Australia, with its diverse landscapes and natural beauty, offers some of the world's most breathtaking scenic drives. For nature lovers, exploring these routes by car provides a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the country's stunning vistas, from dramatic coastal views and pristine beaches to rugged mountain ranges and expansive outback. Each drive showcases a different aspect of Australia’s natural splendor, offering a blend of adventure, tranquility, and awe-inspiring scenery. Whether you’re journeying along the iconic Great Ocean Road or traversing the remote Nullarbor Plain, these top 12 scenic drives are must-experiences for anyone looking to explore Australia’s majestic landscapes.

1. Great Ocean Road, Victoria

The Great Ocean Road, a breathtaking stretch of highway along Victoria's southwestern coast, is arguably Australia's most famous scenic drive. Spanning over 240 kilometers from the town of Torquay to Allansford, this route offers nature lovers an unparalleled experience of rugged coastal beauty, historic landmarks, and diverse wildlife.

One of the most iconic sights along the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles, a collection of limestone stacks rising majestically from the Southern Ocean. These natural wonders, formed by millions of years of erosion, provide a spectacular view, especially at sunrise and sunset when the golden light bathes the rocks in a warm glow. Nearby, the Loch Ard Gorge offers a poignant reminder of the region's shipwreck history, with its dramatic cliffs and turquoise waters.

As you continue along the road, you'll encounter the lush rainforests of Great Otway National Park. This area is perfect for a break from driving, offering numerous walking trails that wind through ancient ferns and towering eucalyptus trees. Don't miss a visit to the Otway Fly Treetop Walk, where you can stroll among the treetops and enjoy panoramic views of the forest.

The journey also passes through charming seaside towns such as Lorne and Apollo Bay, each offering their own unique attractions. Lorne, known for its vibrant arts scene and stunning beaches, is a great spot to relax and enjoy the coastal ambiance. Apollo Bay, often referred to as the "Paradise by the Sea," provides excellent opportunities for water activities like kayaking and surfing, as well as delicious seafood restaurants.

The Great Ocean Road is also a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Along the way, you might spot koalas nestled in the trees at Kennett River, or see kangaroos grazing in the fields near Anglesea. The diverse ecosystems along the route provide a habitat for numerous bird species, making it a birdwatcher's paradise.

In addition to its natural wonders, the Great Ocean Road has significant historical and cultural value. The road was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and is dedicated to the soldiers who died in World War I. It's considered the world's largest war memorial, adding a layer of historical depth to the stunning scenic drive.

The Great Ocean Road offers a diverse and enriching experience for nature lovers. From dramatic coastal cliffs and serene beaches to lush rainforests and charming towns, this scenic drive encapsulates the best of Victoria's natural beauty and cultural heritage.

2. Pacific Coast Touring Route, New South Wales and Queensland

The Pacific Coast Touring Route is an expansive drive that stretches over 2,600 kilometers from Sydney to Cairns, offering an extraordinary journey through some of Australia’s most stunning coastal landscapes and vibrant cities. This route is perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers, providing a rich tapestry of experiences along the way.

Starting in Sydney, one of the world's most iconic cities, you can explore the famous Sydney Opera House, stroll along Bondi Beach, or take a scenic ferry ride to Manly. As you leave Sydney, the drive northward takes you through the Central Coast, known for its beautiful beaches and national parks. Stop at the Bouddi National Park for a hike along the coastal trails, which offer spectacular ocean views and opportunities to spot native wildlife.

Further north, the route passes through the stunning Hunter Valley, renowned for its world-class wineries. This is an ideal stop for wine enthusiasts, where you can enjoy wine tastings and gourmet food in a picturesque setting. Continuing on, you'll reach the vibrant city of Newcastle, known for its surf beaches, historic sites, and lively arts scene.

One of the highlights of the Pacific Coast Touring Route is the stretch from Port Macquarie to Byron Bay. Port Macquarie offers pristine beaches and the Koala Hospital, where you can learn about and support the conservation efforts for these beloved animals. Byron Bay, famous for its bohemian vibe and stunning beaches, is a perfect spot for relaxation and exploration. The Cape Byron Lighthouse offers panoramic views of the coast and is a prime location for whale watching during migration season.

