The Big Lap: the ultimate road trip around Australia in 2 years
Welcome and thank you for visiting this article. Before you start reading, you need to know that some of the links on my website are affiliate links of which I receive a small commission from the sale of certain items, but the price remains the same for you.
The Big Lap is basically making a road trip around Australia on the longest national highway in the world, the N1, which is considered the ultimate adventure down under.
In January 2020, I took off on this once-in-a-lifetime journey where I lived in my 4×4 Toyota Landcruiser for 728 days and explored almost every state in this absolutely magnificent country.
From the white sandy beaches in Esperance and the remote Kimberleys to the lush green rainforest in the Tropical North and the most epic sunsets in the Red Centre
Let’s say it was quite an adventure!
Although the original plan was to make a full lap of Australia from Perth and arrive back in Perth after a year, the major bushfires and pandemic obviously changed this plan slightly.
Well, I couldn’t make the complete loop around the country as the border between South Australia and Western Australia was closed. So, the journey went through the middle of Australia to cross the border to Western Australia in the North, where I eventually could reach Perth again.
In this article, you can read my personal experience, practical information, and handy tips that can be useful for planning your trip around Australia packed with inspiring photos of the complete journey.
Before you read on
This is probably the most comprehensive article I have ever written and it contains my adventurous story of the Big Lap around Australia in 2 years explained in about 8000 words.
With a lot of passion, emotion, and excitement, I wrote this article where each place can be easily explained in more detail. That is why you will find links to other articles related to that topic.
Are you planning to embark on this adventure yourself or do you have any questions, I am very pleased to help you.
THE ITINERARY OF MY BIG LAP
It’s difficult to make a real plan because Australia is such a large country that can be explored in many different ways. Put the map of Australia on top of Europe or the USA and you’ll understand what I mean.
Especially if you have a full year to travel, your plans are likely to change during your journey as you will meet other people, change your mind, or due to unforeseen circumstances such as border closures, floods, bushfires, and lockdowns,
My plan was to travel clockwise around Australia starting from Western Australia with a list of highlights that I definitely had to see. That list grew very quickly as more places were added along the journey.
On the map of Australia below, you can visualize the actual journey I made across the country.
How long does it take to complete the Big Lap?
It is completely up to you how long you want to drive around Australia and which places you want to see. You can make a road trip around Australia in 6 months or even in a few years but that all depends on your personal situation, time, and budget.
If you have only 3 months, I wouldn’t recommend making a lap around Australia but rather exploring one or two states. You can spend 3 months in Western Australia and still haven’t seen everything.
The N1 Highway consists of the Stuart Highway, Eyre Highway, Great Northern Highway, and Pacific Highway, is approximately 15,000 kilometers long, and connects just about every major city such as Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Darwin.
Assuming that you will not be traveling every day, I recommend driving 300-500 km per day. That means that you need at least 50 days to cover the entire N1 Highway, but of course, there are places where you want to stay a little longer, go into nature or just explore the outback.
How much does it cost to drive around Australia?
It is difficult to give an exact number because it completely depends on your situation. For example, fuel prices in Perth were around AU$1.26/L in 2020 and AU$1.91/L in 2022. Prices for fruits, vegetables, and other necessities also increased dramatically as a result of covid-19.
The cost of your trip depends also on many factors like the length of your trip, the activities you plan to do, and where you like to stay. It is a good idea to make a list of activities and places you want to see or do and make an estimated cost of these things.
The first year I mainly stayed in caravan parks and did some amazing experiences such as a killer whale tour in Bremer Bay and snorkeling with Manta Rays in Coral Bay which increased the budget.
Although I saved during year two by staying at free campgrounds and bush camps in national parks, More money went to fuel and excursions like a day trip to Rottnest Island and a helicopter ride over Uluru.
The average daily budget for my road trip around Australia was in 2020, AU$ 72 / € 47 per person, while in 2021, I spent an average of AU$ 78 / € 50 per person per day
Best Time to make a road trip around Australia?
Any time of the year is a good time to make a road trip around Australia but it depends on where you want to start your trip.
Assuming that you don’t want to travel in the cyclone season visit the northern part of WA, Northern Territory and North Queensland between April and September as these are the best months to travel in that region and wintertime in the south.
October to March is the best time to visit the southern regions such as South WA, South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria. During this period, you’ll have the chance to get affected by thunderstorms and extremely hot and humid weather in the north,
Where do you stay?
Camping is very popular in the country and it’s absolutely loved by the locals. All over Australia, there are beach showers, bush camps, caravan parks, hostels, and resorts, so there is something for every type of traveler and every budget.
