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Melbourne to Sydney Drive along Coast

This post will show you our Melbourne to Sydney drive along coast. To travel from Melbourne to Sydney we rented a campervan and then spent more than a week on this scenic coastal route. 

We followed the Pacific coastline all the way from Melbourne to Sydney, first heading south to Phillips Island and on to Wilsons Promontory, then turning north towards Sydney.

That all was to be such a huge experience! This beautiful part of Australia gave us so much that, to be able to show you all of it, I had to divide our travel story in a series of posts.

Here it begins, our Melbourne to Sydney drive along coast:

Melbourne to Sydney drive, our campervan

We were travelling with a campervan, you can see our van here. This is Hyams Beach in southern New South Wales.

What Was It Like?

What is the Pacific Coast from Melbourne to Sydney like? Sandy beaches and green hills, pretty seaside towns, national parks, bushland and forests. And kangaroos bouncing on the roadside!

Kiama countryside

Saddleback mountain in Kiama, New South Wales

On our journey we passed vast rural areas of  Victoria and southern New South Wales. There were dry plains and green countryside, and countless beaches. Australia really has beaches, and so many of them that it won’t get too crowded at any time. Just choose your beach.

Hyams Beach

Melbourne to Sydney drive: Hyams beach

The Melbourne to Sydney drive along the coast makes roughly 1400 kilometres, without any side trips. To that you you have to add a few hundred kilometres more since you won’t only drive along the main roads but make short side trips to places of interest.

So to see more on our coastal drive we often chose the smaller country roads. Since we wanted to discover small unknown villages and hidden paradise beaches.

Melbourne to Sydney Drive along Coast: the Map

 

Melbourne to Sydney driving map

The map shows our Melbourne to Sydney itinerary. To see it in more detail, zoom in the map as much as you feel like.

Renting a Campervan

We were thinking about whether we should rent a car and book hotels for each night, or if a campervan would provide us more flexibility.

In a campervan you have all you need at all times and in their right places, and you don’t have to pack and unpack each night. A campervan also gives you more freedom to stay overnight where you like and eat when you feel hungry. This is something really valuable in the vast rural areas of Australia where restaurants don’t exist in every corner.

So after a long discussion we decided to take a campervan, this one:

Melbourne to Sydney drive on a campervan

Melbourne to Sydney campervan drive

Renting a campervan in Australia is super easy since unlike in Europe campervans are a very common way of travel in Australia.

Therefore there are good websites where you can compare different offers and then book. We booked everything in advance and payed for the van before leaving home, in that way we could be confident that our trip was fully organized.

Notice that campervan rental offices are always located at the airports which may first sound like a trouble. Yet it is the perfect solution. Driving a big van on the left hand side is hard enough in the beginning and you don’t want to add any troubles like driving through big cities to your first rental days.

 

Coastal drive from Melbourne to Sydney: Phillip Island

A Home on the Road

We took a bigger campervan that had all we needed. There was a kitchen with gas stove, fridge, microwave, and of course a toaster to ensure pleasant breakfasts. The campervan also had a bathroom and sofa corner that we converted to beds at nights.

So now we had s a perfect mobile home for our Melbourne to Sydney coastal drive. What was fun was that our campervan was both bigger and had more amenities than our own boat back home that we also use for overnight trips.

Easy to drive says the driver, the passenger instead is scared at times. But everything has gone well so far, and we are enjoying this so much!

Melbourne to Sydney Drive along Coast

As the Melbourne to Sydney drive contains so much I split the trip in parts and made separate posts on the different sections.

  • In Part One we set off from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory in the very south of Australia.
  • Part two goes across the New South Wales border to the small town of Merimbula and
  • Part Three ends the trip as we reach Sydney.

1. Driving through Victoria: Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory

Melbourne to Sydney drive Wilsons Promontory

Melbourne to Sydney drive along coast: Wilsons Promontory

Following the Pacific coastline from Melbourne to Sydney you will first come to Wilsons Promontory National Park at the very southern edge of continental Australia. The national park is set on a long and narrow peninsula that offers nature lovers amazing scenery.