As you enter Queensland, the Gold Coast beckons with its bustling nightlife, theme parks, and surf beaches. Don't miss the chance to visit the lush hinterland, including the Lamington National Park, which offers beautiful rainforest walks and waterfalls.

Further along, the route takes you through the Sunshine Coast, where you can explore the tranquil beaches of Noosa, visit the Australia Zoo, or hike in the Glass House Mountains. Continuing north, the drive through the Fraser Coast region provides access to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world, known for its stunning freshwater lakes and diverse ecosystems.

The journey culminates in Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Here, you can take a boat trip to the reef, explore the Daintree Rainforest, or simply relax and enjoy the tropical atmosphere.

In summary, the Pacific Coast Touring Route offers an incredible variety of landscapes and experiences. From bustling cities and tranquil beaches to lush rainforests and vibrant coral reefs, this scenic drive showcases the best of Australia’s natural beauty and cultural richness.

3. Red Centre Way, Northern Territory

The Red Centre Way is a captivating 700-kilometer loop through Australia’s heartland, offering an immersive journey into the Northern Territory’s dramatic landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Starting in Alice Springs, this route takes you through some of the most iconic landmarks in the Australian outback, providing a deep connection to the land’s natural beauty and indigenous history.

Alice Springs, known as the gateway to the Red Centre, is a vibrant town that blends indigenous culture with modern amenities. Before embarking on the drive, visit the Alice Springs Desert Park to learn about the unique flora and fauna of the region, or explore the rich cultural displays at the Araluen Cultural Precinct.

Heading west, the route takes you to the West MacDonnell Ranges, a stunning series of mountain ranges that offer numerous opportunities for hiking and wildlife spotting. Standout sites include Simpsons Gap, a picturesque gorge with towering cliffs, and Ormiston Gorge, known for its dramatic scenery and swimming holes. The area’s diverse ecosystems are home to an array of wildlife, including rock wallabies and various bird species.

Continuing on, you’ll reach Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park. The canyon’s rim walk is a must-do, offering breathtaking views of the sheer cliffs and the lush Garden of Eden, a waterhole surrounded by rare plants. The challenging hike is well worth the effort, providing some of the most spectacular scenery in the Red Centre.

The journey’s highlight is undoubtedly Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Uluru, a massive sandstone monolith, is a sacred site for the local Anangu people and one of Australia’s most recognizable natural landmarks. The base walk around Uluru allows you to appreciate its immense size and the ancient rock art that tells the stories of the land’s traditional owners. Kata Tjuta, a group of large, domed rock formations, offers equally impressive vistas and is best explored through the Valley of the Winds hike, which takes you through spectacular gorges and desert landscapes.

The Red Centre Way also provides opportunities to learn about indigenous culture and history. Guided tours led by Aboriginal custodians offer insights into the spiritual significance of the land and its features. These experiences enrich your understanding of the cultural heritage that is deeply intertwined with the natural landscape.

As you complete the loop back to Alice Springs, consider visiting Rainbow Valley, known for its colorful sandstone cliffs that change hues with the shifting sunlight. The valley is particularly stunning at sunrise and sunset, providing a perfect end to your journey.

The Red Centre Way is an unforgettable drive through Australia’s outback, offering a mix of awe-inspiring natural wonders and profound cultural experiences. This route is perfect for nature lovers and those seeking a deeper connection to the land and its heritage.

4. Great Alpine Road, Victoria

The Great Alpine Road, Victoria’s premier alpine route, spans 339 kilometers from Wangaratta in the northeast to Bairnsdale in the Gippsland region. This scenic drive takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in Victoria, offering a diverse array of natural beauty, from lush valleys and dense forests to snow-capped mountains and charming rural towns.

Starting in Wangaratta, known for its rich history and vibrant food scene, you’ll head towards the picturesque town of Bright. Bright is renowned for its seasonal beauty, particularly in autumn when the town is ablaze with the colors of changing leaves. The town offers numerous cafes, restaurants, and parks, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely break.

As you leave Bright, the road begins its climb into the Victorian Alps, passing through the Mount Buffalo National Park. Here, you can detour to Mount Buffalo, where the views from the summit are simply breathtaking. The park offers a variety of activities, including hiking, rock climbing, and, in winter, snow sports. The Gorge Heritage Walk is a popular trail that takes you to stunning lookouts and waterfalls.

