The road trip from Melbourne to Canberra isn’t just about travelling from A to B. It offers the opportunity to pass through changing terrain and a tapestry of landscapes that are rich in both history and culture. From vibrant towns to significant landmarks, this road trip is one of the most popular with intrepid explorers and offers something for everyone along the way.
Below, you’ll find a 10-day mitinerary designed to help you discover the very best of what Australia has to offer between Melbourne and Canberra. From historical sites to national parks and more, this is the ultimate guide for this kind of a road trip, whether you’re travelling solo, as a family, or on a romantic getaway.
How Long is the Drive from Melbourne to Canberra?
The drive from Melbourne to Canberra takes an average of 15 hours to complete and takes you across 977km. While this may not make it the longest road trip in Australia, we recommend taking a 10-day journey in total, with short dives along the way. This won’t only mean you’ll spend less time behind the wheel, but it means you’re able to spend more time exploring each stop!
Where Should I Stop Between Melbourne and Canberra?
The road between Melbourne and Canberra boasts some incredible sights along the way. Some days, you’ll spend slightly longer on the road than others, but for each stop we’ve included, you’ll find something to explore and with plenty of time in which to do so.
977km trip distance
10 day roadtrip
road trip map
Day 1: Melbourne to Bendigo
Travel time: 1 hour 50 minutes/245km
Sightseeing 1: Central Deborah Gold Mine
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Bendigo, Central Deborah Gold Mine is a great day out for children and adults alike. Here, you’ll get the opportunity to explore a network of hidden underground tunnels that were used during the 1900s gold rush boom. Or, if you’d rather stay above ground, you can explore the surface of the mine and see the huge 22-metre-high poppet head that was a crucial piece of engineering during the mining days.
Sightseeing 2: Bendigo Art Gallery
Once you’ve seen some of this history of Bendigo through the old gold mine, why not head over to Bendigo Art Gallery and immerse yourself in culture? See works of art from famous Australian and international artists, as well as cultural items from all over the world. You can also enjoy talks and tours here, making it an ideal stop for any art lover, and the ongoing children’s projects offer a great opportunity for young art enthusiasts to learn more about their passion.
Day 2: Bendigo to Seymour
Travel time: 1 hour and 10 minutes/96km
Sightseeing 1: Blue Tongue Berries
Following a short drive on day 2 of your Melbourne to Canberra road trip, you’ll arrive in Seymour. One of the most interesting places to visit in this area is Blue Tongue Berries, which is a small-scale blueberry farm that runs entirely off solar and wind-generated power. You’ll be able to tour the blueberry fields here, and when you’re done, stop in The Cantina for a meal made using only local produce.
Sightseeing 2: Australian Light Horse Memorial Park
One for history lovers and nature lovers, Australian Light Horse Memorial Park has roots dating back thousands of years when it was occupied by the Taungurong people before European settlement. In 1824, it was used for farming, and in later days became an Australian military base. In 1998, the park was established and given the name ‘Light Horse’, and to this day, it remains a popular destination for trail walking and wildlife spotting.
Day 3: Seymour to Shepparton
Travel time: 1 hour/81km
Sightseeing 1: ‘Moooving’ Art Shepparton
Another short day on the road, day 3 will see you arrive in Shepparton. Here, you’ll get the opportunity to see the ‘Moooving’ Art Cows, which have fast become one of the area’s most iconic sights. A great way of getting out and exploring with your family, there are over 90 cows to find, each painted in different colours and patterns, paying homage to the region’s high percentage of dairy exports.
Sightseeing 2: All Abilities Playground
A perfect place to stop if you’re travelling with children, the All Abilities Playground features ramps, and play equipment suitable for kids of all ages and needs. There is also a 1.8-metre-high fence around the playground for extra safety, along with family-sized toilets and changing rooms. Once your little ones have exhausted themselves on the amazing array of play equipment, you can take advantage of the picnic areas (some of which are sheltered) or get grilling on the free-to-use electric BBQ facilities.
