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Big Lap Itinerary - Ultimate Guide to Driving Around Australia

The Big Lap Itinerary – Your Ultimate Guide to the Top Must-See Places in Driving Around Australia

by Chrissie Caballero

Are you planning to take the Big Lap around Australia? In this blog, we’re giving you the Big Lap Itinerary – A List of the Top Places You Must See When Driving Around the Country.

This is the ultimate guide for your unforgettable journey that takes you on an incredible adventure around Australia. From the east coast to the west, the Big Lap of Australia is a route of exploration and discovery.

The Big Lap Itinerary - Your ultimate guide to driving around AustraliaWith so many different routes to take, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. Whether you’re travelling clockwise, counterclockwise, or even making a figure of eight, we’ll be providing you with The Big Lap Itinerary to use as your Ultimate Guide in visiting the top must-see places to visit on this ultimate adventure of your life!

Big Lap Routes

From our most recent poll, the most popular route for Big Lap travellers is the clockwise route, but keep in mind that you’ll need to take into account where you’re starting from, the temperature you’re comfortable travelling in, and the budget and time you have available. 

Whatever route you take, travelling the big lap will let you experience a variety of climates and landscapes, from the tropical rainforests of the north to the arid deserts of the south.

Popular starting points for the big lap itinerary include Darwin and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory; Broome and Perth in WA; Cairns in Queensland; and Sydney in New South Wales.


Big Lap Itinerary – Top Must-See Places in Driving Around Australia

Top End, Northern Territory

For a straightforward big lap itinerary, start your journey at the Top End of the Northern Territory. Explore the tropical rainforests, wetlands, and rivers of this part of Australia. Visit the Katherine region and Kakadu National Park for some of the best wildlife viewing in the country. Spend the night camping in the park and enjoy a peaceful evening under the stars.


Katherine Region

Katherine, in Australia’s Northern Territory, is a region that is full of natural wonders and cultural attractions. From ancient Aboriginal rock art sites to lush national parks, there is something for everyone to enjoy. One of the must-see places in the Katherine Region is Nitmiluk National Park. Home to the spectacular Katherine Gorge, a series of 13 sandstone gorges that are perfect for swimming, canoeing, and exploring. The park also offers a range of bushwalking trails and camping sites, making it a great spot for a weekend getaway. The stunning Leliyn (Edith Falls) waterfall is also one of the region’s most popular attractions

Katherine is also home to a unique culture and history. It is the traditional home of the Jawoyn people, who have lived in the area for thousands of years. Visitors can learn about the Jawoyn culture at the Jawoyn Association, which offers guided tours, cultural activities, and educational tours.

If you’re seeking a more relaxing experience, swim in the natural thermal pools of Mataranka and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, or soak in the therapeutic waters of Katherine Hot Springs and admire the gorgeous views.


Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park is a stunning natural wonder located in the Northern Territory of Australia. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including some of the most iconic and unique species in the world. It is also a place of immense cultural significance, with a history that dates back over 50,000 years.

 

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Now overtaken by Munga-Thirri–Simpson Desert National Park as Australia’s Largest National Park,  Kakadu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to a diverse range of ecosystems, including wetlands, woodlands, and savannahs. The park is well known for its spectacular scenery and its abundance of wildlife.

Make sure to take a dip in the crystalclear water of Maguk and admire the stunning rock formations of Barramundi Gorge.


Red Centre

Head to the Red Centre for a day of exploring. Visit the iconic Uluru and take in the amazing views of the surrounding area. Take a guided tour of Kata Tjuta and explore the ancient rock formations.

Related Read – Your Ultimate Guide To The Red Centre Way  


Cape York

Continue your journey to Cape York, the northernmost point of mainland Australia. Explore the rainforest and the stunning beaches of this remote region. Spend some time in Cooktown and visit the nearby Aboriginal communities.


Daintree Rainforest

Head over to the Daintree Rainforest and explore the unique flora and fauna of this ancient rainforest. Located on the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia, the Daintree Rainforest is estimated to be at least 135 million years old, and about 80 million years older than the Amazon – which makes it the oldest rainforest in the world. The Daintree is also one of Australia’s largest continuous sections of rainforest, spanning over 460 square miles. It is home to an incredible variety of plants and animals, including many endangered species. 


Cape Tribulation

Then, visit the nearby Cape Tribulation and take in the stunning views of the Great Barrier Reef. Visit the Great Barrier Reef to discover the vibrant marine life that makes this place a World Heritage Site. Take a snorkelling or diving tour and experience the amazing underwater world of the reef.