However, I traveled around Australia in my converted Toyota Landcruiser and camped mostly on a remote bush camp or a caravan park when I needed a shower or other facilities.
Most backpackers, who travel by bus or public transport stay in hostels to meet other people, while families with kids travel with a caravan or mobile home and opt for caravan parks with a pool and facilities for the kids.
What can you expect from The Big Lap?
Expect a lot of driving in Australia as distances are long. However, if you wanna see the beautiful beaches in Western Australia, the stunning landscapes in the Northern Territory, the tropical rainforests in Queensland, or admire the charming waterfalls in Victoria, it’s all worth it.
A piece of good advice is to take your time, prepare yourself and enjoy every day of your trip. You will face unexpected challenges such as a breakdown, a flat tyre, closed roads, bushfires, or even a global pandemic but those are the things that will make your trip unique.
Due to covid, I got stuck in Victoria for almost 3 months, and while in New South Wales, major floods forced me to leave the state.
- Buy a jerrycan for extra fuel, the Toyota contained 2 fuel tanks (90L + 65L) so I could cover almost 1000km each trip.
- Have at least 4 liters of water per person per day, I had 20L of water extra on every trip.
- Take a pocket knife with you. My swiss knife was never used so much before.
- Make sure you have a car jumpstarter and a tire replacement kit.
- A solar panel is essential when you plan to stay on campsites without electricity
- Music! Make playlists before heading on the road
- Mosquito repellent and flynets
- A beach umbrella is necessary since most beaches have no shady spots
Converting my Toyota Prado 2001
Before the journey could start, I searched for a reliable car and ended up buying a 2001 Toyota Landcruiser Prado with 260.000km on the clock. After registering and insuring the car, I made some adjustments that would make the trip easier and more comfortable.
I built a bed in the back with underneath pull-out drawers and a ‘kitchen’, installed a roof rack with storage boxes on the top, and bought a refrigerator, solar panels, camping gear, and everything else I’d need for a year of traveling around Australia.
Later on in Queensland in 2021, I purchased more stuff that was necessary for this journey such as a side and back awning to have shade and shelter from the rain. flynets for the windows, a larger water tank, snorkel gear, and a rubbish bag to hang at the back of the car.
In March 2020, Covid-19 made traveling difficult and the thought of leaving Australia came to my mind. I had just lost a beloved uncle and if I left Australia, I would be ineligible to apply for another working holiday visa in the future as I had reached the age limit for Belgian citizens, which is 31.
I had to decide whether to pursue my dreams or return home to support family and friends during these difficult times. Although it was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to consider, I decided to stay and complete the Big Lap of Australia.
The Big Lap in numbers
START: January 2020 in Perth, WA
END: January 2022 in Perth, WA
DAYS TRAVELED: 728 days
DISTANCE COVERED: 71.563km
FUEL COST: AU$ 11.886
STATES VISITED: 7
FLAT TYRES: 5
BROKEN WINDSCREENS: 3
VEHICLE SERVICES: 5
NATIONAL PARKS VISITED: 49
January 2020 – September 2020
Western Australia is the largest state of the country and the place where I spend about 9 months. A test drive from Perth to Esperance with the most beautiful beaches in Cape Le Grand, wildlife encounters in Bremer Bay, and the lovely wines in Margaret River was just the start of this adventure.
However, the major wildfires in 2020, the most disastrous in all history, have caused a lot of damage and made it difficult to visit some places. The moment the country had the fires under control, Covid-19 appeared and stopped the whole world from traveling.
Australia stopped letting anyone in or out and also closed the national borders. This caused many farmers and businesses to need staff so working on a farm was the best option for me until the domestic borders reopened.
For 4 months, I drove tractors, shifted sheep, and fixed fences on the farm but as soon as the restrictions of the regional borders were lifted the adventure continued along the spectacular Coral Coast into the wilderness of the North of Western Australia.
The Southern Edge – From Perth to Esperance
Distance covered from Perth to Esperance: 4143 km
Although you can make this trip in two directions, I drove from Perth to Esperance to the mining town of Kalgoorlie in the outback and returned along the beautiful beaches of Albany and wine regions in Margaret River.
Wave Rock is the first destination, and it’s well worth the trip to the small town of Hyden just to see this one-of-a-kind rock formation and take some hilarious photos.
When you visit this region during a new moon, you might experience a sky full of stars in the outback before heading to Kalgoorlie, where you can find the Super Pit, one of the largest goldmines in Australia.
Probably one of the most famous and beautiful places on this journey is Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park where the kangaroos are pretty used to humans and you can make some awesome pictures with them.
