The Big Lap of Australia

The Big Lap of Australia which is also known as the Big Lap of OZ follows Australia’s Highway One.

How many km around Australia, you might be asking.

Well, this highway connects all mainland state capitals and it is the world’s longest national highway at 14,500 kilometres. Move aside Route 66. 

If you have been dreaming about the big lap of Australia for a while, you probably have a few questions and hopefully, our tips will help you to start planning. 

9 Best Tips for the Big Lap Of Australia 

1. Do some research

Researching before you start the big lap of Australia isn’t just recommended; it’s an absolute must!

You can read articles, and blogs and even watch YouTube videos of those who have done it or are currently travelling.

Everyone does the big lap of Australia in a different way, so it’s nice to get a better understanding to see what you like.

The Big Lap of Australia planning
Planning your Big Lap of Australia is exciting, but can be overwhelming at times. How many kms around Australia will you lap take?

2. Choose the direction – clockwise or anticlockwise?

The big lap of Australia – which way should you go? Clockwise or anticlockwise? Honestly, it doesn’t matter!

We think you should consider the date you leave home and look at what makes more sense – go with the seasons. More about weather and seasons later. 

We have started our big lap of Australia going anticlockwise from Melbourne, but due to the closed WA border (COVID restrictions), we were forced to retrace our route back down along the East Coast.

We spent the summer in Victoria and started the big lap of OZ again, this time clockwise, and officially completed the big lap in NT.

Here is our 14-day itinerary from Brisbane to Cairns to give you some ideas on planning.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter which way you go 🙂

Just go with the seasons; you don’t want to travel through the tropics in the wet season. 

The Big Lap of Australia motorhome
Choosing the right vehicle for your Big Lap of Australia is an important step

3. Decide on the right vehicle

Now, this is a big one. Although you probably already know if you are planning to do your big lap of Australia in a van, campervan, 4WD vehicle, motorhome, or caravan.

Budget, age, and the size of your party (family or single person) are usually the main decider in choosing a vehicle. There is probably a good reason why grey nomads travel in caravans and not in small vans or 4WD.

I’d recommend you visit the Hema Maps website before your big lap of Australia.

This has so much valuable information, such as guides and digital navigation, to help you plan properly, particularly if you wish to get off the beaten track.

But honestly, there is no right or wrong answer – every vehicle has pros and cons. We suggest you consider renting one for a weekend to see how you go.

We’d recommend checking out vehicles for rent with JUCY Vehicle Rentals.

There is nothing worse than buying a campervan to realise you needed more space. Or buying a caravan only and then finding out that since you can’t just see things along the way easily and therefore should have gone with something compact.

Don’t forget how many km a trip around Australia takes, so fuel consumption is an essential factor.

Our trusty campervan, Frida – a high-top Toyota Hiace (Ex campervan rental) that was perfect for us. It is compact enough to park and drive around cities and great for fuel.

It made our trip because it has a cooktop, fridge, water tank, secondary battery, and solar panel.

And as you can stand up inside and has plenty of storage, it was a little big home on wheels for us.

This map shows how you can do drive around Australia with the seasons in a year

4. Consider the weather

Australia’s climate varies greatly throughout the eight states and territories.

There are four seasons across most of the country and a wet and dry season in the tropical north. 

The big lap of Australia will take you through the tropical north in Queensland and the Top End in NT as well as through Kimberleys in WA. 

The best time to travel across the top is during the dry season from June until September so it’s important you plan your trip accordingly.

As for the south: Victoria, South Australia and South West WA are best explored and enjoyed during Aussie summer (December – March). 

And make sure you pack some warm clothes. Once you head into some mountains or desert, it gets freezing at night. For example, we were snorkelling in 28 Degrees around Exmouth and then drove 7 hours inland for Karijini only to wake up to 6 degrees morning.

It was worth it, though; camping in Karijini National Park was amazing!

Big Lap of Australia camping under the stars
Where you stay on your big lap of Australia will really impact your budget

5. Set your budget and time frame

How much does it cost to do a big lap of Australia?