 

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The Whitsundays

Visit the Whitsundays and experience the region’s beautiful islands. Take a boat cruise to Whitehaven Beach and explore the paradise’s crystal clear waters and white sand beaches

 

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K’gari/Fraser Island

A World Heritage-listed wonderland, K’gari/Fraser Island is the world’s largest sandy island. Captivating you with its pristine beaches, diverse wildlife, and gorgeous landscapes, camping on this island will make you want more. You can also take a 4WD tour of the island and explore its stunning beaches and crystal-clear lakes. Check below to see the amazing places to see and activities to do on this island. 

 

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Blue Mountains

Explore the towering sandstone cliffs and lush rainforest of the Blue Mountains, another World Heritage Site, this time in New South Wales. This is also a stunning natural wonderland of lush valleys and eucalyptus forests. With over 1 million hectares of wilderness, the Blue Mountains offer an abundance of outdoor activities and attractions for visitors to explore. From bushwalking and rock climbing to mountain biking and abseiling, there is something for everyone.

 

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Snowy Mountains

The Snowy Mountains are renowned for their spectacular alpine scenery, with snow-capped peaks, glacial lakes, and lush valleys that offer a variety of activities and experiences for visitors.

 

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Located in the southeastern part of the state – the Snowy Mountains are part of the Great Dividing Range and are home to some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in all of Australia. The range’s highest peak is Mount Kosciuszko at 2,228 m (7,310 ft). It is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding, as well as for bushwalking, camping, and other outdoor activities during the warmer months


Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of the most iconic roads in Australia and is a must-see for any visitor to Victoria. Stretching 243 kilometres from Torquay to Allansford, the Great Ocean Road winds its way along the stunning coastline of Victoria, offering spectacular views of the ocean and the rugged cliffs and beaches that line the route. Along the way, visitors can take in some of the state’s most iconic landmarks.

Related ReadYour Ultimate Guide To Great Ocean Road

Twelve Apostles

If you ask a tourist if they know of any other well-known locations outside Uluru, odds are good that they will choose this next spot as their top choice—the Twelve Apostles, a group of limestone stacks rising from the sea that is truly a breathtaking sight to behold. As the sun sets, the stacks become silhouettes against a stunning backdrop of orange and pink skies.

These rocks produced millions of years ago were once part of the mainland and have been shaped by the relentless pounding of the Southern Ocean, creating an awe-inspiring landscape. During the day, the stacks are surrounded by the deep blue ocean and white-tipped waves. The Twelve Apostles, which lie on Victoria’s southwest coast, also known as the Shipwreck Coast is an iconic symbol of Australia’s rugged beauty and a must-visit destination for any traveller.

 

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Many shipwrecks can also be found in the vicinity, including the famed Loch Ard, a three-masted clipper ship that was destroyed in 1878 in what is now known as the Loch Ard Gorge.


The Grampians

Located in western Victoria, this magnificent mountain range provides a variety of sports and attractions. The Grampians National Park is popular for bushwalking, camping, rock climbing, and spotting native wildlife. It is also home to a number of Aboriginal rock art sites, which offer insight into the culture and history of Australia’s Indigenous people.

 

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Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park

Cradle Mountain – This stunning mountain range is the centrepiece of Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is home to a variety of wildlife, including wombats, wallabies, and platypi. 

 

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If you’re up for a challenge, take the Overland Track, a multi-day trek that typically takes five to six days to complete. It is suitable for all levels of fitness and experience and is best enjoyed with a guide or in a small group. Along the way, trekkers will encounter beautiful alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and stunning mountain views.


Freycinet National Park

Located on the east coast of Tasmania, Freycinet National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country and is renowned for its spectacular natural beauty. The park is home to several stunning beaches, including the renowned Wineglass Bay, as well as the Hazards mountain range, which is a popular spot for bushwalking and rock climbing.


Bay of Fires 

A stunning stretch of coastline which runs along a part of the East Coast of Tasmania; from Binalong Bay in the South to Eddystone Point in the North, the Bay of Fires is one of the most beautiful places in Tasmania. White sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and vibrant orange lichencovered rocks make it a great spot for swimming, fishing, and exploring.  

This exquisite scenery is a great backdrop for photography and a fantastic spot for its excellent surfing and kayaking opportunities! The Bay of Fires is also a great place to relax and unwind, with plenty of camping and accommodation options available. 


