How long does it take to Travel around Australia?
A road trip around Australia covers approximately 15,097 km’s / 9,380 miles via National Highway 1. This does not take in the centre of the country or legendary drives such as the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley but it does cover some of the best parts of the country, including the famous Great Barrier Reef.
Travelling around the country with a caravan or off-road vehicle and trailer is popular and many families take their kids on travels, often long-term, working as they explore. It is not unusual for a road trip around Oz to cover in excess of 40,000 km’s (nearly 25,000 miles) as there is so much to see off the National Highway. We spent 5 weeks touring the small island state of Tasmania and covered over 5,000 km’s / 3000 miles! Driving through Central Australia to Uluru is not part of the Australian National Highway 1, a road trip is not complete without getting to the centre of the continent! The famous East Coast Road trip requires about 4-6 weeks.
Sealed all the way, a lap of Australia can be done in any type of vehicle.
How long does it take to drive from…
- Melbourne to Sydney: 1045 kms / 649 miles ~ 12 hours & 34 minutes
- Sydney to Brisbane: 922 kms / 573 miles ~ 10 hours & 30 minutes
- Brisbane to Cairns: 1705 kms / 1060 miles ~ 20 hours & 40 minutes
- Cairns to Darwin: 2850 kms / 1771 miles ~ 34 hours
- Darwin to Broome: 1871 kms / 1162 miles ~ 21 hours 13 minutes
- Broome to Perth: 2811 kms / 1747 miles ~ 30 hours
- Perth to Adelaide: 2696 kms / 1675 miles ~ 29 hours
- Adelaide to Melbourne: 900 kms / 559 miles ~ 10 hours & 10 minutes
- Adelaide to Darwin: 3027 kms / 1881 miles ~ 35 hours
- Launceston to Hobart: 280 kms / 174 miles ~ 3 hours & 16 minutes
What is the Recommended Minimum Time to Drive Around Australia?
A suggested minimum time to tour all the way around would be 6 months, though 12 months would be a better length of time to tour the country.
It could be done in just 3 months and many travellers do the lap in this amount of time as not everyone has the luxury of taking longer… and not everyone wants to be on the road for an extended length of time.
Detailed driving times between major Australian destinations:
Read about the remote Gibb River Road here…
Is a 4 Wheel Drive vehicle required when travelling around Australia?
A 4WD will give you access to many remote regions that an ordinary car simply cannot cope with. Research needs to be done to weigh out the costs of buying a suitable 4Wd before a big trip.
- How long will the trip be for?
- Are you experienced enough to drive in remote regions on difficult terrain or prepared to gain the experience beforehand?
- Will your accommodation be in tents that can be in the vehicle or will you need an off-road camper or trailer?
- What will the extra costs be with maintaining and fuelling a 4WD vehicle?
- Depending on your time frame for the trip, would it be better to use a regular car and then take organised tours into the remote regions?
Travellers have used regular vehicles to tour Australia since the motor car was invented. These days you will see people driving every type of vehicle around Australia. An old VW Beetle was seen not so long ago coming from the famous Gibb River Road, the Beetle was painted gaily with a grinning driver waving victoriously – this is a road that is not generally considered suitable for anything other than a 4WD as it has river crossings and corrugations, plus remote regions that can be explored with a 4WD or tour.
What is the best way to travel around Australia – Car, Motor Home, Tours?
This all depends on how much time is available. Driving across Australia from Melbourne to Perth, for example, is just over 3,400 km’s/2,000 miles and generally takes about 3 days, at least. A holiday of 2-4 weeks would be best done by flying between destinations or concentrating on just one area. See a size comparison of Australia compared to other countries here, to get an idea of distances.
Our comparison table of flight times and driving times around the country may help to make a decision about driving or flying between places in Australia.
The range of tours available in Australia is brilliant and flying between cities and then connecting with a guided tour is a good way to see the country if you are on a limited time frame or prefer not to drive.
We love to promote smaller group tours that offer a more personalised experience and have researched the best available. Find tours by state and then decide which option is best for you, self-drive or organised tours.
Expedition Australia – The Big Lap DVD Series
This is a fabulous family adventure doing the ‘Big Lap’ with two small kids. Going to every extreme of Australia, driving on remote outback roads and filming as they went. The Baile family will keep viewers entertained for hours. Recommended to anyone planning a big lap of Australia or as a gift to a traveller. Read more…
Which Direction is Best for a Road Trip around Australia?
This depends on personal preference as well as where the journey around Australia is starting from, plus the time of year.
Summer in Australia means it is hot in most places, but it is also the wet season up North, not ideal perhaps – it has the advantage of enabling people to see places when they are green and lush, plus has a totally different feel to when it is dry. Places like Kakadu in the Northern Territory open up a to a whole different experience – BUT, many roads, towns, and communities are cut off due to higher river levels, plus it is extremely humid.
May to August is generally considered the best time to head north, warm dry days for the most part, though can be very cold overnight in central Australia. Most unsealed roads are accessible at this time. During these months it is winter down south, so a great reason perhaps to head north.
Highway 1 Australia -15,097 km’s / 9,380 miles ~ 172 hours & 11 minutes. Give or take some time depending on traffic conditions!
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