Australia’s stunning natural beauty is best discovered by hitting the road. From Outback adventures to scenic coastal drives, Skyscanner has rounded up the most iconic road trips the continent has to offer, with car rental tips to ensure a smooth ride. Buckle up, mate!
This article was first published on Skyscanner.
Why self-drive in Australia? Well, the sheer size of this continent means that public transport doesn’t extend to all areas. Organised tours are one option for travellers wishing to experience Australia’s top sights. However, you would have limited flexibility with your itinerary, have to deal with large crowds, and possibly miss out on off-the-beaten-path attractions.
Alternatively, you could grab a rental car and embark on an epic road trip! Driving will give you the freedom to travel at your own pace and hit all the sights and attractions you want to see. If you’re traveling in a group, renting a car could be a budget-friendly option too.
Wondering which car rental in Australia is best? Here are a few major brands we work with in Australia: Alamo, Enterprise, Thrifty, National, Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Sixt, and Budget.
How much is car rental in Australia?
Prices of car rental in Australia depend on a few factors: the car rental provider you choose, the length of rental, the time of visit, and the type of car you choose.
Here are the average prices for car rental in Australia per day, by city. Prices are shown in SGD. Compare prices between different service providers to decide on which car rental in Australia is best for you.
|Average prices of car rental in Perth||$42||$47|
|Average prices of car rental in Melbourne||$36||$42|
|Average prices of car rental in Sydney||$29||$35|
|Average prices of car rental in Gold Coast||$24||$38|
|Average prices of car rental in Brisbane||$57||$63|
Skyscanner Tip: Always read the terms and conditions of your chosen car rental. This guide to hidden charges highlights some of the extra fees your car rental company may charge you.
How much is car rental insurance in Australia?
The prices for car rental insurance in Australia can vary, depending on your specific car rental provider, which city you rent in, your rental period, the type of car you choose, and the extent of coverage you want. Auto Europe offers a zero-excess insurance option for SGD $20 – $34 per day.
What is the minimum/maximum age for car rental in Australia?
The minimum age for car rental in Australia is 21 years. Additionally, the driver must have held their license for a minimum of 1 year. Drivers under the age of 25 years who rent a car in Australia could incur a young driver surcharge. This includes an additional fee of $15 to $40 (prices vary depending on who you rent from) on top of the daily rental rate. Many car rental providers also set a maximum age for car rental at 75 years old.
If you are under 25 or over 75 years old and looking to rent a car, it is advisable to contact car service providers directly for more information on restrictions and surcharges.
Top 10 road trips in Australia
Perth road trips
1. Golden Outback
From salt lakes to wildflower-studded plains, the Golden Outback is a land brimming with rugged beauty. Perth is the gateway to this breathtaking region, and while your road trip options are endless, there are some unmissable sights along the way. Follow in the footsteps of Gold Rush pioneers at Kalgoorlie or head over to the idyllic Lucky Bay, Australia’s whitest beach. The world-famous Wave Rock is also well worth a visit. Intrepid travellers should undertake the epic 1,200km drive to Mount Augustus, a hidden gem which proudly stands as the largest rock monolith in the world. Take that, Ayers Rock.
2. Nullarbor Plain
Few landscapes are as beautiful as the Nullarbor Plain, which covers a considerable portion of the highway from Perth to Adelaide. This 1,200km road trip encompasses vast cattle stations, wide treeless plains and dramatic cliffs. It’s a side of Australia you’re not likely to have seen before, and well worth the effort. Navigate the towering eucalyptus trees and granite hills of scenic Fraser Range, or bask in the dazzling views from the magnificent Bunda Cliffs. As you discover historic homesteads and wander through the sandy ruins of an old telegraph station, you’ll feel transported back in time. You can hire a car from Perth and drop it off in Adelaide.
Melbourne road trips
3. The Great Ocean Road
Majestic limestone cliffs, iconic surf spots, dramatic coastlines… it’s easy to see why the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most spectacular drives. This stunning 243-km road trip kicks off at Torquay, which is less than 2 hours away from Melbourne by car. Avid surfers should tackle the monster waves at the legendary Bells Beach, while families can explore the charming old fishing village of Port Fairy. Prepare to be awestruck when you set eyes on the Twelve Apostles: these ancient rock spires rising up from the Southern Ocean are the undisputed crown jewels of the trip.
