The 4500-kilometre open road between Perth and Melbourne is one of the most epic road trip adventures in Australia. The road takes you across the entire southern coastline of Australia, through the red sands, charming towns, stunning beaches, and incredible wineries. This self-drive trip itinerary outlines some of the best places to stay and sights not to miss. So round up your friends, hire your campervan, and hit the road heading east on your great Australian road trip of a lifetime!
Begin your first day by picking up your campervan in Perth and spending some time getting used to driving it. If you haven’t driven a campervan before, or aren’t experienced driving on the left-hand side of the road, practice in some quiet streets before hitting the open road. Then head south on the State Route 2 for three hours, until you reach the Margaret River region. Stay the night at Brusselton or further south in Augusta, and explore the regions amazing wineries or Jewel Cave.
Day 2Margaret River to Albany
On the second day of your journey, head four hours east to the charming port city of Albany. Indulge in some homely food at several of Albany’s great cafés, or get your fix of retail therapy at the many boutique stores the city has to offer. If the great outdoors is more up your alley, go stand up paddleboarding, hiking, and visit the stunning Little Beach in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve.
Day 3 & 4Albany to Esperance
Next, jump on the National Route 1 road heading further east for 5 hours until you reach Esperance. The stunning town is a crowd favourite and somewhere you won’t want to leave, so we recommend staying two nights to rest up and enjoy your surroundings before the remainder of the journey. Spend your days here snorkelling in the stunning bays and exploring the lush national parks. Don’t miss Cape Le Grand National Park, Twilight Beach or Lucky Bay. At certain times of the year, you can visit the nearby Pink Lake. Like its namesake, the lake is a natural wonder that turns a stunning bubblegum pink that is a sight to behold!
Image via Martial Fatton / bluetonguetours.com.au
Day 5Esperance to Cocklebiddy
From Esperance, hit the road and head six hours east to Cocklebiddy. This part of the journey is where it gets quite remote, so make sure you are stocked up on supplies and have had lots of rest. Download a great playlist, grab some snacks and stock up on petrol, because the nearest towns are few and far between! Stop the night in Madura, where you can have a nice dinner and rest up at a relaxing caravan park.
Image via Ginny and Ian Dadd / Nomad171.com
Day 6Madura to Border Village to Ceduna
The next part of the journey involves hopping back on the Eyre Highway and make your way from Western Australia to South Australia. The Eyre Highway is the longest straight road in Australia, a 1675 km highway connecting the two states. Stop at Border Village, a small town which is divided between the two states, where you can literally be in two places at once! Afterwards, you can visit Bunda Cliffs along the heart of the Great Australian Bight. The spectacular cliffs are a display of Australia’s rugged coastline and natural beauty, making any travellers visit utterly memorable.
Image via Ginny and Ian Dadd / Nomad171.com
Day 7Ceduna to Port Augusta
After staying the night in the coastal town of Ceduna (and checking out its amazing sunsets), continue east for five hours. Along the way, you may even be able to spot some whales migrating off the coast. Stop at Port Augusta and stay at Discovery Parks caravan and campground for the night for a well-needed rest. Alternatively, you can carry on for three hours and spend the extra day in Adelaide.
Day 8 & 9Port Augusta to Adelaide
Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia, and although relatively quiet compared to other Australian capital cities, the cosmopolitan city will be a busy change from previous stops! Adelaide is rapidly becoming one of Australia’s most ‘liveable’ cities, boasting an exceptional restaurant and bar scene, with brilliant shopping and world-class events. It is also renowned as one of the greatest wine regions in Australia, so slow down and enjoy a couple of nights stay with a red or white in your hand!
Adelaide – Image via Australia.com
Day 10Adelaide to Mount Gambier to Port Fairy
On the road again, a further four and a half hours south-east of Adelaide, stop off for lunch or a snack at Mount Gambier. The town is close to the border of Victoria, and a popular tourist destination among road trippers between the two states. It is known for its volcanic landscapes and crater lakes, including Blue Lake, which turns a stunning cobalt blue in summer. After another 2 hours on the road, you will make it to Port Fairy, a historic fishing town on Victoria’s far south-west coast. The sandy surf beaches and picturesque river inlets will make for a leisurely night stay in the town.
Day 11 & 12Port Fairy to Port Cambell to Apollo Bay
The final leg of the journey is one of the most spectacular and famous road trips in Australia, and for a good reason. The Great Ocean Road should not be rushed, so we recommend taking your time and spending the last few days taking in the scenery of this magnificent part of Australia. No journey along the Great Ocean Road would be complete without stopping to view the 12 Apostles. The world-famous limestone stacks sit off the coastline on the Southern Ocean, displaying the rugged beauty of Australia’s coast. Stop at the nearest town of Port Campbell, and use it as a base to explore the surrounding area, before heading to another hour east. Halfway along the Great Ocean road where the hills meet the ocean, you will find Apollo Bay.
Day 13Apollo Bay to Kennett River to Lorne
After a good nights rest at one of Apollo Bays many campgrounds, spend the day exploring the coastal country around the town. Here you can swim, dive, paddle, and surf in the pristine waters, take a walk through the rainforest, or visit the community markets on a Saturday. If you are a lover of wildlife, stop along the road at Kennett River, the best-known place to see koalas in the wild. Then continue along the stunning Great Ocean Road until you reach the charming coastal town of Lorne. Here you can unwind and enjoy the towns great cafés, sandy beaches, and arts community.
Day 14Lorne to Torquay to Melbourne
On the 14th and final day of your epic Australian road trip, enjoy your last moments of quiet and relaxation before reaching the bustling city of Melbourne! Head next to Torquay, the seaside town on the east end of the Great Ocean Road. Here, you can enjoy all sorts of outdoor and ocean activities, but it is best known for the surf beaches that surround it. Get your dose of Australian surf culture at the world-famous Bells Beach, the surfing capital of Australia. The final hour and a half drive will bring you to your final destination, Melbourne!
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