A road trip from Sydney to Melbourne takes you from Australia’s largest city to its second largest. Along the way, you’ll encounter plenty of must-visit spots, regardless of the route you choose. Historical sites, wineries, and national parks dot the path from Sydney to Melbourne. Before you secure your campervan hire, determine the path you want to take to get from Sydney to Melbourne. Traveling along the Hume Highway is your most direct route, but it doesn’t afford you too many opportunities for exploration or scenic views. However, two other routes offer plenty to see and do. Both routes will take you about 9 to 10 hours, without stops. However, you can easily turn them into a multi-day drive if you’re ready for exploration. Learn more about how you can travel from Sydney to Melbourne on a coastal route or inland route, and discover the best sites to see along the way.
The coastal route starts off with scenic views. About an hour into your drive, you will reach the Royal National Park, where you’ll hop on Grand Pacific Drive, which hugs the cliffs and offers picturesque water views. While you’re driving through the National Park, you’re in for some wildlife watching — you might even spot some kangaroo hopping by.
Your first pit stop should be in Kiama. Stop and check out the Kiama Blowhole, which has existed for more than 100 years and welcomes upwards of 900,000 visitors annually. When the seas run from south to east, you’ll watch as spectacular plumes of water seemingly shoot into the sky. The Blowhole has a viewing platform that makes spotting these plumes easy.
When you drive from Sydney to Melbourne on the coastal route, chances are the beach will be calling your name. Fortunately, you’ll have several places to stop and walk on the sandy beaches or dip your toes in the sea. Hyams Beach, located in the city of Shoalhaven three hours south of Sydney, is best known for its powdery white sand. Enjoy plenty of watersports opportunities here, whether you want to surf, dive, kayak, or sail.
Wildlife lovers must stop in Eden, which is about 6 hours south of Sydney. If you visit in May or November, you can go whale watching and possibly spot humpback whales in their natural habitat. Eden is a rich wildlife area throughout the year, so you can also look for dolphins, seals, and eagles, no matter when you visit.
Nature lovers will want to head to the southern tip of Australia and visit Wilsons Promontory National Park on your way to Melbourne. Stroll through a eucalyptus forest and rainforest on the Lilly Pilly Gully Nature Walk, which is about a mile and a half long. Nearby Squeaky Beach boasts sparkling turquoise waters and fine quartz sand, perfect for relaxation before you return to your campervan and head to Melbourne, which is just under 3 hours away.
The inland route from Sydney to Melbourne takes you along Heritage Drive and offers several spots worth a stop. About 2 hours into your journey, make a pit stop at Goulburn, Australia’s first inland city that boasts a rich history. Home to Australia’s wool industry, Goulburn is home to the World’s Biggest Merino, a three-story-high concrete and steel structure, known to locals as Rambo. Learn local history by visiting the Rocky Hill War Memorial or Goulburn Historic Waterworks.
Another 5 hours into your journey, enjoy an experience that will leave you feeling like you stepped outside of Australia. In Strathmerton, Cactus Country boasts the largest collection of cacti in Australia. Here, you can stroll through a 10-acre garden of cacti and succulents, with varieties divided by the region of origin.
Wine lovers will want to stop in the Echuca Moama wine region, which features nearly a dozen wineries and wine bars. Also during your visit, you can explore the area on a walking or cycling tour. Or enjoy ultimate relaxation by riding through the region on a horse-drawn carriage. A day of relaxation awaits when you visit Echuca Moama, along the Murray River.
Your final stop in your campervan hire on your way to Melbourne should be Bendigo, where you can visit the Central Deborah Gold Mine. During the gold rush in the 1800s and 1900s, Bendigo became one of the richest producers of gold in the world. Today, you can enjoy an underground experience where you descend 85 meters underground and explore tunnels and the surface of the mine. You’ll even enjoy a lunch underground.
In between Australia’s two largest cities sit national parks, pristine beaches, and must-see historical attractions. Regardless of the route you choose, your campervan hire can take you to many of these places, giving you a new look at the country. Select a route that best suits your interest, and consider visiting these spots along your journey to make the most of your Sydney to Melbourne road trip.