Sydney to Melbourne road trip
Sydney to Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road (7 to 10 days)
The motorhome adventure from Sydney to Melbourne encompasses all that is wonderful about Australia. Your journey of around 1000km will open your eyes to fascinating wildlife, numerous national parks, a variety of fresh food and world-class wine, while not forgetting what Australia has in abundance: beaches galore.
This easy to follow road-trip planner will guide you on this Pacific Coast drive, ensuring that you don’t miss a thing, with a few surprises on the way. So once you pick up your campervan, you are ready to hit the road straight away, thanks to GoSee.
As you head south out of Sydney your first destination is Woollongong, which will take around 90 minutes in your motorhome. It’s the perfect start to your camper holiday, with so much to do at this city by the seaside. The lagoon of Lake Illawara is spectacular and ideal for recreational fishing, while Mount Keira is nearly 500m high and offers a selection of walking tracks. For a slightly more relaxing stroll, Wollongong Botanic Garden is a popular local attraction.
It’s time to move on and continue down the M1/A1 route through Dapto, Oak Flats and Shell Cove. After just one hour, you will arrive at your first camping stop, Kiama. Untouched and uniquely Australian, this village is a traveller’s delight, with Seven Mile Beach and the famous Kiama Blowhole. And despite a population of only 12,000, there are campervan options available so you can park up for the night:
- BIG4 Easts Beach Holiday Park, Ocean St: A selection of powered sites, swimming pool, spa and tennis courts.
- Kendalls on the Beach Holiday Park, Bonaira St: Very well organised and professional park, it has grass and cement sites for your motorhome.
- Surf Beach Holiday Park, 20 Bourroul St: Great views of Kiama beach and exceptional facilities.
Fully rested after an exciting first day, your next destination is just 40 minutes down the A1 at Nowra. It’s a slight detour inland, but is well worth it. Steeped in Aboriginal history, there is much to enjoy. The Fleet Air Arm Museum and Shoalhaven Zoo are worth a visit, or perhaps a glass of wine will appeal, courtesy of Coolangatta Estate and Cambewarra Estate Winery. But Jervis Bay is a must-do! The National Park has walking tracks, but the whole area is a haven for outdoor activities. Whether it’s rock climbing, diving or kayaking, you can get your heart pumping. Or perhaps lazing on the powder-white sandy beaches is more your thing, while indulging in some dolphin or whale watching. You may not want to leave Jervis Bay, so if you choose to camp, here are some options:
- Huskisson Beach Tourist Resort: Powered ensuite sites, tennis court and BBQ facilities.
- Myola Tourist Park: Family owned with peak and off-peak deals for campers
However, if you want to keep moving, your next stop is Batemans Bay. This is around 120km, so should take no more than 1hr 40 mins, unless you’re distracted by the coastal scenery, of course. You will pass through the quaint town of Milton (well worth a coffee and some window shopping) and Flat Rock State Forest before arrival. Batemans Bay is a favourite spot for Australians themselves – always a good sign. Relaxed with an oceanic climate, it’s time to pack away the camper stove for the evening and get your taste-buds buzzing. As a coastal location, the seafood is top notch. Barkala Kitchen & Bar offers water views and a fine reputation, while Tyler’s Kitchen in Malua Bay has delicacies such as soufflé and squid ink-marinated kingfish! On The Pier and Rockwall Brasserie are two other quality eating-out choices.
Having enjoyed such culinary delights, you will need some rest:
- Shady Willows Holiday Park, Old Princes Highway: Most of the motorhome sites have power – check before booking.
- Big4 Batemans Bay Beach Resort, 51 Beach Rd: Great facilities, including resort pool, camp kitchen and powered campervan and camping sites.
- Clyde View Holiday Park, 107 Beach Rd: Close to Corrigan’s Beach, this is a picturesque facility with laundry and dumping area.
You are now faced with the longest leg of the trip so far, from Batemans Bay down to Eden (Around 200km, two hours and 35 mins). Again, the route is relatively straightforward – just take your campervan south on the A1. But first up, you come to Narooma after 70km. This is a village famous for the gold rush and has a charm all of its own. Catch the Oyster Festival in April, hire a bike and traverse the Narooma to Dalmeny Cycleway, or go diving and snorkelling. Stunning life beneath the ocean is a common theme in Australia, so fishing charters and whale watching are not to be missed.
Narooma down to Eden takes in the National Parks of Gulaga, Biamanga and Mimosa Rocks. When you arrive at Bournda Nature Reserve, you know you’re very close. Eden itself is a holiday town, on the cusp of beautiful Twofold Bay. Famous for whaling, you cannot help but lap up the low-key atmosphere. Try some oysters, stroll along one of the many beaches or enjoy the lookout at Green Cape - the ultimate breath of fresh air.
