Sydney to Melbourne drive itineraries and maps

Historic, coastal and adventurous Sydney to Melbourne road trips

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

A road trip from Sydney to Melbourne is all about choices. Head inland for gold mining towns, world-class museums and food experiences.

Or, take the leisurely coastal route for natural wonders, dramatic headlands and beaches.

We've covered all angles so you can do it in 1-2 days or have a week filled with the best sights between the two states.

Sydney to Melbourne drive overview

  • What is the distance between Melbourne and Sydney? The fastest route is 888km.
  • How long does it take to drive between Sydney and Melbourne? Non-stop, the drive takes just under 10 hours. We recommend 1-2 days to complete the trip depending on your number of drivers.
  • Sydney to Melbourne drive stops: Canberra, Kiama Blowhole, Sale Common Wetlands boardwalk, Pigeon House Mountain Trail, Mimosa Rocks National Park, Wilsons Promontory National Park and Phillip Island.
  • When's the best time to do the drive? Winter is less busy while summer lets you enjoy water activities. Whale watching along the coast is best from April to November.
  • Is the drive safe? Driving along the highway is very straightforward. However, if you'd like to explore, in rural areas you may encounter wildlife on the roads and in winter the inland route can become slippery. Hiring a car? Make sure you're covered in case anything goes wrong.

Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive, 2 days

Skip the direct route and hug the coast for a scenic drive that captures beaches, sleepy coastal towns and some of the best local fare across two states.

Being a less-than-straightforward way to get between the capitals, it'll take you around 16 hours. A good halfway point to close off the day is Merimbula.

Suffice to say if you've only got two days then you won't get to see much else besides what's out your car window. If you can extend your trip to three days you'll get to stretch those legs and dip them into the water.

Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive overview

2-3 day Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive itinerary

Day 1

  • Distance: 462km
  • Drive time: 6 hours 8 minutes

Sydney to Merimbula

  • Head south of the city along the east coast toward Wollongong along the M1, taking a break along the way to see the sites including the Nan Tien Temple.
  • Continue on to Batemans Bay and soak up the beauty of Pebbly Beach before continuing onto Merimbula, the heart of the Sapphire Coast.
  • Stay the night at Norfolk Pine Hotel in Merimbula.

Picture not described


Day 2

  • Distance: 751km
  • Drive time: 10 hours

Merimbula to Melbourne

  • Keep hugging the coast on your way to Melbourne along the Princes Highway and A1.
  • Make quick stops at Lakes Entrance to check out the Griffiths Sea Shell Museum and the small town of Sale for its historical buildings, including the oldest hotel in Gippsland.

Sunset at Gippsland Au


Day 3 (optional)

  • Distance: 295km
  • Drive time: 3.5 hours

Sale to Melbourne

  • Sleep in and take a leisurely drive south-east along the A440 to complete the final leg of your trip.
  • If the weather is good, consider detouring left onto Promontory Road to Wilsons Promontory National Park for views over Bass Strait or via Phillip Island to play with the little penguins.

Phillip Island AU


Sydney to Melbourne Hume Highway drive

Want to get from A to B? Not fussed about the scenery? Then take the most direct way between the two capitals along the Hume Highway.

This speedy route gets you to Melbourne in under 10 hours. With enough rest stops and drivers you can make it in a day.

Sydney to Melbourne Hume Highway drive overview

  • Distance: 887km, 9 hours 15 minutes
  • Route: Sydney to Melbourne via the Hume Highway
  • Highlights: Goulburn, Big Merino, Gundagai, Albury and Glenrowan.