Esperance has also some of the most prestige beaches in the world such as Twilight Beach and 9 Mile Beach. However, a short drive from Esperance and a spot that most travelers skip is the pristine Duke of Orleans Bay where you will find Wharton Beach. This is for sure the most glamorous beach you’ll ever see!
On the way from Esperance to Margaret River are many amazing places to stop such as Fitzgerald National Park and Bremer Bay, which is the place where you can join a whale watch expedition and observe killer whale pods in their natural habitat.
It is an awesome experience as you will see dolphins jumping next to the boat, killer whales passing by, and seals relaxing on the rocks.
Another amazing stop is the whaling town of Albany that’s home to the most beautiful beach in Australia, Salmon Bay. In addition, the nearby Porongurup National Park, Williams Bay National Park, and Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve are among the best national parks in the country and ideal destinations for nature lovers,
A quick stop in Walpole will take you through the highest treetops in the Valley of the Giants, while the best waves for surfing and vineyards are located in the Margaret River Region.
Although I witnessed bushfires in Walpole and in Stirling Ranges National Park, this trip was certainly a highlight of the entire Big Lap around Australia and in my opinion one of the most beautiful road trips you can make in the whole country.
Although I was completely prepared to discover more places and stoked to continue to the north, Covid-19 forced everyone to stop traveling. Luckily, I was able to work for a farmer who lived a few hours driving from Perth and stay safe during the pandemic.
I looked after the sheep on his farm, maintained the machinery, and drove the tractors across the fields during the seeding season but as soon as the border reopened, it was time to continue the journey.
The Coral Coast – From Perth to Broome
Distance covered from Perth to Broome: 4927 km
Once the work on the farm was finished and the borders reopened, I drove back to Perth to stock up on groceries and get the car ready for the next trip of this Big Lap, Australia’s pristine Corals Coast, and the wild Kimberleys.
The first part was the beautiful Coral Coast where I spotted koalas for the first time in Yanchep National Park, admired the pink lake of Hutt Lagoon, and soaked in the stunning views from the Kalbarri Skywalk.
Francois Peron National Park was the next epic place on this trip with its beautiful turquoise lagoons and sandy roads, this location is perfect for some 4×4 adventures.
Just outside Francois Peron National Park, you can find Monkey Mia, where dolphins swim close to the shore in their natural habitat so they are very easy to spot and even swim with. It’s a truly unique experience, and I’m sure you’ll want to stay longer because it has one of Australia’s best campsites.
However, the next stop was also breathtaking as Coral Bay is known as one of the best spots for snorkeling and its peaceful vibe, which is one of the reasons many locals come here to enjoy the winter sun in Australia.
After nearly two weeks on the road, I made it to the town of Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef, two places that can’t be missed on this journey and I instantly fell in love with the beauty that prevails here.
You can hop on a boat and join a Humpback whale-watching tour, go snorkeling in the clearest waters, swim with whale sharks, or just camp out in the dunes of the Ningaloo Reef, all incredible experiences that make this trip unforgettable.
I stayed in Exmouth for about five days before making the long journey across the Pilbara region’s outback to Karijini National Park, one of the most inaccessible and, in my opinion, most beautiful national parks in Australia.
With fantastic walking trails, dazzling gorges, epic waterfalls, and rugged landscapes this national park should be on your itinerary if you plan to visit Western Australia.
My favorite hike was the Hancock gorge trail where you walk through the water, climb over the rocks, and end at the breathtaking Kermit Pool.
READ ALSO: 4 awesome Days In Karijini National Park
A month of driving through Australia’s most breathtaking landscapes passed by and I finally made it to Broome, where you can witness the Staircase of the Moon, enjoy epic sunsets on Cable beach, discover dinosaur footprints at Ganteaume Point, and soak in the wonderful vibes.
Broome is a super relaxed beach town in the north where many Aussies spent their vacation and expect to pay more for a campsite as prices are much higher here. It was the most expensive campsite I’ve stayed at during the whole trip and ended up paying AU$ 60-65 per night.
After 2 weeks of enjoying the beaches, strolling through the markets, and chilling at the pool it was time to continue this epic journey and discover more awesome places. It’s amazing when you are not tied to a fixed schedule and you have time to stay a little longer in one place
READ ALSO: 19 Best Things To Do In Broome
The Kimberleys – From Broome to Kununurra
Distance covered from Perth to Esperance: 2490 km
The Dampier Peninsula and the Kimberleys were the next destinations which are also considered to be Australia’s most remote and rugged region.
A sandy road brings you all the way to one of my favorite spots where you can camp and watch the sunset on the cliffs, James Price Point. What makes this coastline so beautiful is the contrast of the green bush, the red sandy roads, and the turquoise ocean.
