Getting ready for a road trip in Australia?
This A to Z guide is a handy road trip planner for Australia, with key pointers, tips, and destinations you’ll need to know before setting out on your adventure.
Accommodation. It’s best to book in advance whenever possible as accommodation fills up quickly, especially during weekends and holidays. At the very least, make a list of possible places to stay before you start your road trip.
Big Things! There are approximately 150 ‘Big Things’ dotted around Australia, and you’ll likely see at least a few on any major road trip. Or, go ahead and do a ‘Big Things’ road trip and try to see as many as possible in one go!
Coastline. Australia has approximately 50,000 kilometres of coastline, and more than 10,000 beaches. The majority of Australian road trips will stick to coastlines and include stunning beaches along the way, so don’t forget your other ‘C’, a camera!
Distances. Distances can be deceiving, especially when you don’t know the roads well, or the conditions are not ideal. Always assume the drive will take a little longer than expected, even if you’re using Google Maps.
E-tolls. E-tolls are electronic tolls used on numerous roads throughout the country. They make it easy to pass over toll roads without slowing down to pay by card or dig around the seats for spare change. Thrifty fits E-tags on some cars, so be sure to request one if you are planning on taking routes with toll roads.
Forecast. Before heading out on any road trip, always check the forecast. This can influence everything from the clothes you pack to the time you’ll need to reach your destination and what you do when you get there.
Great Ocean Road. This is easily one of the most iconic road trips in Australia, and should be undertaken by all Aussies at least once in a lifetime. It’s short, brimming with incredible attractions, and beautiful no matter the time of year.
Hobart. Just because Tasmania isn’t connected to the mainland, it doesn’t mean you can’t do a road trip around Australia’s southern state. Pick up a rental in Hobart when you arrive and try the Tassie Loop!
Insurance. No road trip is complete without insurance to protect you, other drivers, and your vehicle. Take a look at Thrifty’s Protection options to find the right package for you.
Jet boating. Jet boating is just one of the incredible activities you can try while you’re in Australia. Unsurprisingly, many of the best can be found out in Sydney’s iconic harbour.
Kilometres. That’s kilometres, not miles, petrol not gas, driving on the left not the right, and never turning right (or left) at red lights. If you’re arriving from overseas, make sure you’re aware of the difference when taking on Australian roads.
Lap. Or, the Big Lap to be precise. If you really want to go all out on an Australian road trip, this 15,000 kilometre road trip will take you around the entire coastline of the mainland. You’ll need six months or more to complete this road trip around Australia, and a really decent playlist for those long stretches.
Maps. Whether you prefer paper in your hands or a high-tech GPS unit, you’ll need them for any road trip. Book a GPS unit with Thrifty as an optional extra, or invest in an Australian road map so you don’t lose your way.
Necessities. When packing, there are a number of necessities you’ll need anywhere you go. These include warm and cool weather gear, sunscreen and sun hats, water and snacks, a simple first aid kit, and any medication you usually take.
One-way road trip. Australia is deceptively large, and while a one-way rental will typically cost a little more than a return, it can still be an excellent option to book one way and take more time making stops and exploring, and less time making the return trip.
Pacific Coast Drive. Encompassing the stretch of coastline that runs from Sydney to Cairns, this massive east coast road trip in Australia covers a vast stretch of the country, including some of the best beaches in the world. This is a once-in-a-lifetime drive, and can take weeks or even months depending on how long you stop at each idyllic location.
Quality. Over quantity that is. Australia is unimaginably vast, and there are countless places to visit, things to do, and things to see. Aim for quality over quantity, and spend less time trying to do absolutely everything, and more time enjoying what you can fit in without rushing.
Roadside assistance. Whether you left your headlights on and ended up with a flat battery, ran out of petrol, or locked your keys in the car, roadside assistance is a huge help for any Australian road trip. All Thrifty vehicles are covered with roadside assistance for your peace of mind.
Snow passes. Heading to the ski fields with a Thrifty rental? You’ll need to purchase a Snow Pass in order to drive above the snowline in NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania. It means you can drive on sealed roads up to your favourite ski hills (this is separate from any national park entrance fees etc).
Thrifty! Your friendly, quality, affordable provider of car and 4WD rentals all over Australia. With more than 170 locations throughout the country and a massive fleet suited for anything from zipping around capital cities to exploring the outback, we have everything you need to discover the Lucky Country.
Uluru. One of the ultimate road trip destinations in Australia, Uluru is a special place for many reasons. Whether you’re driving from Adelaide, Darwin, or even Sydney, this is an unforgettable trip with a majestic destination.
Van. Got a big group? Or even just a four-person group and want the extra space? Consider booking a van and enjoy the extra interior space for people, baggage, and souvenirs.
Wildlife. It’s unlikely you’ll come across kangaroos hopping over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but wildlife is common on the roads in rural areas. Be aware that you may encounter kangaroos, emus, wallabies or wombats on the roads, so keep your headlights on and be prepared to stop.
Xantippe. It’s literally the only place in Australia that starts with an X.
You. Australia has a little bit of everything, from world-class surf to exceptional skiing, beautiful wineries to lush rainforests, bustling cities to tiny villages. The key to an unforgettable road trip is putting yourself first and figuring out exactly what you want to see the most.
Zero. That’s how much you should drink before getting behind the wheel. Australia definitely has some fantastic wineries, but you can pick up a bottle or two and wait until you arrive at your accommodation before popping them open.
This Australia road trip planner is not your usual, but we hope it is the most helpful! Where are you heading on your next road trip in Australia?