1-day Sydney to Melbourne Hume Highway itinerary

Day 1

  • Distance: 887km
  • Drive time: 9 hours 15 minutes

Sydney to Melbourne

  • Start in Sydney early to make the most of your day and drive to Goulburn, Australia's first inland city.
  • Take a quick stop for brekkie and a selfie in front of the Big Merino before heading west along the Hume Highway.
  • Stop in to Gundagai for a stretch and a cuppa. This classic Australian country town has some historical sites to peek in at if you have some time to spare.
  • You should be ready for lunch once you hit Albury, which has plentiful cafes, gardens and activities if you want a proper break. Albury is also a perfect spot for an overnight break if you've had enough of driving for the day.
  • One more worthwhile stop before you hit Melbourne is Glenrowan, best known for bushranger Ned Kelly's last stand.
  • Continue on to Melbourne to complete your trip.

Albury, Australia


Sydney to Melbourne heritage drive

Country New South Wales and Victoria are overflowing in Australian history.

Take that detour into Canberra for a history lesson through its many museums and memorials. Then, as you close in on Melbourne, savour the delicious tastes of country towns such as Rutherglen and Seymour.

3-day Sydney to Melbourne heritage drive overview

  • Total distance: 991km, 11 hours
  • Route: Sydney to Melbourne via Hume Highway
  • Highlights: Berrima, Big Merino, Lake George, Canberra, Rutherglen, Wangaratta, Benalla and Seymour.
  • Stay at: Avenue Hotel Canberra in Canberra and Hillview Farmstay in Mundarlo.

3-day Sydney to Melbourne heritage drive itinerary

Day 1

  • Distance: 291km
  • Drive time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Sydney to Canberra

  • Drive along the Hume Highway headed for Canberra.
  • On your way, take a break in the well-preserved Georgian village of Berrima and make a quick stop at the Big Merino for a snap.
  • Another good break point is Lake George where you can take a snack break while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
  • Finish your day in Canberra, staying at Avenue Hotel Canberra.

Berrima, Australia


Day 2

  • Distance: 200km
  • Drive time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Canberra to Mundarlo

  • Spend the better part of the day exploring the best of Australia's capital city.
  • Tour Parliament House, explore the National Museum of Australia and learn about the Anzacs at the Australian War Memorial.
  • Rest up in Mundarlo at Hillview Farmstay

Picture not described


Day 3

  • Distance: 500km
  • Drive time: 5 hours 15 minutes

Mundarlo to Melbourne

  • To round off your road trip with something new, spend the morning in Rutherglen. It's the region's foodie haven.
  • Cycle along the historic rail trail, sample local olives and chocolate and go behind the scenes at the region's wineries.
  • Then drive that final leg to Melbourne. On your way, take a pit stop in Wangaratta, Benalla or Seymour for coffee and local art.

Rutherglen vineyard


7-day Sydney to Melbourne drive

The Sapphire Coast, Wilsons Promontory and Phillip Island all wait for you along that incredible NSW and Victorian coastline.

So why sell yourself short with a 2-3 day trip when you can spend a whole week blissing out on the beaches, hiking craggy coastlines and cuddling up to our native wildlife?

With a week you'll make your mates jealous and have a wealth of stories and breathtaking images to share.

7-day Sydney to Melbourne drive overview

7-day Sydney to Melbourne itinerary

Day 1

  • Distance: 186km
  • Drive time: 2 hours 45 mins

Sydney to Jervis Bay

  • Drive an hour south from Sydney to begin the cliff-hugging Grand Pacific Drive to the seaside town of Kiama.
  • Check out the famous Kiama Blowhole, lighthouse and stop for a bushwalk if you're keen to stretch your legs.
  • Continue on to Jervis Bay where you can spend the afternoon snorkelling, kayaking and during the season, spotting whales.
  • Settle in for the night at Huskisson Bed and Breakfast or for a more romantic escape, stay in a glamping tent.

Picture not described


Day 2

  • Distance: 155km
  • Drive time: 2 hours 50 minutes

Jervis Bay to Batemans Bay

  • Keen hikers should head inland to hike the Pigeon House Mountain Trail.
  • Follow up with a refreshing swim at Pebbly Beach with the "surfing kangaroos".
  • Finish the day off with a kayak at Batemans Bay.
  • Stay in Batemans Bay at Coachhouse Marina Resort.

