With its vast distances and remote, rugged terrain, many of Australia's journeys are ready-made adventures. Travel across northern Australia on the Savannah Way, which starts in Cairns and ends on the other side of the country in Broome. Or cut the continent from south to north on the Explorers Highway, which takes you from Adelaide through Australia's Red Centre to Darwin. On the comprehensive South Australia Loop, you can climb to the rim of Wilpena Pound, hike part of the Heysen Trail and dive shipwrecks in Kangaroo Island. Go on and off the Gibb River Road on a 4WD adventure through the vast Kimberley.
Gibb River Road
Tackle one of Australia's greatest four-wheel-drive adventures on this 660-kilometre journey through the vast Kimberley. See freshwater crocodiles in the Windjana Gorge National Park and swim, bushwalk and camp at Lennard and Bell Gorges. Take a scenic flight over Mitchell Falls and the vast Mitchell Plateau. Stay on the one million acre El Questro Wilderness Park. From here you can go horse trekking, get up close to Kimberley wildlife and boat down Chamberlain Gorge past towering escarpments and Wandjina rock art. You could even take in the sights on a mountain bike for the Brisbane to Broome Charity Bike Ride. However you take on this outback challenge, remember it's one that needs planning.
Crossing the Nullarbor
Widen your horizons driving the Eyre Highway across the vast, treeless and mesmerising Nullarbor Plain. You can connect to this journey from Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth and drive west to east or east to west along the highway. Whatever your direction, the scale of the scenery has a powerful impact. Watch wooded hills flatten into bluebush-studded plateaus and see mobs of kangaroos lining the road. Visit vast cattle stations, historic homesteads and remote railway outposts. Get up close to rare birds in Eyre, spot southern right whales from the rugged Bunda Cliffs and fish in Fowlers Bay. Sleep overnight in the roadhouses and campsites dotted across the highway. While this is a sealed road, it travels through remote areas and requires thorough preparation. You’ll need a 4WD vehicle to venture off the highway.
Trek along the backbone of the West MacDonnell Ranges to attractions such as Simpsons Gap, Ellery Creek Big Hole, Ormiston Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge. This epic chain of day walks stretches more than 223km from the old Alice Springs Telegraph Station to Mount Sonder and Mount Razorback. Stand on ancient escarpments and look out over vast ochre-colored landscapes. Visit sites sacred to the Arrernte Aboriginal people. Scramble down sheltered gorges, swim in cool waterholes and sleep under a sea of stars. Outback camping is one of the trail's highlights, along with the diversity of desert habitats, native birds, animals and nearly 600 species of rare flora. Tailor your walk along 12 sections, which range from effortless to arduous and have four wheel drive access. Or give yourself three weeks and a challenge yourself on the end-to-end trek.
South Australian Loop
Take in fine food and wine in the Barossa and Clare Valleys, explore the rugged Flinders Ranges and meet wildlife galore on Kangaroo Island. Taste wine made by Jesuit priests in Sevenhill, climb the huge natural amphitheatre of Wilpena Pound and visit the historic copper-mining town of Burra. Swim, surf, snorkel and bushwalk along the Fleurieu Peninsula before getting up close to penguins in Penneshaw and a colony of sea lion at Seal Rocks on Kangaroo Island. This scenic drive takes in South Australia's most famous attractions on two smaller loops through the elegant capital of Adelaide.
Savannah Way, Western Australia
Cut a line between the desert and tropics on this rugged outback adventure between Darwin and Broome. You'll see palms sprouting from rust-red cliffs, crocodiles baking in gorges and boab trees bursting with fruit. Cruise through Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park and see Aboriginal rock art in Keep River National Park. Canoe down Ord River and huge, man-made Lake Argyle. Explore the Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park, bushwalk to Mitchell Falls and visit the Argyle Diamond Mine. See the bulbous Boab Prison Tree near Derby and swim from Broome's Cable Beach, with its warm waters and soft dreamlike sand. The Savannah Way also has many bird watching opportunities, so pack binoculars and a field guide.
