Ford Australia, in partnership with TripAdvisor, has named the six best road trips in Australia, with the Great Eastern Drive receiving first place over the iconic Great Ocean Road.
After the top six routes were chosen, Ford Expert Richard Woolley discovered the formula for the best road trip experience, scoring them out of five based on quality of scenery, road conditions, level of traffic and potential hazards. Put together, these created the ‘Ford Score’ to rank the best Australian road trips.
Leading travel photographers from It’s Worth A Shot, Luke Tscharke, Sam Earp, Grace Picot and Pauly Vella then tested the road trips in a Ford Mustang to visit the popular sites, resulting in some fantastic shots.
For a short weekend away or a long holiday experience, these Aussie routes are not only comfortable to drive on but reveal some of the best scenery Australia has to offer.
A drive to be enjoyed at a slower pace, the Great Eastern Drive, nestled on the coast of Tasmania, is the perfect holiday destination for those looking to unplug. From the sun-kissed shores of Coles Bay to the picturesque charm of country towns. Cruise out towards Wineglass Bay or drive up to the lookout for a new perspective of the area. The gentle, winding turns and slow traffic make this itinerary the perfect summer cruising option.
Expert’s tip: Phone and internet reception can be sparse so log your destination ahead of departure, and be sure to check the weather in advance as Tasmania can experience bursts of extreme weather which may affect your travel route.
Ford Score: 4.25/5
This winding stretch is a true marvel for locals and tourists alike. Weaving along Victoria’s coastline with spectacular sights dotted for ample pit stop opportunities. From the Twelve Apostles (#2 Attraction on TripAdvisor) to Loch Ard Gorge (#4 Attraction on TripAdvisor), it’s the ultimate drive to enjoy with the top down.
Expert’s tip: The views are world class, so this does mean a high volume of tourists along the way, but its a relaxing drive with plenty of pit stops along the way, so take your time and enjoy the ride!
Ford score: 4/5
Remote beaches, reef exploration galore and a palm tree on every corner – true paradise awaits anyone who takes on this stunning road trip. The Great Barrier Reef Drive from Cairns to Cape Tribulation takes keen explorers from sandy stretches to rainforest canopies, making it a journey worthy of cruising in style. A tropical holiday would be incomplete without seeing the reef and marine life up close, and a snorkel tour is the top rated attraction in Port Douglas.
Expert’s tip: Enjoy the diverse natural scenery as you drive from the beach to the depths of the Daintree, with little traffic along the way, but be well prepared for the remoteness – take a map, go fully fuelled and check the weather. The road is leisurely and smooth until you reach Cape Tribulation, where it pays to be wary of the shift to dirt tracks.
Ford Score: 3.75/5
4. Grand Pacific Drive
A stone’s throw from Sydney sees a marvel of wave-washed coastline and charming towns, stretching from Wollongong southward. An adrenaline junkie’s paradise too, not just for the drive itself, but due to extreme sport offerings like skydiving down upon the coastline’s striking beaches. There’s nothing quite like a drive perched atop the sea across from the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge.
Expert’s tip: Weaving through the National Park allows you to enjoy how the car handles, and the drive across Seacliff Bridge is a highlight. The road is largely newly paved surface and provides a varied drive along the way.
Ford Score: 3.5/5
5. Lasseter Highway
Journey to the centre of Australia to drive across a vibrant red landscape, abundant in natural wonders. Venture from the outback hub of Alice Springs to the magic of Uluru in all its glory, savouring the long, straight roads along the way. As marvellous as it is hot!
Expert’s tip: Although it’s the heartland of Australia, the route is not as remote as you’d think and the road surface is well kept, but be aware of weather conditions and note that it’s unwise to drive after dark due to wildlife hazards.
Ford Score: 3.25/5
6. Flinders Ranges
South Australia’s heartland. The Flinders Ranges is a dusty vista of natural beauty and unique cultural experience. Venture north from Adelaide into an ochre wonderland with roads all to yourself – an adventure for the lone traveller or duo to enjoy. Base yourself at Wilpena Pound to traverse the Flinders Range National Park in comfort, a cultural walk is the ideal (and most recommended) way to appreciate the landscape and spirited sights. A trip is incomplete without a worthy detour via Port Augusta, a charming town just shy of Adelaide but just far enough to warm up the engine!
Expert’s tip: The road varies, with well-maintained highways meeting a mix of twisty dirt road along the way, offering a unique desert experience. Don’t drive after dark and be wary of wildlife in your travels.
Ford Score: 3/5