Australia is a massive country it measures almost 4,000 kilometres wide and is approximately 3,800 kilometres high. This is from the most northern point to the most southern point of Tasmania (the part most people forget to include in this measurement). How long does it take to drive around Australia you ask? It takes 14 days if you were to take the main highway around the main land, then jump on the ferry to Tasmania and travel from the north to the south of the Island, travelling at approximately 60 kmph it is possible to do it in about half a month. This of course if you are just driving and not really taking any of this beautiful country.
Realistically if you are wanting to take in a lot of the sights and enjoy yourself, a realistic time frame would be minimum six months. To really enjoy the drive its recommended to do it over a 12 month period. Australia is such a large country, full of different terrains, different climates, its almost hard to fathom that this is all in the one country and driving around it in one lap.
The big trip driving around Australia is a long one, here are some tips when planning:
Considering the fact that the total distance around just the main land using National Highway 1 is about 14,500 km’s there is just the whole margin of error and chance of incidents happening on your travels on the road. You also need to factor in the different climates around Australia and when the best time is to drive through certain areas. For example going through the top end of Australia can be quite hazardous and there are huge risks of flooding and you need to plan your drive around this. So if you are planning on making the trip around Australia make sure you factor in at least 1 year to get in all the best sites and enjoy the best of what this beautiful nation has to offer.
Here is a map illustrating the distance it is to travel from all the major points and highways. The big lap around Australia is a fair distance between major cities and you can travel from Melbourne to Sydney to Brisbane and Cairns along the east coast. This is the most commonly travelled part of the big lap. The grey nomads (retired Aussies) are well know to travel this great distance in their caravans in the later years of life.
Image Courtesy of Wicked Walkabout
What is the longest road in Australia?
The longest stretch of road in Australia is on the Eyre Highway on a section between Caiguna and Balladonia. This is considered to be one of the greatest stretches of road to drive on in your car and it one hell of a stretch going for a total of 146 kilometres (91 miles). To be clear this is not just for Australia but it is one of the longest in the whole world. This part of the Eyre Highway is affectionately known as the “90 Mile Straight“.
Driving around Australia on a budget
As part of your planning for your big trip around Australia, you should consider the costs of driving around Australia. The Swiss Nomads have a great summary of their travels around Australia. For their travels while they budgeted 146 Aussie dollars a day they ended up only spending $82 a day in the first half of their trip cost them just over $13,000 for the first six months of their big trip around Australia.
Their full year, in the end, did cost them a total of around $33,000 amazingly this included their airfare travels from Switzerland to Australia and their investment in the car they would use on their travels. To do be able to do such a trip over a full year they claim there is only one way of doing it. In a car with camping gear, as the camping gear reduces accommodation costs (expensive in Australia).
Their two largest costs on the trip were Food and Drink which added up to nearly $7k and next was the fuel costs of just over $6k. Sounds like a lot of money and while petrol is fairly expensive in Australia they did drive 34,000 kilometres in one year.
If you are planning on doing some camping on your trip check out our site Smart Camper there is a load of resources there about free camping in Victora, Free Camping in NSW and Free Camping in Byron Bay. Along with many other camping resources.
Outback Crossing – How Long Does it Take to Travel Around Australia?
Wikipedia – Highway 1 (Australia)