I just got back from an epic road trip driving from Melbourne to Sydney including the Great Ocean Road! To get from Melbourne to Sydney I rented a campervan and then spent a week driving this scenic coastal road. It was amaaaaazing!
To help with any plans you may have to do this drive yourself, I’ve put together a step by step itinerary with the places I stopped along the way. As you’ll see, you can fit a lot into one week driving from Melbourne to Sydney.
ROAD TRIP MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY DAY 1: GREAT OCEAN ROAD – 293 KM
After collecting my little Jucy campervan (I got this one, perfect for a single traveler like me, or anyone on a budget) I first stopped at a huge Coles supermarket in Geelong to stock up on goodies.
I added two bottles of good wine and off I went in search of the Great Ocean Road. I’m kidding – the Google Maps app on my phone directed me perfectly. You don’t need a GPS, get a prepaid card at the airport (I had Vodafone and pretty good reception most of the time) and make sure you have a car charger cable and you’re good.
There are so many amazing views and beaches on the Great Ocean Road, it’s one of the most famous drives for a reason. It takes you past world-class surfing breaks, through pockets of rainforest and calm seaside towns.
The highlight are of course the 12 Apostles. But be warned – they are popular and all the tour buses from Melbourne doing the Great Ocean Road in a day stop there. It was nearly 6pm by the time I got there and it was still busy… My tip is to just embrace the crowds and enjoy the people watching.
My original plan was to head back on the Great Ocean Road and stop somewhere closer to Melbourne for the night so I wouldn’t have such a long drive back the next day, but because it was so late already I went to the Port Campbell Holiday Park for my first night sleeping in the van.
My van was custom-outfitted by Jucy and fully equipped with everything you need, including a double bed with cushions, a warm blanket and sheets, gas cooker, all kitchen utensils, fridge and even a kitchen sink.
It was perfect for me as a single traveler. I think it would be quite crowded though for two people though, especially if you travel with luggage. There’s just no place to put it! I would recommend going for a bigger van if you’re traveling with more people and can afford it.
ROAD TRIP MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY DAY 2: YARRA VALLEY 304 KM
It was clouded and rainy when I woke up and I decided it was the perfect weather to visit some Kangaroos and Koalas instead of hanging out on wet beaches. I took the faster route on the main highway to Melbourne – not as exciting and probably my least favorite day of driving. But it got me there in the early afternoon. I stopped at the Big4 Yarra Valley Park and went for a walk where I saw my first wild kangaroos! I had an early night and on the next morning I visited the Healesville Sanctuary, a wildlife zoo specializing in native Australian animals. I met some iconic Australian animals like Koalas, Kangaroos, Platypus, Dingoes, Wombats and Emus. It was really cool and I stayed for a few hours before getting back on the road again.
ROAD TRIP MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY DAY 3: WILSONS PROMONTORY NATIONAL PARK – 221 KM
Wilsons Promontory is the southernmost point of mainland Australia and is a National Park with an amazing collection of natural offerings. There are huge granite mountains, forest, beaches, and rocky outcrops. You can relax at the beautiful beaches or go hiking and watch the wildlife. I knew I definitely had to go and it turned out to be the highlight of this road trip from Melbourne to Sydney!
I stayed at Tidal River camping, the most expensive camping place on my trip (I paid AU$ 60 for one night), but the setting is amazing! I parked right behind the beach and listened to the waves at night. Heaven.
Wilsons Promontory offers many different walking tracks that you could spend weeks to do them all! Some are just 1-2 kilometers long and others can take up to three days or more. Just about every walk guarantees amazing views with magical lookouts, amazing landscapes and opportunities to see kangaroos, emus and wombats in their natural habitat. I wish I would have had an extra day here to do more, but the road was calling.
ROAD TRIP MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY DAY 4: LAKES ENTRANCE – 285 KM
After the beautiful wildness of the Wilson Promontory Lakes Entrance was a welcome stop back in civilization. I stayed at the Idleours Caravan Park, a cute little place with super nice owners and en suite bathrooms (what a luxury, haha) but not a lot of privacy.
The thing to do in Lakes Entrance is to get yourself on a boat. But since it was very windy I just went for a walk and bought some fresh fish for a delicious dinner in my little camping kitchen. I have to admit I wasn’t very impressed by the little town and was eager to get going to my next destination early on the next morning.
ROAD TRIP MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY DAY 5: PAMBULA BEACH – 263 KM
I decided to give Eden a miss and instead stopped at Pambula Beach. As the name promises there’s an amazing beach, perfect for long walks and sunny naps. There’s not really a lot else to do, but I had a great time just hanging out at the beach and observing the kangaroos that where walking around right in the camping ground! Watching kangaroos while preparing dinner – loved it!
ROAD TRIP MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY DAY 6: HUSKISSON – 289 KM
My original plan was to stay in the Booderee National Park but the camping places there were booked out. I ended up in Huskisson at the Huskisson White Sands Holiday Park, which was okay but a bit boring.
Huskisson has a beach too but the real attraction is only a few minutes’ drive away: famous Hyams beach with officially the whitest sand in the world. It’s truly a spectacular beach – the water is so aqua blue that there is only one thing you want to do: jump in! There were more people around than on the other beaches I’ve seen so far, but nothing compared to let’s say Bondi beach.
ROAD TRIP MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY DAY 7: SYDNEY – 184 KM
After a few relaxing hours on Hyams beach I got on the road again for the final leg of my trip – up to Sydney. I was grateful that I didn’t have to drive so long on my last day and arrived in Sydney in the early afternoon, in time to hand back my Jucy van, get to my AirBnB in Coogee and meet a friend for a yummy glass of Australian Sauvignon Blanc.
TIPS FOR A ROAD TRIP FROM MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY
- Plan enough time, especially if you want to include a detour to the Great Ocean Road. I wished I would have had at least 2 more days.
- Fuel up your car – there can be large distances between petrol stations, so make sure you fill up.
- Get the app WikiCamps Australia, it’s a good overview of camping places to stop for a night for free or not.
- Stock up on groceries and water at a big supermarket right at the start of your trip to save money. For example, I paid 80 cent for a bottle of water at the Coles supermarket, $5,5 at a petrol station…
- I’ve been traveling at the end of February and never booked accommodation in advance, I simply showed up. In high season or on sunny weekends it might be a better idea to book ahead.
- Since I was traveling alone, I preferred staying at camping places (I also like to have a toilet and shower since my van didn’t have those). I paid between AU$30 and AU$60 and it really adds up. You can look for free places to camp in the WikiCamps app instead if you’re feeling more adventurous.