Doing the Big Lap is what you do when you circumnavigate Australia at its edge, mostly along Highway 1, in a motor vehicle.
- You’ll usually drive about 15,000kms / 9,200 miles – but most people drive more as they detour to take in the many sights.
- It usually takes 6-12 months to complete a Big Lap of your creation.
You can self-drive in a 2-wheel-drive vehicle or, if you have a 4WD, you can drive into the middle somewhat and explore right to its edges in many parts.
- There are tours that do portions of Australia for a few days here and a few weeks there, but there aren’t any tours that do it all as the country is so massive.
To complete the Big Lap and claim the privilege, you will need to journey through each of the states and territories of Australia – 8 of them in total, including Tasmania (the heart-shaped island at the bottom of the country).
- To get to Tasmania, you’ll need to catch a ferry (a 9-11 hour trip each day) or fly (at least a 2-hour flight).
Many people do multiple laps of Australia in their own way, and some people travel for years just exploring one region; never making their way around.
- Some people race around in less than 2 months by ignoring Tasmania and many of Australia’s highlights – usually swearing that they have to do it again but slower, taking a lot longer.
- I wouldn’t recommend this. If you only have 2 months, just pick a few areas and get to them with a combination of plane, train, car, or boat.
Mainland Australia is massive, measuring about a 7.7million square kilometres.
- It is about 3,860km / 2,485 miles long from the top north to the bottom south.
- It is about 4,000km / 2,398miles wide from east to west.
If you compare the relative size of countries, accounting for the curvature of the Earth:
- Australia is about 3,078% larger than the United Kingdom
- The UK is about 3.15% the size of Australia.
- China is about 24% larger than Australia.
- The United States is also larger, by about 27%.