When you drive to the most northern point of the Dampier Peninsula, Cape Leveque, you can explore Kooljaman, a piece of pristine land that is still managed and run by the aboriginal community.
Unwind at the beaches or snorkeling in gorgeous waters are some of the best things to do on the East side while the beautiful rock formations and sunsets are on the West side.
Deeper into the wild north you will come across the famous Gibb River Road, a 600 km heavily corrugated dirt road with river crossings, a few fuel stations, and unspoiled nature. The ultimate off-road adventure.
However, due to the pandemic, this road was closed to protect the aboriginals who live in this area, so I had to make a detour along the Great Northern Highway.
If you take the highway, you’ll save a few days of driving, but you’ll skip some breathtaking locations like the Bell Gorge and Mitchel Falls.
Of course, this was unfortunate, but I could still visit the Windjana Gorge where crocodiles can be spotted on the banks of the creek and the highway is near the entrance of Purnululu National Park, where you can find the rare and unique rock formations of the Bungle Bungles but also the beautiful Echidna Chasm and the Cathedral Rock.
During my last few days in this state, I stayed at Lake Argyle in Kununurra, which is the perfect place to relax after a few days in the Kimberleys. When you stay at the caravan park, you can enjoy boat tours on the lake and admire the breathtaking sunsets from the overlooking pool.
Many places in the Kimberley region were not accessible and as the national border restrictions were just lifted, I decided to continue to the next state, The Northern Territory.
This is one of the most unspoiled regions of Australia with many sacred places by the aboriginals, untouched nature that will leave you in awe, and one of the most famous landmarks of the country, Uluru.
Seeing Uluru with my own eyes was at the top of my bucket list, and the moment I saw it, I could feel the enchanting glow that surrounded the massive rock.
The Top End
Distance covered from Kununurra to Darwin: 2587 km
Kununurra to Darwin is an awesome part of the journey with many stops along the way. There are hot springs in Katherine where you can relax while the waterfalls of Litchfield National Park are very refreshing.
On the way to Darwin is Kakadu National Park, which is a place that can’t be missed as it is one of the largest national parks in the country. You can do a crocodile boat tour on the Adelaide river, explore rockpools and waterfalls at Magluk, encounter wild crocodiles at the Cahills Crossing or watch the sunset from the Nawurlandja Lookout in Kakadu National Park.
A visit to Jim Jim Falls, which is with a drop of 200 meters one of the most spectacular waterfalls in this region, is also unique as you can drive a rough road for 50km and scramble over the rocks to get there or fly over it with a helicopter to admire this beautiful one from a different perspective.
READ ALSO: The 10 Best Things to Do in Darwin
I spent a week traveling around the Top End of the Northern Territory and stopped in Darwin for a few days to get the car serviced. Besides new engine oil and a general check, the windscreen had to be replaced. A rock smashed the windscreen and cracked it completely through the middle, so there are drawbacks to driving on dirt and gravel roads.
This was the perfect moment to visit some beautiful areas, such as the Mindil Beach Market and the city’s street art.
However, September marks also the beginning of the wet season, and it became extremely humid and hot, making it difficult to explore different places. After getting the car fixed, I drove to the geographical center of Australia, also known as “The Red Center.”
From Darwin to Uluru
Distance covered from Darwin to Uluru: 2759 km
About 2000km from Darwin, you’ll find the sacred ‘Ayers Rock’ or ‘Uluru’ and on this thrilling journey are a few places that are definitely worth visiting such as the Bitter Springs and Devils Marbles, one of the most beautiful bushcamps in a National Reserve where you can camp for only AU$6.
The only place to stock up on groceries is Alice Springs, so make sure you do this before heading to the hidden rock pools in the West MacDonnell Ranges and exploring the breathtaking hiking trails of the Kings Canyon. After an exciting walk of 6km on the rim of the Kings Canyon, I continued the drive to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Although Uluru is one of the most visited places in Australia and a sacred place for Aboriginals, I had only seen Uluru on National Geographic and couldn’t imagine ever standing in the middle of Australia to admire it.
When I finally saw the rock with my own eyes, I was so happy I could cry.
For about 5 days I wandered around the national park to discover every viewpoint and walking trail before continuing through the outback to Queensland, the next state on the Big Lap.
October 2020 – March 2021
The second-largest state in Australia is Queensland, where you can easily spend months because this is undoubtedly the most picturesque road trip along Australia’s East Coast that you can take.
Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, hiking through the lush tropical Daintree National Park, sailing around the idyllic Whitsunday Islands, or driving through the rugged landscapes of Fraser Island are just a few of the many amazing experiences this state has to offer.
