Best Oz Road Trips

Australia is a vast country and you would be forgiven for hopping on a plane to reach your destination. But let’s not forget that travelling is just as much about the journey and if you fancy the fun and frolics of a road trip Australia won’t disappoint!

The major cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane might hold the culture delights but this is Oz! There is fantastic coastline to explore and some seriously scenic road trips with unrivalled surfing and geological wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef, the 12 Apostles and the Whitsunday Islands – just look out the window, oh, and watch out for roos!

Our selection of the best drives in Australia come complete with recommended stop-offs and of course, what we do best, some cheap accommodation options…

Sydney to Melbourne | Melbourne to Adelaide | Sydney to Brisbane | Byron Bay to Cairns | Darwin to Alice Springs | Melbourne to Tasmania

Sydney to Melbourne

If you want to tackle two of Australia’s most exciting cities, why not make something of the journey? You’ll find cheap things to do in Sydney, spend a few days in a Sydney backpackers then hit the tarmac for your Sydney to Melbourne road trip…

A nice detour is Canberra, Australia’s capital city where kangaroos occasionally jump into view. It’s a green city, perfect for summer days outdoors and the city centres around Lake Burley Griffin. Visitors will want to climb the Anzac Parade for a view of the Parliament House building. Budget travellers should check out the Dickenson neighbourhood for some great pan Asian cuisine, up and coming nightlife and Canberra backpackers.

Jindabyne is located beside Lake Jindabyne and it’s a popular place for snow sports in winter and water sports in summer such as hot-dogging.

Head through the Snowy Mountains along Barry Way. Many parts are unsealed and it offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape of valleys and rivers including the Snowy of course.

Stop off at Sale, a gateway to the Gippsland Lakes. Here you can find Australia’s largest fishing port and protected lake area, ideal for boating and enjoying fresh seafood. From here you could also visit the white sands of the Ninety Mile Beach, one of the longest stretches in the world. You’ll find the friendly Cambrai Hostel Maffra on the outskirts of town.

At Wilsons Promontory, hop off at the quirky fish-themed town called Fish Creek, for a spot of lunch (that’s right, it’s fish on the menu!) and be sure to take a walk in the beautiful wilderness in the Wilson’s Promontory National Park with its granite rock formations. You might be lucky enough to spot emus and wombats.

Arriving in Melbourne, you’ll need to decide where to stay. There’s the city centre, but it’s worth considering a Melbourne backpackers in the seaside suburb St Kilda. Read about accommodation in St Kilda to help make up your mind.

Melbourne to Adelaide

In the first part of the journey you can take in perhaps Australia’s most stunning stretch of coastline, The Great Ocean Road. It’s one of the world’s great road trips with awe-inspiring panoramas of the 12 Apostles, the Shipwreck Coast and the London Bridge Rock formation there’s plenty to see and a number of Great Ocean Road backpackers along the way.

If you’ve followed us as far as Port Fairy you have two options for your Melbourne to Adelaide road trip…

Option 1) Turn inland and head north to the Grampians National Park. Here there are plenty of opportunities to join short hikes and bushwalks to waterfalls and Halls Gap in the rugged mountain range.

Option 2) Continue along the Limestone Coastal region to Mt Gambier. This is a good base from which to explore Naracoorte and the swimming lake or the famous Blue Lake. Continue on to Robe where you can break for some great seafood and wine. The final stretch runs along the 60 mile-long Coorong National Park, an unusual saltwater lagoon with stretches of deserted beach and natural water bird habitats. You can choose to stay in backpackers in Robe or Mt. Gambier.

Adelaide itself has a bustling live-music scene and once you’ve had your fill of cultural attractions, there are a number of day trips to nearby wine regions, surfing spots and Kangaroo Island. Stretch your legs on a bike ride between the numerous wineries around McLaren Vale and Willunga. There are plenty of city centre Adelaide backpackers as well as hostels by the beach.

Sydney to Brisbane via Byron Bay

This is a fun, short trip with plenty of stopping off opportunities. Why not time your trip to coincide with one of the popular music festivals in Australia such as the Splendour or Blues n Roots at Byron Bay as part of your Sydney to Brisbane road trip…

Departing Sydney, your first port of call (forgive the pun) should be lunch at Port Macquarie. There’s pleasant colonial architecture and it’s THE place to come to fulfil all your cute and cuddly koala dreams so visit the Billabong Koala Park to get your hands on these marsupials.

Coff’s Harbour is a good place to stay overnight with an increasing number of good restaurants so head to the jetty then onto the Hoey Moey pub to join the other backpackers for live music, trivia or pool competition nights. The backpackers Coffs Harbour YHA Backpackers Resort is on the jetty and has bikes and surfboards for hire.

You’ll find good surfing throughout the journey but the big pull at Woolgoolga (12 miles north of Coff’s Harbour), or ‘Woopi’, is Raj Mahal, a part of town with a large Sikh population. It’s origins are uncertain but the ramshackle sari shops and shuttered snack bars remain boarded up. Guru Nanak Gurdwara was built in the 1970s and is still an active temple of worship.

