Our Australian road trip dates from a few years ago, but last week a reader asked about our complete itinerary, so here it is. We spent more than a month in Australia with kids and visited many different regions. We started our Australia trip in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, explored the Red Centre, visited Kangaroo Island, drove the Great Ocean Road, spent 10 days in Tasmania, and ended our trip in Melbourne. Below is our 5-week Australia road trip itinerary in a nutshell.
Would I change anything to this itinerary? Not much. I would add some extra days here and there, but this pretty much covers all the highlights in each place. And who has so much vacation time, right? We could only do this trip because our kids were still young and we weren’t tied to school holidays at that time.
There are a few areas we didn’t cover during this trip that you could add if you have even more time – the Great Barrier Reef and the Northern Territories around Darwin, maybe also Western Australia. We skipped the Great Barrier Reef because we had been there in the past and because our kids were too young to go snorkelling. We left Darwin for another time as well because we visited Australia in November and it’s rainy season in the North. But if you have more time, I definitely recommend adding these two areas to your Australia itinerary as well.
So here it is – our Australia road trip itinerary. I split it into separate blocks per region, so you can easily mix and match to plan your trip Down Under and create your own itinerary using our tips and information below.
Sydney and The Blue Mountains – 4 days
- Day 1: Arrival in Sydney. Stay in Sydney for 2 nights.
- Day 2: Sydney.
- Day 3: Featherdale Wildlife Park and the Blue Mountains. Stay in Leura for 1 night.
- Day 4: Blue Mountains. Sleep near Sydney airport for 1 night (we stayed at Mercure Sydney International Airport).
TIP: You can either rent a car for the last two days or spend more time in Sydney, stay in the city and book a day trip to the Blue Mountains. If you travel without kids, I think it’s a much better option to just stay in Sydney. Unless you want to spend more time exploring the Blue Mountains, of course. In that case, you may want to stay there for a few more days.
Australia’s Red Centre – 6 days
Below is a short version of our daily schedule. Here you can find our detailed 6- day itinerary for Australia’s Red Centre.
- Day 5: Flight Sydney – Alice Springs. Stay in Alice Springs for 1 night.
- Day 6: Alice Springs – West MacDonnell Ranges – Glen Helen. Stay in Glen Helen for 1 night.
- Day 7: Glen Helen – Kings Canyon. Stay in Kings Canyon for 1 night.
- Day 8: Kings Canyon – Uluru (Ayers Rock). Stay in Ayers Rock Resort (Yulara) for 2 nights.
- Day 9: Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park.
- Day 10: Uluru – Kata Tjuta NP and drive back to Alice Springs. Stay in Alice Springs for 1 night.
TIP: You will need a 4WD for this itinerary. It’s possible to do this trip driving only paved roads as well, but in that case you will need to cover the distance of almost 700 km between Glen Helen and Kings Canyon on the paved road (instead of 250km via the Mereenie Loop). If you decide to do that, then take your time to explore the gorges of the West MacDonnell Ranges a bit more and spend a night in Alice Springs again, before continuing to Kings Canyon. If you are only planning to drive from Alice Springs to Uluru, you can do it in a regular car. You can find the best outback car rental deals here.
Adelaide and Kangaroo Island – 5 days
In one of our previous posts you can find our detailed Kangaroo Island itinerary. Here’s a short version:
- Day 11: Flight Alice Springs to Adelaide. Stay in Adelaide for 1 night.
- Day 12: Adelaide to Kangaroo Island. Stay on Kangaroo Island for 4 nights.
- Days 13 – 15: Kangaroo Island.
TIP: You will need to rent a car in Adelaide and take a ferry to Kangaroo Island. We rented a car from Adelaide to Melbourne and after Kangaroo Island continued our road trip via the Grampians National Park and the Great Ocean Road (see further).
Kangaroo Island to Melbourne via the Grampians NP and the Great Ocean Road – 7 days
- Day 16: Kangaroo Island to Robe. Stay in Robe for 1 night. There isn’t much to see in Robe, but you need to break the long drive somewhere in the area.
- Day 17: Robe to the Grampians National Park. Stay in Halls Gap for 2 nights.
- Day 18: The Grampians National Park.
- Day 19: Grampians to Warrnambool. Stay in Warrnambool for 1 night.
- Day 20: Warrnambool to Lorne (Great Ocean Road). Stay in Lorne for 2 nights.
- Day 21: The Great Ocean Road. TIP: try to spot some wild koalas at the Kennett River first thing in the morning.
- Day 22: Lorne to Melbourne Airport and flight to Tasmania. Stay in Hobart for 1 night.
As you can see, we skipped the city of Melbourne at this point and flew straight to Tasmania. This is because we came back to Melbourne at the end of our Australia trip for the flight back to Europe (see further).
Tasmania – 10 days
You will need to rent a car in Hobart.
- Day 23: Hobart to Freycinet NP. Stay in Coles Bay near Freycinet NP for 2 nights.
- Day 24: Freycinet National Park.
- Day 25: Freycinet NP to Scamander or Saint Helens. We stayed in Scamander and this is one thing I would have changed in our itinerary. I suggest to drive further till St Helens and stay there instead. Visit the Bay of Fires. Stay in St. Helens for 1 night.
- Day 26: Saint Helens to Launceston. Stay in Launceston for 1 night.
- Day 27: Launceston to Cradle Mountain NP. Stay in Cradle Mountain for 2 nights.
- Day 28: Cradle Mountain National Park.
- Day 29: Cradle Mountain to Strahan. Stay in Strahan for 2 nights.
- Day 30: Strahan.
- Day 31: Strahan to Hobart. Stay in Hobart for 1 night.
- Day 32: Flight from Hobart to Melbourne. Stay in Melbourne.
- Days 33-35: Melbourne and flight back to Europe.
If you like visiting cities, you can easily spend several days in Melbourne. If you are looking for more things to do near Melbourne, you could also visit the nearby Philip Island, see the penguins, etc.
So this is our 35-day Australia trip itinerary in a nutshell. As you can see, I link to some more detailed itineraries per region here and there, so you can find more information in the related posts. I never found the time to write about all the places we visited, so feel free to leave a comment if you have any specific questions about the areas that we visited, but which are not covered on the blog. In our previous posts you can also find our best tips for planning a trip to Australia for the first time as well as our tips and information for visiting Australia with kids.
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