Discovering Australia’s East Coast: A Road Trip Adventure from Sydney to Melbourne via Canberra

For starters

We set off on what we consider to be one of the best road trips along Australia’s breathtaking east coast between Sydney and Melbourne, with a stopover in the nation’s capital, Canberra!

Be prepared for a scenic journey from Sydney to Melbourne. This adventure goes beyond checking off destinations; it’s about fully experiencing the natural beauty of the east coast one beach, one hike and one local treat at a time!

From the bustling atmosphere of cosmopolitan Sydney, to the hills and towns of the south coast of New South Wales, on to the shores of Lakes Entrance and finally through the wonders of Gippsland, every turn in the road offers a new sight and treasures to be discovered. We trust adventurous travelers like yourself find this information inspiring?

Grab your shades and queue up your road trip tunes. Come along with us as we navigate winding coastal roads pause for spontaneous picnics overlooking blue waters and chase after the sunset, along rugged cliffs. This isn’t a trip, it’s an opportunity to reconnect with nature, to savor local foods and to make memories that endure. Welcome to our Australian East Coast expedition – lets get going!

Fast facts

  • Time: 5 days
  • Overnight: Canberra, Merimbula/Tathra, Gippsland Lakes, Walhalla
  • Distance: 1,203 kilometres (748 miles)
  • Transport: car, campervan, caravan
  • Nearest major cities: Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne

Day 1: Sydney to Canberra

  • Route: Start your journey from Sydney and head south towards Canberra via the Hume Highway (M31).
  • Places to Stop: Consider a brief stop in Bowral, a charming town in the Southern Highlands known for its picturesque gardens and boutique shops. Another option is to visit Goulburn, Australia’s first inland city, famous for its historic buildings and the Big Merino statue.
  • Stay: Spend the night in Canberra to explore the capital’s attractions.

Day 2: Canberra to Batemans Bay

  • Route: From Canberra, head southeast towards Batemans Bay along the Kings Highway (B52).
  • Places to Stop: Make a pit stop at the charming town of Braidwood, known for its heritage-listed buildings and artisanal food scene. Consider a detour to Monga National Park for a scenic bushwalk.
  • Stay: Spend the night in Batemans Bay, a coastal town known for its beaches and seafood.

Day 3: Batemans Bay to Mallacoota

  • Route: Travel south along the Princes Highway (A1) towards Mallacoota.
  • Places to Stop: Explore Narooma, known for its stunning coastline and the nearby Montague Island, home to a large colony of seals and seabirds. Consider a stop at Bermagui for fresh seafood or a visit to the famous Blue Pool.
  • Stay: Spend the night in Mallacoota, a picturesque coastal town surrounded by Croajingolong National Park.

Day 4: Mallacoota to Lakes Entrance

  • Route: Continue south along the Princes Highway (A1) towards Lakes Entrance.
  • Places to Stop: Explore Cape Conran Coastal Park for scenic walks and coastal views. Consider a stop at Orbost for lunch or a visit to the historic Slab Hut.
  • Stay: Spend the night in Lakes Entrance, a popular holiday destination known for its lakes, beaches, and seafood.

Day 5: Lakes Entrance to Melbourne

  • Route: Travel west along the Princes Highway (A1) towards Melbourne.
  • Places to Stop: Consider a detour to Wilsons Promontory National Park for hiking, wildlife spotting, and scenic coastal views. Alternatively, visit Phillip Island for penguin watching or a stroll along the beach.
  • Stay: Conclude your road trip in Melbourne, where you can explore the city’s vibrant laneways, cultural attractions, and dining scene.