I spent a few days in Far North Queensland and the Tablelands with a friend before traveling to the South where I found a new challenge in a remote outback hotel.
Far North Queensland
Distance covered: 4745 km
After a trip of 2900km through the outback, I finally made it to Townsville where I met a friend and continued together on a journey to Far North Queensland.
Here you can find Daintree National Park, which David Attenborough describes as the most extraordinary place on the planet as it’s the only place on the earth where two Unesco World Heritage sites, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, meet.
You can either choose to drive along the Captain Cook Highway or through the Atherton Tablelands where many stunning waterfalls can be found. Some of the most beautiful ones are Millaa Millaa Falls, Nandroya Falls, and Ellinjaa Falls which I obviously visited.
A short ferry ride takes you across the Daintree River to get to the Daintree National Park which is known for its lush green rainforests, stunning beaches, and diverse flora and fauna. This place is definitely worth a visit and the crocodile tour on the Daintree River is also a fantastic experience.
From Cairns to Brisbane
Distance covered: 3856 km
I took the Captain Cook Hwy to travel back south where you can dip into the refreshing Babinda Boulders or skydive at Mission Beach and on the way to Townsville turn into the Girringun National Park from Ingham where the highest waterfall in Australia can be found, The Wallaman Falls.
There are also plenty of islands to explore along the East Coast and the first one I went to was Magnetic Island where you can spot koalas in the wild, climb up the impressive Hawkings Point Lookout or explore some fabulous beaches.
The next few days were full of amazing bucket list experiences and these were the activities I had been looking forward to from the start of this adventure, a three-day sailing trip along the Whitsundays and a scenic flight over Heart Reef.
You will be in awe of the purest white sand at the Hill Inlet, enjoy secluded beaches with the clearest waters, and admire stunning sunsets while sailing the Whitsundays. This trip is definitely unforgettable as I met so many people and had a fun time aboard the Horizon.
However, The views of the Great Barrier Reef from the window of the scenic flight were also unbelievable! Witnessing the largest coral reef in the world from above is a unique experience that can’t be missed on your trip as it feels like you are in a National Geographic scene.
If you’re planning to visit Queensland, don’t skip these places as they are too beautiful to describe in words.
One of the most underrated places and a town I really liked was Yeppoon, which is a super relaxed beach town where you have the most incredible public swimming pool. Most beaches along the East Coast are not suitable for swimming due to sharks, jellyfish, and in the north even crocodiles.
From Yeppoon, you can also visit the Keppel Islands, and after a day of exploring and snorkeling around these islands, I can say it was a blast! The beaches are so pristine that it feels like you are in the Maldives or some other exotic destination.
I made also a stop in Bundaberg as the city is famous for its rum distillery and where you can join a guided tour with even a tasting. While you are in Bundaberg, visit also Mon Repos beach, which is known for the turtles that lay their eggs here.
The next once-in-a-lifetime experience on this trip was a 4×4 adventure on the world’s largest sand island, Fraser Island. The Island is so fascinating and diverse that you should not miss it on the trip to Brisbane.
This is the ultimate adventure for outdoor lovers and it was an experience I wanted to do for so long. I drove through the untouched dense jungle, and even past a shipwreck on the beach before arriving at its stunning Champagne Pools.
After Fraser Island, I drove along the unspoiled beaches and through the nature of the Great Sandy National Park all the way to the laid-back town of Noosa, a surfers’ paradise.
If you are not into surfing you can go for a walk in Noosa National Park and stroll along the many stalls at the Eumundi Markets.
South East Queensland and the Scenic Rim
Distance covered: 2211 km
There is so much to see and do in South East Queensland, which includes the areas around Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, and the hinterland, that I decided to stay here for was while.
And happy I did so, as the beautiful nature in the Glasshouse Mountains, the many waterfalls in Springbrook National Park, but also the panoramic views from the Q1 Tower were incredible!
Brisbane is a lovely city to explore, whether you want to admire the skyline from Mount Cootha, stroll along the markets or walk through the city at night, there is something for everyone.
But what I personally loved the most was the beautiful nature and the most pristine waterfalls of the Scenic Rim, A region near the border of New South Wales. When you have the chance, visit Warwick and Alora to discover the beautiful sunflower fields during the season.
New South Wales
In Queensland, many life-changing things happened. The trip exceeded the one-year milestone, my visa was miraculously extended by another year, for the first time in my life I went on a solo trip, and I met Nao who joined me for the remaining part of this Big Lap around Australia.
Exploring new places such as the hippy vibe of Byron Bay, the vibrant city of Sydney, and the epic views from the Blue Mountains in New South Wales were just the start of this chapter.