Continuing along the Great Alpine Road, you’ll reach the high-altitude village of Dinner Plain and the alpine resort of Mount Hotham. In winter, these areas are bustling with skiers and snowboarders, but in the warmer months, they offer a tranquil retreat with plenty of hiking trails and panoramic views. The Razorback Trail is a notable hike that leads to Mount Feathertop, the second highest peak in Victoria, providing an exhilarating challenge and rewarding views.

Descending from the mountains, the road takes you through the picturesque Tambo Valley and the town of Omeo. Omeo’s gold mining history is evident in its heritage buildings and local museums. The town offers a glimpse into the region’s past and serves as a gateway to the lower reaches of the Great Alpine Road.

The final stretch of the drive leads you through lush farmland and vineyards as you approach Bairnsdale. This historic town is the commercial center of East Gippsland and offers a range of dining and accommodation options. Nearby, the Gippsland Lakes, Australia’s largest network of inland waterways, provide opportunities for boating, fishing, and birdwatching.

The Great Alpine Road is more than just a scenic drive; it’s an adventure through a diverse and beautiful part of Victoria. Each segment of the journey offers unique attractions and experiences, making it a perfect route for nature lovers and those seeking to explore the great outdoors. Whether you're traveling in winter for snow sports or in summer for hiking and relaxing in quaint towns, the Great Alpine Road is a year-round destination that showcases the best of Victoria’s natural and cultural heritage.

5. Grand Pacific Drive, New South Wales

The Grand Pacific Drive is a stunning coastal route that stretches 140 kilometers from the Royal National Park, just south of Sydney, to the Shoalhaven region. This drive offers breathtaking ocean views, lush rainforests, and charming seaside towns, making it a must-see for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

The journey begins in the Royal National Park, the world’s second oldest national park, established in 1879. This park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering a variety of walking trails, picnic spots, and secluded beaches. The Coast Track is a popular hiking route that provides spectacular views of the coastline, dramatic cliffs, and diverse wildlife.

As you exit the park, the drive takes you to the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge, a highlight of the Grand Pacific Drive. This 665-meter-long bridge curves gracefully over the ocean, offering panoramic views of the cliffs and the Pacific Ocean. There are several lookout points along the bridge where you can stop, take photos, and admire the stunning scenery.

Continuing south, you’ll pass through the vibrant city of Wollongong, known for its beautiful beaches, cultural attractions, and the Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Wollongong also offers plenty of cafes and restaurants, providing a perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy the local cuisine.

Further along the drive, the route takes you through the coastal towns of Shellharbour and Kiama. Shellharbour is home to the Killalea State Park, often referred to as "The Farm," which is a popular spot for surfing and picnicking. Kiama is famous for its blowhole, a natural rock formation that shoots seawater high into the air, creating a spectacular display.

As you approach the Shoalhaven region, you’ll encounter the town of Gerringong, which offers stunning views of the coastline and rolling green hills. The nearby Seven Mile Beach is perfect for a leisurely walk or a swim in the ocean.

The drive concludes in the Shoalhaven region, which is known for its pristine beaches, national parks, and wineries. The town of Nowra, located on the Shoalhaven River, offers several attractions, including the Fleet Air Arm Museum and the beautiful Shoalhaven Zoo. The region is also famous for its local produce and wines, making it an excellent destination for food and wine enthusiasts.

The Grand Pacific Drive is not just a scenic route; it’s an immersive experience that showcases the natural beauty and cultural richness of New South Wales. Whether you’re exploring the rugged coastline, enjoying water activities, or relaxing in charming seaside towns, this drive offers something for everyone. It’s a perfect way to experience the diverse landscapes and attractions that make this part of Australia so special.

6. Gibb River Road, Western Australia

The Gibb River Road is a legendary 660-kilometer track through the heart of the Kimberley region in Western Australia. Known for its rugged beauty and remote location, this drive offers an adventurous journey through some of the country’s most spectacular landscapes. It’s a challenging route that requires a 4WD vehicle, but for nature lovers and thrill-seekers, the rewards are immense.

