Road trip from Melbourne to Sydney

There’s perhaps nothing more iconic in Australia than a Melbourne to Sydney road trip. The drive between Australia’s two largest cities has a little bit of everything; stunning beaches, secluded camping spots, rugged national parks, pretty coastal towns, and a vibrant vanlife community.

Whether you’ve got a campervan or taking the trip in your own vehicle, the coastal route between Melbourne and Sydney is one of my favourite drives. It allows you to explore the Gippsland area of Victoria and the South Coast of New South Wales; two regions that I’ve spent a lot of time over the last two years.

If you’ve got two weeks or more up your sleeve, then I’ve compiled the ultimate Melbourne to Sydney road trip itinerary to help you craft the perfect trip. Slip into the slow lane, switch off in some of the campgrounds, and enjoy life on the east coast of Australia.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I get a commission if you buy a product through my link at no extra cost to you. By doing so, I can keep this blog going and continue to create helpful guides for you. Read more: Privacy Policy

Quick Look at a Two Week Itinerary for Melbourne to Sydney Road Trip

  • Distance: 1,300+ km (if visiting suggested places)
  • Time: Two weeks minimum
  • Day 1: Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory National Park
  • Day 2: Wilsons Prom
  • Day 3: Wilsons Prom to Lakes Entrance
  • Day 4: Lakes Entrance to Mallacoota
  • Day 5: Mallacoota to Merimbula
  • Day 6: Merimbula to Bermagui
  • Day 7: Bermagui to Narooma
  • Day 8: Narooma to Murramarang National Park
  • Day 9: Murramarang National Park to Ulladulla
  • Day 10: Ulladulla to Huskisson
  • Day 11: Huskisson to Jervis Bay or Currarong
  • Day 12: Jervis Bay or Currarong to Kiama
  • Day 13: Kiama to Royal National Park
  • Day 14: Royal National Park to Sydney
The Ultimate Melbourne to Sydney Road Trip Itinerary

How Long to Spend Driving from Melbourne to Sydney

You can drive Melbourne to Sydney in 2-3 days if you have minimal breaks and take the quickest route inland. However, this means you’d miss out on all the incredible things there are to do and see between Australia’s two biggest cities.

I recommend taking at least two weeks to do the road trip. This means you really get to enjoy the pretty coastal towns and have time to relax on the beautiful beaches en route. Plus, it means you won’t have many long driving days.

This blog post is based on taking the slow way up the east coast. You could, of course, drive inland to reach Sydney from Melbourne, but I’m going to detail the scenic coastal route instead.

If you have less than two weeks, then I’d say you could skip Wilsons Prom, Merimbula, Murramarang National Park, Jervis Bay and Currarong, and Royal National Park, from my suggested itinerary.

But if you have more than two weeks (even better!), then I’m going to outline a couple of places you can add to your itinerary below. These include, Phillip Island, Tarra-Bulga National Park, Cape Conran, Budawang National Park and Kangaroo Valley.

Right Point carpark
Phillip Island

Tips for a Melbourne to Sydney Road Trip

  • Don’t forget roadside assistance and/or travel insurance as you never know what might happen along the way
  • Download Petrol Spy app or similar to find the cheapest fuel on the way, as some of the fuel stations charge a lot more on the coast
  • Distances between towns are not as vast as the Adelaide to Darwin road trip, but you should still schedule regular breaks or opt for this two week itinerary below which doesn’t cover huge distances per day
  • If you plan this road trip during summer, be prepared for plenty of crowds on the coast and campgrounds are often booked out well in advance, so plan ahead
  • Don’t forget to purchase a NSW Parks Pass if you plan on visiting Murramarang and Royal National Parks or others
  • Avoid driving at night as this is the most dangerous time to drive, especially with so much wildlife on the road. Ensure you reach camp or a town before sunset
Free camping in Gippsland
Log Crossing Picnic Area – Lakes Entrance

Where to Stay Along the Way

As you drive the coastal route between Melbourne and Sydney, there’s plenty of options for accommodation. If you’re taking a campervan or car camping setup, then you’ll find some incredible campgrounds from free beach camps to caravan parks in towns. Download WikiCamps to find the best spots.