The lap of Australia usually takes 30,000 km, and you should budget about A$30,000 – A$40,000 for a year for two adults when travelling on a low to mid-range budget.

This means you stay in some pretty simple campsites but mostly try to free camp and splurge here and there on caravan/holiday parks. You will cook your meals but every now and then go out.

It would allow you to spend some money on epic experiences such as snorkelling trips or unique day trips like the amazing ReefSleep Experience in the Whitsundays, Queensland.

If you are happy to free camp as much as you can stay in national park campsites and travel in a smaller vehicle with better fuel consumption you can squeeze in under 20-25K for 2 adults. 

And if you prefer to eat out and stay in caravan parks or travelling with a family then $45-50K is probably more accurate.

In fact, most families tend to spend around A$1000 a week.

Big Lap of Australia App

6. Get the apps

Nothing like apps to get you ready. The absolute must-have app is WikiCamps ($7.99). It is a user-generated database of campsites, caravan parks, day stops and so much more.

You can filter many options to find the next free camp, water or shower amenities. The users leave reviews, which are helpful when planning your route or next stop. 

Our favourite thing is that it lists fees according to users who have just visited. As there is no universal website to book campsites and caravan parks you can quickly look up places in your next destination and know what price you will pay.

Also, get Maps.me which is a handy app for offline maps.

Just download the whole of Australia, and you will never be lost. It even has a hiking trail so you won’t get lost when walking.

The Petrol Spy app will tell you where the cheapest fuel is – so you can always fill up for the best price.

RELATED POST – 20 Best Ever Travel Apps

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7. Join Facebook groups to connect with other travellers 

There is nothing like a good community group and luckily when it comes to the big lap of Australia there are a few Facebook groups: 

Click here to join the Aussie Big Lappers group.

Click here to join the EVERYTHING CARAVAN & CAMPING group.

Click here to join the Free Camping Australia group.

8. Don’t skimp on insurance and roadside assistance 

This seems like a no-brainer to us, but sadly we have heard of other travellers without insurance or decent roadside assistance.

Trust us, there is plenty of open, remote road on the big lap of Australia, and you don’t want to be stranded somewhere without roadside assistance.

As for insurance we highly recommend CIL Insurance – they specialise in caravan/campervan insurance and were very helpful when we had our accident.

If you’re just after a regular travel insurance policy to cover yourself for travel in Australia, then Heymondo is the best option – we’ve even got a 5% discount for you; click this link to claim it!

9. Don’t be afraid to change your plans 

The lap of Australia is a journey like no other. The big lap of Australia is a life-changing journey, and you will discover places you never knew existed that will blow your mind.

But don’t forget how many km around Australia the lap is; it will not always be perfect.

Don’t be afraid to change your plans once you hit the road. Sometimes, you need to upgrade and stay somewhere for a week to just relax. Maybe you need to slow down or discover that being on the beach or hiking every day isn’t as much fun.

Just be prepared that not every day is going to be amazing. Such is life.

Enjoy the journey, and you will look back at it one day and be so happy you did it.

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Travel Tips for Australia

If you enjoyed this post, you might like our complete guide to Great Keppel Island – Everything you need to know. 

We recommend that you visit Yeppoon and the Capricorn Coast if you head back to the coast. Check out the 15 Best Things To Do in Yeppoon and don’t forget about the food. We’ve got you covered with the best places to eat in Yeppoon.

Our comprehensive itineraries for travelling in Australia include this Brisbane to Cairns Road Trip – the Best 14-day itinerary and our detailed Guide to Camping in Karijini National Park.

We’re all about the food, too! Don’t miss these 12 best cheap eats in Cairns.

If you’re visiting Australia on vacation, these 12 classic Australian foods you must try while you’re here and see if you can visit these iconic 30 Best Big Things in Australia.

You can’t miss these 11 Best Things to Do in Broome if you’re heading that way.

Find all of our best travel tips, advice, and things we use and recommend to travel the world on our Travel Resources Page.