Motorhome sites include:
- Eden Gateway Holiday Park, 99 Princes Highway: Part of the BIG4 group, this is family friendly with a playground and toddlers’ pool.
- Saltwater Creek campground, Saltwater Creek Rd: Slightly off the beaten track, but well worth it. Stunning bushland will help you sleep like a baby.
- Reflections Holiday Parks, Aslings Beach Rd: A spacious site with excellent kitchen facilities and tennis courts.
You are now right in the heart of your motorhome road-trip, with Melbourne just under 600km away. However, in order to break up the trip you should look to stop at one of the smaller towns en-route. The ideal choice is Bairnsdale, close to Lakes Entrance – this should take around three hours (275km). Here, you are on the cusp of Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park and Mitchell River National Park, while Lakes Entrance is a short journey back east along the A1. One of the quieter stops on your journey, Bairnsdale is still a good spot for cafes and restaurants, while being a gateway to some of the finest scenery Australia has to offer. And camping is easy…
- NRMA Bairnsdale Riverside Holiday Park, 2 Main St: Plenty of powered and unpowered sites – also pet-friendly, but get in touch before arriving to check.
- There are also many camping and picnic areas where you can park-up, including Fairy Dell and Emu Bight.
Melbourne is now in your sights, with around 280km to go – which should take you under three-and-a-half hours. The A1 converts in to the M1, although you can go on the A440 if you wish to stay coastal. Wilsons Promontory National Park is about as far south as you can get. However, if you’re focused on the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne will welcome you with open arms.
It’s impossible to list all of the things to see and do in this wonderful metropolis. Flinders Street station is an essential photo opportunity, while the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is one of the most famous sporting arenas on the planet. With rugby league, union, cricket, AFL and much more, this town is the athletic heartbeat of Australia. Queen Victoria Market and Yarra Valley present the finest menus of food and wine, while the history of the nation is laid bare at Melbourne Museum and State Library of Victoria. Melbourne Zoo and the shops of the city centre may encourage you to stay a couple of days, so where should you park the motorhome? Freedom camping is difficult to find in the inner city, along with camping grounds. Outer suburbs are the best option:
- Airport Tourist Village, 37 Adrlie St: Only 15 minutes from the CBD, but book in advance where possible.
- Crystal Brook Tourist Park, 182 Warrandyte Rd: Fully equipped kitchen and nearby walking and bush trails.
- Ashley Gardens BIG4 Holiday Village, 129 Ashley St: Enjoy the solar heated pool and sauna.
Just two hours south of Melbourne is one of Australia’s rites of passage, Phillip Island. Less than two hours from the CBD, 3.5 million people a year can’t be wrong, with visitors from all over the world taking the trip. Home to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, it’s the slightly slower pace of the penguins that are the main draw-card. Phillip Island Nature Park is a massive site, with the Penguin Parade at sunset just some of the wildlife on show. The Koala Conservation Centre and Coast Cruises also allow you to become one with Australia’s nature.
You may wish to travel back to Melbourne in your camper hire, but if you are staying on the Island, here are some ideas:
- A Maze’N Things Holiday Park, 1805A Phillip Island Rd: Unconventional and tranquil, treetop boardwalks lead you to powered sites all year round.
- NRMA Philip Island Holiday Park, 164 Church St: Beach-front site with an excellent reputation, amongst 10 acres of parkland.
Once you have returned to Melbourne, you are ready for one of the drives of a lifetime – the Great Ocean Road. At 243km, it’s a stretch of idyllic highway that your campervan will simply lap up. Officially starting at Torquay, remember you may need a couple of days to take in all of the scenery and camp under the stars. There are numerous places to stop, including:
- Skenes Creek Beachfront Park, 2 Great Ocean Rd: Charming with basic facilities.
- Hammonds Rd, Great Otway National Park: First-come, first served and open all year round.
- Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park: Around 20 campsites, closed June – October.
Almost as soon as you get on the road, you will have to stop at the gorgeous surfing nirvana, Bells Beach. From here it’s onto Lorne, where you can enjoy one of the many cafes, bars and restaurants – with a beach view always close by. Apollo Bay leads you to Great Otway National Park and The Great Ocean Walk is well worth the effort, so pack your walking shoes.
The Otway Ranges are another perfect spot for a photo or two and you can head even further south to Cape Otway Lighthouse. Melba Gully State Park is a combination of rainforests and glow worms, before you arrive at perhaps the most recognisable attraction, The Twelve Apostles. Limestone stacks eroded by the ocean, they’re a breathtaking sight. Continue on to Warnambool and you have completed the route… and perhaps the most memorable motorhome holiday of your lifetime.
This not the roadtrip itinerary you are after? Consider our other Australian locations including Hobart, Brisbane or head over the ditch to NZ and take a look at our Christchurch campervan hire deals.