Find out about the crazy 1973 La Balsas expedition and the raft that floated to Ballina all the way from Ecuador. Also prepare yourself for prawns galore. A 24hr restaurant and souvenir shops serve them up by the sack load. Ballina is particularly beautiful at night when it is picturesquely lit. You can also take a boat trip up river to Lismore from here.

Lismore lies upriver of Ballina and boasts a thriving art community and a good weekend market (1st and 3rd Sunday every month) for trinket hunting and people-watching from one of the interesting cafes. Escape the heat in the cool and leafy Rotary Park rainforest.

Nimbin rose to fame in 1973 with the Aquarius Festival. 30km north of Lismore, the street dealers ply you with pot and smokers can enjoy themselves in a couple of the cafes. Aside from the Marijuana highs, Nimbin Rocks is a sacred Aboriginal site and the Hangin Rock Creek has waterfalls a good swimming hole at the end of Stony Shute Road.

At Byron Bay you can skydive, surf at Tweed Heads, or even try white-water rafting. A number of popular music festivals in Brisbane worth considering include the Blues n Roots, Splendour and also Woodford Folk Festival over New Years. If you’re looking for a hostel Byron Bay backpackers offers private and dorm rooms.

Check out the Nomads Arts Factory Lodge which has teepees and island bungalows in the subtropical garden complete with hammocks, a pool and log fires.

Or if you’d prefer to be on the beach the Nomads Byron Bay has a cinema lounge, girl’s only dorms and BBQ facilities.

If you’ve spent you’re time by the beach, in the water and in the car, Brisbane and it’s cultural treats will be a welcome break. Catch a game of cricket at the Gabba stadium, stop for coffee at the riverside parks. You’ll find the main attractions in the central business district (CBD). Still want to stretch your legs? Hire bikes and cycle along the riverside bike track, stopping for a pint or two at the Regatta pub perhaps. Brisbane also has a good live music rosta and the best place to start is at Zoo, perhaps one of the best small venues in Oz. Want Brisbane backpackers with a view? The Brisbane City YHA has panoramic views from its roof terrace compete with rooftop swimming pool, games room with Wii, bar and restaurant.

Byron Bay or Brisbane to Cairns

There’s a reason they call this stretch the Sunshine Coast and this route offers some of the nicest views, comparable to Great Ocean Road. If you continue to Cape Tribulation you can marvel at the way the Daintree National Park and rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef.

You’re barely out of Brisbane but be sure to hop out at the last of the Sunshine Coast’s surfing spots. Noosa became big in the 60s for surfing and later in the 90s the well heeled fashionistas came to visit this new food mecca.

But budget travellers will love the low key cafe culture for simple seaside pleasures and exploring the Noosa National Park along the coats. Just 2hrs from Brisbane so possible as a day trip or why not opt to stay in a Noosa backpackers instead of the city.

Fraser Island is best visited by ferry from scenic Rainbow Beach which offers a sweeping panorama from the lighthouse to the south of Fraser Island. Your alternative route is via Hervey Bay which is a little too touristy and more of a pensioner heaven. Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island. With some 200 freshwater lakes and rainforests it looks like paradise (apart from the tourists). Lakes are perfect for swimming and by night the Milky Way is brighter than ever before.

Continue on to Rockhampton, known as the beef Capital of Australia. It’s a historic town and there’s a handy Heritage Route which will take you past the lovingly preserved architecture and along the Fitzroy River. To the east of the town you can visit the Koorana Crocodile Farm and watch the feeding frenzy at lunchtime. You can stay at the Rockhampton Backpackers YHA.

Your next stop should be Airlie Beach, a gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. Here you can spend a few days exploring this little slice of paradise. You’ll find the popular nightlife around Airlie Beach or you can escape from it to the while silica sands of Whitehaven Beach. The best views are from the water so try and arrange a sailing trip. There are plenty of Airlie Beach Backpackers but the Whitsunday on the Beach offers budget private rooms next to the lagoon and it’s a short walk from where the boats depart from.

Magnetic Island is one of the sunniest spots in the world receiving an average of 320 days of sunshine every year. It’s a quick 20mins boat journey from Townsville and if you decide to spend some time exploring the National Park, Mount Cook and the eucalyptus forest you can book a hostel on the island or return to Townsville.

Suddenly it’s all over and you’re in Cairns. The Pier Marketplace is the heart of the city and it’s hard to believe the swimming lagoon was once just a mudflat. But perhaps most importantly, Cairns is a perfect base from which to visit the Great Barrier Reef with trips leaving from the Aplin Sts, Reef Terminal. Pubs sit on every corner and there are cheap eats to be had at the lunchtime food courts above the Orchid Plaza and the Night Markets. Our top-rated Cairns backpackers is the Travellers Oasis. It’s a small and intimate backpackers with a pool surrounded by lush tropical gardens and rooms equipped with air-conditioning.

