Road Trip from Sydney to Perth
A road trip from Sydney to Perth is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Taking you from the east coast to the west, you will get to see the scenic wonders of the outback, pass through areas of huge aboriginal significance and visit historic goldrush and mining towns that helped shape Australia into the country it is today.
The 3935-km road trip from Sydney to Perth takes 41 hours to drive. On the way, you'll get to see the Nullarbor Plain, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Mildura, Dubbo, the Eyre Peninsula, Ceduna, Renmark and Kalgoorlie, with the Blue Mountains as an option too.
These are just a few of the many hundreds of places you can check out during this fantastic adventure. So keep on reading until the end to find out many more options.
How far is Perth from Sydney and how long will the road trip take?
|Hume and Eyre Highways Route||3,935 km||41 hours|
|Blue Mountains Detour|
Total route length
|3,940 km||43 hours|
Sydney is a long way away from Perth, with the two destinations being separated by some 3935 km on the most direct route along the Hume and Eyre Highways.
You should allow at least 41 hours of driving, which will typically take between 7 and 10 days.
There's also the option to take a detour along the A32 and through the Blue Mountains for the first part of your journey. Taking the detour only adds a few km to the length of your trip, but will take a couple of hours longer to drive.
Best road trip route from Sydney to Perth
On your road trip from Sydney to Perth, the Hume and Eyre Highways Route offers the most direct route for this long drive. It passes north of Canberra before cutting through the heart of rural New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
It's a fairly straightforward drive in terms of direction and road quality, and it's regularly signposted, so you shouldn't have any trouble navigating the way.
The option to head along the A32 on the Blue Mountains Detour makes for a stunning start to this trip if you're able to extend your trip by a couple of days.
The Blue Mountains Detour takes you through the historic central and far west of New South Wales, before joining up with the main Hume and Eyre Highways Route just after the town of Winninowie.
Whichever route you choose, be cautious about the length of time you are driving for and be sure to take breaks on a regular basis.
As you will be going through the outback, always try and top up your fuel levels every chance you get too, and carry plenty of water in case you hit a problem while you're on the road.
The Hume and Eyre Highways Route
From Sydney the first part of the journey will take you past the nation's capital of Canberra, as well as a number of other fabulous destinations in rural New South Wales and Victoria.
Leaving Sydney on the M1 then changing onto the M5 as you pass the airport, you'll eventually connect with the M31 to join the Hume Highway. You'll follow this road for the first stretch of the journey, passing some fabulous destinations in rural New South Wales. An early highlight is Goulburn, Australia's first inland city.
If you want to visit the nation's capita, Canberra, take a detour down the M23 just after Goulburn, returning back to the M31 via the A25 to continue your journey west.
Leave the Hume Highway to join the A20 heading towards Wagga Wagga, which is known as the ‘city of good sports', on account of it being the birthplace of a number of champion sportsmen.
You'll continue along the A20 for 550 km, passing Mildura as you cross from NSW into Victoria, a city renowned for growing the juiciest and tastiest oranges. A near-straight 140 km stretch of the A20 then takes you to Renmark, a popular destination for watersports near the Murray River.
Just past Renmark, change onto the B64 heading towards Crystal Brook, where you'll join the A1 Princes Highway. Once you get past the transport hub of Port Augusta, carry on along the A1 to Ceduna, which marks the start of the famous Nullarbor Plain.
This stretch of the route, also known as the Eyre Highway, is the longest, flattest and straightest road in Australia. For over 1000km it skirts the coastline, descending all the way down through South Australia's gorgeous Eyre Peninsula, before following the Southern Bight and then jutting inland into Western Australia's bushland.
The Nullarbor Plain finally finishes around the town of Norseman, where you'll turn right onto National Highway 94. Take a short detour along the Goldfields Highway to the famous goldrush town of Kalgoorlie, then back along the Great Eastern Highway to rejoin the route.
Continue west along Highway 94 past Southern Cross, until you eventually get to Perth.