Barossa Valley

Coming back to the mainland, indulge your senses for a wine and food-tasting adventure in Barossa Valley. A renowned wine region in South Australia that is home to some of Australia’s most well-known and beloved wineries.  Visitors can also enjoy a range of activities in the valley, such as exploring the region’s many vineyards and wineries and indulging in the local cuisine. The Barossa Valley is the ideal location for foodies and wine enthusiasts alike, thanks to its abundance of fresh produce and diverse wine selection.

 

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*Get up to 10% off Unique Tours and Products in Barossa with your Livin’ Barry Membership – FREE for 12 months with each purchase of a Big Lap Bible

Get your Big Lap Bible here to plan your travels along with this Big Lap Itinerary

 


Flinders Ranges

The next stop is the Flinders Ranges- South Australia’s largest mountain range, located in the northeastern region and stretching for about 400 kilometres. It is composed of several distinct ranges, including the Wilpena Pound – a natural amphitheatre of hills and gorges, and the Gammon Ranges. Its spectacular geological features are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. 

The Flinders Ranges is also an important part of South Australia’s history and culture and has been declared a National Heritage Area. The area is home to some of the oldest and most significant Aboriginal sites in the country and is an important part of the country’s Indigenous heritage.

 

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Eyre Peninsula

Head next to the Eyre Peninsula and explore the stunning coastline and unique wildlife of this region.  The Eyre Peninsula is a large triangular-shaped area of land located on the south coast of the state. The region is also home to some of the most pristine beaches in Australia and is popular with surfers and beachgoers alike. The peninsula is also known for its excellent fishing, with many species of fish being found in the waters of the Spencer Gulf and the Great Australian Bight.

How would you feel about setting up camp at the very edge of the earth? Well, that is what it would appear to be like if you camped along the Bunda Cliffs, free camping sites located directly on the edge of the Great Australian Bight. Camping at Bunda Cliffs is a unique experience that is not to be missed. The area is incredibly peaceful and serene, and the views of the cliffs are breathtaking.


Nullarbor Plain

The Nullarbor Plain is a large, flat, almost treeless expanse of land located in the southeast of Australia. The name ‘Nullarbor’ comes from the Latin words for ‘no trees’, and the area is characterised by its lack of vegetation and its dry, arid climate.

The Nullarbor Plain is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including kangaroos, emus, dingoes, wedge-tailed eagles, and the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat. It is also home to several unique geological features, such as the Great Australian Bight, the Bunda Cliffs, and the Nullarbor Links golf course -the World’s Longest Golf Course.

 

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Make your way to Western Australia through the Eyre Highway – the longest straight road in Australia and the longest continuous sealed road in the world. 


Esperance

After seeing the vast arid desert of Nullarbor, head over to Esperance to quench your thirst for pristine coastal waters! Renowned for its white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and stunning coastal scenery, travellers may have a hard time picking just one favourite. So why not go to each one and find yourself enjoying swimming, surfing, fishing, boating, and other outdoor activities that are available?

The area also has a rich cultural heritage, with many historic buildings and sites to explore and is home to several national parks and reserves, including Cape Le Grand National Park, Cape Arid National Park, and Fitzgerald River National Park.


Margaret River

Make your way to the Margaret River and explore the stunning vineyards and wineries of this region.

Margaret River is a small town located in the southwest region of Western Australia and has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country thanks to its stunning coastline and lush vineyards that offer visitors a unique and unforgettable experience.

The town is home to over 200 wineries and breweries where visitors can sample some of the finest wines in the country, as well as craft beers and ciders. It truly is one of the most famous winery regions in Australia and produces some of the best wines in the world.

Get up to 20% OFF on Tours and Wine purchases in Margaret River with your Livin’ Barry Membership.

View Featured Discounts for your Big Lap at Livin’ Barry by Big Lap Bible


Francois Peron National Park

Explore the red dirt and the stunning natural oasis located in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area of Western Australia. Francois Peron National Park is a beautiful and remote park that is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including dugongs, dolphins, sea turtles, and an array of bird species.

The park is named after the French explorer Francois Peron, who explored the area in 1801. It is a vast area of over 200,000 hectares, with a wide range of landscapes from the rugged red cliffs of the Peron Peninsula to the white sandy beaches of the Shark Bay coastline. The park is also home to several freshwater and saltwater lagoons, as well as several small islands.

 

Ningaloo Coast

The Ningaloo Coast, located in Western Australia, is the perfect destination for travellers looking for an unforgettable beach experience. The Ningaloo Coast is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and diverse marine life, including whale sharks, manta rays, humpback whales, and sea turtles. Visitors can also explore the area’s stunning coral reefs, which are home to a variety of colourful fish, sea stars, and other marine creatures.

