A self drive trip, especially in a campervan, around Australia gives the occupants a unique opportunity to soak up the scenery of this beautiful country in a leisurely manner and at one’s own pace. In fact, a trip by road these days has become a popular way to explore any new place. Not only does it allow you freedom to travel as you please, any hidden nook and corner can become an incredible destination. This article here is for those folks who wish to hire a vehicle and self drive instead of opting for a tour.
Australia is a vast country to see, with numerous driving routes to choose from. While some are popular than the others, like the East Coast trip and the Pacific Highway, the distances involved are very long in all cases, making the trip all the more challenging. To see the country from all perspectives, the Top to Bottom route which starts at Adelaide and ends at Darwin, or vice versa, is highly recommended. The total length of the trip is about 3600 km and can be comfortably completed in eight days.
Table of Content
- Easy and Fun Australian Road Trip Itinerary for 8 Days
- DAY 1 ( Adelaide to Flinders Ranges – 348 km)
- DAY 2 ( Flinders to Coober Pedy – 544 km)
- DAY 3 ( Coober Pedy to Uluru – 751 km)
- DAY 4 ( Uluru )
- DAY 5 ( Uluru to Alice Springs – 462 km)
- DAY 6 ( Alice Springs to Banka Banka Cattle Station – 610 km)
- DAY 7 ( Banka Banka to Katherine – 573 km)
- DAY 8 ( Katherine to Darwin – 318 km)
- Planning Tips for Driving in the Outback
Easy and Fun Australian Road Trip Itinerary for 8 Days
Here is a recommended Australian road trip itinerary though there are no set rules and you can go at a slower, more relaxed pace to soak in the settings.
DAY 1 ( Adelaide to Flinders Ranges – 348 km)
Your epic Australian road trip starts begins at Adelaide and takes you through the famous wine region of Clare Valley before bringing you up close to the stunning outback at Flinders Ranges. One will come across miles of open spaces, inhabited by emus and kangaroos, derelict railway lines, and sunsets so vibrant than any you may have witnessed anywhere else in the world.
DAY 2 ( Flinders to Coober Pedy – 544 km)
There are choices of many routes to Coober Pedy, but the one via Maree and William Creek is the best. Maree makes a nice stopover as it has a hotel and a camping site. From Maree towards Oodnadatta one can come across old relics of the railways. From Oodnadatta to Coober Pedy one can reach by taking a diversion through the Painted Desert.
DAY 3 ( Coober Pedy to Uluru – 751 km)
This is a long drive, but can be easily completed in a day. Start early, and you may be lucky with the sunrise too, to take photos in the morning light of the weird landscape as you exit Coober Pedy. Once you reach Marla, remember to fill up the tanks, as the petrol stations in the outback are almost 200 km apart. Leave the Stuart Highway at Kulgera and proceed towards Uluru.
DAY 4 ( Uluru )
Spend a day at Uluru to rest and relax ahead of the long journey. There is an excellent powered campsite at Ayers Rock Resort, complete with hotels, bars, supermarket and place for hundreds of cars to park.
DAY 5 ( Uluru to Alice Springs – 462 km)
This five hour trip passes through some of the most desolate stretches of road in Australia. One should take extra care to keep an eye open for wild animals which may cross the road at any moment. There are three roadside stops, roughly 60 km apart, where one can rest and refuel.
DAY 6 ( Alice Springs to Banka Banka Cattle Station – 610 km)
Drive north from Alice Springs, along the Stuart Highway, towards the Banka Banka Cattle Station, which served as an army camp during WWII. Located in the Northern Territory of Australia and has on display animals and other memorabilia and is an enjoyable place for the whole family.
DAY 7 ( Banka Banka to Katherine – 573 km)
To enjoy the real flavor of the outback region, this five hour trip will take you past many road houses, inns, hotels and gas stations all the way to Katherine. Do not forget to stop at Tennant creek or Katherine Gorge to sample the local hospitality.
DAY 8 ( Katherine to Darwin – 318 km)
Take the road to Pine Creek and onto the Kakadu highway to the town of Jabiru. From here take the Arnhem highway and spend quality time at the Litchfield National Park before heading off for Darwin.
Planning Tips for Driving in the Outback
Australia, as amazing it may seem, is an extremely difficult place to drive, simply because of its size. The outback areas are very remote so one should be ready for everything. Very few people will be encountered, so should there be a breakdown, it may take a while for help to arrive.
So follow these tips :-
Be sure you rent 4×4 cars for the rugged outback terrain.
Carry lots and lots of water and extra food
Carry 20 liter extra fuel
Make full use of the road shops for snacks and rests. At least once every 200 km.
Wild animals often cross the road without any notice, especially during dusk and dawn. So be alert.
An Australian road trip itinerary can be a easily designed on your own. This is once in a lifetime experience but only if you drive to the limitations of your vehicle and most importantly based on your personal driving experience level.