Circumnavigating This Wide Brown Land

Australia, by any measure, is a bloody massive place: more than 4,000 km wide and more than 3,000 km from top to tail. Funnily enough, it’s not particularly high though. Australia is the only continent who’s highest point – Mt. Kosciuszko (2,229 m) – can be driven up!

There’s plenty to see within it’s 7.6 million km2 land mass, which is probably why Australians enjoy the outdoors so much. In fact, new figures show the caravan and camping industries pump more than $20 billion into the Australian economy each year.

One trip on every Australian’s bucket list should be driving the ‘The Big Lap’ – that is, the 15,000 km around Australia on Highway 1.

© COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

That might be awhile away for most of us. (Well, except these four guys who decided to do it in just over 5 days!) But while the rest of us dream and make plans, we thought we’d take a look at the four corners of the Australian mainland.

First, a quick note – let me point out that this is the four corners of the Australian mainland, which does not include the great state of Tasmania. If we were to include Tasmania, the South East Cape is the Southernmost Point of Tasmania’s main island. And Maatsuyker Island is even further south than that, 5.5 kilometres off the south coast of Tasmania. And further south again is the Australian Antarctic Territory! So apologies in advance to our Tasmanian brethren – we certainly haven’t forgotten about you. But today, we’re simply focused on the Australian mainland. Let’s begin:

Northernmost Point

The Tip, Cape York, QLD

This is a rough one to start with, and requires some serious planning. The Tip is more than 1,000 km north of Cairns and means facing some pretty rugged terrain. But if you’re willing to face a few croc-infested river crossings, the experience is totally worth it. You can drive within about 250 m of Australia’s northernmost point, but the final trek requires a bit of a climb over a few rocks. Cape York Camping is the nearest commercial campsite to The Tip.

Easternmost Point

Cape Byron Lighthouse, Cape Byron, NSW

Probably the most frequented of Australia’s four corners, Cape Byron is still very much worth the trip. Only 170 km south of Brisbane, again you can drive almost to the edge. However, there is limited paid parking at the lighthouse itself, so park at the bottom and take a scenic stroll up and over the hill. Technically, the easternmost point is past the lighthouse down at the waters edge. Byron Bay has plenty of caravanning and camping options.

Southernmost Point

South Point, Wilsons Promontory, VIC

“The Prom” is Australia’s southernmost national park, but South Point takes a bit of commitment, requiring a two day, 30 km hike from the Telegraph Saddle car park (the closest place to South Point to park your car) to the sign that reads, “The most southerly point of the Australian mainland.” Most visitors tend to stop at the Roaring Meg Campground for an overnight stay. That way, you can hike from the campsite to South Point without having to carry all of your gear.

Westernmost Point

Steep Point, Edel Land, WA

Steep Point, and the surrounding region of Edel Land, can only be reached by 4WD (or boat, if you are so inclined!) This is excellent news, as it means you’ll have some of the best land fishing spots in the world to yourself. Be sure to check out the Zuytdorp Cliffs which tower up to 200 m above the water. There are a number of nearby campsites, but be aware that they’re all controlled by a permit system and advance bookings must be made here.

If you’ve been to any of these places, tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

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