Want to get away from Australia’s busy tourist drives with a caravan in tow? Experience the wilder parts of Australia - without having to leave your caravan behind - with these adventurous touring routes.
As with any trip off-road, a four-wheel drive is highly recommended (in this case as a towing vehicle), while a robust caravan with solid wheel axles and good ground clearance is preferable. Keep in mind the capabilities of your caravan will inevitably dictate which side trips or adjoining journeys you can undertake when heading into more remote areas of Australia, so while a dedicated off-road caravan isn’t a necessity for these trips, it’s important to understand your caravan’s comfortable limits before heading off.
1. The Savannah Way, QLD NT & WA
Skirting the Top End from Cairns to Broome, the Savannah Way traverses three states, numerous national parks and countless environs along its epic 3,700km stretch. The ideal journey for adventurous types looking for an escape from the southern winter, the Savannah Way joins countless towns by way of both sealed and unsealed roads and highways, making some good tyres, a robust vehicle and some ground clearance preferable.
The trip in its entirety puts travellers in touch with some of the Top End’s biggest attractions and hidden gems: Innot Hot Springs’ therapeutic waters, Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park’s lush gorges, the fossils of Riversleigh World Heritage Site, the Northern Territory’s vibrant national parks, Katherine Gorge, Purnululu’s Bungle Bungle Range, the Boab Prison Tree and so much more.
2. Red Centre Way, NT
Alice Springs is the beating heart of the Red Centre, pumping travellers to and from Central Australia by means of myriad arterials – some rough and remote, others sealed and straightforward. Whichever way you get there, the Red Centre is very much worth the journey, its laundry list of significant and awe-inspiring attractions making it a formative experience for Australian adventure travellers.
The drive along Red Centre Way is a simple enough off-road assignment, but the places you can encounter along it are what makes it a special journey. Without even mentioning Uluru and Kata Tjuta, the trip showcases the jagged circular range of Gosse Bluff, Kings Canyon’s sheer sandstone cliffs and the majestic West MacDonnell Ranges.
3. The Oodnadatta Track, SA
Best enjoyed slowly - for scenic reasons and mechanical ones – the Oodnadatta Track is generally a well-maintained gravel drive through some of Australia’s most significant Outback country. Largely following the track of the Old Ghan line for its 617km length - in itself correlated with Aboriginal trading routes that connected numerous Outback springs - the Oodnadatta puts travellers in touch with ancient and recent history in a more visceral way than almost any other journey in Australia. Along the drive are numerous relics, while stopovers at Coward Springs, William Creek, the Pink Roadhouse and Algebuckina Bridge are particular highlights.
4. Crossing the Nullarbor, SA
The Nullarbor Plain is the world’s largest single piece of limestone, a fact which accounts for its otherworldly landscapes to which no like-for-like comparison can be made. The Eyre Highway is a sealed road that follows the coastline through this unique region, which encompasses Australia’s longest straight road (145km from Balladonia to Caiguna), the world’s longest golf course (1365km), Eucla’s ruins and beach, Bunda Cliffs and the Head of the Bight in general.
With a sturdy off-road caravan, travellers can stray from the blacktop to traverse the Old Eyre Highway, which was replaced by its coastal successor in the early 1970s. Today it’s a quiet dirt track that is best done slowly, which is both a requirement for the drive and a helpful suggestion for the journey.
5. Darling River Run, NSW
As much a journey through Australian pastoral history as it is through any physical place, the trip from Walgett to Wentworth is a relatively simple drive linking the Outback towns and remote landscapes that intertwine with the iconic Darling River. Side trips to Kinchega, White Cliffs and Mungo national parks deliver classic outback scenes and unique attractions in some truly remote surrounds, while the main drag loosely follows the meandering course of the Darling as it heads towards its confluence with the Murray River at Wentworth.
The region’s documented history centres around explorations, early colonisation and its use as a major transportation route for paddle steamers in the 19th and 20th centuries; nowadays, it’s better known as an Outback escape for road trippers, caravanners and off-roaders.