Australia’s landscape is so diverse and beautiful, that choosing just one highway to take the crown is near impossible. From scenic ocean roads to vast stretches through the outback to winding mountain views, it’s clear why an Australian road trip is so iconic.
Before heading off, get the car packed up like a pro and pop in to your closest car wash to make sure your ride is looking as shiny as can be for all the snaps you’ll undoubtedly be taking on these picturesque highways.
Great Ocean Road, VIC
Okay, if there had to one road to win the ‘oh wow’ award, it might just go to the Great Ocean Road. Stretching 243 km from Warrnambool to Torquay on the Victorian coast, this is one of the world’s most scenic drives. Twisting around the limestone cliffs, through charming small towns and past glistening bays, highlights along the journey include the 12 Apostles, Great Otway National Park, Loch Ard Gorge and countless lookouts. The road happens to also be the world’s largest war memorial, dedicated to the fallen soldiers of WWI and built by returning servicemen between 1919-32.
For a smooth run with fewer crowds, head down in the cooler months or take a midweek trip. The Great Ocean Road is just 103 km from Melbourne CBD if you’re starting from Torquay.
Grand Pacific Drive, NSW
Connecting Sydney to the south coast, this drive starts in Royal National Park and stretches 140 km to Kiama, following the coastline through Wollongong for some truly stunning sights. A highlight is the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge, twisting out from the cliffs cantilevered 50 metres out to sea, this section is 665m long and is known to be a great viewing platform for whale spotting as they head North/ South during migrating season.
For the best views, head North along the road and stop off at Stanwell Tops to stretch your legs and get a great view of the bridge.
Great Barrier Reef Drive, QLD
Starting off on the Captain Cook Highway from Cairns up to Port Douglas, this stretch follows the coast with stunning panoramic views of the Trinity Bay from Rex Lookout. Continuing along the Mossman-Daintree Rd and finally onto the Cape Tribulation Rd, this 140 km journey connects the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. Before reaching the laid back pace of the lush tropical rainforest, you’ll take a cable ferry across the Daintree river.
North of the Daintree you’ll reach Cape Tribulation where the road continues to pass by pristine beaches concealed by canopies of overhanging forest.
Eyre Highway, WA & SA
Australia’s longest, flattest, and straightest road, the Eyre Highway crosses the Nullarbor Plain stretching 1675 km between WA and the Eyre Peninsula in SA. Nullarbor is Latin for ‘no trees’, which will give you a hint as to how remote this drive is. It’s also the world’s largest single piece of limestone, occupying around 200,000 sq km. The journey will take a couple of days to drive, so stock up on food, drink and fuel - not to mention giving your car a thorough check and clean - you’ll be quite some way from the nearest car wash.
Although ‘sights’ are far between, it’s the remoteness which is the main attraction here. The road does meet with sea cliffs looking out onto the Great Australian Bight, with some stunning spots for whale watching.
Great Alpine Road, VIC
By this point you may have spotted a trend with Australia's most famous highways; they’re all great. The Great Alpine Road is Victoria’s mountain equivalent to the Great Ocean Road, stretching 303 km from Wangaratta to Bairnsdale and is Australia’s highest year-round accessible sealed road. Passing by wineries, mountains, valleys, forests and quaint historic towns, there’s a reason this is known as one of the country’s most scenic drives.
During warmer months, drive up to Mt McKay to spot all of Victoria’s highest peaks. In the winter, it’s worth having wheel chains fitted to your car due to snow in the region. From here, you’re not too far from the city to head back for a sparkling car wash in Melbourne’s CBD. Your ride’s earned it.
Looking for more great Australian road trips? Take a look at our favourite drives out of Perth.
After any adventure on the road, show off your trip with pictures, not a dusty, muddy car. Bring your ride back in to your closest Magic Hand Car Wash and treat it to the wash it deserves after that exhilarating journey.