READ ALSO: The Best NSW Road trip itinerary in 2 weeks
Byron Bay to Syndey
Distance covered: 1665 km
A lot of travelers and locals were hanging around on the weekly market or watching the sunsets from the lighthouse in Byron Bay, while the stunning waterfalls along the hiking trails in Dorrigo National Park are definitely worth visiting too.
Despite the terrible weather I tried to explore as much as possible such as the Koala Hospital and Bago Winery in Port Macquarie which were fun activities on these rainy days. When you are here on a sunny day make sure you visit Nobby Beach and Shelly Beach as these are some of the best beaches in the state.
Even though it kept raining, I drove into the mountains on the way to Sydney as the stunning Ellenborough Falls is hidden somewhere here. A short walk and 275 steps down brings you to the highest single-drop waterfall in New South Wales.
The trip continued to the famous Blue Mountains National Park which you have to visit when you plan to travel to New South Wales. The unique shape of the Three Sisters is one of the main sights in the National Park but there are also many challenging hikes, beautiful lookouts, and stunning waterfalls.
After two days, I was completely soaked and annoyed by the ongoing rainstorms, which made the entire camping experience in the Blue Mountains less fun. Luckily, Sydney was only a two-hour drive, so the decision to spend the night in a hotel with a hot shower was made pretty fast.
Watching the sunset at the most iconic building in the world, the Sydney Harbor House, and strolling through the beautifully decorated Grounds of Alexandria made up for the less fun camping experience.
However, It’s still a dream to see the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney, so I guess I have to come back someday.
Sydney to Victoria
Distance covered: 1179 km
The severe storms and flooding in the state forced me to leave earlier than planned, so I continued the journey to Victoria.
Luckily the breathtaking coastline between Sydney and Kiama had some great spots to stop such as the Royal National Park, the Sea Cliff Bridge, and the blowholes in Kiama.
On a drizzling day, it was perfect to explore the enchanting waterfalls in their full glory in Budderoo National Park until the fog rolled in at the Fitzroy Falls and I couldn’t see anything anymore.
Even though the fog rolled in, this place was very charming as people were selling local products on their driveways, like honey, eggs, and avocados.
One of the funniest memories I have here is at a bush camp on the way to Victoria where I tried to keep my campfire burning with a pillow on my head while it was pouring down. Hopefully, these photos will never go viral.
March 2021 – July 2021
Hopeful and with many exciting expectations, I crossed the border into Victoria, which has some beautiful places that should not be missed when visiting this part of the country.
Melbourne is an exciting city full of amazing sights and experiences, from vintage shops and art galleries to vineyards and lush green forests just outside the city.
I lived in this city for almost 3 months during a lockdown and if you want to escape from the vibrant city or have an outdoor adventure, you can visit Mount Buffalo National Park, Grampians National Park, or drive along the most iconic route in the world, the Great Ocean Road.
Once the heavy rains and floods in NSW had passed, I made even a weekend trip from Melbourne to Canberra, which is located in the Australian Capital Territory and encircled by New South Wales.
READ ALSO: The best 5-day itinerary for Melbourne
Distance covered: 2180 km
Soon after I arrived in Victoria, the state went into a domestic lockdown and I was even forced to stay in a hotel for 6 weeks as campsites and caravan parks were not allowed to accept travelers.
A pity, but this was the perfect moment to discover some of the best spots in the city such as views from the Eureka Skytower, the amazing markets, all the vibrant neighborhoods, and the colorful cabins on Brighton Beach.
As the restrictions eased, I went exploring the vineyards of Yarra and the awesome waterfalls in the rural areas of Victoria.
Wandering through the National Arboretum in Canberra, exploring the beaches of Philip Island, and having dinner on the cliffs of the Mornington Peninsula, were some of the amazing moments during the weekend trips I made from Melbourne.
READ ALSO: 13 best things to do in Canberra: city guide
Great Ocean Road, the Grampians, and the outback of Victoria
Distance covered: 1299 km
The Great Ocean Road and its Twelve Apostles, like Uluru, are among the most iconic landmarks in Australia and were also on top of my bucket list. This scenic route begins in Torquay with breathtaking views, followed by magnificent waterfalls in the Great Otway National Park and stunning panoramic views from the lookouts along the Great Ocean Road.
At the end of the Great Ocean Road in Warrnambool, humpback whales were breaching from the water as I passed, What an unforgettable moment!
Unfortunately, the borders to South Australia were still closed, so I decided to drive into the rural areas of Victoria towards the Grampians National Park.
READ ALSO: The Great Ocean Road: 9 amazing viewpoints
The Grampians National Park is one of my favorite parks in Australia. What makes this park so beautiful are the dramatic views, the waterfalls in their full glory, and the adventurous hiking trails.