Starting from Derby or Kununurra, depending on your direction, the Gibb River Road takes you through a diverse range of terrains, including ancient gorges, rocky plateaus, and vast savannahs. One of the first major attractions is Windjana Gorge, a stunning formation carved by the Lennard River. The gorge’s towering walls and deep pools are home to freshwater crocodiles, making it a fascinating spot for wildlife viewing.

Further along the road, Tunnel Creek National Park offers a unique adventure. Here, you can walk through a 750-meter-long tunnel formed by the creek cutting through the Napier Range. The tunnel is filled with fascinating rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites, and it’s also home to bats and freshwater crocodiles.

As you continue, you’ll encounter the beautiful Bell Gorge, one of the most picturesque spots on the Gibb River Road. A short hike leads you to a series of cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear pools, perfect for a refreshing swim. The gorge’s stunning scenery and tranquil atmosphere make it a highlight of the journey.

Another must-visit is the Mitchell Plateau, which requires a detour off the main road. Here, you’ll find the magnificent Mitchell Falls, a four-tiered waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation and ancient rock art sites. The area is rich in Aboriginal heritage, and guided tours can provide deeper insights into the cultural significance of the land.

The El Questro Wilderness Park is another major attraction along the Gibb River Road. This vast park offers a range of activities, including hiking, boating, and hot springs. The Zebedee Springs, a series of thermal pools set in a tropical oasis, provide a perfect spot to relax and unwind. The park’s diverse landscapes, from rugged cliffs to lush rainforests, offer endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

The journey along the Gibb River Road is not complete without visiting some of the remote cattle stations that dot the landscape. These stations offer a glimpse into the region’s pastoral history and provide unique accommodation options, from camping to rustic lodges. Staying at a cattle station allows you to experience the true outback lifestyle and enjoy the hospitality of the local people.

The Gibb River Road is an epic adventure through one of Australia’s most remote and beautiful regions. The drive offers a mix of challenging terrain, stunning natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage. For nature lovers and adventurers, it’s an unforgettable journey that showcases the raw and rugged heart of Western Australia.

7. Tasmania's East Coast, Tasmania

Tasmania's East Coast, a picturesque 300-kilometer route stretching from Hobart to Launceston, offers some of the island’s most breathtaking coastal scenery. This drive is a haven for nature lovers, providing an array of stunning landscapes, historic sites, and delicious local cuisine.

Starting in Hobart, the state’s vibrant capital, you can explore its historic waterfront and bustling markets before embarking on your journey. As you head north, your first major stop is the historic town of Richmond, home to Australia's oldest bridge and a charming collection of Georgian architecture. Richmond's quaint shops and cafes are perfect for a leisurely break.

Continuing along the coast, you’ll reach the stunning Freycinet National Park, home to the world-famous Wineglass Bay. This iconic bay, with its crescent-shaped beach and turquoise waters, is often ranked among the world's most beautiful beaches. A hike to the Wineglass Bay Lookout offers panoramic views that are well worth the effort. The park also offers other outdoor activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, and wildlife spotting, with chances to see wallabies, dolphins, and seabirds.

Further up the coast, the Bay of Fires beckons with its strikingly white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant orange lichen-covered boulders. This area is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and beachcombing. The coastal reserve also offers several walking trails that allow you to explore its pristine beauty at a relaxed pace.

Historic Port Arthur, one of Australia's most significant heritage sites, provides a fascinating glimpse into the island’s convict past. The well-preserved ruins and informative tours offer a poignant and educational experience. Nearby, you can explore the Tasman Peninsula's dramatic coastal cliffs and sea caves, adding an adventurous element to your trip.

The East Coast is also renowned for its culinary delights. The region boasts numerous vineyards and wineries, particularly around Swansea and Bicheno, where you can sample local wines and fresh seafood. The East Coast Wine Trail guides you through some of the best cellar doors and gourmet food experiences the area has to offer.

As you approach Launceston, Tasmania's second-largest city, you can explore its beautiful Cataract Gorge, with its walking trails, suspension bridge, and panoramic views. Launceston is also a gateway to the Tamar Valley, another renowned wine-producing region.