 

On the way to Wilsons Promontory: Phillip Island and Bunurong fossils

On the way to Wilsons Promontory we took a 10 km side trip to Bunurong Coastal Drive and had a look at some very old fossils and rock formations on the ocean shore. So that was a short extra ride. In addition there are two more optional trips as well, to the popular tourist destinations of Yarra Valley and Phillip Island.

2. South East Coast of  Victoria: Wilsons Promontory to Merimbula

Melbourne to Sydney drive, a bridge

South east coast of Victoria

From Wilsons Promontory the coastal drive continues to Ninety Mile Beach which is as long as the name says. You will also see the Gippsland inland lakes.

 

Melbourne to Sydney drive along coast: south east coast of Victoria

This is rural Victoria where distances between villages (and gas stations) are long and bridges narrow. Southern Victoria is a real kangaroo land but despite many koala warnings we failed to spot any of those cute animals on the roadside.

Then there is the small coastal village of Mallacoota that has an isolated beach with red rock formations and a nice rainforest path where you should be able to spot koalas.

 

Red rocks and lagoon of Mallacoota 

3. New South Wales South Coast: Merimbula to Sydney

Melbourne to Sydney drive, Kiama

One of the Kiama blowholes south of Sydney

The remaining 500 kilometres of the Melbourne to Sydney coastal drive is in southern New South Wales. You can choose between the main highway that winds between green hills and the turquoise ocean and a selection of numbered tourist routes for short side trips.

 

Kiama and Minnamurra, New South Wales

In New South Wales we stopped at Bermagui, Tilba Tilba, Jervis Bay, Kangaroo Valley and Kiama.

Sydney!

Melbourne to Sydney drive, Sydney

Melbourne to Sydney drive: Sydney!

Then, after 1400 km or more on Australian roads we came to Sydney! This is the Darling Harbour walking bridge in central Sydney and downtown Sydney beyond the bridge. Amazing! And so different from the rural areas we came through.

We came to Sydney for work and business. Having stayed in Sydney a few times before I have written a number of blog posts about the New South Wales capital as well. You can check out my Sydney articles here:

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9 comments

  1. Goodday, we plan to make the same trip. Can you tell me how much time you needed to explore the trip the way you did?

    • Hi Juliette and thanks for asking. I think we used two weekends and the week between, 10-11 days. There is a lot to see so reserve at least a week for this trip.

  2. hi… may i ask a question, thank you!
    if 5 days 4 nights on using motorhome from Melbourne-Sydney-Melbourne… any suggestion?
    thank you very much!

    • Hi Annie, 5 days is ok, you just have to drive longer distances per day than we did. And think about that the first and last days are shorter when you pick up and return the camper at certain times. So I would begin with planning the first and last days first and then see if you e.g. want to skip the southernmost part of Victoria to make the drive shorter. Have a great trip!

  3. hi there
    I found your trip interesting reading. We are coming from England next March and plan on spending 6 days driving Melbourne to Sydney. I’m a fairly confident driver but am a little nervous on very high cliff edges so just wondering if there are areas of the coast road between the two cities that are like that. We will be driving a car, not camper van btw. Many thanks
    Rachelle

    • Hi Rachelle, the roads are good all the way, nothing to be afraid of, no high cliff edges anywhere. And as you already are familiar with left hand traffic, just go ahead and enjoy our trip!

      • Oh brilliant, thanks Liisa – that’s put my mind at ease. I did consider a campervan too but we think we will hire a car and rent Airbnb along the way (because we are meeting up with our daughter and her boyfriend – who are away travelling but will be in Oz when we go – in Melbourne and they are going to travel to Sydney with us). Looking forward to it and your travel ideas have given me some more ideas about where to stop and stay, thanks.

  4. Did you pre book places to stay? Is it easy just to stop overnight enroute or does this need to be planned in advance?

    • It depends on the time of the year you travel. If it’s holiday season or weekend I would book, otherwise maybe not. Just remember to arrive early enough in the evening since camping receptions often close round 5 or 6.

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