Whether it’s crossing the Nullarbor Plain along the dusty Great Australian Bight or cutting the continent in half by driving from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia’s best roadtrips will send you on glorious drives longer than Tiger Woods’ tee off.

NOTORIOUS BIG The Nullarbor Plain The first European settler to cross this big bugger was Edward John Eyre, who called the Nullarbor, ‘a hideous anomaly, a blot on the face of nature, the sort of place one gets into in bad dreams’. So not exactly love at first sight. But then he did it on horseback, was robbed and had a thoroughly miserable time. It’s arguably Australia most notorious journey. In the ’70s and ’80s it was seen as a place of relative lawlessness, where outlaws laid low (before inevitably being caught). The word Nullarbor is derived from the Latin for ‘no trees’ and the plain is found immediately north of the Great Australian Bight (roughly speaking, the bit of coastline between Adelaide and Perth). It is the world’s largest single piece of limestone, and occupies an area of about 200,000km sq. It’s also one of the continent’s most epic road journeys. Say it out loud – it has a foreboding ring to it – The Nullarbor. That said, there is plenty of spectacular scenery, wildlife (some excellent seal and dolphin swimming opportunities) and adventures to be had along the way. And an impressive feather for the cap.

THE CLASSIC Perth to Darwin It’s a smorgasbord of magical sunsets, memorably ancient and weird landscapes and crazy wildlife. The west coast trail, starting from Margaret River, takes you through Perth and northwards past the Pinnacles; the rusty red Kalbarri National Park; the friendly dolphins of Monkey Mia; the much-underrated wonders of Ningaloo Reef (whale sharks, April-June); the princely beauty of Karijini National Park (and the Miracle Mile if you’re brave enough); Shell Beach (as the name suggests, made solely of shells); and onwards to Broome for Cable Beach. Here you’ll be glad for the opportunity to recharge the batteries with a bit of ‘Broometime’; then it’s off to the drunkenly-named (surely) Bungle Bungles and a whole lot more raw red scenery in The Kimberley, before hitting Darwin. Roadtrips don’t get much more memorable than this one.

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK Sydney to Cairns Pretty much everyone jumps onto the east coast carousel of booze and beaches (with good reason). But how about travelling between these two cities on an entirely different route, following the backroads, seeing the unseen Australia and avoiding the incessant traffic? Head inland to get some stories that aren’t the same as the all-too familiar hostel yarns. Explore the tablelands of New South Wales, the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley, the country music capital of Tamworth, then into Queensland and the Great Dividing Range, the spectacular secret that is Carnarvon Gorge and countless dusty outback drives and onto the remarkable lava tubes of Undara Volcanic National Park, through the Atherton Tablelands (unofficially known as Telly Tubby land) and onto Cairns for all the reef and rainforest action you can handle.

TOP TO BOTTOM Cairns to Perth Not including a circumnavigation of the continent, the most epic roadtrip would be from the north-east to the south-west; a diagonal line across some of the driest, most desolate land in the world – from the tropics to the Indian Ocean. Or do it in the other direction to include a drive up Cape York to conquer Australia’s most northern point (though you’ll need a 4WD for the last bit and, preferably, for all of it). Australia is criss-crossed with unsealed roads and tracks, and you’ll get a very real sense of getting well away from ‘it’ all. The trip includes the wonders of the Red Centre – and there’s far more to it than just Uluru – plus as much of the luscious south-west as you want to take in, and the contrasting tropical north. Watch the landscapes change as many times as you change your underwear (well, for some of us anyway). The minimum estimated travel time is two-and-a-half weeks, but to really explore the wild west and outback, give yourself plenty of time. Please Daddy, can we go too?

THE ULTIMATE Sydney to Sydney We don’t mean the Blue Mountains and back. Now, the above are all great road trips, but if time and money are at your disposal then this is the one you want: the king of roadtrips. Being arguably the best place to buy and sell a car (it has more potential buyers and sellers at least), Sydney is probably the best place to start and finish. Then, depending on the time of year (if it’s winterish head north, summerish stay south) head off for a complete circuit of this vast sunburnt continent. Hardly anyone leaves Australia thinking they’ve got it covered – yet this is the best chance of seeing the sights comprehensively. At either Darwin or Adelaide don’t forget to detour towards the centre (and back). Those rock stars are well worth the extra miles. This is the trip we can only dream of.