A road trip between Sydney and Melbourne offers a beautiful stretch of coastal towns, surf beaches, and pristine national parks. Hitting the road in your campervan gives you the ultimate freedom and flexibility to stop at several stunning inland or coastal destinations along the way. Make the most of the journey by stretching it out over several days and seeing what Australia really has to offer. Here are some of our top recommendations of places to stop for the day, the night, or the week!
There are two main options when road tripping from Melbourne to Sydney:
1. Take the Hume Highway
This is the fastest way of getting between the two big cities. The road stretches 800 kilometres and is an eight to nine-hour road trip connecting Sydney and Melbourne. This is the fastest way of getting between the two big cities, and it’s the best if you just want to get from A to B during a short trip. The route takes you inland through Australian countryside, and there are still some nice regional towns to stop and explore along the way.
Albury is a major regional town located right next to the Hume Highway about 3.5 hours out of Melbourne. On the banks of the Murray River, the charming town will delight you with delicious food and wine experiences as well as great outdoor activities. Spend the day fishing or canoeing and then park your van for the night at one of Albury’s several amazing campgrounds. Alternatively, make Albury a short pit stop along your road trip, and head to the trendy River Deck Café and enjoy some homely cuisine for lunch.
Australia’s capital city is in a small territory about half way between Melbourne and Sydney. Canberra is a city of arts, discovery, and learning, and supports a lively food and bar scene. It is home to Australia’s parliament house as well as many great museums, making it a great stop for any government and history buffs out there. The city is a short detour off the Hume Highway, and there are plenty of campgrounds in to park your campervan for the night. Fun fact: Canberra became Australia’s capital city because Sydney and Melbourne kept arguing over who would be the capital!
2. Take the Princes Highway
If you have a little extra time with your campervan and you want to explore Australia’s coastal beauty, take the Princes Highway. There is an abundance of stunning beaches to visit along Australia’s south-east coast and it’s also home to plenty of native wildlife (the highest population of Eastern Grey Kangaroo’s live here!). It only takes a few hours longer than the Hume Highway, but of course, you should factor in some time to stay at some of the amazing campgrounds dotted along the coast.
Make your first stop along the Princes Highway at Bairnsdale, Victoria. A laid-back country town perfect for stopping for a bite to eat or to spend the night at one of the several campgrounds and caravan parks. Bairnsdale is situated in the alpine region on the water’s edge of the famous Gippsland Lakes, Australia’s largest inland waterway. Here you can learn about Indigenous history, check out St Mary’s Church, or discover the regions wineries, breweries, and markets.
A further 470 kilometres north along the Princes Highway, stop off at Batemans Bay and the coastal region surrounding it. The charming coastal town is home to great water sports such as surfing, fishing, and kayaking, and an ideal location for lovers of seafood. About 15 minutes north of Batemans Bay, camp out in the Murramarang National Park at North Durras or Pebbly Beach. There are powered sites at the several campgrounds making them a perfect spot to park your campervan, and you’ll be guaranteed to see plenty of kangaroos, possums, and other friendly animals.
160 kilometres closer to Sydney, stop at the stunning coastal town of Kiama. Famous for the blowhole – a natural phenomenon where seawater sprouts 20 metres into the air from a narrow rock opening – although Kiama has so much more to offer. From gorgeous surfing and swimming beaches, farmers markets, and the Kiama Coastal Walk, the town is a perfect destination to stop at during your road trip. Park your campervan at Big4 Easts Beach Holiday for the night and then continue onwards with the last leg of your journey. Take the Grand Pacific Drive north, and pass over the amazing Sea Cliff Bridge before reaching the finish line at your final destination – Sydney!
Regardless of which route you choose, you definitely should not try to complete the trip in one sitting. There’s so much more to see in Australia than the big cities, and renting a campervan is the most fun you can have while exploring these towns. It is quite a long and tiring drive, and your number one priority during a road trip should always be safety. Remember to park up for at least a day, or as we say in Australia – Stop, Revive, Survive!