In summary, Tasmania’s East Coast offers a diverse and enriching journey through some of the island’s most stunning and varied landscapes. From pristine beaches and national parks to historic towns and gourmet food and wine, this scenic drive is a perfect blend of nature, history, and relaxation.

8. The Savannah Way, Queensland to Western Australia

The Savannah Way is an epic transcontinental route stretching approximately 3,700 kilometers from Cairns in Queensland to Broome in Western Australia. This incredible journey takes you through the heart of Australia’s tropical savannahs, offering an unparalleled adventure through vast wetlands, rugged escarpments, and remote outback towns.

Starting in Cairns, known for its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the journey begins with lush tropical landscapes. As you head west, you’ll soon reach the Atherton Tablelands, a fertile plateau with picturesque waterfalls, rainforests, and crater lakes. This region offers numerous opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring charming rural towns.

Continuing west, the Savannah Way takes you through the Gulf Country, an area known for its expansive savannah landscapes and rich wildlife. The town of Normanton, with its historic railway station and giant crocodile statue, offers a quirky stop. Nearby, Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria is famous for its spectacular sunsets and excellent fishing opportunities.

One of the key attractions along this route is the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometers, Kakadu boasts a diverse range of ecosystems, including wetlands, rivers, and sandstone escarpments. Visitors can explore ancient rock art sites, cruise through crocodile-infested rivers, and marvel at the park’s abundant wildlife. The park is a living cultural landscape, home to the Bininj/Mungguy people who have inhabited the area for thousands of years.

Further along the route, Nitmiluk National Park, home to the stunning Katherine Gorge, offers dramatic landscapes and numerous outdoor activities. Canoeing through the gorge, hiking the various trails, or taking a scenic flight are all excellent ways to experience this natural wonder. The nearby town of Katherine provides a base for exploring the region’s hot springs and indigenous cultural experiences.

As you journey into Western Australia, the road takes you through the Kimberley region, one of Australia’s most remote and rugged areas. Highlights here include the Bungle Bungles in Purnululu National Park, with their distinctive beehive-shaped rock formations, and the historic town of Kununurra, known for its beautiful lakes and agricultural produce.

The route culminates in Broome, a coastal town famous for its stunning Cable Beach, where you can witness spectacular sunsets over the Indian Ocean. Broome’s rich pearling history and multicultural heritage add to its unique charm, making it a fitting end to this epic journey.

In summary, the Savannah Way offers an extraordinary adventure through some of Australia’s most diverse and remote landscapes. From tropical rainforests and expansive savannahs to rugged outback terrain and coastal beauty, this transcontinental drive provides nature lovers with an unforgettable experience of Australia’s vast natural wonders.

9. The Blackall Range Tourist Drive, Queensland

Located in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, the Blackall Range Tourist Drive offers a scenic 55-kilometer loop through lush rainforests, quaint villages, and panoramic lookouts. Starting in Landsborough, this drive takes you through Maleny, Montville, and Mapleton, each offering unique attractions and breathtaking views.

Beginning in Landsborough, you can explore the historic Landsborough Museum, which provides insights into the area’s rich heritage. As you head towards Maleny, you’ll pass through rolling green hills and farmland, offering picturesque views of the Glass House Mountains. These ancient volcanic peaks provide a stunning backdrop and are perfect for hiking and photography. The Glass House Mountains Lookout offers a panoramic view of these iconic formations and the surrounding countryside.

Maleny is a vibrant town known for its artistic community and sustainable living practices. The town boasts numerous galleries, boutique shops, and cafes, making it a great place to stop and explore. The Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World is a must-visit, offering beautifully landscaped gardens and the chance to interact with exotic birds. Nearby, the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve provides walking trails through subtropical rainforest and breathtaking views of the Glass House Mountains.

Continuing along the drive, you’ll reach Montville, a charming village known for its European-inspired architecture and artisan shops. Montville offers a variety of attractions, including the Montville Art Gallery and the Chocolate Country store, where you can indulge in handmade chocolates. The Kondalilla Falls National Park, just a short drive from Montville, features a stunning waterfall and a series of walking trails through lush rainforest. The Kondalilla Falls circuit is a popular hike that leads to a refreshing swimming hole, making it a perfect spot for a break.