Trace the trail of pioneer John McDouall Stuart as you travel from Adelaide to Darwin on the Explorers Highway. Explore the cellar doors and vine-lined chateaus of the Barossa Valley and rugged Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound. Stay underground in the opal capital of Cooper Pedy and the outback town of Alice Springs. Walk around Uluṟu with an Aboriginal guide and to the rim of Kings Canyon. See ancient Aboriginal rock art in World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park and swim in the crystal-clear pools of Litchfield National Park. Your adventure continues in the parklands, outdoor markets and festivals and historical attractions of tropical Darwin.
10 days sailing It's hard to beat the romance of sailing through the Whitsundays - 74 idyllic, mostly uninhabited islands tucked inside the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Think clear moonlit nights, spectacular sunsets, secluded beaches and pure air. You can sail, swim, snorkel and dive at sheltered anchorages such as Blue Pearl, Butterfly and Hook Island Bays. Soak up the resort atmosphere of Hamilton Island, bushwalk through national park on South Molle and relax in Hayman Island's five star luxury. Visit Whitsunday Island and walk the pure white, silica sands of Whitehaven Beach.
Savannah Way, Queensland
Drive from Cairns, through Queensland's lush Tropical Tablelands and historic goldfields, and across the Northern Territory border to Katherine. Walk through World Heritage-listed rainforest in Kuranda and explore the produce-rich countryside around Mareeba. Visit a century-old Chinese temple in Atherton and spend the night in Ravenshoe, Queensland's highest town. Marvel at Millstream Falls, Australia's widest waterfalls and lose yourself in the caves of Undara Volcanic National Park, the world's longest lava system. Fossick for gold in historic Croydon and Georgetown and spot crocodiles in the wetlands around Normantown. Discover hidden gorges and Aboriginal rock art in Boodjamulla National Park before crossing the Central Gulf into the Northern Territory. From here, the Savannah Way continues across the outback all the way to Western Australia's pearling town of Broome.
Wind through the Adelaide and Mary River wetlands to World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Here you can bushwalk through rugged escarpments and lush rainforest and discover a treasure trove of Aboriginal rock ark. Learn about the Territory's pioneering history in Pine Creek and swim in crystal-clear waterholes in the tarzan landscape of Litchfield National Park. You can do this dream drive on a fully sealed road in a two-wheel-drive vehicle.
The Heysen Trail
Hike all the way from Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula to the mountain town of Parachilna on the 1,200 kilometre Heysen Trail. Or mix and match day and multi-day walks, choosing from dramatic coastlines, farmland and forests, picturebook towns, vine-lined valleys and rugged mountain ranges. Like a quality box of chocolates, this trail offers the best of South Australia's wildly assorted scenic beauty. Walk next to waterfalls in Deep Creek Conservation Park and visit the historic German village of Hahndorf. Taste wine in the world-famous Barossa Valley and see settler-relics in the grazing country beyond. Head into the Flinders Ranges, where fossils date back millennia and Aboriginal rock art is as old as the Dreaming. Walk over Mt Remarkable and to the rim of the ancient, awe-inspiring crater of Wilpena Pound. Sleep in campsites, huts and shelters or in any of the towns dotting the trail.
Munda Biddi Trail
Ride from the Perth hills to Nannup on the Munda Biddi Trail, which means ‘path through the forest' in the Nyoongar Aboriginal language. As well as magnificent native forests, you'll wind through the scenic river valleys and charming towns of Western Australia's south-west corner. The track follows bush tracks, firebreaks and disused railway lines and has sections for of all levels of cycling experience. Do short rides or have a week-long adventure, spending the night in pretty towns or one of five purpose-built campsites, situated a comfortable day's ride apart. You can drive to many different starting points along the trail.
Red Centre Way
Swim in Glen Helen Gorge and spot rock wallabies at Simpsons Gap, both in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Listen to the Dreamtime legend surrounding the comet crater of Gosse Bluff. Climb to the rim of Kings Canyon and swim in the tropical pools of the Garden of Eden. Do a dawn camel trek around Uluṟu and wander between the steep russet domes of nearby Kata Tjuṯa. Journey through red desert sands, spinifex and mulga forest. Learn about the area's Aboriginal history from the Arrernte people who have lived here for 20,000 years. Immerse yourself in Aboriginal art and pioneer history in Alice Springs. Don't miss this unforgettable adventure through Australia's ancient centre.