Best of the Rest

Darwin to Alice Springs
You might have noticed many of our suggested drives in Australia are east coast road trips. But if you fancy braving the Australian outback, try a Darwin to Alice Springs road trip. Unfortunately detours can be rather cumbersome in Australia but be sure to swing by Ayers Rock and the Kakadu National Park.

Melbourne to Tasmania
That’s right, you can pop your car on a ferry and arrive in much-loved Tassie the next day. It might prove cheaper to pick up a car rental in Devonport and avoid the car charge applied by ferries. There’s wild swimming spots at Seven Mile Beach, the Narawntapu National Park as well as the buzzing city of Hobart to explore which sits on the Derwent River at the foot of Mt Wellington. Spoil yourself with fine wine, catch the odd festival and relax in the hip bars. Break up a road trip and stay at Tasmania backpackers.

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Thanks to rumpleteaser, PhillipC, Looking Glass, artorusrex, tkcrash123, M i x y,, Phillie Casablanca and eutrophication&hypoxia for the images off Flickr!

49 Responses to “Best Oz Road Trips”

  1. my best road trip was around america starting in New york where i meet 12 strangers and we imbarked on an adventures which ended with best mates. whitewater rafting and zip lining our way to the deep south, experincing the best it has to offer and inbracing the Jazz. Then we moved on to the red sands of Navjho land and staying in there hogan, followed by hiking the grand cayon in a snow blizad. Till the bright lights of Vagas called where nothing is imposable. finishing off in LA where u can follow your dreams

  2. My most amazing road trip was last summer in the USA. Me and two of the other camp staff I was working with decided to go to Chicago. Plan was to stop in South Western Minnesota Uni on the way….except SWMU is the complete wrong direction if we were starting from Minneapolis! Our road trip was hilarious though….filled with out of date diet coke, being stuck in a campus locker for an hour. We sang the glee soundtrack and other musicals (the one poor guy in the car) and we eventually made it to Chicago! BEST TRIP EVER!!!

  3. My favourite road trip was from Cairns to Port Douglas with my best friend Katie in 2004. We hired a car and listed to Drops of Jupiter. We stopped at Kuranda markets for sarongs and silver jewellery. We ate juicy ripe mangoes, trying not to drip the juice on the seats. We spotted koalas in the big beautiful gums by the side of the road. We stuck our arms out the windows and felt the warm sun on our skin. Pure bliss. I’d love to take my partner back to find that magic again.

  4. Leanne Jackett Reply

    My best road trip was from Whitehorse, Yukon down the Alaska Highway into Northern British Columbia with eight other Canadians in a white Ford box ban on wheels. This was in November and the sheer amount of winter wildlife we saw was INCREDIBLE! A memorable stop was hiking in Kluane National Park and stepping around the mountain sheep as they just stared at you! Then on the road we saw a migrating heard of caribou, a group of lazy elk just hanging out, a lynx, a red fox, so many eagles i couldn’t count, then the icing on the cake was a heard of wild buffalo in the setting Yukon sun! This as all on the way to Liard River where we idled in hot springs, each hotter than the last, surrounded by boreal forest and hibernating grizzlies. We slept at a old hotel with a Stephan King feeling as the mountains might just come and eat you as your sleeping… but sleep you do well because your bones ache from the awkwardness of snowshoeing all day.
    Such a great road trip in the great white North!

  5. The best road trip I’ve ever done was between Spain and Portugal last winter. We were hungover and pathetic and clutching onto a bag of crisps the whole time. Even though the only tangible thing separating the two countries is the border line and a sign, I instantly felt that I had entered a completely different place (this may have been enhanced by the fact that our driver kept telling us that everything was better in Portugal). We put on some Portuguese beats (wegue, wegue wegue wegue) and drove through to Lisbon after stopping at a service station for some ‘bacalhau’, a national dish of Portugal. Probably not the best introduction to Portuguese food I have to say. The experience was so simple but whenever I think about it I am filled with nostalgia and longing to go back there (or saudades, as they would say in Portugal!). It’s one of my favourite memories – despite the hangover, and being cramped in the backseat with two other people, and getting thrown around due to a reckless driver! The company was exceptional and you can’t beat the sublime feeling of seeing a new place for the first time.

  6. There is nothing like a USA road trip. It is a classic but a goody! I took time out in 2008 before starting university to see the world a little. It was the best decision I ever made. I started in New York City (the big juicy apple) where I met my fellow travellers and embarked on a month long trip towards San Francisco. I travelled through the political hub of Washington DC, the spooky town of Savannah, the heat of Florida, the joys of being a big kid at Disneyland, Blues in New Orleans, Rock n Roll at Memphis, Cowboys in Dallas, breathtaking views of Monument Valley, St Patrick’s Day fun in Los Angeles and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I could go on and on! It was not just the places but the people that made this road trip THE trip of a lifetime. My fellow travellers are now my best friends. We had so many fun times along the way but what happens on the road, stays on the the road! Take a road trip – you won’t regret it!

