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Drive Australia - Sydney to Melbourne
The Sydney to Melbourne Coastal & Heritage Touring Routes

The Sydney to Melbourne Touring Routes, Australia

Traveling between Sydney and Melbourne by car or motorhome offers two distinct self-drive touring routes. The Coastal Drive and Heritage Drive each offer touring itineraries of three to seven days depending on the route taken. Here you can experience the real Australia.

The Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive

Sydney - Wollongong -  Coastal towns - Gippsland Lakes – Phillip Island – Wilsons Promontory - Mornington Peninsula – Melbourne

The coastline between Sydney and Melbourne makes for one of Australia’s most dramatic and beautiful road trips. The Pacific Ocean, Tasman Sea and Bass Strait have carved out dramatic headlands and created beautiful coves and beaches. Inland, ancient ranges are covered in national parks and forests protecting pristine lakes and rivers. Nestled amongst these natural wonders are dozens of quaint fishing villages, tiny colonial hamlets and thriving rural towns built by the country’s most adventurous settlers.  Here there are a range of experiences for visitors from surfing big Tasman swells, diving wrecks, sailing, whale watching or sharing the beach with seals, dolphins and sea birds. Visitors to the region also enjoy the famous fresh seafood.

The Grand Pacific Drive from Sydney to Wollongong includes the heritage-listed Royal National Park (the second oldest in the world).  Jervis Bay is one of the most pristine waterways and the white sand is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. This is a great location to cruise with the dolphins and even spot the humpback whales in season.  

The towns and villages of Batemans Bay, Narooma, Tilba Tilba, Bermagui, Tathra and Merimbula each have their own special character, craft shops, artisan studios, cheese producers, oyster growers and restaurants to savor the local produce.  

In Croajingolong National Park you can explore deserted beaches and walk forest trails. The towns of Lakes Entrance and Metung are surrounded by the Gippsland Lakes, a network of lakes covering 220 sq miles.  Wilsons Promontory National Park is the most southerly tip of mainland Australia, rich in beautiful vistas with easy walking trails. The Prom is also home to kangaroos, wombats and emus and well as abundant birdlife.

Phillip Island is home to the Little Penguin and nightly Penguin Parade at dusk and also koalas and fur seals. The Mornington Peninsula is famous for wineries, gardens, golf, restaurants, wildlife and marine life. The after dark tour at Moonlit Wildlife Sanctuary is a great discovery of Australia’s nocturnal animals in a natural environment.

The Sydney to Melbourne Heritage Drive

Sydney – Bendigo – Echuca - Murray River – Albury – Canberra - Melbourne

The Heritage Drive or inland route is a faster drive between Sydney and Melbourne  and where the Australian pioneer spirit is brought to life in the villages and towns built by the early settlers, river traders and gold miners who created the country.

Bendigo, is a historic gold mining city with underground mine tours and gold fossicking tours.  Echuca is a historic port town and Murray River paddle steamers still grace the Murray River (the third longest navigable river in the world). Along the Murray River between Echuca and Albury, there is great local food and wine, chocolate producers, water sports, river cruises and great golf courses.

The twin cities of Albury and Wodonga are located on either side of the Murray River which is also the border between New South Wales and Victoria. This is a great place to enjoy great restaurants, the beautiful Albury Botanic Gardens, the Wonga Wetlands and the Bonegilla Migrant Experience.

Canberra, Australia’s Capital City and has many attractions designed by American architect and landscape architect Walter Burley Griffin. The Australian War Memorial, Australian National Museum, Royal Australian Mint, Parliament House and National Gallery, the miniature village of Cockington Green or the Australian Dinosaur Museum are great place to visit.   From Canberra, it is just a three-hour drive to Sydney, or you can take the coastal option to Batemans Bay and follow the Grand Pacific Drive to Sydney.  

(*) Prices are US Dollars per person.