The final leg of the drive takes you to Mapleton, a small village known for its natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere. The Mapleton Falls National Park offers a spectacular 120-meter waterfall and several walking tracks with stunning views over the Obi Obi Valley. The Mapleton Observatory is another highlight, providing opportunities for stargazing and learning about the night sky.

Throughout the Blackall Range, you’ll find numerous cafes, restaurants, and local markets offering delicious local produce and handmade goods. The area is known for its dairy products, fresh fruits, and artisan crafts, making it a delightful destination for food lovers.

The Blackall Range Tourist Drive offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and local charm. This scenic route through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland provides nature lovers with a tranquil escape, rich in picturesque landscapes, wildlife, and opportunities for relaxation and exploration.

10. The Nullarbor Plain, South Australia to Western Australia

Driving across the Nullarbor Plain is a quintessential Australian road trip experience that embodies the vastness and raw beauty of the country’s interior. This 1,200-kilometer stretch between Ceduna in South Australia and Norseman in Western Australia offers travelers a unique journey through one of the world’s largest limestone karst landscapes, characterized by its flat, treeless expanses and endless horizon.

The Nullarbor Plain’s seemingly barren landscape is interspersed with unique attractions that make the drive an unforgettable adventure. One of the most striking features is the Bunda Cliffs, a series of dramatic coastal cliffs that drop sharply into the Southern Ocean. These cliffs, part of the Great Australian Bight Marine Park, offer spectacular views and are an excellent spot for whale watching during the migration season of the Southern Right Whales between June and October. At the Head of Bight, you can often see these majestic creatures with their calves close to the shore, a truly awe-inspiring sight.

Another notable stop along the route is the Nullarbor Roadhouse, a quintessential outback pit stop providing fuel, food, and a glimpse into the local culture. The roadhouse offers essential services and a place to rest, but it also provides an opportunity to learn about the Nullarbor’s history and ecology through various displays and exhibits. The Roadhouse is a social hub for travelers, where stories and tips are exchanged over a meal or a drink.

For those interested in the subterranean wonders of the Nullarbor, the Koonalda Cave is a fascinating destination. This cave system, accessible via guided tours, contains significant archaeological and geological features, including ancient Aboriginal rock art and impressive limestone formations. It’s a reminder of the deep cultural history that underpins this seemingly desolate region.

Driving the Nullarbor also means traversing the longest straight stretch of road in Australia, the 146.6-kilometer section known as the “90 Mile Straight.” This portion of the Eyre Highway is a test of endurance and a marvel of engineering, offering a unique driving experience in itself.

Despite its remote location, the Nullarbor Plain is teeming with wildlife. Kangaroos, emus, and wedge-tailed eagles are common sightings, adding to the sense of adventure and connection with nature. The night sky over the Nullarbor is another highlight, offering some of the clearest and most spectacular stargazing opportunities in Australia due to the lack of light pollution.

In summary, crossing the Nullarbor Plain is more than just a drive; it’s an iconic Australian adventure that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural history. The journey through this vast, open landscape provides a profound sense of solitude and connection with the raw, unspoiled wilderness of Australia.

11. Waterfall Way, New South Wales

Waterfall Way, a 185-kilometer drive from Coffs Harbour on the coast to the inland town of Armidale, is renowned for its stunning waterfalls, lush rainforests, and scenic national parks. This route offers nature lovers and adventure seekers an opportunity to explore some of New South Wales’ most beautiful and diverse landscapes.

Starting in Coffs Harbour, a vibrant coastal city known for its beaches and the iconic Big Banana, the drive heads west into the verdant hinterland. The first major stop is Dorrigo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that forms part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. Here, you can visit the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre and take a walk on the Skywalk, a boardwalk that extends over the treetops, offering panoramic views of the rainforest canopy and the distant coastline.

Continuing along Waterfall Way, you’ll encounter Dangar Falls, a picturesque waterfall near the town of Dorrigo. This 30-meter-high waterfall is surrounded by lush vegetation and offers a great spot for a picnic or a refreshing swim in the natural pool at its base. The easy walking trail to the falls provides stunning views and is suitable for visitors of all ages.