  7. Sometimes the best trips and adventures come when things don’t go as planned. Which is exactly how this one went…The summer of my sophomore year of college my best friend and I decided to head east and work together for the summer at a camp. There we met some amazing people, and while the work was hard, with long hours and little pay, we enjoyed it, and survived the summer. Come the end of it we were sad to return home to Oregon, having to depart from our new friends, which also lived in various different states. So, we decided to go out with a bang by going on a road trip together before we all went our separate ways. We collected food from the camp kitchen weeks in advance, and “borrowed” any other supplies we thought we might need from the camp. We even considered selling button bracelets to our campers, (don’t worry we didn’t) made by the camp art director, to help fund our trip. Singing the lyric “California here we come…right back where we started from” throughout the last few days of camp, got us even more excited. We were gonig to California! So on the last day, with gear and food filling the majority of the car, the 7 of us crammed into two cars and we were off on our adventure. Our destination of California turned into Lake Powell in Utah due to time constrains, but that didn’t matter to us. We were on our way, singing camp songs, laughing, and enjoying the freedom of the road. We talked between the two cars with walkie talkies that the camp had so graciously let us “borrow” and we drove and drove and drove. No one knew how far the Lake was and no one knew just how hot it would be, where we would stay at night, or much of anything. With dark approaching we pulled off on the side of the road, grabbed our sleeping bags, and hiked through fields of “pokies” and cacti and called it a night. In the morning we woke up to see we were just a few hundred feet from the hwy and a lovely diner offering a “chuck wagon dinner” for just $8.99 on Tuesdays. We loaded up the car and headed back down the road, also discovering Moab, was just a short 5-minute drive form where we roughed it on the side of the road. We stopped at Arches National Park just to take a photo, no time to actually go in, and headed on. Arriving at Lake Powell we were ALL so happy. But that changed quickly. The sand was hot, the 106 degree sun was scorching, we didn’t have a boat, or means to rent one, and thus things started to go all so wrong. In the water some of us cooled off a bit, but others didn’t want to swim. So the group became divided. A friend and I swam to a little island and hung out a bit and then wanted to get out, but our friends had taken our shoes, and so we were stuck in the water, with it slowly dehydrating us as we sunburned. Other friends soon found us, and attempted to find the others by braving the burning sand. They tied some grass to the bottoms of their feet and painfully walked back to the car, miles away. Not sure what others did while we sang camp songs in the water, trying to pass the time, but after a good 4 hours of such, we saw the rest of our friends appear with the car, and we were out of there. By the time we were all back together we were sunburnt, exhausted, and cranky. We were going to call it a trip right then and there, but decided that would be a silly way to end up, so we went to dinner. Jumping in the car, which has absorbed the heat as well, with it frying ALL our cds, we had to revert to the Polka radio station that came in. Things just seemed to be getting worse and worse. After dinner we started to feel a little better and had decided to try and camp out that night at a free camping spot a local had described to us. We went down a dirt road and drove for miles, and soon where in the middle of nowhere. With few directions, it became apparent that we were lost, and that once again, things were not going in our favor. Low on gas, we said we’d take the road until one more bend and if we didn’t find the camping place, we’d retrace our steps (if we could) and head home. Luckily we found a great camping spot, with trees, and a large flat area and fire pit to camp at. Exhausted we unloaded our sleeping bags once more and got ready for bed. In the distance we could hear wild animals. Not sure what they were, a few of us approached them. They seemed to be monkeys hanging in a tree! But in Utah! Confused, we all slowly drifted off and went to bed. In the morning we awoke to one of the most beautiful sunrises we all have ever seen. The area around us, lit up, and we all felt renewed. We where in the Goblin Valley, in southern Utah, a magical place, that is almost the hidden paradise of the desert, you could say. It was AMAZING! We were so lucky to have ended up there! We packed up our things and with 5 crammed into the Buick, to head back to Colorado, and the 2 of us in the Blazer to head home to Oregon, we said our goodbyes. This is one of the best road trips I have ever been on, and when getting together with these friends, we can’t help but recall this story and smile. Things went terribly wrong not just once, but a couple times on this trip, but yet, its one of the fondest memories we all have of spending time together.

  8. My best friend and I set out on a month long cross Canada journey from Ontario to British Columbia. We spent each day somewhere new, doing something different. After a day spent hiking, white water rafting, surfing, zip lining or anything else we could find, we cooked on our camp stove, locked our food up for the night (so not to be bothered by the many bears we passed on the drive into the campground), then crawled into the back of our van and thought about where we’d go, and who we’d meet next. Anything was possible.

