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Travel distances Australia – the unexpected kilometres

Think through your travel distances Australia wide. Our country has lots of incredible places, often with lots of driving between them. Make sure you see them, not just the black strip. I’ve listed below some of the big regional distances across Australia that might surprise you.

How many kilometres will you do?

We drove 45,000km on our 15 month trip…an average of less than 100km/day. That’s with a ‘short-cut’ through Victoria and New South Wales.

Be ready for long travel distances Australia wide

To demonstrate the sort of distances you can expect, I’ve chosen some unusual (but commonly driven) routes here. These are not routes that will immediately jump out at you from a map. Skim the list and see if any places jump out at you, or look on a map to help get a sense of what these distances look like.

You're pretty likely to do at least one of these journeys.

Distances from Musgrave Roadhouse, Cape York (painted on a tank)

For other unusual distances, RACQ also has a great online travel distance calculator.

Queensland

Brisbane – Cairns
Cairns – Bamaga (Cape York) *almost all dirt*
Cairns – Hells Gate (near NT border) via Burketown *330km dirt*
Burketown – Boodjamulla NP (Lawn Hill) *all dirt*
Brisbane – Townsville
Townsville – Camooweal (NT border via Mt Isa)

~kms

1713
939
1144
213
1363
1084

Northern Territory

Darwin – Camooweal (QLD border via Tennant Creek)
Darwin – Jabiru (Kakadu NP)
Katherine – Hells Gate (over Qld border) via Borroloola *at least 315km dirt*
Katherine – Kununurra (WA border)
Katherine – Alice Springs
Alice Springs – Yulara (access to Uluru and Kata Tjuta NP)

~kms

1418
254
968
513
1178
443

Western Australia

Kununurra – Broome (via Halls Creek)
Kununurra – Broome (via Gibb River Road and Derby) *almost all dirt*
Kununurra – Purnululu NP (Bungles) *70km 4wd track*
Broome – Cape Leveque *almost all dirt*
Broome – Port Hedland
Port Hedland – Karijini NP entrance
Port Hedland – Exmouth (access to Ningaloo NP)
Exmouth – Denham (access to Shark Bay)
Denham – Perth
Perth – Esperance (via Kalgoorlie)
Perth – Esperance (via Margaret River)
Esperance – SA Border village (across the Nullarbor)

~kms

1063
891
339
204
615
316
771
689
704
1000
1112
918

South Australia

Ceduna – Esperance (WA)
Ceduna – Port Augusta (via Port Lincoln / Eyre Peninsula)
Port Augusta – Kulgera (NT Border)
Port Augusta – Wilpena Pound (Flinders Ranges NP)
Port Augusta – Lake Eyre South (via Marree) *some 4wd*
Adelaide – Port Augusta
Adelaide – Cape Jervis (Kangaroo Island ferry)
Adelaide – Broken Hill (NSW)
Adelaide – Mt Gambier

~kms

1404
744
956
158
478
306
106
511
454

Victoria

Melbourne – Renmark (SA) via Echuca (Murray River route)
Melbourne – Mt Gambier (SA) via Great Ocean Road
Melbourne – Eden (NSW) via Wilsons Promontory & Lakes Entrance

~kms

725
566
770

New South Wales

Sydney – Echuca (VIC) for Murray River route
Sydney – Eden (South Coast route)
Sydney – Broken Hill
Sydney – Bourke (Outback route)
Sydney – Gold Coast

Source: My very dog-eared copy of the HEMA Australia Road & 4WD Atlas, 7th Edition.

~kms

782
472
1167
776
886

A final word

I enjoy pouring over maps. Even if you don’t, I would suggest spending a little time looking at some of the big distances you’re thinking of driving on your trip around Oz.

Invest in a detailed hard-copy road atlas which covers all travel distances Australia-wide. There are far too many remote areas (without internet/phone service) to rely on GPS or Google Maps alone. So, add it to your camping list…it will be one of the most-used items on your trip. And it won’t be long before you’ll have driven many of the big travel distances Australia has to offer!

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