Melbourne to Sydney Drive Itinerary

There are two ways to drive from Melbourne to Sydney – the fast way or the fun way. Don’t waste too much time guessing which way I’m going to take you!

Melbourne to Sydney
Length: 15 days, 16 nights
Distance: 1470 km

driving from melbourne to sydney

Day 1

Melbourne → Venus Bay

  • Travel time: 2 hours 32 minutes
  • Distance: 191 kms
  • Nights: 1 night

To start your Melbourne to Sydney drive, you begin from our Melbourne depot in Tullamarine, you will drive through the city. This is not arduous as long as you don’t do it in peak hour, or peak hours. Avoid 6.30am to 9.30am.

The freeway from Tullamarine is an easy drive. You will enjoy a great view of Melbourne city from the freeway, taking in the big Ferris wheel, Etihad Stadium (Melbourne’s second stadium in the inner city area- it really is the sports capital of Australia) and the Docklands precinct, all with the city as the backdrop.

The rest of this stage is fairly uneventful. You will pass through Koo Wee Rup, the home of the Potato Princess, an annual event where a local girl gets the highly sought after crown and the right to call themselves a royal spud for life. This part of Victoria is driven economically by the power generating plant at Yallourn.

It is very a very picturesque drive; enjoy it as you head to Venus Bay.

visit venus bay on melbourne to sydney drive

When you arrive at Venus Bay, you will get your first taste of just how good the Ninety Mile Beach is going to be. The water is freezing but you will almost always find a lone surfer or angler enjoying their solitude.

Irrespective of the time of the year, find a spot with a view and settle in for a couple of vinos as you contemplate what the piece of land you can just see on the horizon is. No, it’s not the South Pole.

Day 2

Venus Bay → Wilson’s Promontory

  • Travel time: 1 hour 17 minutes
  • Distance: 86 kms
  • Nights: 3 nights

This route takes you through the Tidy Town of Fish Creek. That’s not a misprint, it actually won an award, believe it or not – Tidiest Town in Gippsland. Almost rivals the Potato Princess.

Wilsons Prom is the southern most tip of mainland Australia and a “must visit” place. The caravan park is a great place to base yourself and you could literally spend days here taking different hikes through the National Park, happy in the knowledge that each one ends with a spectacular view.

The scenery is absolutely magnificent – from huge granite mountains and sweeping beaches and coastlines to rain forests and wilderness.

Make sure you take some time to explore the Corner Inlet Marine and Coastal Park. This has never really been discovered by tourists to date, so you will have no crowds to battle, just you and nature. And did I mention the views?

And you really should avoid driving at dawn and dusk here, the wildlife is rampant!

Day 3

Wilsons Promontory → Port Albert

  • Travel time: 1 hour 29 minutes
  • Distance: 109 kms
  • Nights: 1 night

This drive will take in the Marine National Park mentioned above but it really deserves its own time to be explored.

Port Albert continues the mariner theme; it was one of the oldest ports established in Victoria and still remains a commercial fishing port. Make sure you get down to the docks early and buy some seafood from the fishermen as they return, fresh off the boat. That’s dinner sorted.

Find a spot, crack open a nice Chardonnay to go with your crayfish and settle in for the day.

Day 4

Port Albert → Lakes Entrance

  • Travel time: 2 hours 16 minutes
  • Distance: 182 kms
  • Nights: 1 night

This drive is one of the longer ones in this itinerary but you can break it up and stay at any of the beautiful beaches you find along the way. Take the time to turn down a side road to any of the places along Ninety Mile Beach.

The Honeysuckles, Golden Beach, Loch Sport and Metung are all towns of the direct route but you will not regret visiting any one of them. Stop at one or all and spend the day.

Lakes entrance waterfront

Day 5

Lakes Entrance → Mallacoota

  • Travel time: 2 hours 26 minutes
  • Distance: 202 kms
  • Nights: 1 night

Another longish drive but the destination will be worth it. Break the trip with a stopover at Cann River and have one of the home made meat pies at the local bakery. People travel for miles for those pies and you will understand why when you take a bite.

Mallacoota has a population of around 900 although at holiday times this swells to around 8000 – 10000. Its distance from Melbourne and relative isolation is one of its key attractions. It is the last official town before you hit NSW.

The abalone in Mallacoota is amazing and you are allowed to take some, just make sure you don’t take anything too small. If you are not sure, see the local fisherman, they will help you out. I hope you have a bottle of Chardy left, it goes a treat with the abalone.

Mallacoota has an amazing golf course, and if you are there at the right time, you may even see migrating whales, one of nature’s great experiences.

Day 6

Mallacoota → Merimbula

  • Travel time: 1 hour 28 minutes
  • Distance: 110 kms
  • Nights: 1 night

You are about to go from one extreme to the other – the isolation of Mallacoota to the thriving tourist hub of Merimbula. But don’t go straight there.

You could easily spend a night at Eden, with its rugged impenetrable cliffs at the south end, rolling into magnificent white beaches to the north. This is the start of the Sapphire Coast and you will know it. The colour of the water is unbelievable and you will want to swim in it. As do sharks, so be careful.