Otherwise, there’s accommodation for all budgets, from cheap motels to apartments with sea views. You’ll find some of my recommendations below under each stop, plus some free camping locations as well.

Read next: 10 Best Campgrounds on the South Coast

Melbourne to Sydney Road Trip Itinerary

If you have two weeks to drive from Melbourne to Sydney, then this itinerary suggests all the best places to stop and things to do on the way. From beautiful national parks to friendly coastal towns, you’ll be able to see the best of Gippsland and the NSW South Coast as you make your way between the two largest cities in Australia.

Driving to Wilsons Prom
Driving to Wilsons Prom

Day 1: Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory National Park

Distance: 225 km
Time: 3.5 hours

It may seem a little out of the way (you could easily skip Wilsons Prom and just drive straight to Lakes Entrance, if you’re short on time), but Wilsons Prom National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Victoria (some may even say Australia!).

The peninsula extending out into the ocean is the southernmost point of mainland Australia and is characterised by rugged mountains, pristine beaches, an abundance of native wildlife and some fantastic walks.

Tidal River is the main hub of the national park and is where the camping and accommodation is located. It’s around a 30-minute drive beyond the entrance gate and on the west coast of the peninsula.

On the way from Melbourne and after you enter the park, stop on the way to Tidal River at some of the following spots:

  • The Big Drift sand dunes
  • Mount Bishop summit walk
  • Squeaky Beach
Right Point
Phillip Island

Add: Phillip Island

If you have a bit more time up your sleeve, I’d recommend adding a couple of days to visit Phillip Island before heading to Wilsons Prom. The popular coastal island in South Gippsland is a well-known family holiday destination, with a rugged coastline, sandy beaches, waves worthy of surfers of all levels, and the bubbly main hub of Cowes.

It’s also famous for being home to the fairy penguins that come ashore each night. However, the island has plenty of other things to do, including great walks, beaches, adventure activities, events and cafes.

Read next: 26 Best Things to Do on Phillip Island

Little Oberon Bay
Little Oberon Bay

Day 2: Explore Wilsons Prom

I recommend staying in Wilsons Prom for two nights as this gives you more time to explore the incredible national park. On your full day, you can complete some day walks such as:

  • Oberon Bay
  • Mount Oberon
  • Fairy Cove

Read next: Complete Guide to Wilsons Prom National Park

90 Mile Beach
90 Mile Beach

Day 3: Wilsons Prom to Lakes Entrance

Distance: 286 km
Time: 4 hours

This is a decent half day drive, but there’s plenty of opportunities to stop along the way. Lakes Entrance is another popular holiday destination in Victoria and is a pretty fishing and port town on the Gippsland coast.

During the drive from Tidal River to Lakes Entrance, I recommend exploring 90 Mile Beach and the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park with stops in Seaspray and Paynesville. Otherwise, you can easily spend the afternoon on Lakes Entrance Beach, as well.

Stay in Lakes Entrance | Echo Beach Tourist Park or Waverley House Cottages

Prefer free camping? Head to Log Crossing Picnic Area in Colquhoun Regional Park just outside of town for a beautiful bush camp near the rail trail.

View of the Corrigan Suspension Bridge
View of the Corrigan Suspension Bridge

Add: Tarra-Bulga National Park

If you have some extra time or leave Wilsons Prom early in the morning, make a stop in at Tarra-Bulga National Park on the way to Lakes. Once you reach Yarram on the South Gippsland Highway, you can turn off towards the national park via the Tarra Valley Road. This windy, skinny road is incredibly beautiful and leads to the several walks and waterfalls in the national park.

