12 May, 2023
Last updated on 13 May, 2023
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Posted by Spaceships Crew
Sydney to Melbourne is one of the most iconic drives in Australia. If you’re planning a journey down under with one of our super sturdy and spacious Spaceship campers, you simply have to check out this famous coastal route which takes you all the way from the region of New South Wales to Victoria along the southeastern corner of the island nation. You’ll experience everything from rugged coastline to surfer beaches, quaint little seaside towns to waterfall walks, and we promise you that there’ll be some pretty awesome food and some ice-cold beers waiting for you along the way too
From Sydney to Melbourne or from Melbourne to Sydney?
An excellent question, future Space Traveller. Is there a difference in which way to go when travelling between Sydney and Melbourne? When it comes to renting a campervan - which can also be used for just driving aka as a hire car - the direction doesn't matter. Spaceships Rentals has depots in both Sydney and Melbourne and as there are no fees for one-way trips you can pick up your campervan in one location and drop it off at the other location, as long as you book it like that.
When it comes to scenery and attractions it doesn't matter either. Driving from Sydney to Melbourne is just as amazing as from Melbourne to Sydney. All sights and attractions are accessible and beautiful regardless of which direction you're coming from. However, there may be other factors to consider, for example, the weather.
Depending on the time of year, the weather could influence your decision. For instance, if you're travelling during the summer, Melbourne's weather can be a bit more unpredictable than Sydney's. In this case, you might choose to start in Melbourne and head to Sydney to end your trip on a potentially sunnier note.
Leave Sydney behind to explore New South Wales on your way to Melbourne
Planning your trip: from Sydney to Melbourne
The journey will begin in the illustrious city of Sydney, a sprawling and cosmopolitan city set at the foothills of the Blue Mountains and set along the coast of the South Pacific. Everybody knows Sydney and anyone who comes here loves it so we would definitely recommend spending some quality time here checking out the sights.
Your route will then take you along the coast past Wollongong down through the Australian Capital Territory - home to the capital of Canberra located further inland and a great diversion if you wish - then down through Batemans Bay, Dalmeny, Wallaga Lake, Eden and Green Cape where the journey will be an awe-inspiring mix of secluded beaches, rugged rocks and lush green hills.
When you drive through Ben Boyd National Park in particular (at the edge of the Capital Territory), the coastline will be complemented by the verdant vegetation. The next bit of the journey will curve down to face the south approaching the Bass Strait and will take you through a number of small national park zones as well as some pretty towns and villages set along the seafront such as Golden Beach, The Honeysuckles and the iconic Ninety Mile Beach Marine National Park
The furthest south you will go is Corner Inlet Marine & Coastal Park before choosing a suitable route to head up to Melbourne, another city that is definitely worth a few days of exploring.
Driving from Sydney to Melbourne (itinerary)
If you’ve got the luxury of time, this iconic coastal drive could easily be a 14-day adventure, giving you ample time at your starting destination and your final destination to really get into the swing of Aussie city life and rub shoulders with the local crowds. But if you don’t have two weeks, we think a 7-night / 8-day adventure is sufficient to get a real taste of the Aussie coast. Here’s a rough 8-day itinerary.
Day 1: Sydney to Nowra
Embark on the scenic Grand Pacific Drive, journeying from Sydney to Nowra via the M1 highway. Marvel at the Sea Cliff Bridge, stretching majestically over the ocean. Consider a stop in Wollongong for a stroll on the beach or a coffee break. Continue towards Nowra, passing the stunning Seven Mile Beach and the renowned Coolangatta wine estate.
Day 2: Nowra to Batemans Bay
Travel to Batemans Bay, a region brimming with gorgeous beaches and seafront picnic spots. Enjoy birdwatching or even dolphin spotting. Must-see locations along this coastal drive include Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach known for its pristine white sand, and Booderee National Park. Make a stop at Ulladulla, a popular resting point, before settling for the night in Batemans Bay.
Day 3: Batemans Bay to Eden
Follow the A1 highway to Eden, taking pit stops at charming places like Mogo, Central Tilba, Wallaga Lake, Mimosa Rocks, Bega, and Pambula. These towns are rich in culture, history, and natural beauty.
Day 4: Eden to Bairnsdale
Venture further inland from Eden towards Bairnsdale along the A1 highway. Pass by the serene Wingan River, Tonghi Creek, and the diverse ecosystems of Lind National Park and Cabbage Tree Creek. Optionally, take a detour via the C616 to explore the verdant Errinundra National Park.
Day 5: Bairnsdale to Walhalla
On day 5, navigate through the A1, C105, C481, and finally, C461, leading away from the coast to Walhalla, nestled on the edge of Baw Baw National Park. Adorned with lush greenery, this area offers several campervan and camping sites.
Day 6: Walhalla to Foster
Embark on the C481, then follow the B460, C455, and A440 to reach Foster. You can extend this 2-hour journey with a few stops, such as the Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park, a haven for marine life.
Day 7: Foster to Phillip Island
Head towards Fish Creek and pass through San Remo, a fishing paradise, before arriving at Phillip Island. Spend the day exploring local wineries and enjoying the island's wildlife.
Day 8: Phillip Island to Melbourne
Start your day exploring the beaches of Phillip Island. Then, take the route through the picturesque Mornington Peninsula en route to Melbourne. Consider a stop in Mornington for its quaint cafes and boutiques. Upon arrival in Melbourne, drop off your vehicle at the Spaceships Melbourne depot. If time allows, spend a few days exploring the vibrant city of Melbourne.
