The coastal drive between Melbourne and Sydney is not a very known route in Australia. Most roadtrips are either between Cairns and Sydney on the beautiful east coast. Nonetheless you will definitely miss out if you skip this beautiful Southeast corner of Aussie. My roadtrip took about 9 days but I didn’t visit Melbourne nor Sydney on this trip so if you would like to include that I would recommend you to stay at least 2 days extra in each city.
The Melbourne to Sydney drive contains beautiful excluded beaches, small surf towns and a lot of wildlife. If you are keen to see a wombat, a koala or thousanths of wallabies this is the roadtrip for you. Best, cheapest and most beautiful way to travel here is by campervan or tent. This is also the best way to see wildlife.
Only a three hour drive from Melbourne you will find this gem. Wilsons Promontory is a national park that is situated on a peninsula and contains high mountains and beautiful beaches (Whisky Bay, Squeaky Beach, Norman Beach). A good place for hiking, animal spotting and sunbathing.
There is a campground inside Wilsons Prom at Tidal River. It is all the way at the end of this peninsula and a good location to start several coastal walks. Definitely do the Mt Oberon hike which gives you a 360 degrees view on Wilsons Prom’s pristine beaches.
Get ready to see the almost extinct koala’s on Raymond Island! Drive to the nice little town of Paynesville where you can park your car for free and take a free ferry (for pedestrians) to Raymond Island. Here is where you’ll find the koala trail. This trail is a free walking route that takes you around the island with an almost 100 percent chance to spot at least one koala!
Don’t only stick to the koala trail but wander around the small waterfronts which is full of mussles and small beautiful shells. Take the ferry back and get a typical australian savoury pie in one of the bakeries of Paynesville.
Lakes Entrance is a coastal town known for the Gippsland Lakes and the inland waterways. Also it is home to one of the longest beaches in Australia called the ‘Ninety Mile Beach‘. There is a bridge across the river from in town that will take you to the beach. Also there is a coastal walk that takes you to the actual entrance of the inland river into the ocean. Often accompanied by dolphins, pelicans and kangaroos.
While driving to your next destination you’ll pass the little town of Cann River where you can get an ice cream and take a little break. Not far from there is another small walking path in the middle of the rainforrest. The Drummer Rainforest Walk is an easy walk that only takes about 45 minutes return. The walk is 1km in length and is a relaxing stroll through warm temperate rainforest adjacent to the Thurra River.
Mallocoota and Croajingolong National Park
Mallocoota was one of my favourite stops because of it’s great hidden beauty! If you like pictures of the Bahamas or Maladives you will most definitely like Mallacoota’s beaches too. It has a similar look with white sandy beaches and very clear blue water. The colours all seem very surreal and when I was there in September the beaches were still empty.
Only a short drive from the city centre you can drive to the Croajingolong National Park. If you have a 4WD you might be able to camp there but I wouldn’t recommend taking the journey in a normal vehicle. Go for a walk on the cliff top trail and head on to the river trail.
Eden Whale Capital and Ben Boyd National Park
I had never seen a whale before in my life and so it was definitely on my bucket list to see while travelling through Australia. Luckily it was migration season (September – November) and I had the opportunity to see these magical creatures. