What are the best ways to travel around Australia?

Sunburnt deserts, deep-blue oceans, snow-capped mountains and bustling cities – Australia's myriad landscapes easily propel it to one of the most sought-after destinations in the world.

Whitehaven Beach Whitsundays Australia

Getting around Australia can be a significant undertaking with its vast size and immense distances between cities – but it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, as transit options abound. Plus, it’s one of the very best places on the planet for an extended adventure, whether that’s an epic east coast road trip or an Outback train odyssey.

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How can I get around Australia?

You can get anywhere in Australia relatively easily, if not quickly. Because of the vast distances across thinly populated expanses, a smart trip around the country could easily involve planes, trains, buses and cars, with each mode used when it makes the most sense.

Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Kangaroo Island, South Australia (Credit: Ben Goode / South Australian Tourism Commission)
Flying
Pros
  • Cover distances quickly
  • Skip large unpopulated areas
  • Easily explore far-flung parts of Australia
Cons
  • You miss experiencing everything you fly over
  • You’ll need to arrange local transport at your destination

Read more about exploring Australia by plane here

Train
Pros
  • Comfortable over longer distances
  • Often scenic
  • Good for exploring metropolitan regions
Cons
  • Much of Australia lacks train service
  • Outside of the east coast, service is mostly limited to expensive cruise trains
  • Many services are not frequent

Read more about exploring Australia by train here

Bus
Pros
  • Expansive network
  • Frequent local stops make it easy to explore a route, such as a segment along east coast beach towns
  • Passes can make travel affordable
Cons
  • Slow and uncomfortable
  • Dozens of operators both public and private make planning a challenge
  • Not always cheaper than flying over long distances

Read more about exploring Australia by bus here

Driving
Pros
  • Freedom
  • Ability to explore areas with limited or no other transport options
  • Ability to experience some of Australia’s epic road trips
  • Can be economical in the short-term or through ride-sharing services
Cons
  • Long drives can be taxing and monotonous
  • Petrol and expenses can quickly mount up

Read more about exploring Australia by car here

What about Tasmania?

Located 240km south of mainland Australia, the island state of Tasmania can be reached by air and sea.

Ferry
  • Spirit of Tasmania ferry runs one to two trips a day from Melbourne to Tasmania
  • Trips take 10 hours
  • Options include booking a cabin for a night sailing and bringing a vehicle
Flying
  • Australia’s four main airlines offer frequent flights from Melbourne and Sydney at competitive prices

Book your Tasmania hotel here

Rome2rio, based in Melbourne, Australia, is organising the world’s transport information. We offer a multi-modal, door-to-door travel search engine that returns itineraries for air, train, coach, ferry, mass transit and driving options to and from any location. Discover the possibilities at rome2rio.com