  9. Best Road Trip ever just happened to be in Oz. Driving from Melbourne to Brisbane was such an odd trip. Faced with flooding waters that lapped at the cars feet and caused many a detour. Giant things like Bananas and Rams (complete with balls) and a whole lot of Grey Nomads. But fun was had by all and would love to repeat

  10. My best road trip was from Perth to Monkey Mia with my parents last summer. It was the first time for my parents to visit Australia and I wanted to show them the REAL Australian OUTBACK. It was wonderful driving through Pinnacles, great sand dunes of Jurien Bay, Big farms around Dongara.. When we got to Monkey Mia, we waited 2 hours on the beach for dolphins, but they didn’t turn up so we went on a boat cruise just to find out that as we left the dolphins just came to the shore. On the way back, we watched the beautiful sunset on Eagle Bay, put my tattoo photo up on a funky road house. From this 4 days of journey, all my parents remembered about Australian outback was annoying flies. Oh well.

  11. My best roadtrip was 10 days driving around the Maritimes provinces in Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island). The scenery was breathtaking, especially the drive up and down Cape Breton. The people were extremely hospitable. The seafood was amazing and our hikes in the area were some of the best!

  12. My most amazing road trip began at a festival in Bavaria where i met a van load of Estonian’s they had a spare seat so they invited me to join the adventure. When we set off from the festival i said where are we going and the driver said “south”….. We drove for 3 weeks down through the Austrian alps, all through Italy right down to the tip of Sicily than back up through Italy, Austria, Germany, Czech, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia finally to reach Estonia. We experience everything from the warm waters of the Adriatic Sea to the end of Baltic’s.

  13. Chicago for breakfast? Why not! As a freshman at university, a friend and I realized that we could leave at midnight and reach Chicago by sunrise. On the way we drove through thick-as-mud fog rolling off the Great Lakes, made car dance party memories, bought our first out-of-state lottery tickets, and left our mark on a Chicago cafe. After which we promptly hopped back on the highway. That “why not go to Chicago for breakfast?” roadtrip set the standard for impulsive trips to come with good friends, car snacks, classic tunes, and the open road.

  14. It was midnight, we were young, my best friend and i snuck out for an impromptu drive in her beatup car to the Texas coast. We blasted music, told scary stories, spent hours on the beach, slept under the stars, forgot key to the gas cap, paid homeless to bust it open. On the drive back, stopped at a cafe, wiccan waitress warned us of a serial killer killing for prostitutes, I mistakenly put her beatup car in “park” so the gears got stuck, stranded till 6 am, saw the sunrise, called my parents, grounded for life, best night ever.

  15. My most memorable road trip, was with a friend going to airlie beach( whitsundays) doing sit ups in the car because we ate too much mcdonalds, then we stayed over night in a hotel, it looked haunted and all night i thought we werent going to wake up (as the hotel was in the middle of no where and very scary)

  16. The day i passed my driving test {18}, i decide to buy the biggest, rustyest ford transit van i could find, not quite the conventional citren saxo.
    After saving a small amount of money my best friend {Josh} and i decide to set sail to europe with hopes of a better place!! The first night off the ferry good ole Josh manages to get pickpocketed. {half the money down already!} With spirits still high in a classicly british way we carry on our adventure singing songs that remind us of ‘the good ole days!’. What led on was a series of unfourtunate events which eventually led us enjoy a couple weeks busking with a harmonica and a tamberine. {neither of us could play}

  17. Karachi-Lahore via train..the most hauntingly old trains you would ever meet..Blast-furnace temperature of 45 C and the ventillator passing out dragon’s breath!For 1 hour i was stranded in my -solitary-compartment with only a bathing suit,drenched with sweat..Then it flashed..I remembered reading a novel where the vendors selled huge blocks of ice to help alleviate those hellish temperatures-vendors which were just in the next compartment!The rest is history..putting the block in front of the ventillator made it a mountain breeze..Pays being a bookworm friends..

  18. The most memorable road trip I’ve ever done was from Spain to Portugal last winter. We were hungover and clutching onto bags of crisps pathetically. We listened to terrible Portuguese pop music and ate some soggy fritters we picked up at a service station. Our driver was going so fast that the car was shaking and I was constantly fighting the urge to throw up. Was it some of the best five hours of my life? Yes! I’ll always compare happiness to those moments when we crossed the border. You can beat the sublime feeling of seeing a new place for the first time.

  19. The scene features towering snow-tipped mountains, glaciers draped through the valleys, vibrant waterfalls plunge into flooding rivers and turquoise lakes sparkling against the forest backgrounds. Elk munch at the lush shoots on the verges. Mother bears nervously shepherd their cubs away from the roadside. The snaking drive from Banff to Jasper along Canada’s Icefield Parkway is one of the grandest road trips in the world with jaw-dropping scenery every few miles each sight seemingly trying to outdo its neighbour for natural beauty. Familiar from travel brochures, nothing prepares you for the grandeur, the bracing mood and the vibrancy of nature.

  20. My first road trip still remains my most memorable today. I was in Kindergarten and traveled by mini-van from Seattle to Mazatlan, Mexico, making stops in Chihuahua, LA, Portland, and more along the way. The drive down took a good week or so, but I remember my mom gave my brothers and I each a bag of goodies and things to keep us occupied on the trip. They even surprised us by swinging by Disneyland for a few days. This is one of my earliest travel memories and something I would love to recreate in a road-trip through Australia discovering my family roots (my grandmother is from Melbourne!)