Don’t miss:

  • Cyathea Falls
  • Corrigan Suspension Bridge
  • Tarra Falls

Read more: Walks and Waterfalls in Tarra-Bulga National Park

View of Mallacoota inlet from Genoa Peak
View of Mallacoota inlet from Genoa Peak

Day 4: Lakes Entrance to Mallacoota

Distance: 202 km
Time: 2.5 hours

The relatively short drive from Lakes Entrance to Mallacoota is quite varied. It’s an easy drive on the A1; you’ll cross the mighty Snowy River in Orbost, then wind your way through the bush to Cann River, before reaching the turnoff for Mallacoota in Genoa.

If you’re a keen hiker, you should have time to head to Genoa Peak and hike up to the top for a spectacular panoramic view of Croajingolong National Park and the Mallacoota Inlet. The turn off for this is just before Genoa.

Considering how secluded the small town of Mallacoota is, it’s a popular summer destination for Victorians. Surrounded by national park, home to fluffy koala bears, and some incredible walks, I loved my time in Mallacoota.

With some stunning natural beauty, you can enjoy fishing, boating, SUP-ing, kayaking and walking. Outside of summer, you’ll find the chilled town an incredible oasis from the South Coast of NSW further up.

Stay in Mallacoota | Shady Gully Caravan Park or The Wave Oasis B&B

Prefer free camping? Stay in Genoa at the recreation reserve, which operates on a donation basis, plenty of room with a large grassed area and toilets for tents, camper vans and caravans.

Cape Conran
Cape Conran

Add: Cape Conran

Between Marlo and Bemm River, Cape Conran is somewhat of a hidden gem for anyone who doesn’t live in Gippsland. While it’s a longstanding family favourite for locals, I would say most people driving from Melbourne to Sydney would never know it was there.

Cape Conran Coastal Park is home to some rugged beaches and walking trails, secluded camping spots amongst Banksias and Manna Gums, and a wide cast of wildlife from monitors to whales.

I camped at the main campground, Banksia Bluff, which is the perfect place to switch off and and enjoy some serenity. Otherwise, there’s also more remote camps with less facilities.

The Pinnacles Beowa National Park
The Pinnacles Beowa National Park

Day 5: Mallacoota to Merimbula

Distance: 111 km
Time: 1.5 hours

A relatively short driving day, but there’s plenty of things to see between Mallacoota and Merimbula. From Mallacoota, the New South Wales border is just a short drive north and then, you’ll be driving along what is referred to as the South Coast (of NSW).

Merimbula itself is a popular holiday resort town that is heaving in summer. Nicely situated between Merimbula Lake and Merimbula Bay, there’s plenty of beautiful beaches and water activities to partake in.

Places to stop along the way to Merimbula include:

  • Green Cape Lighthouse (Beowa National Park)
  • Eden
  • The Pinnacles (Beowa National Park)
  • Pambula Beach

Stay in Merimbula | Beach Cabins Merimbula or Hillcrest Motel

Read next: 20 Best Places to Visit on the South Coast (from Eden to Sydney)

Day 6: Merimbula to Bermagui

Distance: 68 km
Time: 1 hour

From Merimbula, you could continue north on the A1, but I recommend taking Sapphire Coast Drive and Tathra-Bermagui Road instead. These quieter roads will get you to Bermagui on a more scenic drive closer to the coast.

This also means you can stop in the pretty little town of Tathra and explore Mimosa Rocks National Park on the way.

Bermagui is one of my favourite towns on a Melbourne to Sydney road trip, so it’s worth spending the day around town. Check out the famous Bermagui Blue Pool, an artificial ocean rock pool, where you can spot dolphins and seals throughout most of the year, and even whales in winter.