Although the weather was foggy and rainy, that didn’t stop me from finding some nice spots in the national park until the battery of my car died. A friendly backpacker drove 13km to the town to get another battery and even a jump starter kit for me.
When I wanted to thank him and pay him, he said ‘it’s a gift, because I believe in good karma’. Since that day, I have been following his mindset
Exploring the Mckenzie falls, walking on the edge of the Balconies, and admiring the view from the Boorka lookout are some of the wonderful places I went to once the car was repaired, but what I really enjoyed the most was the walk to the top of the Hollow Mountain because the sunsets are really breathtaking.
If you stay at one of the camping in the park, such as the Stapylton Campground, you can even admire the most spectacular Milky Way on a clear day.
525 days on the road and finally I could explore the last state from mainland Australia that I hadn’t visited yet.
When you search for South Australia on Instagram you likely will find awesome photos of a coastline that looks straight out of a Jurassic Park movie, people driving on the longest straight road in the world, and the stunning landscapes of the Flinders Ranges.
Is that not enough to convince you and explore this place?
The Limestone Coast
Distance covered: 817 km
Mount Gambier is the most well-known location just across the border in South Australia, where you can find the Umpherstone sinkhole and immerse yourself in an Alice in Wonderland setting or feed the possums that roam around the place.
During my stay in Mount Gambier, many parks and squares in the city were beautifully illuminated and decorated, making it even more appealing to wander around. However, the nonstop downpour forced me to leave this area much sooner than I had intended
I drove further towards Adelaide and passed Little Blue Lake, the Robe Obelisk, and the German village of Hahndorf, which are very interesting places along the way and definitely worth stopping. In Hahndorf, you can even try some of the best hotdogs in the world.
Adelaide to Uluru
Distance covered: 1878 km
Adelaide is an amazing place, and after spending a few days here, it’s clear why it’s the most liveable city in Australia. The city is surrounded by world-famous vineyards, has plenty of parks to relax in the middle of the center, and wonderful beaches to enjoy on sunny days.
Although it was cold and rainy during my visit, I was able to visit a winter event in Glenelg, discover shipwrecks at Garden Island, admire the pink lake of Bumbunga, and stargaze at the Alligator Gorge.
For those who like to taste some great wines, the prestigious winery of Penfolds is only a 15-minute drive from the center, or learn more about the 65 wine regions of Australia at the National Wine Museum.
READ ALSO: 16 Amazing Things to do in Adelaide
To finally complete the Big Lap around Australia, the plan was to explore the Eyre Peninsula before returning to Perth on the Nullarbor, the longest straight road in the world.
Unfortunately, this was impossible because the borders between these two states were still closed.
One of the options I had was to drive to the north and enter Western Australia through the border of the Northern Territory, or stay in this state and wait for the borders to reopen after the pandemic. Without knowing when it could possibly reopen.
Well, a pretty easy decision as the weather was awful, I was really in need of an adventure, and this was a challenging journey that takes you over 3000km straight through the heart of Australia and the opal town of Coober Pedy, where many Hollywood movies such Mad Max and Star Wars were filmed.
This was certainly not a picnic!
READ ALSO: 9 Awesome Things To Do In Coober Pedy
The Northern Territory
No matter how often you visit this state, traveling through the Northern Territory is always challenging because of the rugged landscapes, long distances, and remote locations of most landmarks.
As it was my second time in this state, I decided to explore some new places like the rockpools in the East Macdonnell Ranges, the interesting hamlet of Daily Waters, and the gorges of Katherine before finally crossing the border into WA. Obviously, I couldn’t resist visiting Uluru again.
The Red Centre – Uluru to Darwin
Distance covered: 3727 km
I had made it through the first stretch to the north and reached the border between SA and NT. If you had told me five years ago that I would be standing in the middle of Australia twice in the same year, I would have told you that you are insane.
But… for the 2nd time in the same year, I could admire Uluru’s beauty and feel its enchanting aura again during a helicopter flight over the inspiring rock. The art show Field of Light, which was able to take place this time, made the visit even more spectacular.
As I had seen already many places in the Red Center, I decided to explore East Macdonnell Ranges this time. a less visited but very unique place! where I camped at the stunning campground of John Hayes.
The trip continued to the North, and there was no way I could miss another night at the most awesome bush camp at Devil’s Marbles.
A stop in the hamlet of Daily waters is a different experience as it feels like you go back in time. Order a beer in the famous Daily waters pub, which is known for the people’s underwear hanging from the ceiling because they couldn’t pay their bills.
August 2021 – June 2022
The border restrictions between WA and NT were lifted and with tears in my eyes, I drove back into the state where this entire adventure started.
