Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip
"Sydney to Melbourne - Beautiful beaches, stunning coastlines, national parks and wildlife - what more could you ask for!"
This makes for a fantastic road trip. The journey is not too long so you can really see a varied collection of towns and stop offs along the way without any long stretches of driving.
Given most travellers intend to visit Sydney, this is a great way of seeing more of Australia without having to go too far. I can't recommend a trip more. Sydney to Melbourne is a classic trip with something for everyone.
When to Come?
The Sydney to Melbourne is the sort of trip that you can enjoy all year round. But given the focus on beaches and the outdoors, it's best to come in summer.
Even better come in the shoulder season when the temperatures are a bit cooler and the roads a little quieter - November or February would be ideal.
(School holidays last most of January and this is the hardest time to find accommodation and it's also the most expensive.)
How Long Will It Take from Sydney to Melbourne?
Sydney to Melbourne is approx 900km and so would take you approx 9 hours if you took the quickest route (inland along the Hume highway). This route is easiest if you wanted to incorporate Canberra which is the capital of Australia.
But taking the coastal road of Sydney to Melbourne(my recommendation) is longer - more like 1100km and would take about 14 hours of straight driving. It's visually more stunning and there is more to see and do - that's providing you like beaches, coastal towns, national parks and wildlife! You can easily take a detour to visit Canberra should you so wish.
There is enough to see along this route to take 7 days. But if you have limited time, then try and spend 5 days. You could do it in 3 if you really had to, focusing on Jervis Bay and Batemans Bay. The beauty of a road trip is that you can stay at the places you love and move on from the places you don't.
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Best Stop Off Destinations Sydney to Melbourne
So here are my favourite stop off destinations for Sydney to Melbourne:
SYDNEY TO KIAMA - 120km stop for lunch
Getting out of Sydney itself can take a little time (avoid rush hour) but once you are on the road to Wollongong, the traffic starts to ease and you can enjoy the glimpses of ocean views. Wollongong itself is OK. It's a university town with enough going on but after Sydney, it's nothing out of the ordinary. I'd press on to Kiama NSW., which is about 2 hours from Sydney.
This is a great place to stop and have lunch. There's a lovely row of shops with some good cafes to choose from. Make sure you drive through the village to the coastline to see Kiama's blowhole. If the sea is rough, you'll be in for a treat, as this is when the blowhole is at its most powerful!
KIAMA to JERVIS BAY (1 to 2 nights - you could spend a week here though)
The road between Kiama NSW and Jervis Bay is not altogether interesting but in just over an hour you will be in Jervis Bay. It's one of my most favourite places to go for a weekend away from Sydney. It has the most amazing beaches,(see top picture on this page,) relaxed atmosphere and a total holiday vibe. It features on my Australia National Parks page if you want to know more.
JERVIS BAY TO BATEMANS BAY (1 to 2 nights)
Whilst it's only an hour or so on from Jervis Bay, I still think its worth stopping off at Batemans Bay. for at least a day as there is lots to do here.
Another beautiful area with lots to do. There's fantastic beaches, a National Park to explore, not to mention the famous beach where you find Kangaroos hopping on the beach - definitely stop off at Batemans Bay
BATEMANS BAY TO EDEN (1 night)
Another 200km along you'll come to the beautiful river town of Eden nsw. The Killer Whale Museum here is well worth a stop off. Spend the night here and take the time to visit Ben Boyd National Park and if you fancy learning to fish, stop off at Merimbulla before arriving in Eden nsw.
EDEN to INVERLOCH VIA BAIRNSDALE AND PHILLIP ISLAND (1 night or 2 if you stay in Bairnsdale)
This is the longest day in terms of travel distance so stopping off in the picturesque town of Bairnsdale is a good idea. You could stay here too if you want to break up the journey. A good place to stay in Bairnsdale is the newly opened Mercure Bairnsdale
Otherwise you'll need an early start to travel the 5-6 hours to Phillip Island Australia
Most travellers have heard of Phillip Island Australia. (pictured above) It's famous for its Koalas, Penguins, Pelicans and grand prix race course. I found it a bit touristy so would rather spend an afternoon here and then head onto Inverloch. You are pretty much nearly in Melbourne at this point (Inverloch is only about an hour out of Melbourne)
Inverloch itself is a really pretty seaside town with a cute shell museum. It felt a much nicer place to stay than Phillip Island itself where accommodation was a bit pricey.
You can stay in Inverloch at RACV Inverloch Resort
Wilsons Prom in this same area has one of the most amazing campsites I have ever stayed in - and I usually hate camping! It's on the most southerly tip of the mainland of Australia and I have never experienced anything like it. We stayed in luxury tents too so no need to rough it! Don't miss this one and make sure you book in advance.
From Inverloch, it's only an hour or so into the heart of Melbourne and you'll find plenty of things to do in Melbourne.
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