The land down under is mind-bendingly massive, causing many tourists and residents alike to opt for air travel when venturing out into its great expanses. But meticulously maintained highways offering incredible views unlike anything else on offer worldwide make it an idyllic destination for travelers on four (or more) wheels.

With cities and towns catering graciously to motorists of all types, Australia really opens up and reveals its true beauty to those willing to take the time and pilot their adventure themselves. Such a unique country contains countless well-known and hidden treasures but here are ten that should be marked on the map before you take your foot off the brake.

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10 10. Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Not often does a stretch of road obtain National Heritage status, but that is exactly what this incredible 243-kilometer construction has achieved. Built by surviving soldiers from World War I and dedicated to those who did not return, the road is the world’s largest war memorial.

Proving that often the journey outshines the destination, the Great Ocean Road lovingly hugs the coastline and provides unmatched views of the Bass Strait and Southern Ocean. Taking in such sights as the Twelve Apostles, London Arch and natural limestone formations such as The Grotto, no road-trip in Australia is complete without sampling what this oceanside paradise serves.

9 9. Uluru, Northern Territory

Found in Central Australia, 460km southwest of Alice Springs, Uluru is one of the largest tourist attractions in the country both in size and level of popularity. Accessible by car with a National Parks permit, be prepared to lose your breath at the sheer scale of the sandstone rock formation as it begins to fill your windscreen.

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No matter how many times you have seen Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in images or video, nothing compares to the feeling of walking around its base and attempting to absorb its history. Park your car at the nearby villageand don’t miss Uluru at both sunset and sunrise when the natural light creates one of the most spectacular shows in nature.

8 8. Cape Tribulation, Queensland

Don’t be surprised if the first to welcome you to this beachside paradise is a huge, aloof, kangaroo. Resting within the Daintree National Park and Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Cape Tribulation has a population of 118 humans and an infinite number of hopping residents.

Named for the troubles experienced by Lieutenant Cook in 1770 when his ship floundered on its reef, Cape Tribulation now provides nothing but serenity and joy to all who visit. Whether you stay in one of the wonderfully appointed eco-lodges or pitch a tent beside your resting car, don’t miss the beach at sunset when soldier crabs cover every inch of available sand in search of their new homes for the day.

7 7. Byron Bay, New South Wales

Most travelers have heard of Byron Bay and its mystical charm and one of the best ways to discover the area is on foot after parking your camper van adjacent to one of several beachfronts.

Notable features include the Cape Byron Lighthouse which can be reached under your own power, some of the best surf in Australia, skydiving amidst the flawless scenery and viewing the stunning wildlife through whale watching and scuba diving.

Many of the country’s most popular festivals are held in Byron as well such as the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival, Falls Festival, and Splendour in the Grass. If a chilled out atmosphere is what you need after a long drive, Byron Bay will provide that in waves.

6 6. Katherine, Northern Territory

Located on the banks of the Katherine River, this is the fourth largest settlement in the Northern Territory and known as the place where the outback meets the tropics. Katherine is the perfect base for road-trippers wanting to experience the Nitmiluk National Park, in particular, Katherine Gorge and its awe-inspiring ancient rock paintings.

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Placed at the crossroads of the Savannah Way running from Cairns to Broome and the Explorer’s Way from Darwin to Adelaide, the population swells during the dry season with travelers eager to soak up the sun and get a lingering taste of the Australian red center. Take caution during the wet season however as the area regularly floods and the conditions become treacherous for those on four wheels.

5 5. Kununurra, Western Australia

After a long but beautiful drive heading north in Western Australia, you will reach this remarkable town on the eastern edge of the Kimberley Region and will instantly be glad you made the effort.

Surrounded by picturesque hills and immense ranges that dazzle the eye and astound the mind, Kununurra is a less visited tourist spot than most due to its secluded position. Bathe in the Ord River or simply rest on its banks and marvel at the diverse wildlife both within and surrounding its depths before preparing for the best sleep of your life under a blanket of stars.

4 4. Esperance, Western Australia

While out West, point the car towards Esperance if the idea of surfing, scuba diving, swimming, and fishing in crystal clear water appeals to you. There are also several stunning salt lakes nearby including Pink Lake which has a gorgeous rosy color thanks to the red algae inhabiting its waters.

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Those wanting to stretch the legs after their journey can take their pick of hikes within the five national parks just a short jaunt from the town. One of the most popular is Cape Le Grand which grants visitors a dramatic panorama of granite terrain and sheltered white sand beaches. The parks also offer off-road four-wheel drive tracks for those that aren’t quite ready to leave the car behind.

3 3. Turquoise Bay, Western Australia

Renowned as one of Australia’s best beaches, the perfectly titled Turquoise Bay allows access to pristine waters just meters from the magical Ningaloo Reef. Be it relaxing, snorkeling, swimming, or boarding you are after, this sun-drenched paradise will provide it all and more.

Get up close to stunningly bright coral, turtles, squid and over 500 species of fish that call the reef their home, all within touching distance of the shore. Turquoise Bay is just a quick 60 kilometer drive from the major city of Exmouth so add this to your road trip list immediately and reap the benefits of this seemingly untouched natural wonder.

2 2. Binalong Bay, Tasmania

Tasmania, while not on the mainland of Australia, is easily accessible on your road-trip thanks to the Spirit of Tasmania which will happily take both your and your vehicle across the Bass Strait with the greatest of ease. Once ashore, fire up the engine and make straight for Binalong Bay in the north-east.

The fishing hamlet has a small harbor, stunning beach, and is situated on the southern end of the wondrous Bay of Fires. This is one of the most beautiful areas in all of Australia, featuring flawless blue sea, fine white sand and orange-tinged boulders that rest along the coast. No matter if you are in search of complete relaxation of the fishing catch of a lifetime, Binalong Bay has to be on your list.

1 1. Port Lincoln, South Australia

Self-proclaimed seafood capital of Australia, Port Lincoln rests within the borders of South Australia and sits on the shore of Boston Bay. Tourists flock to Port Lincoln due to the exquisite natural beauty of its coastline and the activities available such as shark-cage diving and off-shore game fishing.

The area also opens up to the motoring tourist with Lincoln, Coffin Bay and Kellidie Bay National Parks within easy driving distance. Port Lincoln houses the perfect mix of water-based adventures with traditional on land options that makes it an ideal spot to pull the handbrake and set about exploring.

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