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Celebrate Australia Day With a Road Trip

What country routinely tops travelers wish lists in the U.S.? Australia.

And there’s no better way to honor our love for Down Under than by planning a road trip on the country’s national day, Australia Day.

Every January 26, Australians celebrate the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales.

Since then, the country has transformed into a diverse and innovative society and Australia is one of the most sought-out destinations for travelers.

It’s not a small country, and visitors are going to need some time to explore all that Oz has to offer—and a road trip offers just such an experience.

The folks at have pieced together four road trips that circumnavigate the country, each with their own unique stops and attractions along the way.

You can do the whole journey, from Cairns to Darwin, in approximately two months, or you can break the journey down into the following segments:

Cairns to Airlie Beach

This is the perfect road trip for those short on time or who would like to add an extension to a visit to the Great Barrier Reef, the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast. The journey begins at the top in Cairns on the Eastern coast of Australia and heads south on a three- to four-day leisurely drive to Airlie Beach.

Top attractions and activities along the way include scuba diving and snorkeling in Cairns, visiting the Strand in Townsville and boat tours at Airlie Beach.

Brisbane to Sydney

For road trippers with a little more time on their hands, make a seven-day journey from Brisbane to Sydney.

The 915-kilometer drive includes pit stops on the Gold Coast, Kingscliff, Byron Bay, Port Macquarie and finishes in Sydney.

Top attractions include the Brisbane CityCat Ferry, Burleigh Heads Beach on the Gold Coast, Tropical Fruit World in Kingscliff, the Lighthouse Trail in Byron Bay, the Coastal Walk in Port Macquarie and the world famous Sydney Harbour.

Perth to Melbourne

Travelers can make a full vacation out of their stay and make a two-week trek from Perth to Melbourne. The journey is approximately 3,800 kilometers and is chock full of attractions and activities to break up long stretches of roadway.

Some of the top sights are Kings Park & Botanical Garden in Perth, the National Anzac Centre in Albany, Cape Le Grand National Park in Esperance, the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden in Port Augusta, Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in Melbourne.

Darwin to Perth

For the true nomad or road trip warrior, the journey from Darwin to Perth is for you.

Travelers will need approximately one month to see all the sights and travel the nearly 4,500-kilometer journey. But it will be worth it to see the incredible Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Traveling this route takes visitors through Kununurra, Broome, Port Hedland, Coral Bay, Kalbarri, and Perth.

Top attractions include Outback Floatplane Adventures in Darwin, Emma Gorge in Kununurra, Cable Beach in Broome, Port Hedland Seafarers Centre Tours, Coral Bay Reef Dive, Red Bluff in Kalbarri and Kings Park and Botanical Gardens in Perth.

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