The Blue Mountains Detour
From Sydney, this detour takes you through the magnificent Blue Mountains National Park.
Leave the city along the M4, continuing along the A32 where the motorway ends. Take your time winding through this area of outstanding natural beauty as there are plenty of trails to stop and explore along the way.
Don't forget to check out the iconic ‘Three Sisters' and ride the nerve jangling horizontal railway while you're there.
Once you've left the Blue Mountains, simply continue to follow the A32.
The route will take you past historic places like Dubbo, where you will be able to visit the outstanding Western Plains Zoo, as well as the ‘Copper City' of Cobar with its jaw-dropping open cut mines.
Further along the way you'll also pass Broken Hill, which is famous for accommodating one of the world's richest deposits of silver, lead, and zinc ores.
After the A32 crosses into South Australia, take the B79 towards Ucolta, then when you pass through Peterborough turn onto the B56 towards Port Augusta.
The Blue Mountains Detour connects to the Hume and Eyre Highways Route when you turn onto the A1 just before the South Australian town of Winninowie. After this simply follow the remaining 2,400 km of the main route until you reach Perth.
Best places to stop between Sydney to Perth
Given the sheer distance between Sydney and Perth you will need to stop overnight several times during this journey.
There are a host of destinations you can choose to stay at, but here are three that we highly recommend.
Experience the wonders of Wagga Wagga
Nestled on the banks of the beautiful Murrumbidgee River, Wagga Wagga is a charming city around 460 km out of Sydney on the Hume and Eyre Highways Route.
Boasting a terrific river beach and a picturesque botanical gardens, it provides a wonderful place to relax and unwind after your first full day of driving.
There's plenty to keep you busy if you stay longer in the city too. Take a guided kayak tour on the river, or explore the Marrambidya Wetland just outside the city. Or for a fascinating insight into the lives of some of the early European settlers in the area, visit the Pioneer Women's Hut Museum which tells the city's history from a different perspective.
Situated in the centre of town opposite the Murrumbidgee Turf Club, the stylish and charming Wagga RSL Club Motel is easily accessed from the A20, with plenty of free parking, making it a great accommodation option for this road trip.
It's in walking distance of the town's excellent art galleries and museums, as well as the beach and the best bars and restaurants in town. Or if you want to keep things simple, you can enjoy the solar-heated swimming pool in the Motel's garden, or call into the neighbouring RSL Club for food, drink and a warm welcome.
Rest and rejuvenate in Ceduna
Ceduna is located on the Eyre Highway, which both routes pass through. It's known as the ‘gateway to the Nullarbor Plain', so it's a very good option should you wish to stay the night and refresh yourself, before hitting this famous stretch of road the next day.
Visit the Ceduna Arts and Culture Centre to see some of the stunning work of local Indigenous artists, or call into the Ceduna Schoolhouse Museum to learn about the town's more recent history.
The town is famous for its seafood, especially the oysters grown along this stretch of the coast - be sure to try some before you leave town. Or take a short drive to Smoky Bay where you can take a tour before enjoying some of the freshest seafood you're ever likely to find.
Located on the beachfront and just a two minute walk into the centre of town, The Ceduna Foreshore Hotel Motel is a great place to relax and unwind during your stay. The sparkling sea views are sure to be a refreshing change after 2,000 km of inland roads.
If you want to venture out, the hotel's tour desk can organise 4-wheel-drive adventures and other local excursions to give you a real taste of the local area, both past and present. Or just cross the road to feel the sand beneath your feet at Alexander Beach.
Immerse yourself in the vibe of Kalgoorlie
Both the largest city in the outback and the main hub of the Western Australian Goldfields, Kalgoorlie is a must-visit destination, and probably the last overnight stop you'll make on this trip. From here you just have six more hours on the road before you reach Perth.
Once a notorious outpost for bandits and prostitutes, today the city is better known as one of the nation's most notable historic gold mining settlements. Visit the Museum of the Goldfields to find out more about Kalgoorlie's origins and the changes it's seen over time.