Although I had already seen a lot on this trip, this time, more locations in the Kimberley and Dampier Peninsula region were accessible for travelers, which made it exciting to explore this area once more.
The whole covid-19 story got worse and worse and the cases in the state increased drastically so the premier of WA decided to close the borders again and made the vaccinations even mandatory.
Fortunately, I was back in the largest state of the country where It was fairly easy to move around and where I worked at a local supermarket of an aboriginal community for 5 months.
The Kimberleys and Broome
Distance covered: 3901 km
Time flies when you’re having fun, and before you know it, you’ve been traveling for over a year and a half, soaking up the sights and sounds of every corner of the country.
Suddenly, I was back in the Kimberley region, where some of the best and must-see landmarks were now open to travelers.
Some of the most unforgettable experiences I did was exploring the Zebedee hot springs in El Questro, swimming in the Emma Gorge’s rock pools, camping along the Pentecoste River, and driving through the water at the Ivanhoe crossing.
After visiting almost every spot, I headed back to Broome along the Great Northern Highway as The Gibb River Road was still closed. The good news was that Aboriginal-owned Pender Bay and the extraordinary Coconut Wells were accessible this time.
I stayed in Broome for a few weeks to figure out what to do because the pandemic restrictions changed almost weekly and I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere else.
Distance covered: 7859 km
Completely recharged and full of energy it was time for a new challenge, a supermarket located in the outback of Western Australia 800km from Perth needed support during the pandemic and due to the new restrictions, employers were hard to find.
The supermarket was located in Meekatharra, an indigenous community, which was considered an essential business, and as a result, I was eligible to apply for a new visa to stay for another year. This was the best news of the year!
This was just amazing as I had passed the age limit and never thought I could stay in Australia for so long.
I had a very nice time at the supermarket in Meeketharra where I met awesome people, celebrate Christmas, and even helped in the local hotel during the pandemic.
However, in January 2022 it was time to take off on a new journey and head towards the city I am trying to reach for almost 2 years.
READ ALSO: 18 Best Things To Do in Exmouth
When you’ve been living in a remote area for a while, the only thing you are looking forward to is a white sandy beach and an ice-cold beer while watching the sunset. I drove from Meekatharra straight to Exmouth and enjoyed a few days camping at the Ningaloo Reef before making my way down to Perth.
I already had seen a lot of places on this part of the trip but they are just so pristine and breathtaking that it was really worth visiting most places again. The only thing that was different now, is that it was the middle of summer and temperatures rose to 48 degrees in Exmouth and Coral Bay.
Luckily these are the places with the most stunning beaches and are perfect for snorkeling, which was also my daily activity.
Heading south, there are a few more stops that are definitely worth visiting such as the Pinnacles and the Lancelin Sanddunes.
And then on January 21, just before Australian day, Nao and I arrived back in Perth after 728 days across Australia.
READ ALSO: 10 amazing day trips from Perth
Perth to Esperance
Distance covered: 3606 km
Even though the pandemic prevented me from exploring some amazing places like Tasmania and parts of South Australia, I had arrived back in Perth where this adventure had begun two years ago. That was my ultimate goal.
Since Nao hadn’t yet visited the region around Perth and our visas were still valid, we decided to take the Perth to Esperance road trip again but in the opposite direction since we didn’t want to leave the country yet
Starting with a day trip to Rottnest Island, where quokkas can be seen in the wild, we continued on to the massive Wellington dam, the famous vineyards and caves of Margaret River, and finally the breathtaking beaches of Esperance.
In June 2022 my visa and passport were about to expire so we decided to travel abroad, visit my family in Belgium and Nao’s Family in Japan.
However, I had to say goodbye to the most reliable friend who had traveled 70.000km across the country with me, My Toyota Landcruiser.
The Big Lap
Distance covered: 71.563 km
This was undoubtedly one of the greatest adventures of my life with many surprising events, breathtaking moments, and incredibly beautiful memories.
It left such an impression on me that, when I look through the photos of Australia, it feels as if I’m reliving the entire trip all over again.
I hope you had as much fun reading this article and you find some useful or related information for your big adventure
Save this pin for later
Read More Articles about Australia
Plan your Road trip around Australia with my favorite travel apps
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
- Skyscanner – Flight deals
- Booking.com – Hotels and accommodation
- TourRadar – Group trips
- TripAdvisor – Reviews and activities
- HostelWorld – Hostels
- GetYourGuide – Activities and excursions
- RentalCars – Car rental
- Omio – Transport
- iVisa – Travel documents
- Wise – Money transfer
- InsuredNomads – Travel Insurance
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.