4. Mornington Peninsula
Fancy winding your way through lush olive groves and charming coastal villages? Located just an hour away from Melbourne by car, the ravishing Mornington Peninsula is perfect for a lazy day trip. Heads up, foodies: with over 170 vineyards and an abundance of fresh local produce to sample, you can be forgiven for thinking you’ve just stepped into heaven. Spend the day picking strawberries, gorging on seafood or shopping in the many lively markets dotted across the Peninsula. Make sure to drop by renowned wineries like Red Hill Estate and Montalto – you’ll thank us later.
Sydney road trip
5. The Legendary Pacific Coast
Stretching from Sydney to Brisbane, this 930-km drive highlights the jaw-dropping beauty of the Pacific Coast. Immerse yourself in a paradise of sun-drenched vineyards, secluded beaches and stunning national parks. Watch humpback whales frolicking in Byron Bay or enjoy a wine-tasting adventure in Hunter Valley. Don’t miss the ever-popular Port Stephens, where you can sandboard across blazing dunes and even ride camels on the beach!
Brisbane road trips
6. Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Just an hour north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland offers both outstanding landscapes and delightfully quaint towns. Marvel at the iconic Glass House Mountains, a series of towering volcanic peaks; if you’re lucky, you might even spot koalas, kangaroos or kookaburras! Embark on the 55km Blackall Range Drive for impossibly gorgeous views of the Sunshine Coast, as well as rainforests and waterfalls galore. Don’t forget to stop by the uber artsy townships of Montville and Maleny, which are buzzing with trendy galleries and artisanal shops. Warning: you might never leave!
With its lush, World Heritage-listed rainforests and cloud-ringed peaks, the beauty of this 223.9-km circuit almost verges on mystical. Brisbane is only 2 hours away by car but it’s hard to believe that when you’re in the midst of all this glorious flora and fauna. Adrenaline junkies can hang glide off Mount Tamborine or climb to the summit of the iconic Mount Warning at sunrise. Although the region is blessed with hundreds of waterfalls, the Minyon Falls still reign supreme. When you see the water fiercely cascading into a palm-fringed gorge, you might just be lost for words.
Cairns road trip
8. The Savannah Way
Are you ready for the mother of all road trips? Spanning 3,700km from Cairns’ lush tropical beauty to the rugged plateaus of Western Australia, the epic Savannah Way is not for the faint of heart. As you race across the continent on dusty red roads, you’ll pass 15 national parks, rustic homesteads, and some of the world’s most sensational backdrops. Make a pitstop at Undara, where you can explore an incredible network of lava tubes and sleep in antique railway carriages. But the real highlight of this adventure is the breathtaking majesty of the Kimberley. With its heart-pounding waterfalls and spectacular gorges, this remote region feels like paradise on earth.
Adelaide road trip
9. The Fleurieu Way
Looping around the exquisite Fleurieu Peninsula, this drive meanders through rolling green hills, windswept coves and luscious fruit orchards. The wild and wonderful Waitpinga Beach is popular with surfers, while the picturesque town of Port Elliot is ideal for dolphin watching. Swing by the Willunga Farmers Market for your fill of seasonal produce: artisanal cheeses and heirloom tomatoes are all the rage. No trip to Fleurieu is complete without hopping on a canoe tour at the mouth of the mighty Murray River, where an abundance of diverse wildlife can be found. Best of all, the peninsula is less than an hour away from the centre of Adelaide by car — so no excuses!
Hobart road trip
10. Huon Trail
The Huon Trail is an ideal way to explore Tasmania’s treasure trove of wonders. This network of scenic routes just south of Hobart is chock-full of amazing sights, so plan a 2 or 3-day road trip to do it justice. Don’t miss the wildlife haven of Bruny Island, where you can watch fairy penguins strutting around at dusk. Whether you’re kayaking in the lovely hidden bays of D’Entrecasteaux Channel or wining and dining your way through Huon Valley, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.
Enjoy a worldwide fees-less travel experience!