These days, it seems like every person who can legally drive a car has ventured along the classic Aussie road trips routes – the Great Ocean Road, Melbs to Brissy, The Big Lap.
Seeing as Australia is such a mammoth country to hike across, why not get creative and head to destinations that fly completely under the radar? You’re going to get lost regardless (assuming your sense of direction is as shoddy as my own), so you might as well make the most of it.
The stroke of genius to guide you road trip enthusiasts to remote parts of Oz (without any expertise or know-how on my end) was actually inspired by Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 4.
Confused? Watch the trailer and see for yaselves:
A group of friends driving to the middle of nowhere? Tick.
Making a discovery that there’s more to explore than your usual hotspots? Big tick.
Bumping into old mates miles away from home because the world is weird like that? Oh that’s a tickin’.
Bonding with your mates over your fear of the unknown? You betcha bottom dollar that’s a tick.
So, if actual toys can have the guts to head off into the great unknown, us adults with a driving licence should just bite the bullet and explore these banging road trips all across Australia. If you can’t, I won’t judge. I mean I will, but I won’t judge you to your face.
Fair warning: these are mammoth trips so bring supplies, take breaks when you need and take it easy. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
PERTH, WA -> CAPE RANGE NATIONAL PARK, WA
If you find yourself in Perth (intentionally or otherwise), you can’t look past a trip up to Cape Range National Park – I mean, sure you can fly up if you’re basic but there’s so much to see on the way, you’d be crazy not to drive (unless you don’t have a spare 13 hours which I mean, fair).
ADELAIDE, SA -> YAMBA, NSW
If you’re keen on a coast-to-coast roady but want to avoid the money-pit that is Sydney at all costs (this trip might be tailored for me more than anything), drive on up to Sydney’s hustle-free, much cheaper second cousin twice-removed: Yamba.
As an added bonus, the quickest route lets you drive through Victoria so if you wanna smash out three states in less than 24 hours, the Adelaide-to-Yamba route has gotchu.
DARWIN, NT -> AUGUSTA, WA
If you’ve found yourself in Darwin with 46 hours to spare (interesting situation to be in pls tell me your life story), you may as well rent a car and journey down to Augusta.
The south-west town on WA‘s coast is a stunner and known for some solid whale-spotting or if you wanna head underground, you can scope out the massive jewel cave.
Its population is around 1,000 too so one can assume that lines for all of the lighthouses and caves would be nonexistent – efficiency is key on these long hauls.
SYDNEY, NSW -> PORT DOUGLAS, QLD
I probably wouldn’t have heard much about Port Douglas if my Dad hadn’t flown there for work but honestly, I can’t tell if that’s because it’s a hidden gem or if I’m just wildly uneducated.
Regardless, Port Douglas is only a 28-hour drive from Sydney, which seems like no time at all if you’ve stocked up on the road trip essentials: podcasts, 28 hours worth of Disney tunes and a couple of mates who don’t mind you playing 28 hours worth of Disney tunes.
Money, food and drinks wouldn’t hurt either now that I think about it.
BRISBANE, QLD -> ALICE SPRINGS, NT
Okay, I’m well aware that Alice Springs is hardly an unknown place for people to venture to, but given it’s quite literally situated in the middle of nowhere, I feel like it more than qualifies to be included on the list.
Plus, I hear Brisbane folk very rarely explore the Western parts of Queensland, so I feel like they could make multiple stops on their way to the NT to soak in their state’s backyard. Kill 28 birds with one stone, as the old saying incorrectly goes.
PERTH, WA -> WARRNAMBOOL, VIC
Ahh, Warnnambool – such fond childhood memories (and one not-so-fond childhood memory where I fell down a flight of stairs in our hotel and lost both slippers in the process).
Legit though, you’re going to fall in love with the city located just along the Great Ocean Road. And no, this does not technically count as a Great Ocean Road road trip because you’ll be driving from Perth. It’s very different.
If you’re about sea/sun/surf/seeing whales and shipwrecks, Warrnambool is your go-to. The road trip will also see you drive along the Great Australian Bite which is on a lot of people’s bucket lists.
HOBART, VIC -> NIMBIN, NSW
A lot of people would consider Nimbin to be Australia’s quaint little carnival. Not because it’s a literal carnival but because no matter which way you turn, you’re going to see a different character with a different life story.
If you drive up from Hobart you’ll have to jump on a ferry but really that just adds to the list of activities you tick off so why not?
Or, if you feel you’re sorely lacking the motivation to Eat, Pray, Love your way around Australia, you can just watch some ballsy toys do it in Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 4. It’s in cinemas now.
Both. Do both.Image: iStock / fotofritz16