The Ningaloo Coast is also a great spot for snorkelling, diving, and swimming. The warm, crystal-clear waters are perfect for a day of exploration, and the nearby beaches provide plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, beachcombing, and other activities.

For those looking for a more adventurous experience, the Ningaloo Coast also offers a variety of land-based activities. Hikers can explore the area’s rugged terrain, while campers can enjoy a night under the stars at one of the many campsites.

Get up to 5% OFF on Adult Fares with Ningaloo Discovery with your Livin’ Barry Membership (FREE 12 months membership for every purchase of Big Lap Bible here


Karijini National Park

One of Australia’s oldest and largest parks, Karijini National Park is a stunningly beautiful and remote national park located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. 

It is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in Australia, with its rugged red rock gorges, spectacular waterfalls, and crystal-clear swimming holes. The park also contains an array of wildlife, including wild horses, dingoes, and over 100 species of birds.

Karijini National Park also provides visitors with a variety of activities, including swimming, fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, and four-wheel driving. There are also a variety of cultural places where you can learn about the Banyjima people – the traditional owners of the land.’

Whether you’re looking for adventure or a peaceful escape, Karijini National Park is the perfect destination with its stunning landscapes, rich wildlife, and diverse range of activities


Kimberley Region

The Kimberley Region of Western Australia is a place of spectacular natural beauty and unique cultural heritage. It is one of the most remote and untouched regions in the world, and its vast landscapes are home to a wide range of wildlife and plants. A visit to this region is an unforgettable experience, with its rugged coastline, towering red-rock gorges, and stunning waterfalls.

The Kimberley region is also home to several Aboriginal communities, and the area has a rich history of traditional Aboriginal culture. Visitors can learn about the area’s traditional stories and customs on guided tours or visit ancient rock art sites.


Bungle Bungles

Wrap up your Big Lap Travel at the Bungle Bungle Range, located in the Purnululu National Park in Western Australia, which is an awe-inspiring natural wonder. The range is made up of over 350 million-year-old beehive-shaped sandstone domes, which have been eroded over time by wind and water to form the unique landscape of the Bungle Bungle Range.

 

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It is a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming from all over the world to experience its beauty and unique features. There are several ways to explore the range, including guided walks, 4WD tours, and helicopter tours. Visitors can also take a scenic flight over the range to get a bird’s eye view of the majestic landscape.

*Bonus Spots – Islands You Must Absolutely Visit On Your Big Lap!

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is a small volcanic island located in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand. It is a part of New South Wales and is one of the most isolated places in the world and home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including the world’s rarest species of bird, the Lord Howe Island Woodhen.

Visit Lord Howe Island and experience its stunning natural beauty, crystal-clear waters, and unique wildlife through various activities such as snorkelling, diving, fishing, and bird-watching. There are also several hiking trails, as well as a variety of accommodation options.

Lord Howe Island is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers and as s World Heritage Site, it is protected by law to ensure its natural beauty is preserved for generations to come.

 

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Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island is a reserve located off the coast of Western Australia, approximately 18 kilometres from Fremantle. The island is a popular tourist destination, known for its pristine beaches, spectacular scenery, and abundant wildlife.

Rottnest Island is home to a variety of unique flora and fauna, including the Quokka, a small marsupial that is found nowhere else in the world. The island is also home to several other native species, including the Western Grey Kangaroo, the Brush-tailed Possum, and the Short-beaked Echidna.

Rottnest Island is a great destination for a day trip or an extended holiday. There are a number of activities to suit all ages and interests, from bushwalking and bird watching to fishing and scuba diving. The island is also home to a range of restaurants and cafes, as well as several souvenir shops.


So, if you’re ready to take the plunge, get on the road and explore the best of what Australia has to offer via the Big Lap and want to optimise your travel plans with the most comprehensive information, this is your chance.

Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a chance to immerse yourself in nature, Australia has it all. Save this Big Lap Itinerary handy as your ultimate digital travel guide, and pick up a copy of the second edition of the Big Lap Bible to help you plan and organise this adventure of a lifetime!

Click here to see and read what’s new on our Improved Big Lap Bible Edition #2 

From the beautiful beaches of the Gold Coast to the rugged beauty of the Outback, you’ll be sure to find something special on your big lap adventure. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the amazing sights and sounds of Australia!

Join us on this unforgettable Big Lap journey! Be sure to connect with us on our socials and share your adventures with us and the world!

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