  21. My favorite road trip was in Barbados. I know it’s a tiny island but the roads are twisty and windy and you can really drive around the island for hours. I had a little tiny rental car and no agenda and I just drove around. I met a nice lady that I picked up and drove to church. I met some people that were cooking breadfruit in the ground…. I found a cave on the northern side of the island. I took great pictures of some amazing scenery. Overall I had a great time and loved my Barbados road trip!

  22. As a teenager, my family took a road trip through California and the Southwest in an RV where everything went wrong-the air conditioning died in Death Valley, the heat broke overnight in the snowy Sierra Nevadas, the shower stopped working, and the fridge died (twice) right after grocery runs. Despite, the disasters, what I really remember is driving along the Pacific Coast Highway, eating at the pier in Monterey swimming in a mountain stream and seeing Half-Dome in Yosemite, hiking in Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon. I learned awesome travel experiences could come from less than perfect trips!

  23. Best road trip was my BFF in Ireland, we backed into a stone wall and the car got hooked onto it, we could not move…it was the middle of the night and we were in deepest darkest Kerry. We were in the country with no lights…we decided to walk back to the pub by the available moonlight and get the guys to help us get the car unhooked. Then we saw a car which stopped and we begged them to drive us to the pub…the female driver said OK…and proceeded to drive us about 10 feet around the corner to the pub! We still laugh at what she must have been thinking!!!

  24. My favorite roadtrip ever was actually a relatively short one – from Dunedin to Queenstown, New Zealand, via the Southern Scenic Route. From Dunedin, two friends and I put our rental car through its paces, hitting up the eco-friendly Otago Peninsula where we saw albatross, and then carrying on south through the stunningly beautiful Catlins. New Zealand’s southern coast is amazing, and we lucked out with gorgeous, clear weather for most of our trip. We spent a night in Invercargill, and headed down to Bluff the next day to see “Where the highway starts.” Then we pointed our car north, toward Queenstown. The drive to Queenstown was full of sunshine and snow-capped mountains always off in the distance, and could not have been more perfect. And of course, Queenstown, NZ’s “adventure capital,” did not disappoint. There was jetboating, parasailing, bungy jumping, river surfing and more to satiate our hunger for adrenaline sports, along with good food and a fantastic atmosphere.

  25. The summer before I started college, my two brothers and I decided to go on a road trip, as we hadn’t been on one before. My older brother was in the middle of college, and my younger brother had a year left of high school. We live in Minnesota, so we made our aim to see the Pacific ocean. We drove all the way to Ocean Shores, Washington, where we camped along the beach for five days, exploring the coast, Seattle, Mount St. Helens, and Olympic National Park. An experience all three of us will never forget.

  26. Plan: Pick everything out of a hat: Destinations; Right, left, straight, U-turn; Activities.

    Result: Our road trip started at the Paddington area in London (per what was picked out of a hat). We then picked a goal destination—Greenford. We hopped in the car, put Greenford on the GPS, and were off! Little did we know Greenford was just up the road…so…we get to Greenford quicker than expected, and continue picking activities out of a hat—take a photo with something green, interpretive dance, find a pub, nap in a park. In the end it =’d awesomeness.

  27. My favorite road trip has to have been when I was staying in Florence with some high school friends who were doing their semester abroad. Two more college friends came over for the week, and we were able to score a roommate’s tiny VW Golf for free. Being but poor college students, we jumped at the chance to drive around Tuscany with free transportation, even if it forced us to pile in like fools in a clown car. Four of the girls somehow managed to squeeze into the back seat, assisted by Eleanor pulling the front passenger seat up to the dash. I, the one lone guy in the equation, had slightly more room in the drivers seat so that I could manipulate the gas, brake, and clutch peddles. I distinctly remember entering the speeding Florentine traffic and screeching around the Duomo, while our tin-can-on-wheels was over-flowing with screaming/laughing girls. In this way, we toured through Tuscan towns: Sienna, Montepulciano, San Gimignano, Seravezza to name a few. Even though we had our trials of breakdowns, broken windows and rain, and tiny roads where 3-wheeled “trucks” tried to make three lanes out of one, we barely ever stopped laughing the whole week. The wine, food and country side were amazing and the easy-going company made for one of the best road trips of my life.

  28. While in Freeport, I talked my mom (who is fearful of water) to ride the banana boat with me and my 11 year-old daughter. Might I mention that I have a fear of water, but was determined to experience adventure on our vacation. We, along with a family with two children, boarded the banana boat. All the riding, my mom kept hollaring, “Slow down! There’s children on here!” I roared with laughter enjoying the ride because I knew she was scared and used the kids as a reason for them to slow our fun. The boat swerved and hit the waves and we bounced behind them. “Yeah, this is awesome!” Finally, at one of our sightseeing stops my mom decided to ride in the boat and not on the banana. As we took off again, we swerved and bumped along then like a slow motion movie, I felt the banana start to roll to the side and before I could finish the thought of us about to fall over – bam! The ocean smacked me on the face hard! Down we went and boyoued up. Panic arose…”Help me! Help me” My heart beat with fear. “Swim over to the boat,” the said. “I can’t swim!” I must have looked plum crazy screaming like a drowning banshee while wearing a life jacket! I got back on the boat because my mother kept repeating, “Uhm-huh, I knew something was gonna happen…my spirit told me that was going to happen.” I faced my fears and got back on to prove to her that life was an adventure even if you get smacked in the face by the ocean.

