Sydney to Melbourne drive itineraries and maps

Historic, coastal and adventurous Sydney to Melbourne road trips

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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