western region of Australia in the quiet town of Augusta. After which, head eastwards towards the town of Albany. The drive is much shorter than the Perth-Broome road trip as it is only a 680km road trip. However, it is a road trip worth taking with awesome things to do along the way!
We begin our journey in Fremantle, a waterfront town south of Perth City. A great place to have your meal here is the Muslim-friendly seafood market, Kailis’ located along Fremantle harbour. Their seafood platter packed with fresh shucked oysters, succulent lobsters and juicy prawns, is a must-try! ? Shop for fresh groceries in the iconic Fremantle Markets before you start your long drive down south.
Credit: @foodietrails on Instagram
As you head towards Augusta, do stop by Margaret River Chocolate Factory. The shop sells a variety of chocolates in different shapes, sizes, forms and flavours! Get some chocolates to munch on for the long drive ahead! Do take note though, a few of their chocolates contain alcohol. Do check with their friendly staff before purchasing them!
Credit: Tama Leaver on flickr
As you arrive in Augusta, visit the famous Jewel Cave and head to the most southwestern point of Australia in Leeuwin, the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse! Try spotting the division between the Indian and Southern Ocean from the lighthouse! ?
Credit: Amanda Slater on flickr
After spending a couple of nights in Augusta, head east towards Albany! Make a detour at Walpole. It is here where you will find the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk! Spend some time with nature as you walk across suspended bridges alongside giant tingle trees before heading over to Albany!
Credit: Tamsin Slater on flickr
4. Sunshine Coast Route (2 hours)
Be awed by the amazing scenery the Australia’s Sunshine Coast has to offer! ? Located along the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia, the Sunshine Coast route starts in the city of Brisbane. This highway linking Brisbane and Noosa is only about 150km long but do spend some time just taking in the beautiful scenery along the highway.
Enjoy the stunning view and fresh mountain air in your first stopover at Glass House Mountains National Park, located approximately 70km north of Brisbane. This heritage site is perfect for every nature photographer. ? You can find volcanic plugs scattered around the park, making them perfect for great photographs! There is even a road named after the late crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin which cuts across this National Park.
As you head northwards, you can stop by Maleny and Eumundi for some souvenir shopping! Once you’ve arrived in the resort town of Noosa, enjoy, lay back and relax in their many pristine beaches including the coastline along Noosa National Park and Sunshine Beach!
5. Cairns - Cape Tribulation (3 hours)
This road trip is especially for nature lovers! Cairns is a small city located in northeast Australia, in the state of Queensland. It is here where you can travel by boat to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. Go snorkeling or scuba diving with the fishes in the world’s largest coral reef system! ?
Heading to Cape Tribulation via the 150km Captain Cook Highway, your first stop will be Mossman Gorge, located deep in the lush Daintree rainforest. Grab your swimsuit as you can take a dip in the river by the gorge but do be cautious of strong currents. In addition, the Daintree rainforest has many activities such as jungle surfing (zip-lining through the canopy of the rainforest)!
Credit: Felix Engelhardt on flickr
After a day of fun, continue your road trip north to Cape Tribulation. Chill out in one of their many resorts amongst the greens and just simply kick back in Queensland’s stunning rainforests!
New South Wales
6. Grand Pacific Drive (2 hours)
The drive from Sydney to Shoalhaven is surely a memorable one! The Grand Pacific Drive, a 150km highway, stretches from Sydney to Shoalhaven in the south, via amazing coastal cities and towns namely Wollongong and Kiama!
The highlight of the entire road trip is the drive down the world-famous Sea Cliff Bridge. Believed to be the most photogenic route in Australia, experience the beauty of the country’s eastern coast with stunning cliffs and the crystal-clear Pacific Ocean! ❤️
Credit: @jasonkmclean on Instagram
Take a break at Wollongong, rent a bike and cycle down its coast with the beautiful harbour as a backdrop! And here’s one for the daredevil in you: experience exhilarating, adrenaline-pumping action with Skydive Australia as you skydive onto the beautiful coast of Wollongong! ? #YOLO
Credit: Skydive Sydney – Wollongong on Facebook
On your way southwards towards Shoalhaven, stop by Kiama Blowhole for a few great photo opportunities! Formed 260 million years ago, prepare to be wow-ed by the beauty of nature as you witness waves shooting as high as 30 metres! ? Do take note though, the activity of the blowholes depends on sea conditions.