On your way to Eden, you will pass through Boydtown, which is almost equal distances between Melbourne and Sydney. When neither city could agree as to which would be the capital of Australia, it was suggested that Boydtown would be ideal. And it would have been. Until the politicians got involved and decided that we would be better to make Canberra the capital. Of course, it is a far better idea to have a freezing soulless city as your capital instead of one overlooking the Sapphire Coast!

Merimbula itself is a retirement hub and has its own airport, which explains why it is so busy nearly all year round. Avoid peak holiday times as you will struggle to get a place in a caravan park unless you have booked well in advance.

The caravan parks here are really good and well developed, but if you don’t want people all around, head to Pambula or Tura Beach for some quieter beach time.


Day 7-8

Merimbula → Bermagui

  • Travel time: 1 hour 11 minutes
  • Distance: 72 kms
  • Nights: 2 nights

On the way, drop in at Tathra and see the old Tathra Wharf and the snorkelling and scuba diving beneath it is amazing. You may even see some fairy penguins and fur seals which will swim to have a look at what you are doing.

Tathra also hosts the annual MTB Enduro and the mountain biking tracks around the area are world class.

From Tahra, you may want to take a little detour inland to Bega, the regional centre of the Sapphire Coast and home to the finest cheeses in the land, thanks to the rich diary farming land in the area.

Bermagui is a typical fishing town and it is claimed that the continental shelf is closest to the mainland he than at any other point along the coast, which makes the fishing unbelievable. Befriend the fisherman here and you will never again eat seafood as mouth watering, nor as cheap, in your life. Stock up on white wine if you need to and stoke up the public BBQ at Apex Park, possibly the best view from a public BBQ in Australia.

The Blue Pool at Bermagui is a must see. And don’t worry about how cold it is, you must have a swim, unless the waves are breaking over it. You will understand why not when you see it.

Day 9-10

Bermagui → Batesmans Bay

  • Travel time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Distance: 103 kms
  • Nights: 2 nights

Small fishing towns and long empty beaches largely undiscovered by tourists dot the coastline on this trip and there are beaches and coves untouched by development. These beaches, with their golden sands and sapphire blue water, are as perfect as you can get.

Do yourself a favour and just stop at a couple of these beaches, park your motorhome, pull out the annexe and kick back. Soak up the sun and appreciate the fact that you are the only people on a beach; this does not happen in many other places anywhere in the world.

Some recommended beaches and towns to visit along the way include:

  • Horseshoe Bay
  • Mystery Bay
  • Narooma
  • Dalmeny
  • Potato Point
  • Meringo
  • Congo
  • Moruya Heads
  • Broulee, and
  • Mogo

Some of these are off the direct route from Bermagui to Kiama, so this will add some time and kilometres to your trip. Spend a few days exploring these towns and beaches and simply relaxing.

batesman bay

Day 11-12

Batesmans Bay → Jervis Bay

  • Travel time: 1 hour 54 minutes
  • Distance: 141 kms
  • Nights: 2 nights

This stretch of coastline is known as the Shoalhaven Coast. The “must see” place to stay on this stretch is Jervis Bay, spend a couple of nights here. You will be glad you did!

Jervis Bay has the whitest sands and the clearest waters of any natural bay anywhere in the world. You will see dolphins cavorting and the occasional whale likes to drop in. You will have hours of family fun diving, swimming and fishing.

Make sure you visit the lighthouse ruins at the south end of the Bay.

Day 13-14

Jervis Bay → Kiama

  • Travel time: 1 hour 17 minutes
  • Distance: 81 kms
  • Nights: 2 nights

Kiama is the seaside resort favoured by many Sydneysiders so if you are travelling during Australian holiday times, you will need to book well in advance or you won’t get a place to stay here.

The rolling green hills run into golden beaches and blue ocean water. It is fairly developed now but has retained its casual relaxing seaside feel.

The Kiama Blowhole at Blowhole Point should be on your list of things to see, just near the town centre. If the tides are not right, then it is just another rock formation with a hole in the top of it, but if the tide is coming in, this is an amazing sight to see.

Kiama is also a shipping village and you would be well advised to get to know the local fisherman while you are in town.

Day 15

Kiama → Bowral

  • Travel time: 1 hour 2 minutes
  • Distance: 63 kms
  • Nights: 1 night

There are two options from here – follow the coast road into southern Sydney via Wollongong or head inland to the Southern Highlands of NSW.

One of the most picturesque rural cities in the whole of Australia is Bowral. That’s a big wrap, but you will agree when you get there. It is the biggest and most sophisticated town in the region and, very important to Australians; it is the home to Sir Donald Bradman, the greatest cricketer to have ever played the game and Australia’s greatest sportsman.

Apart from the Bradman Museum, you can also visit the Centennial Vineyards and the Bowral and District Art Gallery.

Corbett Gardens Bowral

Day 16

Bowral → Sydney

  • Travel time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Distance: 130 kms

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Photo Credits

Image of Venus Bay via Travel Victoria
Image of Lakes Entrance via NeedaBreak
Image of Merimbula via Family Travel
Image of Batemans Bay via News.com.au
Image of Corbett Gardens, Bowral via getaboutable