  29. It might not have been long in terms of kilometers, but as an experience hitch hiking around Iceland last summer was epic. Dancing behind a waterfall in the sunset, driving through a lava field in a blizzard, getting stuck in the sand on a beach in the middle of nowhere, hiking to a remote hot spring for a bath, dipping my toes into a glacier lagoon, climbing volcanoes…

  30. Iceland! In our rented VW GTI, my friends and I set off for the Blue Lagoon but only to get lost for 2 ½ hours! We stopped for directions at one of the MANY golf courses along the coast. Eventually, we made it to our destination and bathed in the hot springs for 8 hours! Back at the hostel, we noticed something in night sky and heard screams. We jumped back into the VW, drove away from the city and parked on a deserted hilltop. There it was, with our eyes widened with absolute bliss…Aurora Borealis dancing above us.

  31. Kate Corleison Reply

    I have this vivid memory of our little yellow mini pushing itself to the limit up hills on the way to Taupo, New Zealand, December 1997. Shouting out, “Lean forward!” Joking that it would help us up the hills! We had the ‘discman’ pumping with the windows down enjoying the unusually hot summer, singing along to Everclear “…bom bom, I am still livin’ with your ghost…” Driving over the Desert road and hearing splashing like we were driving through water… It was the tar melting from the heat on the plateau. Thirteen years later, I still clearly hear that sound!

  32. To be honest, I haven’t had a spectacular road trip despite growing up in the land of super highways. Hitting an ammonia spill where we moved one mile in five hours–and where our car was the first one rerouted because of snow (the car in front made it). Driving out to Colorado to start a new job when my car up and broke down halfway there. Buses and trains aren’t very popular, cheap or easy to use here, so I see my surroundings from 12,000 feet when I want to travel–and I know how much I’m missing.

  33. My favorite roadtrip hands down was when my parents took my sister and I on a road trip from Florida to Wyoming. We had a blast! We went camping, showering in waterfalls, and got to encounter so many wild animals! I remember waking up at 5 a.m. to a huge moose eating off of the tree we were camping under! Amazing memories!

  34. Setting: beautiful Laos and its not-so-beautiful roads, three girls, three guys, three motorbikes and a whole lot of an adventure spirit. Route: Vientiane-Vang Vieng-Luang Prabang-Vientiane. Highlights: stunning scenery each and every mile of the way, home-made whiskey drank with locals and gorgeous temples inhabited by dignified monks in orange robes. Unexpected twist: big motorbike breakdown in the middle of nowhere, between Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Happy ending: generous help of a local mechanic who did miracle with the motorbike and wanted no reward for his effort – this restored not only our vehicle but also our faith in people.

  35. My road-trip was an accident, in Easterbreak 2 friends and I went to Switzerland and Austria and got stranded in Vienna because of the Ash Cloud. No flights, trains and buses were full or expensive, so we hired a car and extend our trip by eating drinking our way back across Europe with the first main stop in Munich for Bavarian sausage, then Stuttgart for Stuttgarter Stäffele and then Dijon, France for mustard, and Epernay and Reims to visit champagne houses. We dropped off the car in paris, ate a and pain au chocolat and eurostar’ed back to England

  36. New Zealand first Waitangi saw the treaty. Surfed sand dunes at 100 mile beach, food hall, Auckland and Sky Tower. Downwards to Wellington TiaPapa museum, South Island past seals laid in the road, buzzed by massive train, missed Albatross breading season, missed whales bad weather, missed penguin fishing!! Shooting Stars at Mount Cook, jet boated, luged and got lost in Queenstown, Black Water Rafted in Waitomo, pinched pumice at Lake Taupo, fished for Prawns caught 3 in Taupo, visited the moon in Rotorua, back to Auckland up a volcano, dolphin watching! NEVER AGAIN IN CAMPERVAN! Next time a Bentley Continental!

  37. We break free from Kigali, Rwanda, searching for Gisenyi, Lake Kivu and Africa’s sensual heart. We equip ourselves with oranges and the Black Keys, and batter the highway sharing hot Fanta. An early stop yields scorching brochettes and then we ogle the roof of Rwanda. We wave at a thousand school children and pass Ruhengeri, which is adorned with seven volcanoes and a distant, smiling sun. The gorillas are somewhere close. Finally, we split a gorgeous mountain and roll into Gisenyi. Lake Kivu tickles our feet and the DRC sits languidly across the water. It is time for a beer.

