Want to go from Sydney to Melbourne (or the other way round) by car? This is a great idea!
Most of the time, people will recommend you fly between Sydney and Melbourne and it is indeed the fastest way to do it but if you have a few days ahead of your, it’s worth considering a road trip. The landscapes between Sydney and Melbourne are incredibly beautiful and there are so many things to see and places to stop.
There are two ways to go from Sydney to Melbourne, inland and via the coast drive. They are both great options. The itinerary inland is quicker and includes fewer stops. The itinerary along the coast is a bit longer and there is way more to see. It’s up to you to decide what you are more excited about and how much time you have ahead of you.
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Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip: Itinerary along the coast
Length: 1300 km
Time: 12 days
1 – Sydney
Sydney is a very cool city. Very different from Melbourne. It’s a great start for your Australia Road trip. Here are a few things to check out while you are in Sydney:
- Opera House
- Sydney Harbour & Circular Quay
- Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Bondi Beach
I’d recommend to stay at least 3 days in Sydney.
If you wish to book a hotel in Sydney, try to stay in the city centre. There are trains but if you manage to stay near Circular Quay you will get access to everything very easily. It will save you quite some time.
2 – Royal National Park
Located in the south of Sydney, the Royal National Park is the best way to start this road trip. You will find a bit of everything there. Hikers are going to love it! You will find lagoons, dunes, cliffs and the famous figure 8 rock pools.
3 – Wollongong
Wollongong is located 80 km south of Sydney. This coastal city is perfect to relax for a couple of days and for surfers. You will find loads of long and quiet beaches to relax, read a book, play frisbee and surf! If you want to go for a hike, Mount Keira is a good option.
4 – Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay offers some of the whitest sanded beaches in the world. The water is clear turquoise. Basically a little piece of heaven!
Located about 3h drive from Sydney, this popular summer holiday destination is ideal if you want to relax on the beach or go scuba diving!
It’s also a great place to see dolphins and whales.
5 – Eden
Eden will be your last stop in New South Wales. This little fishing village is perfect for whale watching. Of course whales only come twice a year so you’ve got to check it’s the right season but there is a big concentration of whales coming there each year. Also, it’s a cute place and will be a good stop on that long trip.
6 – Lakes Entrance
Lakes Entrance is the opening to Australia’s largest inland network of waterways. You can go on a walk or surfing on the Ninety Mile Beach but also explore the lakes with a kayak or paddleboard.
Stop at the tourist information centre and they will be able to advise you on the best things to do depending on the time you want to spend there.
7 – Wilson Promontory National Park
Wilson Promontory is one of the best national parks in Australia. If you love hiking, you will literally fall in love with the place. The beautiful thing about it is that it’s a mix of mountains and beaches.
The main mountain is named Mount Oberon. The hike to get to the top can be a bit hard but is definitely worth it.
Here are another few hikes worth doing: Lilly Pully Gully, Squeaky Beach, Tidal River and Darby Beach.
You will get to see beautiful landscapes, discover Australian wildlife and walk on white-sanded beaches.
It’s also a great place to camp.
8 – Phillip Island
Phillip Island is particularly known for being home to many penguins. You can see them all day long but the best moment to see them is at sunset as they gather for the parade. It’s a truly unique experience.
The island itself is very pretty as well and is a great place to go for walks. You can walk along the coast and will get beautiful views on the cliffs. You can also see seals in some places.
There is a bridge between Australia mainland and Phillip Island. It’s very was to access it.
9 – French Island
French Island National Park is very underrated and way less famous than Phillip Island. Yet, it’s a great place to go to. You will need to catch a ferry to go on the island but it is worth it.
It’s a great place to discover Australian wildlife. You can spot koalas, walibis and much more. It’s very well preserved and perfect for walks and hikes.
10 – Mornington Peninsula
Located in the southeast of Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula is a great holiday destination. There are many scenic drives, beaches and walks. It’s a good place to stop by. Very relaxed.
11 – Brighton Beach
Once you reach Brighton Beach, you are already arriving in Melbourne but are still quite far from the CBD. The beach itself isn’t particularly beautiful but the is very famous for having all these Australian beach houses. They are very colourful and it’s a great opportunity to take photos. From the beach, you will get a wonderful view on Melbourne city. It’s very pretty.
You only need to stop by for a couple of hours.
12 – Melbourne
Yaaaay! You made it! Welcome to Melbourne! Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria and is an amazing city!
There are so many things to do in Melbourne! The CBD is always a good start with Flinders Station, down to Remembrance Monument (where you can get a very nice view on the city). Carlton, the Italian quarter, is great for food and coffee. If you want to go to the beach, you need to go to Saint-Kilda. Only beach in the city, this is a very nice suburb. Very lively!
If you like street art, you need to check out Fitzroy.
Personally, I’d recommend booking a hotel or hostel in St Kilda or Carlton as they are very nice neighbouroods. It’s easy to access the CBD from there.
Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip: Inland itinerary
Length: 1200 km
Time: 7 days
1 – Sydney
2 – Blue Mountains National Park
The Blue Mountains are a beautiful National Park located a few kilometers west of Sydney. The main town is Katoomba, from there you can start many hikes and some viewpoints. Check out the panoramic views of the Jamison Valley and the Three Sisters. The Scenic Skyway is a wonderful glass cablecar ride, famous to be the steepest in the world. The hikes will take you through the bush to aboriginal sites and will be an incredible opportunity to discover the wildlife and wonderful landscapes.
The incredible thing about it is that the mountains are actually blue. The eucalyptus trees give this colour to the landscape. Absolutely unique and magical!
3 – Canberra
Canberra is the capital of Australia. It’s been built on purpose to be the capital, therefore is quite a recent city.
There are many parks and museums. The museums in Canberra are the best you will find in Australia! I particularly recommend the National Museum of Australia.
Canberra is also home to all the parliament and all political institutions.
The city centre is ideal if you want to go shopping.
Finally, if you want to enjoy a beautiful view of the city, drive up the Black Mountain and you will get a 360 degrees view of Canberra.
4 – Alpine National Park
Although it’s a bit of a detour, the Alpine National Park is worth it! Located in the central region of the state of Victoria, the Alpine National Park has wonderful mountains, ideal for hiking and skiing! Yes, you can skii in Australia! Check out the following places for the best hikes and skiing experiences: Mount Hotham, Mount Bogong, Mount Feathertop and Falls Creek.
5 – Melbourne
These two Sydney to Melbourne road trip itineraries are great options and will give you the chance to discover some of the best things to see in Australia. You can also combine them and do a round trip if you wish!
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