Explore the lane-ways of Melbourne - Check out amazing street art
Must-sees on this iconic route from Sydney to Melbourne
Itineraries, like rules, are made to be broken. If you fancy taking a detour, take a detour! That’s the real beauty of our Spaceships campervans – you are in full control of your journey and you can do as much or as little as you like. The rough driving itinerary provided above gives you an outline view of what you can get up to and where you could go during your trip but ultimately, the world is your oyster when it comes to Spaceshipping around Australia.
To give you a little further inspiration, here are some things that we just love about the Sydney-Melbourne coastal drive.
Bondi Beach, Sydney. There are so many sights and attractions in Sydney so you’ll really be spoiled for choice and even though you’ll be encountering so many beaches along the coast, we still think Bondi is worth a visit. It’s the atmosphere that makes it such a great place and it’s awesome for surfing too.
Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney. This is one of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks so don’t miss it before you hit the highway!
Stanwell Tops, Stanwell Park. Not too far out of the city of Sydney is Stanwell Tops, a great place for a picnic if you ask us. So pack up a sarnie, some Anzac Biscuits and heat up some billy tea then sit back to soak up the views.
Seven Mile Beach, Berry. The historic town of Berry makes a great stopping point for lunch if you didn’t stop for a picnic back at Stanwell. It’s also located close to the beautiful Seven Mile Beach.
Clyde River, Batemans Bay. Park up at Batemans Bay and take a river cruise along the Clyde River with the local boat hire and then feast on freshly caught oysters at the bay’s oyster bars.
Jervis Bay, Huskisson In between Sydney and Nowra, this is a must-stop location. Jervis Bay boasts some of Australia's most beautiful white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. It's also a great place for dolphin and whale watching.
The Blowhole, Kiama. This natural spectacle is one of the largest blowholes in the world. When the sea is running from the southeast, large waves enter the mouth of the Blowhole & compress the air within the inner cavity, forcing a plume of water to explode vertically into the air.
Tilba and Central Tilba. These are heritage-listed villages, located between Batemans Bay and Eden. Enjoy the well-preserved, old-world charm, and consider stopping at the ABC Cheese Factory for some local dairy delights.
Ben Boyd National Park, Eden. Just south of Eden, this park is renowned for its stunning coastal vistas, rich Aboriginal and European heritage, and plentiful wildlife, including whales, dolphins, eagles, and lyrebirds.
Ninety Mile Beach, Lakes Entrance. This is one of the longest uninterrupted beaches in the world. Lakes Entrance, where the beach begins, is also the gateway to the Gippsland Lakes, Australia's largest and most beautiful inland water system.
Baw Baw National Park, Walhalla. While in Walhalla, it's worth exploring this national park, which offers excellent hiking, skiing, and bushwalking opportunities.
Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse, Wilsons Promontory. Located at the southernmost tip of Australia's mainland, this lighthouse offers sweeping views of the Bass Strait and the surrounding national park.
Whale Watching at Twofold Bay, Eden. This is one of the few places in the world where you can see Humpback Whales feeding during their southern migration in springtime. The calm waters provide perfect viewing opportunities and cruises operate from late September through to late November.
Koala Conservation Centre, Phillip Island. The Phillip Island conservation centre for koalas is such an awesome place to stop off and we definitely recommend it to anyone who loves animals. You can come face to face with these cute, furry creatures in their own habitat and the centre has been designed to offer maximum accessibility for wheelchairs and prams too.
Mogo Zoo, Mogo. The historic town of Mogo is worth checking out if you love boutique shopping and as a 19th Century gold mining village, Mogo has a fantastic old-world feel. Animal lovers should also pop into Mogo Zoo, where guests can enjoy the most amazing animal encounters with lions, tigers, lemurs, Bolivian squirrel monkeys and rhinos.
Penguin Parade, Phillip Island. In addition to the Koala Conservation Centre, don't miss the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island. Every sunset, little penguins come ashore in groups. It's an adorable spectacle not to be missed.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Australia's oldest, largest, and most visited art museum, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) houses an encyclopedic art collection from numerous epochs and cultures.
Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne. If you’re in the mood to shop, make sure you hit up Queen Victoria Market located at Elizabeth Street. This market has a long history and is recognised as an important historic landmark in the city. Pop in to check out the various stalls selling food, clothing, gifts and more.
Melbourne Star, Melbourne. For great views of the city, go up high in the sky in this iconic city Ferris wheel. If you’ve got time to stick around Melbourne for a few nights and to experience its buzzing nightlife, be sure to go up for sunset in the evening – this is when the city skyline really looks its finest. The wheel is open daily from 11 am in the morning to 7:30 pm at night.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. In Melbourne, take a leisurely stroll through these beautiful, well-kept gardens. It's an oasis of tranquillity right in the heart of the city.
Laneways and Arcades, Melbourne. Melbourne's famous laneways and arcades are a must-visit. They're filled with street art, boutiques, cafes, and hidden bars. Don't miss exploring areas like Hosier Lane, Degraves Street, and the Royal and Block Arcades.
Remember, these are just suggestions, and the best part of a road trip is the freedom to explore and discover new places at your own pace. Enjoy your journey!