Stay in Bermagui | Bermagui Beach Hotel or Reflections Holiday Park

View of Dalmeny from Narooma
View of Dalmeny from Narooma

Day 7: Bermagui to Narooma

Distance: 34 km
Time: 30 minutes

I know the driving times are getting shorter, but there’s just too many nice places to stop. Narooma is arguably one of the most naturally beautiful places on the South Coast. With the Wagonga Inlet, coastal lakes, sandy coves and some of the clearest water, a day around Narooma is worth planning.

Some of the best things to do in Narooma include:

  • Australia Rock
  • Seal Rocks
  • Swimming in Wagonga Beach
  • Mill Bay Boardwalk
  • Cycle from Narooma to Dalmeny
  • Glasshouse Rocks

Stay in Narooma | The Beach Shack at Dalmeny or Beachfront Apartments

Prefer free camping? Head just north of Dalmeny on the A1 to Bodalla Forest Rest Area for a beautiful and convenient free camping spot with toilets.

Depot Beach
Depot Beach

Day 8: Narooma to Murramarang National Park

Distance: 90 km
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Murramarang National Park is one of the most beautiful coastal parks in New South Wales. Spanning over 40km of coastline from Batemans Bay up to Bawley Point, it’s where the dense bushland meets the sea.

Walking, fishing, swimming, surfing and camping are just some of the popular activities you can do in the park. I stayed at Depot Beach Campground, which has great camping facilities surrounded by the bush and crashing waves. Otherwise, there are other campgrounds to choose from too.

If you don’t want to camp in the national park, you can either stop before it in Batemans Bay area or continue north to Ulladulla and just visit the park for the day.

Surfing at Mollymook
Surfing at Mollymook

Day 9: Murramarang National Park to Ulladulla

Distance: 48 km
Time: 45 minutes

A short drive from Murramarang National Park is Ulladulla; another of my favourite towns on the South Coast. The Ulladulla/Mollymook area has some great surf breaks, long beaches, trendy shops and cafes, and friendly locals. It’s probably the place I’ve stayed the longest on my Melbourne to Sydney road trip.

There’s so much to do in the area, try to find time for:

  • Warden Head Lighthouse
  • Surfing at Dolphin Point or Collers Beach
  • Walking along Mollymook Beach
  • Lunch or a drink in the historic town of Milton

Stay in Ulladulla | Motel Molly Boutique Hotel or Ingenia Holidays Ulladulla

Add: Budawang National Park and Morton National Park

If you’re a keen hiker, then heading inland for a day or two to the Budawangs is a must. An incredible wilderness area that is rugged and isolated and filled with some epic hikes and views, as well as basic camping.

Some of the roads are a bit rough for a 2WD, so it’s best to check road and trail conditions in Batemans Bay or Ulladulla before heading out. Some of the best walks to do in the region include:

  • Pigeon House Walking Track
  • The Castle Walking Track (very hard!)
  • Fitzroy Falls
  • Mount Budawang
  • Mount Bushwalker

Read next: What to Pack for a Day Hike

Huskisson beach
Huskisson beach

Day 10: Ulladulla to Huskisson

Distance: 54 km
Time: 45 minutes

From one popular holiday town to the next. Huskisson is arguably one of the most well-known spots for the summer madness. It’s not hard to see why though, with stunning beaches, a main street full of cafes and shops, whale watching cruises leaving right from the harbour, and several beachfront caravan parks.

However, it’s Huskisson’s vicinity to some of the South Coast’s most beautiful spots that makes it an ideal stop. You can explore nearby Hyams Beach (claims to have the whitest sand in Australia), Currarong and the Beecroft Peninsula and Jervis Bay. More on these below.

Stay in Huskisson | The Beach Studio or Jervis Bay Holiday Park

Day 11: Huskisson to Currarong or Jervis Bay

If you’re sticking to a 2 week itinerary then you’ll have to choose between exploring Jervis Bay or the Beecroft Peninsula. If you have more time, then you can do both. The two peninsula’s either side of Huskisson have stunning white sand beaches that are arguably some of the most beautiful in the country. You can do either as a day trip from Huskisson or stay the night in Currarong or camp inside Booderee National Park on Jervis Bay.

