Student Flights Road trip traveller at the start of the Nullarbor Plain.

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9 of the Best summer drives for your first Australian road trip

Published March 2nd, 2018

From winding coastal drives to rugged Outback sojourns that reveal the heart of the country, a long road trip is one of the most indulgent ways to experience the breadth of Australia’s wide open spaces and the vast diversity of flora and fauna not to mention the colourful characters you'll be sure to meet along the way.

First up before we give you the lowdown on the best first-time road trips to have a crack at, here are a few tips to have you talking about your roadtrip for years to come:

1. Maccas on a road trip actually stands for ‘Mecca of Caffeine’.

2. If you haven’t seen anything ‘big’ yet wait 5 minutes. Australia is the home of ‘BIG’ things - big Merino, big lobster, big banana; you name it we’ve got it in a size XXL.

3. Spread out the banger songs on your playlist. A 3-minute mini dance party in your seat every 30 minutes is the way to go to keep fatigue at bay (that and the Maccas flat white with one sugar).

4. Be prepared. That means a spare tire, first aid and map (physical because believe it or not, not everywhere in the outback has reception/wifi): check.

 


 

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Now that you’re ready, here are our picks for the best first time road trip itineraries, and if you want to take a few days off and let someone else do the driving then our mates over at Contiki, Topdeck and Adventure Tours Australia have got a little treat for you in the form of up to 15% off Aussie Adventures and our other mates over at Virgin Australia have given us exclusive student and Under-30 domestic airfares until March 31, 2018.

 

1.Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road

Just 90 minutes from Melbourne this ripper of a coastal drive stretches over 243 kilometres through rainforests and along beaches, taking in sights like the 12 Apostles, shipwrecks and the Australian National Surfing Museum at Torquay..

 

2.Perth to Esperance

A whopping 7.5-hour drive, the road to Esperance is well worth the journey when the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow is the white sandy beaches that meet crystal clear water with some friendly two-legged bouncy locals hopping about.

 

3.Sydney to Byron Bay

A solid 9-hour drive, this one is great to stretch out over a couple of days with stops on the Central Coast (Cenny), Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Yamba.


 

The wonder years

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4.Darwin to Broome

Taking somewhere in the midst of 7 days to two weeks ( the longer the better), this trip covers a diverse landscape with potential stop-offs at Victoria River, Timber Creek, Kununurra, Lake Argyle, Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and Derby all before the magnificent crystal clear waters of Broome.

 

5.Adelaide to Flinders Ranges

To get the most out of a drive to the Flinders Ranges you have to stay for at least a few days, which isn’t hard when the drive is only about 5 hours. You might want to stop along the way through the Clare Valley wine region for one of the famous Rieslings.

 


 

6.Darwin to Alice Springs

First you’ve got the holy Katherine Gorge, alright it’s not actually holly but it might as well be and once you’ve had a stop in there you’re going to be feeling pretty darn #blessed. From there everything starts to get a little more sunburnt as ‘Alice’ comes into view and the dirt turns a vivid red.

 

7.Hobart to the Bay Of Fires

An easy drive coming in just under 4 hours, but to make it even more interesting and a little longer you can stop in at Eaglehawk Neck for some A+ surfing and then head onto Port Arthur. After that, there’s the Freycinet Peninsula then head to the famous Coles Bay to tick the Wineglass Bay hike off your bucket list. Sample some of the local seafood before making your final stop in the picturesque Bay Of Fires.

 

8.Brisbane to Byron Bay

The iconic 3-hour drive from Brissie to Byron is a must do road trip and the perfect bucket list itinerary for first-timers. An easy drive along the M1 there are plenty of stops along the way but you’ll probably want to head straight for the laid-back hippie town of Byron that has in recent years attracted a young and trendy crowd of creative types.

 


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9.Sydney to Jervis Bay

Another nice ‘n’ easy 3-hour drive south of Sydders, Jervis Bay offers up glorious turquoise water at Hyams Beach with some of the best scuba diving at Jervis Bay Marine Park. During summer there’s whale and dolphin watching and some preeeeetty great bush camping to top it all off.


 

Student Flights

Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.