Day 4: Shepparton to Wangaratta
Travel time: 1 hour and 10 minutes/97km
Sightseeing 1: Lake William Hovell
After just over an hour’s drive from Shepparton, you’ll arrive in picturesque Wangaratta – an area with many beautiful spots to explore. One of our favourites is Lake William Hovell, which is also home to several endangered fish species, including Macquarie Perch. This is also an excellent spot to enjoy a picnic, or if you’re feeling adventurous, take part in canoeing or paddleboarding. It is worth noting that camping is prohibited here, but it’s still a fantastic place to sit and relax on day 4 of your Melbourne to Canberra road trip.
Sightseeing 2: Warby Ovens National Park
For the road-tripper looking to explore Wangratta’s wilderness, Warby Ovens National Park offers amazing walking trails, cycle paths, and waters that you can kayak through. It’s also a great place to spot some local flora and fauna, and the birdlife is particularly varied, making it a wonderful spot for nature lovers to visit on the way to Canberra. When you’re done exploring, end your day relaxing at the campsite and watching the sunset amongst River Red Gum forests.
Day 5: Wangaratta to Albury
Travel time: 50 minutes/74km
Sightseeing 1: Albury Botanic Gardens
Day 5 and the half way point of your road trip will take you to Albury, which offers the opportunity to explore the beautiful surroundings of Albury Botanic Gardens. Opened in 1877, these beautifully landscaped gardens have been developed for 130 years and are now home to a variety of established trees and plants, both native and foreign. There’s also a children’s garden and a play area, making it a great place for families to spend the day while learning more about nature and the changing climate.
Sightseeing 2: Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk
Set across a 5.3km trail, Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk is home to a collection of fifteen contemporary Aboriginal sculptures that lead from Kremur Street to Wonga Wetlands. This is another great place to spend the day with your whole family, and the 2-metre-wid pathways make navigating a pram or cycling very easy. You’ll also find an Adventure Playspace and Albury Swim Centre along the route, offering plenty to do in one location after a short day on the road.
Day 6: Albury to Holbrook
Travel time: 40 minutes/62km
Sightseeing 1: Holbrook Submarine Museum
Perfect for kids (and big kids!), the Holbrook Submarine Museum is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun day out. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy some incredible interactive experiences, including captaining a submarine, firing a torpedo, and searching for your campervan using a periscope aimed at the car park. There’s also a museum filled with submarine memorabilia and historical items, and guided tours are available if you’d like to learn more about each exhibit and ask questions along the way.
Sightseeing 2: National Museum of Australian Pottery
Another great stop for art lovers, the National Museum of Australian Pottery is home to over 2,000 pieces of pottery collected from 130 Australian pottery companies established between 1788 and 1920. Some of the most popular exhibits include items created by the Bakewell Brothers Pottery Works and a 76cm tall salt-glazed urn dating back to 1865. You’ll also be offered the opportunity to meet Geoff and Kerrie Ford, the owners and creators of the museum, who will guide you through the exhibits and impart their vast knowledge of the pieces in their collection.
Day 7: Holbrook to Wagga Wagga
Travel time: 1 hour/80km
Sightseeing 1: River & Wren Markets
A week into your road trip takes you to Wagga Wagga, and here you’ll get the opportunity to pick up souvenirs and mementos at River & Wren Markets. Stalls here sell handmade, homegrown, and homemade products, making it the perfect place to find something truly unique to take home with you. There are over 100 traders here to visit and peruse, along with food stalls offering samples of locally sourced delicacies and drinks.
Sightseeing 2: Wagga Wagga Art Gallery
More than just your usual art space, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery features interesting programs and events all year round, including artist conversations, crafting classes, and talks. Of course, there are still some fantastic exhibits to see that change throughout the year, offering fresh interest and educational opportunities. There’s also a gift shop, so even if you aren’t able to make it over to River & Wren Markets, you’ll still be able to pick up some souvenirs of your day in Wagga Wagga.