In Currarong, don’t miss the rock pools on Currarong Beach and head off on foot in the Abrahams Bosom Reserve to the famous Gosangs Tunnel, a unique rock tunnel with views of the rugged coastline.

Gosangs Tunnel
Gosangs Tunnel

The rest of the peninsula is controlled by the navy, but it opens on weekends and in holidays for exploring more of the coast, including Honeymoon Bay and Point Perpendicular Lighthouse.

Down in Jervis Bay, explore Booderee National Park, home to white sand beaches, crystal clear water, high coastal cliffs, and native wildlife. You can stay at one of the campgrounds, such as Green Patch or Cave Beach, and spend the day beach hopping from one cove to the next.

View of Kiama
View of Kiama

Day 12: Jervis Bay or Currarong to Kiama

Distance: 66 km
Time: 1 hour

The short drive from the Huskisson area up to Kiama takes you through Nowra, one of the largest towns on the South Coast. Then, you can add a side trip to Kangaroo Valley if you have time (more on this next), otherwise continue through Berry (another beautiful historic town) to Kiama.

Kiama has become one of the most popular weekend getaways from Sydney. The attractive town is built over the rolling cliffs of Illawarra, with rock pools, natural blow holes, and stunning viewpoints.

Kiama blowhole
Kiama blowhole

The main street is filled with cafes and boutique shops, but it’s the surrounding sights that makes Kiama one of my favourite spots on the South Coast. Don’t miss the Kiama rock pool, lighthouse and famous blowhole which are all nearby on Blowhole Point, walking distance from the Main Street.

It’s also worth visiting Bombo Headland Geological Site just south of Kiama Downs. This is a really unique rock formation area, with a nice walk and some great surf at Boneyard Beach. Continue up to Minnamurra, if you have time for some whale watching and beautiful views.

Stay in Kiama | Kiama Shores or Surf Beach Holiday Park

Read more: 18 Best Things to Do in Kiama

Minnamurra Lookout
Minnamurra Lookout

Add: Kangaroo Valley

Swap the coast for the rainforest with a slight detour off the South Coast to Kangaroo Valley. It’s just 45km inland from Kiama on a windy and steep road up and over the escarpment. But, you’ll find a quaint town, amongst lush green forest and on the banks of the tumbling Kangaroo River.

It’s become a favourite spot for a nature reset, with great walks nearby, waterfalls and good food. Stay the night if you can, and try the Red Rock Trig walk, kayaking down the river or visit the farmers market on the weekend.

Stay in Kangaroo Valley | Wildes Hotel or Gumnut Tiny Stay

Coledale Beach near Wollongong
Coledale Beach near Wollongong

Day 13: Kiama to Royal National Park

Distance: 90 km
Time: 1.5 hours

After Kiama, you’ll pass through Wollongong, another large town on the South Coast. This surf city has plenty of beaches to check out. Otherwise, jump off the M1 and onto Grand Pacific Drive.

This scenic drive takes you along the coast and over the famous Sea Cliff Bridge across the ocean. Then, you’ll come to Royal National Park, just outside of Sydney. You could easily skip this park if you wanted, but I recommend spending a night camping in the park or staying nearby to experience some of the walks and coastal views.

Some of the best walks include:

  • Figure 8 Pools
  • Wattamolla to Eagle Rock
  • Karloo Pools
  • The Coast Track (multi-day)

Day 14: Royal National Park to Sydney

Distance: 35 km
Time: 1 hour

From Royal National Park, you’re basically in Sydney and have completed the Melbourne to Sydney road trip! If you’re looking for day trips from Sydney, there are so many national parks on the outskirts of the city:

  • Blue Mountains National Park
  • Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
  • Dharug National Park
  • Bouddi National Park

Want More Epic Road Trips in Australia?

Pin this post

Melbourne to Sydney road trip pin

You might also enjoy:

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: