Since we can only travel domestically for the near future, most of us are looking to road trip holidays for our next big adventure. Lots of driving = lots of boring hours talking to your car buddies until you have nothing to chat about anymore. Enter podcasts – the road trip’s best friend.
The best podcasts for road trips are ones that engage you. Obviously, everyone is different – some of us love to learn, some of us love to listen to other people gasbagging, some of us like fiction and some of us like insight.
I am an AVID podcast listener and to help you out on your next road trip, I’ve rounded up my favourites – AND categorised them. How good am I, right?
1. Fun Podcasts
For when you wanna feel like you’re driving along with some mates.
Ummm of course I’m going to put my own podcast in here first, lol. The Zest Is History is all about Australian historical stories told over a few wines. This ain’t your high school history lesson, it’s funny AND you learn something!
Me and my co-host Josie Rozenberg-Clarke (you might remember us from All Aussie Mystery Hour) spin yarns ranging from the Beaconsfield mine disaster to the backstory on Waltzing Matilda – perfect for long Aussie drives.
Ex-Bachie stars Laura Byrne and Brittany Hockley joined forces a year ago to make Life Uncut, a relationships podcast that is equal parts funny and insightful. They both seem like lovely people which is what makes a chatty podcast great, in my opinion.
If you’re not across The Dollop yet, get amongst it. Like The Zest Is History, The Dollop deals with history in a funny way – except the premise is that one comedian has no idea what the other is bringing them. The lols come from them – like you – wondering how the hell the crazy story happened and you never knew about it.
I’ve loved seeing this podcast develop – starting out in kinda the beauty space, hosts Kelsey Ferencak and Stefanie Carpenter now chat everything from luxe trackies to gut health. It’s very much like having wines with friends where the convo could go literally anywhere.
Keen to get your finances in order? She’s On The Money is a podcast for women about getting your financial shit together. From superannuation to prenups, all money related stuff is discussed in a relatable, fun way – so it never feels like you’re talking to a bank clerk.
Grace O’Neill and Isabelle Truman have made names for themselves with this podcast, which covers pop culture and the news in a refreshing, feminist way. Their opinions are often spot on and will have you screaming “YEEESSSS” in the car as you listen along, plus they have some top notch guests like Florence Given and Pandora Sykes.
Flex Mami is a LORD in podcasting, if you haven’t binged Bobo & Flex do it right now. Her latest, Whatever I Want, is her talking about… whatever she wants. Sometimes she has guests, sometimes she doesn’t – but the mind of Flex is a brilliant one so you can guarantee that whatever she does wanna discuss, it’s damn interesting.
2. Serious Podcasts
Want to skill up or gather more dinner party chat on your road trip? These podcasts are for you.
This ABC podcast is #1 on the charts often for a reason – it’s damn good. No one does interview-based podcasting quite like the ABC, and the selection of interviewees range from people who worked in remote bush schools in the 60s through to a nine-year-old kid who rode a horse across two states to see the Harbour Bridge opening.
Remember Serial? The podcast that kicked off the mass-love for podcasts? Well, Sarah Koenig and her team have a new poddy – Nice White Parents. It delves into the complexities of white families sending their kids to predominantly Black schools, getting involved in the community happenings.
While they mean well, often their actions can oppress further – it’s absolutely fascinating insight into how white privilege is all-pervasive.
Marlee Silva is an absolute gun when it comes to podcasting, and her latest is, in my opinion, her best. Each ep sees Marlee interview an Indigenous trailblazer, from the second ever Aboriginal woman to represent Australia in cricket, to Allan Clarke, the journo behind the incredible and important Bowraville podcast.
I’m obsessed with this podcast, which is really a series of independent investigations by the ABC. Some investigations have been followed for months, even years – from questionable pre-natal care in regional and remote communities, to the alleged rigging of the Uluru Camel Races, it’s a mix of serious national issues that need addressing and fascinating deep dives on stuff you might not know much about, like the rural water crisis.
Digging deep into the effect the internet has had on us, Rabbit Hole is as gripping as a true crime podcast, yet all it’s really about is… YouTube and forums. You’ll be hooked and burning through episodes as you learn about the ways algorithms and fake news can snowball and have massive consequences.
The THIRD ABC podcast? Yep, that’s how much I love ’em. The Eleventh chronicles the rise and fall of Gough Whitlam, arguably the most scandalous Prime Minister Australia has ever seen, and also arguably the greatest.
3. Comedy Podcasts
Just like laughing? All the time? Here you go.
Two comedians sit down with other comedians for a gasbag – obviously this is hilarious. There’s no real rhyme or reason asto where the conversations will go, and obviously with lots of people on mics it can get hectic – but that’s part of the fun, right?
Rosie Waterland made a name for herself via her Bachie recaps for Mamamia, and rightly so – they were the absolute cream of the recap crop. She eventually branched off into podcasting, and Just The Gist takes her mastery for telling a story and applies it to whatever she feels like, really.
It’s a genius concept and it works well, because Rosie is so personable and hilarious.
I’m nothing if not nepotistic – this is my good pal and ex-PTV writer Ben McLeay’s podcast, but I will tell you this – Ben is one of the funniest people I know, and his podcast is just as hilarious as he is. Technically it’s a “political comedy podcast” but I don’t even know what it is, to be honest. It’s just good.
Is there anything better than bitching about shit movies? No, there isn’t. This podcast is about that – but with three heaps funny people doing the bitching. It’s about those so-bad-they’re-good films, the ones that are better for the fact you can laugh at everything in them, you know?
4. Niche Podcasts
If it’s your niche, you’ll be obsessed.
This podcast goes deep on mental health, from anxiety and depression to psychology trends and developments. It’s a heavy podcast but if you’re going through some heavy stuff, it’s a winner – many of the feedback comments praise the podcast for shedding light on their own mental state, giving them renewed hope.
If you’re a writer this podcast is for you – featuring conversations with notable figures in the publishing industry, you’ll learn more about honing your craft – but it’s also filled with wonderful, inspiring conversations about peoples lives, which is great if you’re obsessed with Anna Funder or Julia Baird, both of whom have their own eps.
True crime meets music? Weird but that’s exactly what this podcast is about – the criminal stories behind some of music’s biggest names. Sometimes the artist themselves is a crim, sometimes it’s horrific events they’ve endured.
Disgraceland can be seriously intense and doesn’t hold back on details, so this definitely isn’t for you if you can’t stomach gory, graphic stuff.
Chantelle Otten is one of the best sexologists in Australia – her non-judgy, modern take on all things sexy times is a breath of fresh air after all that old school high school shit we all learned. This podcast might get you too turned on for a road trip, but hey – if you’re bored, listening to Chantelle reading out EROTIC LITERATURE is probably gonna wake you the hell up, right?
Looooove The Bachelor? Like, to death? Cocktails and Roses is 10’s recap podcast, starring none other than Osher and Alisha Aitken-Radburn, star of 2020’s Bachie in Paradise. They’re both lovely, engaging humans who gel really well on radio, so if you feel like bingeing through this season’s goss, this is the way to do it.
Love knowing random stuff? Like, so random no one would even be thinking about it? Ologies is for you – each episode, host Alie Ward delves into how something works, from jellyfish to decluttering, it just has to be an “ology”. Like technology, archaeology, you get it.
From Spotify, Search Engine Sex is such a genius concept I’m annoyed I didn’t think of it first. It’s basically using what we all search for as topics – from “is there someone out there better for me” to “how to ask your partner to go open”, these eps tackle big topics and they’re 100% things you’ve been thinking about.