The Great Australian Road Trip: An itinerary for travelling all the way around Australia

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The Great Aussie Roadtrip

Driving around Australia in a campervan sounds like a romantic dream come true doesn’t it? Well it pretty much was which is why I’ve finally got round to sharing my experience.

I spent nearly 18 months in Australia with my boyfriend, Sam. We worked for 8 of those months and travelled in a campervan for 10. We bought an old campervan from Gumtree and we were tense every time we drove the van, fully expecting it to give up and break down and leave us stranded in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, the old thing never did give up and it got us all the way around Australia in just under a year.

After a very long time wracking my brains and studying the map I’ve managed to list the itinerary from our Australian road trip in a campervan. We didn’t travel with a road trip itinerary, a time schedule or a budget. We stopped when we found a place we liked, we stayed for longer if we liked it a lot and we found jobs when we ran out of money. We caught fish for our dinner and camped on the beach. It was a really simple way to live but we loved it.


VW campervan in Australia

Here’s where we went:

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne (if you’re a night owl, there’s tonnes to do in Melbourne at night)
  • The Great Ocean Road
  • Adelaide
  • Streaky Bay
  • Crossed the Nullarbor
  • Norseman
  • Coral Bay
  • Exmouth
  • Mackerel Island (where we worked for 5 months)
  • Cape Range National Park
  • 80-Mile Beach
  • Broome
  • Kununurra
  • Bungle Bungle Range
  • Darwin
  • Dally Waters
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Cairns
  • Kurunda
  • Daintree Rainforest / Cape Tribulation
  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • Magnetic Island
  • The Whitsunday Islands
  • Airlie Beach
  • Agnes Water/ 1770
  • Hervey Bay
  • Rainbow Beach
  • Fraser Island
  • Noosa
  • Brisbane
  • Surfer’s Paradise
  • Byron Bay
  • Sydney

I’m sure a few of you are wondering why we missed out so much of the south and didn’t even go to the centre. It’s now something I really regret but I guess it’s just a good excuse to go back some day. We were offered jobs on the west coast which is which is why we cut across and missed out the south and although we wanted to go to Uluru, we were sure our campervan would break down and didn’t want to risk driving all that way.

If anyone else is planning a similar trip or has taken a massive road trip, let me know!

Read more:

Travelling around Australia in a campervan – My FAQs

Monica’s mini guide to buying a campervan in Australia

How to survive living in a campervan for a year…with a boy

33 Comments
  1. George 10 years ago
    Reply

    I agree with the looking back thing. I totally regretted not starting my blog in Germany, I felt because a lot of my friends were in Germany too noone would be interested, but now as I’ve found out that people are interested I put a few up. I’ve still yet to create my own website etc (that’s waiting for when I graduate and have more time on my hands I think) But I found it hard thinking back on my time in Germany.

    Good luck with the back log of thoughts. 18 months will take a lot of wading through xx

    • TheTravelHack 10 years ago
      Reply

      Thanks George. Yea, I think it is going to be tough and it gets tougher the longer I leave it so don’t wait too long to write about Germany! Looking forward to seeing your site when you start it.

      I was the same at first – I thought no one would be interested and I’m still not really sure if they are but it’s great to have something to look back on in years to come.

      • Tash 10 years ago
        Reply

        Plus it’s so amazing to have a record of your thoughts, travels and experiences to look back on. That’s what I love about my blog!

  2. Alison 10 years ago
    Reply

    I love Australia! You covered a lot of ground on your trip but it’s always good having something left to go back for. I did the east coast and regret not venturing out to see more, but hope to return in the future. Wish it was closer 🙂

  3. Neil @packsandbunks 10 years ago
    Reply

    I get what you’re saying about writing backdated blogs, where it all happened years ago, but sometimes its nice to look back and remember all the awesome things you got up to, see if certain stories still make you laugh.

    I for one am excited you’re going to be writing more about your Oz journeys, love to hear what the west coast was like.

  4. Jen 10 years ago
    Reply

    I would LOVE to travel in a campervan – I can’t wait to hear all the stories! xxx

  5. I’m looking forward to reading these stories. 😀 It certainly looks like you covered a lot of ground!

    • TheTravelHack 10 years ago
      Reply

      Thanks! I’m actually really looking forward to writing everything up, it’ll be great to look back on it all and go through all my old photos. We really did cover a lot of ground, I’m going to have to work out how many miles it was – something ridiculous!

  6. […] If you’re wondering where I went, check out my route during my epic Australian roadtrip. […]

  7. Kyle Goes Global 9 years ago
    Reply

    Great road trip! Travel, make money, travel some more, live the simple life! Fantastic!

  8. Craig Makepeace 9 years ago
    Reply

    Why does it matter when you experienced something? The thing is you did it, doesn’t matter if it was last month or 5 years ago, it’s still relevant to you, and a bunch of people interested in that experience. We write back dated blogs ALL THE TIME.

    Great trip by the way 🙂

    • TheTravelHack 9 years ago
      Reply

      Thanks Craig, that makes me feel a lot better about my backdated blogs. I think I needed a little kick to start blogging about Australia again. I had such a great time and have so many stories to tell.

