We started our road trip from Melbourne to Sydney by driving from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory National Park. That is a three hour drive, 250 km, but you can add some nice side trips and see more of the country.
This was our grand Australian road trip which we wanted to make slowly, to see as much of Australian nature as possible. We wanted to find the most scenic places where to the stay the nights and Wilsons Promontory definitely is one of those places.
Wilsons Promontory, Squeaky Beach walking track
We were traveling with a campervan that we rented in Melbourne. On the way to Wilsons Promontory we stopped at wineries, walked on pretty beaches and explored many small seaside villages along the Victorian south coast. And there was the Bunurong Coastal Drive where we walked on a rocky shoreline and examined strange old fossils, millions of years of age.
Driving from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory
This is the first post on our Melbourne to Sydney drive, showing you the best places we found on the first section of our coastal trip from Melbourne to Sydney. The journey continues in these two posts:
- Melbourne to Sydney: Australia South East Coast Drive
- Melbourne to Sydney: South Coast of New South Wales
Driving from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory: Route Map
Driving map Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory
This is the driving itinerary from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory. It’s a four hour drive, less than 300 km.
TIP: Two Optional Side Trips
From Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory you can either take the direct road south that is marked on the map, or also make side trips to two scenic areas if you haven’t visited them before: Yarra Valley east of Melbourne and Phillip Island in the south. I made separate blog posts on them:
1. Yarra Valley Side Trip
William Ricketts Sanctuary, Dandenong Ranges
You can begin your trip touring the wine area of Yarra Valley and the spectacular Dandenong Ranges where you can walk in a rainforest. The Yarra wine area is famous for its beautiful scenery, vineyards and tall ash trees. And there is the famous Healesville Sanctuary where you can see native Australian animals.
If you are interested in this side trip check out my post Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges from Melbourne
2. Phillip Island Side Trip
A wallaby staring at us on Phillip Island
Phillip Island again is famous for its cute little penguins but in addition to that there is much more to see. You can visit Australia’s oldest farm and walk along the rocky shoreline making acquaintance with Australian kangaroos. In fact this one is a wallaby, wallabies are small kangaroos.
Read about Phillip Island in my post Phillip Island from Melbourne
But now, let’s start from Melbourne to Sydney, and to Wilsons Promontory:
Victorian South Coast
Victorian south coast from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory
Once you reach the Victorian south coast you start driving east. It’s all open farming landscape, with rolling hills, small villages and pretty coves.
We were driving slowly and stopped a lot to enjoy the sandy beaches. But since it was already autumn the ocean water was cold, absolutely too cold for swimming. And I think it’s that even in the summer…
Our first longer break was on the Bunurong coastal drive.
Bunurong Coastal Drive
Bunurong coastal drive
After about two hours driving from Melbourne we took a small side road from Wonthaggi to the tiny village of Cape Paterson and on to another village, Inverloch. Between these villages is a rugged coastline with soft sandstone cliffs and beautiful sandy coves.
The road follows the rocky coastal headlands. It’s so narrow so you don’t know where to stop. But they have made small roadside parking spaces meant where you can stop for the views – if you have a small car.
Fossils on ocean shore. Click on the small photos to see them in a slideshow.
However we couldn’t stop at any of the cliff top car parks because our campervan was too big for these spaces. Finally there was a big parking area. That was at Eagles Nest, the most famous attraction of Bunurong.
At Eagles Nest we found very strange rock formations and a beautiful sandy beach, and we had a walk on the rocky shore. The sandstone here is more than 120 million years old.
Bunurong fossils in South Victoria
From archaeological point of view the Bunurong area is the most interesting. More than 10 000 bones of dinosaurs, mammals and fish have been found here and you can see ancient fossils almost everywhere on the rocks. Beautiful!
Tidal River, Wilsons Promontory
From Bunurong it was still a long drive to the southernmost edge of continental Australia, a peninsula that has the much liked national park of Wilsons Promontory. The area is famous in Australia for its varied landscape and good walking opportunities.
We stayed a night at Tidal River camping that is a lovely place and so popular among Australians that all bookings during holiday seasons must be made months before.
The water in Tidal River has a special color, it sometimes looks yellow, sometimes dark brown, depending on light conditions. Some views of Tidal River and a picture of Norman beach in front of the camping area:
Views of Wilsons Promontory in the very south of Australia
Squeaky Beach Walk
Wilsons Promontory is ideal for both short and long walks and there is a direct access to the best walking paths from the camping. We didn’t have time for more walks than the Squeaky Beach Walk from Tidal River, but it really was a great hike.
The sand on Squeaky Beach is so white that you would think it’s snow – but unlike in winter landscape you can see dark stones beyond the beach.
Squeaky Beach, Wilsons Promontory
The Squeaky Beach track was partly bush walking on the hill, and partly open landscape with wonderful views to the sea, beaches and Tidal River.
Squeaky Beach walk in Wilsons Promontory
Wilsons Promontory has a lot of native wildlife. On the Tidal River Campground we had wombats, possums, kangaroos and rosellas as well as other birds around our campervan.
In other parts of the national park we spotted big emus grazing and also small echidnas crossing the road.
Emus of Wilsons Promontory
On the Road Again
Driving in this part of Australia is great fun but driving sometimes is very, very slow as the terrain is hilly. Even the main roads from Melbourne to Sydney are winding and sometimes very narrow, and as the roads were built long ago they go straight through the smallest settlements and not round them!
There typically is a lot of narrow old bridges where you have to stop. This all means driving takes so much more time than what you counted with. That of course was not a problem for us, we had time! Travel slowly was what we wanted and many times we voluntarily took the smallest country roads in stead of the highway.
Australian road trip: roads and road signs
As Australia has a lot of native wildlife, keep your eyes open when there is a road sign.
We bought what we needed in the smallest country stores and there was no other alternative to that since no supermarkets existed anywhere. What about our lunches then? We stopped at original Australian country inns, like this one:
An Australian country inn somewhere in South Victoria
Driving from Wilsons Promontory to Sydney
In my next post (Part II of our Melbourne to Sydney drive along coast) I will tell you how our road trip through South East Victoria to New South Wales continues:
Melbourne to Sydney Drive Along Coast
So how did we arrange our Melbourne to Sydney campervan trip, what was our itinerary and how was the whole drive like? You can read about that in my main post Melbourne to Sydney Drive along Coast.
Melbourne to Sydney coastal drive with campervan