  38. I hoofed from Minneapolis to Thunder Bay with my fiancé. I wanted to prove to her that an Australian could sleep in a Minnesotan tent and not freeze his toes off. She drove; I attacked mad-libs. Duluth rained on us and we ate cheese curds from a cup. Phish provided a soundtrack for Gooseberry. I bought a shirt from Beaver Bay and we camped by the shore of Lake Superior, where I watched the Vikings play and learnt how to freeze my toes off. I discovered the ‘Chuckwagon’ (apparently edible) and we reached Canada in the last breath of autumn.

  39. Brook McAllister Reply

    A road trip around New Zealand is like constantly driving towards a big card-board cut out of the most amazing sceneries from around the world -it’s literally never ending. From the deserted white sandy beaches in Whangarei, down to the south island’s magnificent mountain range towering Lake Wanaka. I spent a special month in a campervan with my fiancée, meeting eccentric locals, travelers of all ages and learning about how passionate kiwis are about their country and the preservation of Maori culture. However, if our van (Karmela) could speak she would probably disagree with me. Poor lass struggled on the hills ‘n bends.

  40. Australia has a vast network of well-maintained roads and some of the most beautiful touring routes in the world. Travel from Sydney to Brisbane past sleepy seaside towns and lush hinterland. Experience Australia’s Red Centre in an epic drive across the desert.

  41. Cairns Backpackers Reply

    Thanks for your information. It helped me much. I am a backpacker too. And I have travelled a lot. But I haven’t seen as good services as I was provided by Cairns Backpackers. They are really great.

  42. traveljunkies Reply

    Great to see your trip up the East Coast but in the Byron Bay to Cairns article you jump from Maggie Island/Townsville to Cairns.

    What about Mission Beach, a great hangout for backpackers and the nearest place to the Great Barrier Reef and the famous Family Islands including Dunk Island and Bedarra where the film stars, music stars and other superstars stay.

  43. Thanks a lot for sharing this excellent post! Really very informative and valuable. Keep update this bog!

  44. 7 days, 4 people, 3 countries, 1 car. We left the Andalucian city of Malaga for the ‘End of the Earth’ or Cabo de Sao Vicente in Portugal, it wasn’t summer anymore but you wouldn’t know it. The record days of sunshine kept their word, we didn’t get a drop of rain. Gibraltar, a little slice of England was where we stopped off first – heading south along the coast towards the giant rock that cuts out, almost shipwrecked. We rode the cable car to the top and let the famous monkeys steal our food, confused by the British accents and english signs in the midst of quintessential Spain. Then there was Tarifa, as close as you can get to Africa without stepping foot on it. We watched the windsurfers fly so high, almost as high as the mountains of Morocco you can see in the not-so-distance. We passed Cadiz with it’s city beaches on the way to Sevilla and finally to our final country of Portugal. We were Aussies with a rental car that we fuelled up with Unleaded instead of Diesel. Our car broke down 8 km from the exit for Lagos at 11pm at night, about 2kms from the Petrol Station. The most dangerous and stupid thing we ever did was sleep in that car on the side of the highway. We got woken up by a car of rowdy Bulgarians on their way back from clubbing in Portimao at 8am, they were studying in Lisbon. We spoke only spanish and english, they spoke on Bulgarian and Portugese. Somehow they called us a service guy, snapped a photo and were on our way. That was one of the best parts, the messing up, the unplanned adventures. The rest of the week in Portugal was a breeze of parking the car along beaches that reminded us of home, driving from lighthouse to lighthouse and watching the surfers out on the break. We slept in the car every night, the four of us, crammed but comfy and waking up everyday to the sun and crash of Atlantic waves, so different from the sleepy Mediterranean. It was time to head home before we knew it, before Sagres had made our jaws drop and we’d discovered hidden beaches at the foot of cliffs in Lagos. The Best Roadtrip I ever did.

  45. Senior year, some friends and I were inspired by the movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Problem was, we lived in Baton Rouge and the closest White Castle was in Nashville – 9 hours away.

    But so what? We set out at four in the morning, got to White Castle in Nashville around lunch time, ate, and came right back.

  46. My best road trip is definitely the one from Darwin to the Kimberleys and back. Driving on the historical Gibb river road, experiencing the true outback and enjoying the many canyons and waterfalls on the way. The red sand, the blue sky and really amazing sceneries! Waking up to the sound of laughing cockatoos.. Seeing a whole field of jumping kangeroos.. Finding a lush oasis after hiking through dry grass and stones.. So many good memories!

  47. Some of my fondest travel memories come from my first international trip (not counting Caribbean cruising). We traveled within the United Kingdom and we’re talking too much luggage, train rides, small cars, expensive taxis because of said cars, amazing views, delicious food and wine, and at the end of the day, unforgettable travel memories. I went into the trip with a packed itinerary and learned my to this day travel plan…. create a “must-see” list, but everything else is fluid. Otherwise, you miss out on experiencing the daily life and feel for the area you are visiting.

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