  9. Why Caravaning is Cool - The Travel Hack | The Travel Hack 9 years ago
    Reply

    […] I bought an old VW campervan while I was travelling through Australia and began The Great Aussie Road trip, everyone thought I was crazy. Why would I want to travel and live in such a small vehicle with […]

  10. Campervanning in Australia - The Travel Hack | The Travel Hack 9 years ago
    Reply

    […] January 2010, my boyfriend and I began what became known as The Great Aussie Road trip and journeyed from Sydney to Melbourne, along the incredible Great Ocean Road, along the long […]

  11. Road trips really are the best –
    Brilliant that you saw so much of Western Australia too – And to get to work on Mackerel Island!!
    It took me yeeeeeaaarrrs before I finally got to see Uluru… but it was soooo worth the wait 😉

    • TheTravelHack 8 years ago
      Reply

      Yes, I’m really pleased we saw a lot of WA too. So many people just stick to the east coast but the west is definitely best!

  12. Nadja 8 years ago
    Reply

    Hi all!
    If you are travelling on a shoestring (like we did) you might be interested in relocating cars. We did it twice – the first time from Perth to Broome and the second time from Byron Bay to Sydney. You pay like 5 dollar a day and get a normal rental car, in our case it was a car from Britz. We even had a bed and a kitchen, so accommodation was included as well. For travelling Australia I can recommend the website Hi all!
    If you are travelling on a shoestring (like we did) you might be interested in relocating cars. We did it twice – the first time from Perth to Broome and the second time from Byron Bay to Sydney. You pay like 5 dollar a day and get a normal rental car, in our case it was a car from Britz. We even had a bed and a kitchen, so accommodation was included as well. For travelling Australia I can recommend the website http://www.coseats.com/campervan_relocation. On the website you search for “relocation offers”. You book the deal and coseats contacts you. Very easy and cheap.
    Have a good trip and save travels!

  13. […] I tell people that I spent 18 months in Australia and I drove around the entire country in a campervan they automatically assume that I must be loaded. Australia is an expensive country for us Brits so, […]

  14. […] and I drove around Australia in our campervan, there was A LOT of driving! You can check out our Australia road trip itinerary […]

  15. Why Caravaning is Cool | The Travel Hack 8 years ago
    Reply

    […] I bought an old VW campervan while I was travelling through Australia and began The Great Aussie Road trip, everyone thought I was crazy. Why would I want to travel and live in such a small vehicle with […]

  16. Rachel 7 years ago
    Reply

    Always wanted to visit Australia. So lucky you had the chance to see so much of it. I’ve seen pictures and the landscape does look amazing. I’d love to take road trip but in rental vans or cars because of the same reason you mentioned. Thanks for the article. Sounds like it was an amazing adventure. Cheers to your next one.

  17. What you need to know for driving around the world? | The Travel Hack 7 years ago
    Reply

    […] 2010, I drove around Australia in a campervan. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done and if you ever get the chance to take a road […]

  18. […] We started in Melbourne and basically followed the coast all the way around Australia. We drove along the west coast, into the Northern Territories and back down the east coast. We finished in Sydney one year later. You can read about all of your Australia road trip destinations here. […]

  19. Daniela 7 years ago
    Reply

    Hi Monica,
    I just arrived to Melbourne and decided to buy a camper van with my BFF and travel around Australia for the next couple of months and I was lucky enough to stumble across your blog! I am planning to blog about it too. Please I am hoping to get all your advices, where’s the best place to buy a camper van? how much did you stayed in each city – working? did you do any farm work ?

    Can’t wait to read more of your stories, I stumble upon it a couple of days ago and I think I have read all your blog.. it also inspired me to create my own! I just came back form a couple of trips which I’ll be writing about it .

  20. I can’t believe it!! You made the tour of Australia. That’s pretty awesome! I’ve only been on the East Coast so far, so you can guess how jealous I am 😉

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago
      Reply

      Yes, the entire tour. It was a-mazing. The West Coast was my favourite so try and get over there if you can!

  21. Christina 7 years ago
    Reply

    Hey there! Stumbled across your blog trying to finalise my camper van packing itinerary. I am about to head off around Australia in my little yellow camper… No time schedule for a return. Planning to write my way around and keep a blog. Will definitely be subscribing to your blog now. Thanks for the helpful tips.

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago
      Reply

      Have a great time Christina. I’m jealous, I’d love to be setting off in my camper again!

  22. marc auwerda 6 years ago
    Reply

    Hi ,at the very beginning of planning a long travel in Australia….looking forward to read about your experiences,the doos and donts etc
    cheers marc

  23. Danielle 5 years ago
    Reply

    Wow, stumbled across this blog trying to get some travel advice. Love it. Awesome information for our next trip to Australia. Thanks again.

  24. […] ticket to Australia and had the most amazing time of my life as I travelled through Asia and around Australia in a battered old campervan. From the moment that ticket was booked I was hooked on travel and I’ve barely stopped […]

  25. Jabe 4 years ago
    Reply

    My girlfriend and myself are planning on doing a 12 month trip around Australia next year. Just bought the van and plan on fitting it out in the next 6 months. We plan on travelling and following the fruit picking seasons. Any advice on getting work on the farms. We are both Australian and have both worked in hospitality, how hard is it to pick up hospitality work? We plan on working a month and travelling for 3.

    • TheTravelHack 4 years ago
      Reply

      I’m afraid I didn’t do any fruit picking work so I don’t know about that but I found that hospitality work really depends on your personality. If you show up to the restaurant before it gets busy and ask to speak with the manager and can prove in that 5 minutes that you’re nice, friendly, polite, hardworking, have lots of experience, you’re smart and likeable then you’ll always always always find work! Good luck, I hope you have an incredible time!

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