Kangaroo on beach Batesman


Day 3

  • Distance: 206km
  • Drive time: 3 hours

Batemans Bay to Eden

  • Animal lovers should stop in at Mogo Zoo or for a change of scenery, check out the traditional craftworks of Central Tilba.
  • Have a swim and a snorkel at Mimosa Rocks National Park before stopping into Bega, known for its cheese.
  • Drive to Eden where you can retire in Kiah Country Garden Bed & Breakfast.

rock formations on middle beach, mimosa rocks national park, nsw, australia


Day 4

  • Distance: 320km
  • Drive time: 4 hours

Eden to Bairnsdale

  • Spend your morning spotting whales, kayaking on the bay or enjoying a bushwalk.
  • Continue across the border to the Mallacoota Inlet where you can kayak to Gipsy Point.
  • Tuck in for the night at Bairnsdale at The Riversleigh. Add a cycle along the East Gippsland Rail Trail if you still have energy.

Picture not described


Day 5

  • Distance: 175km
  • Drive time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Bairnsdale to Walhalla

  • Start the day off with a stretch along the Sale Common Wetlands boardwalk.
  • Continue inland to the gold rush village of Walhalla where you can head deep underground on a mine tour.
  • When the day is done, rest up at Walhalla's Star Hotel.

Walhalla Tramline Walk

Image: Visit Melbourne


Day 6

  • Distance: 250km
  • Drive time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Walhalla to Foster

  • Head towards the coast for a visit to Wilsons Promontory National Park and take your pick of popular walks.
  • Cool off with a dip at nearby Squeaky Beach before spending the night in Foster at Prom Country Lodge.

View from the top of Mount Bishop, Wilsons Promontory National Park, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia


Day 7

  • Distance: 245km
  • Drive time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Foster to Melbourne

  • Before you hit the big city, spend one more day along the coast on Phillip Island and enjoy some wildlife spotting while you're at it.

Picture not described


Find your ride for your Sydney to Melbourne trip


Car hire deals in Sydney

DiDiDiDi
Exclusive

Get $20 credit

Get $5 off each of your first four rides in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Geelong, Perth and Newcastle. Valid on all dates for new users. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

DriveNowDriveNow

Campervan hire from $5/day

Available on select routes, dates and locations in Australia, including Darwin, Alice Springs, Cairns and Brisbane, and New Zealand.

Last verified

JUCYJUCY

Up to 15% off Australia campervan hires

Available on rentals from May - December 2021. Destinations include Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

AvisAvis

Sixth day free + free upgrade on car hires

Available on 6+ day rentals from 15 July - 15 September 2021. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

EuropcarEuropcar

Up to 20% off Australia and New Zealand rentals

Available on 2+ days rentals until 11 December 2021 when you book 21 days in advance. Destinations include Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

EuropcarEuropcar

Up to 20% off base rate

Available on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday pick up dates until 11 December 2021. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

EuropcarEuropcar

$1/day one-way car hire in Australia

Valid on select dates for select car hire in Australia. Destinations updated regularly.

Last verified

Spaceship RentalsSpaceship Rentals

Up to 10% rentals

Available on select rental dates in Australia. Offer exclusive to members only. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

EuropcarEuropcar

Up to 10% off 3-day rentals

Available on rentals until 11 December 2021 across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

AvisAvis

Earn 4 Qantas points with every $1 spent

Earn Qantas points on car hires across Australia, including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Motorhome RepublicMotorhome Republic

Up to 10% off Jucy rentals

Available on rentals from June - October 2021 across Australia. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

EuropcarEuropcar

Up to 15% off 5+ days rentals

Available on rentals until 11 December 2021 across Australia and New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Motorhome RepublicMotorhome Republic

Get 5% off campervan hires with code

Available on rentals until 31 March 2022 across Australia with Cheapa Campa, Star RV and Hippie Camper. Must book 180+ days in advance. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Priceline.comPriceline.com

Up to 40% off express rental cars

Compare worldwide car hire prices with Avis, Budget, Sixt, Europcar, Hertz, Alamo and much more. Destinations include Australia, USA and more.