The town's mining heritage is still very much a part of people's lives here. Visit in early December to see St Barbara's Festival, where massive mining machines join community groups and schools to parade through the town.
The Plaza Hotel is a great accommodation option for your overnight stay here, known for its friendly and high-quality service. Its comfortable, air-conditioned rooms provide a welcome escape from the heat and there's a wonderful swimming pool which will be probably much needed after a long, hot day on the road.
Centrally located, the hotel is just 200 meters from the main drag of Hannan Street, while other major attractions like the Goldfields Arts Centre are a short walk away.
Things to see on a road trip from Sydney to Perth
During your epic road trip from Sydney to Perth there are literally hundreds of places you can visit.
Obviously, you won't be able to go to them all. But some of the ones we most recommend you focus your attention on include:
Hume and Eyre Highways Route:
- Bowral - Hometown of Don Bradman, Australia's most famous cricketer. Be sure to pay a visit to the museum that celebrates his life and achievements in the game, as well as the sport of cricket as a whole.
- Goulburn - Historic city well known for its terrific outdoor recreational activities which include caving, rock climbing and abseiling.
- Canberra - Visit the nation's capital. A refined city which features stately architecture, world famous cultural attractions and a very well respected restaurant scene.
- Wagga Wagga - Fabulous Riverina city which houses a terrific beach, beautiful botanical gardens and a collection of excellent art galleries.
Blue Mountains Detour:
- Blue Mountains – Incredible national park that features the iconic ‘Three Sisters' and the hair-raising vertical railway.
- Dubbo - Home to the outstanding Western Plains Zoo. One of the best zoos in Australia.
- Cobar - Check out the jaw dropping open cut mines of the ‘Copper City'.
- Broken Hill - Marvel at the world's richest deposits of silver, lead, and zinc ores.
On both routes:
- Renmark - Popular destination for watersports like kayaking, paddleboarding and jet skiing near the Murray River.
- Pichi Richi Railway - Located just outside Port Augusta, this historic railway lets you leave the car behind for the day and enjoy a scenic ride through the stunning South Australian countryside.
- Ceduna - Take the opportunity to rest, restock and refuel at the last main town before the Nullarbor Plain.
- Nullarbor Plain - Drive the iconic 1000km Eyre Highway along the longest, flattest and straightest road in Australia.
- Head of Bight - Watch whales at play from the on-shore viewing platform if you visit in the winter.
- Eyre Peninsula - Admire the gorgeous coastal scenery and enjoy the fantastic seafood and wine you will find at any of the small towns that line this fabulous region.
- Kalgoorlie - Immerse yourself in the goldrush vibe at the largest city in the outback. Discover the historic past of one of the nation's most successful gold mining settlements.
- Nuytsland Nature Reserve - Marvel at the magnificent Baxter Cliffs, one of Australia's great scenic features. Standing 80 meters high and running for 190km, they are one of the longest unbroken cliffs in the world.
Best time to go on a road trip from Sydney to Perth
A road trip from Sydney to Perth is one you can undertake at any time of the year, but be prepared for some very high temperatures if you're travelling in the summer - parts of the route see an average high of over 30 degrees from December to February.
Also be aware that winter in inland Australia can feel much cooler than you might expect. Temperatures can drop as low as 4 or 5 degrees Celsius on parts of this trip, and you're likely to hit rain too.
However, if you do find yourself making the journey in the winter you might be in for a treat if you spot the whales that travel this stretch of the coast in the coolest months.
To see the beaches at their best along the Eyre Peninsula, a good time to visit is between February and April, and September to November. This is the period that falls outside of the storm, and winter seasons.
Arguably the most important thing to do prior to leaving is ensure your car has been fully serviced. It's a very long drive, so you will need the peace of mind that your vehicle will be up to the journey. With some long and isolated stretches of road to cover, make sure you take every opportunity to refuel and replenish your water supplies.Other than that you can hit the open road at any time and throw yourself into your once-in-a-lifetime adventure.