When we’re planning our summer road trips, it’s tempting to flick through touristy guidebooks and travel down roads which have been travelled many times before.

But we believe the best journeys are sometimes those which are slightly more off the beaten track. Here are three driving route suggestions for those of us who want to see Australia in a completely new way.

Freemantle to Newman

1,200km, 13 hours

This epic trek up the Great Northern Highway will take you past sights and landmarks barely seen by many other human eyes. Flat, red, dusty planes stretch for as far as the eye can see, scattered nature reserves form a stark contrast against the arid land, and tiny towns that barely show up on Google maps sprinkle the landscape.

Checklist:

  • Visit the RAAF Base Pearce in Bullsbrook, constructed in 1935.
  • Visit the Bullsbrook Nature reserve
  • Stop off at Lake Chittering and Lake Needonga
  • Overnight in the small town of Dalwallinu
  • See what’s left of salt water Lake Austin and Lake Anneen
  • If you’re brave, visit the old abandoned ghost town Nannine
  • Visit Collier Range National Park

Once you get to Newman, be sure to stop for a swim at the Ophthalmia Dam. The closest thing you’ll find to an oasis in the middle of the desert, it’s a popular swimming and recreation spot amongst the locals.

Esperance, WA to Alice Springs, NT

3,136 km, 1 day 10 hours


The true journey through the red centre of Australia, this trek will take you from Esperance through every kind of landscape Australia has to offer – coast, bush and desert. Stay overnight in Ceduna and Port Augusta West to break up the trip in to thirds, as it is a whopping 25 hour drive from start to finish. There are plenty of huge nature parks and reserves along this trip, including Nullarbor National Park, Wahgunyah Conservation Reserve, Yumburra Conservation Park, Yellabinna Regional Reserve, Pureba Conservation Park, Koolgera Conservation Reserve, Pinkawillinie Conservation Park and Lake Gilles Conservation Park.

Checklist:

  • See the Australian Arid Land Botanic Garden in Port Augusta West
  • Visit Monalena Lagoon and Lake Hart
  • Stop over at Coober Pedy, the famous Opal Capital of the world


Broome, WA to Darwin, NT

1,945km, 1 day 1 hour

If you prefer to drive between two locations you’ve more than likely heard of. Perfect for those who love big, long stretches of road, this drive from Broome to Darwin will take you all the way through the north end of Australia. Overnight in Fitzroy Crossing and Katherine to break up the trip, and tick of our checklist of suggestions along the way.

Checklist:

  • Bungle Bungle National Park at Halls Creek (Australia’s version of the rocky landscapes of Arizona)
  • Keep River National Park
  • Manton Dam Recreation Area
  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin

Remember, when you’re travelling such long distances, it’s important to have the right vehicle. Your tiny little car that you use to zip around the city just won’t survive on the wide open road and rugged terrain of the Australian outback. Consider browsing used car websites to find dealers or private sellers where you can pick up an affordable and reliable 4WD or van for your trip.

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