Further along the route, the Ebor Falls in Guy Fawkes River National Park is another must-see. These falls feature two cascades plunging into the gorge below, creating a dramatic and beautiful spectacle. There are several viewing platforms that offer different perspectives of the falls and the surrounding landscape, making it a perfect location for photography and nature appreciation.

One of the highest waterfalls in Australia, Wollomombi Falls, is located in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, near the town of Armidale. Plunging over 220 meters into the gorge below, these falls are a highlight of the drive. The park offers a variety of walking trails and lookouts, providing spectacular views of the falls and the rugged gorge country. The Chandler Falls, nearby, also offer impressive sights and are well worth the visit.

In addition to its natural beauty, Waterfall Way passes through several charming rural towns, including Bellingen and Armidale. Bellingen, known for its vibrant arts and music scene, offers a range of cafes, boutiques, and markets, making it a delightful stop. Armidale, at the western end of the route, is a historic town with elegant heritage buildings, beautiful parks, and a thriving cultural scene.

The diverse landscapes along Waterfall Way also provide numerous opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and photography. The region’s rich biodiversity and well-preserved natural habitats make it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.

In summary, Waterfall Way offers an enchanting journey through some of New South Wales’ most scenic and varied landscapes. From stunning waterfalls and lush rainforests to charming towns and historic sites, this drive provides a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural richness, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

12. The Great Green Way, Queensland

The Great Green Way is a 480-kilometer scenic drive that stretches between Townsville and Cairns in North Queensland, showcasing the lush tropical landscapes and diverse ecosystems of this vibrant region. This route takes you through two World Heritage areas—the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest—offering a wealth of natural attractions and outdoor activities for nature lovers.

Starting in Townsville, a lively coastal city known for its waterfront promenade, the Strand, and the Reef HQ Aquarium, the drive heads north along the Bruce Highway. One of the first major stops is the Paluma Range National Park, where you can explore the cool, misty rainforests and crystal-clear creeks. The park offers several walking trails, including the Jourama Falls track, which leads to a series of picturesque waterfalls and swimming holes.

Further along the route, the Hinchinbrook Island National Park beckons with its rugged beauty and diverse ecosystems. Accessible by ferry from the small town of Cardwell, Hinchinbrook Island is Australia’s largest island national park. The island offers pristine beaches, dense rainforests, and the challenging Thorsborne Trail, a multi-day hike that provides an immersive wilderness experience.

As you continue north, you’ll pass through the picturesque town of Mission Beach, known for its golden sands and the nearby Dunk Island. Mission Beach is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying the laid-back tropical vibe. The town is also one of the best places to spot the endangered cassowary, a large flightless bird native to the rainforests of northern Australia.

The drive then takes you through the rich agricultural region of the Cassowary Coast, where you can visit local markets and roadside stalls selling tropical fruits, fresh produce, and handmade goods. The town of Innisfail, with its art deco architecture and vibrant multicultural community, is another interesting stop along the way.

One of the highlights of the Great Green Way is the journey through the Wet Tropics Rainforest, a World Heritage-listed area that is home to an incredible array of plant and animal species. The Atherton Tablelands, a fertile plateau with lush rainforests, waterfalls, and crater lakes, offer numerous opportunities for exploration. Popular attractions include the Millaa Millaa Falls, the Curtain Fig Tree, and the volcanic crater lakes of Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine.

The route culminates in Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns offers a range of activities, from snorkeling and diving on the reef to exploring the nearby Daintree Rainforest, another World Heritage-listed site. The Daintree, one of the oldest rainforests in the world, offers guided tours, canopy walks, and river cruises, providing a deep dive into its unique flora and fauna.

The Great Green Way offers a diverse and enriching journey through some of North Queensland’s most beautiful and ecologically significant landscapes. From the pristine beaches and rainforests to the vibrant towns and cultural attractions, this scenic drive provides an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and adventurers.

Australia's scenic drives offer nature lovers an unparalleled way to explore the country's diverse landscapes. Whether you prefer coastal routes, mountainous roads, or rugged outback tracks, there's a scenic drive for every taste. These top 12 scenic drives provide the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in Australia's natural beauty and create unforgettable memories.

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Jun 15, 2024

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