Credit: profernity on flickr
For more information and details of a New South Wales Road Trip, do check it out here.
7. Red Centre Way (6 hours)
We head to the most remote, or the most ulu (nowhere near civilisation) location in Australia. The Red Centre Way links Alice Springs and Uluru, both of which are in Australia’s Northern Territory. The outback, inland Red Centre of Australia is a huge contrast from the coastal regions of Australia. The Red Centre is known for wildlife, native to the Australian outback such as Wallabies and the Thorny Devil (a thorny mountain lizard). ?
The drive to Uluru from Alice Springs is an approximately 470km drive! Unfortunately, there’s nothing much to do for the full journey as you are driving through near-barren land. So, do stock up on snacks and necessities, which can be bought at Coles Express or Woolworths located at the many gas stations in Alice Springs. Despite the long drive, a trip to Uluru is worth it! Why so? Uluru is where you can find the heart of Australia! The beautiful Ayers Rock! ?
Despite the rock being closed to climbers for the time being, the feeling of just being in Uluru, alongside an amazing nature spectacle is just phenomenal. Snap a photo with this majestic sandstone monolith! The best time for photo opportunities is during dusk when the sun sets along Uluru’s horizon. ⛅️
8. Heritage Highway (3 hours)
Finally, we head down south to Australia’s largest off-shore island, Tasmania. Home to the Tasmanian Devil (yes, it is real, not a Looney Tunes character ?), this island is known for two famous towns, Launceston and Hobart! The drive, also known as Heritage Highway, between the two towns takes approximately 3 hours along a 200km highway.
We kick off the trip from Launceston with the first stopover just minutes away. Evandale is well-known for its heritage sites and Georgian architecture dating back to the 1800s. A great place to for photos! ? As you continue your drive down south, another place you should visit to explore great heritage sites is Campbell Town! A popular rest spot for travelers who are travelling between Hobart and Launceston, Campbell Town has many cafes and picnic spots overlooking the beautiful Elizabeth River!
Credit: Jan Hope on Facebook
Continue your drive after your break at Campbell Town straight towards your destination, Hobart. Hobart is Tasmania’s capital city and is famous for its fresh produce! For this reason, you should visit Salamanca Market and experience the true beauty of Hobart. ?? You can shop for goodies and souvenirs here! Additionally, do walk down Hobart’s waterfront for great photo opportunities!
Credit: Stephan Ridgway on flickr
Muslim-Friendly Snacks for the Long Drive
Here’s a short list of a few Muslim-Friendly Australian snacks for your long drive, all of which can be found at gas stations or supermarkets such as Coles or Woolworths. ?
A Lamington is a famous Australian dessert. Delicious sponge cake coated with chocolate sauce and rolled in coconut shavings! Yummy! There are Muslim-friendly Lamingtons in Australia but do check the ingredients list before purchasing them. ?
Credit: @nikolettaskitchen on Instagram
2. Lemon Soda
Who loves lemon soda? Grab a few cans of refreshing carbonated lemonade for the long trip! Cans of SOLO Original Lemon, an Australian soda brand, can be found in gas stations, minimarts and supermarkets all over Australia!
Credit: @beachesandcreamsweetshop on Instagram
This is a must buy! Introducing Australia’s very-own Golden Boronia Nougats! ? Halal-certified by the Western Australia Halal Authority (WAHA), Golden Boronia Nougats offer a variety of yummy nougats of different types and flavours! Oh and it’s addictive! Once you pop one in, you can’t resist to take another!
Credit: Golden Boronia Nougat on Facebook
So what are you waiting for? With these tips and ideas for road trips in hand, book your tickets to Australia now and rent your four-wheeled companion for the trip! ? Experience a road trip like no other as you drive down deserts, heritage sites, beautiful cliffs and stunning coasts in this amazing country! ?