Day 8: Wagga Wagga to Gundagai
Travel time: 1 hour/80km
Sightseeing 1: Yarri and Jacky Jacky Sculpture
As you come into Gundagai on day 8 of your Melbourne to Canberra road trip, one of the most popular sights to visit is the Yarri and Jacky Jacky Sculpture. This historic landmark stands on the corner of Kitchener and Sheridan Streets and was installed to commemorate the 165th anniversary of the Great Flood of Gundagai in 1852. But where does this sculpture get its name? Well, on that fated night, two Wiraduji Men named Yarri and Jacky Jacky rescued one-third of the town’s residents using canoes made from bark collected from the flooded Murrumbidgee River. So, not only is this sculpture beautiful to look at, but it tells the story of two local heroes that any history-lover will take great pleasure in.
Sightseeing 2: Gundagai Rotary Lookout
Offering panoramic views of Gundagai and the surrounding countryside, Gundagai Rotary Lookout is a fantastic place to hike, explore, or simply relax. This is also one of the best places in Gundagai to grab some photographs of the area, so it’s ideal if you’re looking for that next Instagram-worthy post or you simply want the best view to document this leg of your trip.
Day 9: Gundagai to Murrumbateman
Travel time: 1 hour and 15 minutes/125km
Sightseeing 1: Dionysus Winery
Your penultimate day on the road from Melbourne to Canberra sees you arrive in Murrumbateman, and what better way to unwind as your road trip starts to draw to an end than with a visit to Dionysus Winery? Here, you’ll be able to take part in wine tastings and build your own platter of food from an onsite picnic fridge, as well as tour the vineyards to learn more about the wine-making process. There’s also the opportunity to take part in workshops throughout the year, making this the perfect stop for any foodies or wine lovers.
Sightseeing 2: Blackwattle Alpaca Farm
Ideal for any animal lover, Blackwattle Alpaca Farm offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with these beautiful animals. You’ll enjoy a long walk across the farm, leading an alpaca all the way and back again via the dam. When you arrive back, you’ll also be given the opportunity to feed your new alpaca friend with treats while learning more about the species. The day ends with tea and snacks, overlooking a paddock where the alpacas can be seen grazing.
Day 10: Murrumbateman to Canberra
Travel time: 35 minutes/37km
Sightseeing 1: Australian War Memorial
As you head into Canberra on the final day of your road trip, be sure to stop at the Australian War Memorial. Here, you’ll find exhibits and educational information on Australia’s military history, along with significant historical items. This isn’t just a place for history lovers to visit but a poignant place that symbolises sacrifice and offers everyone the opportunity to pay their respects to those lost in conflict.
Sightseeing 2: Questacon
An excellent place for a family to spend the last day of their road trip, Questacon is part of the National Science and Technology Centre and offers the opportunity to learn more about science, technology, and innovation in a super fun way. There are tons of interactive exhibits that both children and adults will love, along with exhibits, demonstrations, and shows throughout the day. One particularly popular highlight is the ‘Walks of Wonder’ exhibit, which encourages you to take part in hands-on experiments throughout the day and explore everything Questacon has to offer!
Even though the distance from Melbourne to Canberra isn’t very long compared to some other great Australian road trips, it’s definitely worth taking some extra time and breaking the journey into smaller chunks so you can experience and explore everything the road in between has to offer. With so much to do and with something for everyone, it only makes sense to take the time to make memories and feel properly relaxed at the end of your journey.
One of the best ways to explore everything the road from Melbourne to Canberra has to offer is by campervan. Talk to the team of experts at Travellers Autobarn about hiring a campervan for your Melbourne road trip, get a free online quote, and you’ll be hitting the road in no time! Or, to get some more ideas for your Melbourne road trip, look here.