Australia

11 Australian Road Trips To Conquer This Winter

By Jessica Best
4th Jun 2021

front seat of car

With overseas travel still at a standstill, there's no better time to start planning your next Aussie adventure. And what better way to check out its natural beauty than by road?

Get some red dirt on your tyres and some bugs on your windscreen, sing-along to sweet tunes and let beautiful landscapes unfurl in front of you.

Here are some crackin’ Australian winter road trips that are all about the journey and not the destination.

Best Winter Road Trips In NSW 

Alpine Way

snowy mountain ranges

Mountains upon mountains upon mountains. Yep, the Alpine Way is beauty incarnated and it will set you up to witness picturesque valleys plus there is a heap of walking trails, fishing stops and even mountain biking areas for you to take advantage of. This drive joins Jindabyne in the southern region of Kosciuszko National Park and takes you through the forests of the Snowy Mountains region. To keep warm and cosy overnight, pack your beanie and uggs and lap up the stars at Mitchell Townhouse in Jindabyne.

Moss Vale Road

This road trip is an oldie but a goodie. Put this one in your GPS for when you’re strapped for time, but you’re seriously craving a little road trip. Moss Vale Road will see you winding your way through the Southern Highlands’ rainforests and valleys. This road trip will no doubt be studded with a number of hairpin turns but you’ll bypass Nowra, Bowral, Fitzroy Falls and, of course, Kangaroo Valley. If you've got more time, why not make a day of it and take the long way around—down through the Royal National Park and out to the coast to Stanwell Tops, and across the iconic Seacliff Bridge, before turning back in and up towards Moss Vale (and Yarrunga House has you covered for the night).

Greater Blue Mountains Drive

Nothing screams winter quite like the misty mountains of NSW’s Blue Mountains region. This loop around the World Heritage-Listed area kicks off from Sydney then ticks off Leura, Katoomba, Blackheath, Hartley Vale, Mount Tomah, Kurrajong before hitting back to Sydney. As the pinnacle of winter adventures, you’ll get to do everything from scoping waterfalls, exploring local heritage buildings and antique stores and treating your eyes to mega lookouts. During winter, the day temp here drops to around 12 degrees so make sure you’ve got a trusty jacket handy. Our favourite place to stay here is this pet-friendly mountain cottage in Blackheath.

Best Winter Road Trips In Victoria

Great Ocean Road

stunning 12 apostles at sunset

Running along one of Australia’s most stunning coastlines, a drive along the Great Ocean Road is three days of road-trip porn. Stop at Great Otway National Park to spot wildlife from the Treetop Walk—or watch it fly by as you zipline your way through the treetops. Get snap-happy at the iconic Twelve Apostles, spot dolphins, top up your energy levels at the Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery, grab a bevvy at the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse and finish it all up at the charming coastal town of Port Fairy. For your overnight pitstop, hit Glen View Cottage at Johanna Beach.

Dandenong Ranges

Often described as the ‘green lungs’ of Melbourne, this stunning road trip in Victoria is an absolute must every winter. As a cool climate region, winter means temps will drop to around 14 degrees so brace yourself for the chill but all the next level driving adventures. While you’re driving through these ancient forests, make sure you cross off the villages of Olinda and Sassafras and if you’ve got time—the Puffing Billy Railway is an iconic way of sailing through Belgrave to Gembrook. Around that, you’ll want to lock your eyes on the towering mount, fern gullies and farm gates. Billabong Falls in the Yarra Valley should absolutely be your go-to if you’re keen to split this winter road trip into two days.

Best Winter Road Trips Queensland

Adventure Way

Leave the coast, and the bright lights of the city behind as you head deep into the heart of Queensland for an old-school outback adventure that turns it up when the mercury drops. As you retrace the path of the old Cobb & Co coach trips, there’s plenty of nature and history to explore. Walk amongst the towering trees in the electric green Bunya Mountains, cast your line in at St. George and reflect at the historically significant Burke and Wills Dig Tree. Staying at the historic Royal Bull’s Head Inn is an absolute must.

Best Winter Road Trips Western Australia

The Great South West Edge

rolling geen hills

Drive from Perth to Esperance along the west coast and watch as stunning rivers, towering Karri forests, mountains, beaches and vineyards whiz past your window. Winter means a bit of rain but in the cosiest way. Start in Perth and stop by the creepy/amazing Gnomesville in Ferguson Valley, spot dolphins and whales before heading through Margaret River wine country, explore the dramatic ocean cliffs of Albany, take a treetop walk in the Valley of the Giants and do your best Ace Ventura impression amongst the fauna of Donnelly River before landing on the rugged coastline of Esperance. This road trip is the tits and if you’re going to stay overnight at the very end of this drive, we recommend Jasmine House in Pink Lake.

Margaret River

Winter is all about loading up on red wine (unashamedly), loading up on cheese and warming your soul around a campfire and the good news is when the temp drops and the winds come in, that’s exactly what a road trip along the Margaret River will reward you with. The region calls for endless vineyards (so staying overnight somewhere would be optimal for all the wine) and breweries so keep your eyes out for Eagle Bay Brewing Co, Rustico and the Brewhouse Margaret River. Should you stop over anywhere, make sure you stay at the luxe Ogana B.

Best Winter Road Trips Tasmania

Queenstown To Cradle Mountain

wild landscape in tasmania

This one hour drive gives you peak winter feels with mammoth mountain ranges, rivers and a whole lot of wilderness to explore. While there’s no actual town to visit at Cradle Mountain, you can continue your drive into the World Heritage Wilderness Area to witness rolling grasslands, ancient plants, the famous King Billy pines and hey, if you really want to level your overnight pitstop, check out Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat.

Tamar River

Following the picturesque Tamar River from Launceston to Bass Strait, this road trip takes you straight through the heart of wine country—passing spectacular forests, orchards and farmland along the way. With more than 30 wineries nearby, you won’t have trouble figuring out where your next food or wine break is coming from—so Rock, Paper, Scissors that shizz and get yourself a skipper for the day. Take in the views at Mount George Lookout, link in with the North East Arts Trail, have a dip at Lagoon Bay and go penguin spotting in the evening at Low Head Coastal Reserve. As for where you’re going to stay—look no further than these stunning apartments.

Best Winter Road Trips In South Australia

Barossa Scenic Heritage Drive

This itty bitty road trip packs a punch, much like a full-bodied Shiraz (mmmm). Cruise through quaint little towns and linger at the tasting counter and in the gardens of some of Australia’s best wineries. Take in the view from Menglers Hill and pay homage to the conserve queen at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop. Treat yourself to max cosy vibes and stay for a night in these glorious chalets.

Want more adventure but can't leave the house just yet? Check out these epic virtual experiences around Australia. 

Image credit: Destination NSW, Destination NSW, Visit Victoria, Tourism Queensland, The South West Edge, Tasmania Parks And Wildlife Service

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