Last verified

HertzHertz

Up to 20% off Sydney Downtown car hires

Available on rentals until 30 June 2021 when you book a minimum of 7 days. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Motorhome RepublicMotorhome Republic

5% off advance bookings

Available on rentals until 31 March 2022 across Australia including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Darwin, Cairns, Broome and more. Minimum of 180 days advance booking. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Skyscanner Car HireSkyscanner Car Hire

Sydney car hires from $21

Valid for travel on select dates in 2021 with Europcar, Sixt, Hertz, Avis, Budget and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Motorhome RepublicMotorhome Republic

Australia: Up to 7.5% off Let’s Go Motorhomes rentals

Available on select rental dates until 31 March 2022 when you book 180 days in advance. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

AvisAvis

Free upgrade on car hires

Sign up your email and receive the best car rental offers across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

EuropcarEuropcar

Up to 15% off prestige car rentals

Available on rentals until 11 December 2021 across Australia and New Zealand including Sydney, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Auckland and more. Minimum of 5 days rental required. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

DriveMyCarDriveMyCar

Sydney car hire from $25.66/day

Available on select rental dates. Sample rate is for a rental in Belmore. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

National Car RentalNational Car Rental

Free car rental for members

Join the Emerald Club and earn 1 rental credit for every qualified car rental. Inclusive of free rental days and other benefits. Destinations include Australia, Canada, United States and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

DriveMyCarDriveMyCar

Car hire from $24 per day

Hire cars across Australia from as little as $24 per day. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Rentalcars.comRentalcars.com

Compare over 800 car hire companies worldwide

Rentalcars.com can help you compare major car hire company rates for the best price. Companies it compares include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Thrifty, Alamo, Dollar and Budget. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, Canada and more.

Last verified

Discover CarsDiscover Cars

Sydney car hires from $16.98/day

Available on select rental dates in 2020. Car types include intermediate, economy, compact and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Discover CarsDiscover Cars

Australia car hires from $14.99/day

Available on select dates in Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Melbourne and more.

Last verified

KayakKayak

Sydney car hires from $28 per day

Available on rentals until December 2021 with East Coast, Budget, Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Sixt, Alamo and more.

Last verified

Deal ends

OutdoorsyOutdoorsy

NSW campervan rentals from $32 per day

Available on select rental dates across Sydney, Kingsgrove and more. Sample rate is for a 2-seater campervan in Waterloo. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

CamptooCamptoo

Sydney campervan hires from $65 per night

Available on select travel dates. Sample rate is for a rental in Manly Vale. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

MomondoMomondo

Sydney car hires from $25/day

Available on select rental dates with Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Avis, Alamo and more. Sample rate is for a sedan car. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

DriveNowDriveNow

Sydney car hires from $62 per day

Available on select rental dates. Sample rate is for a compact car. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Rentalcars.comRentalcars.com

Sydney car hires from $51.68/day

Available on select rental dates. Sample rate is for a Nissan car. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

OutdoorsyOutdoorsy

Pet-friendly campervan hires from $35/day

Available on select rental dates. Destinations include Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Byron Bay and more. Sample rate is for a 2-seater campervan in Woolloongabba. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

OutdoorsyOutdoorsy

Australia rentals from $58/day

Available on select rental dates. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Newcastle and more. Sample rate is for a Flexi Delish in Baldivis, WA. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

EuropcarEuropcar

Get $200 hotel voucher on car hires

Receive an exclusive $200 accommodation credit voucher when you book an intermediate class or higher vehicles for 3+ nights. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Auckland and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Popular Car Hire coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
29 Mar 2021 Get $20 credit FIN****
1 Jun 2021 Up to 15% off Australia campervan hires HOL****
19 May 2021 Sixth day free + free upgrade on car hires TPN****
1 Jun 2021 Up to 10% off Jucy rentals OLR****
26 May 2021 Get 5% off campervan hires with code EBD****

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site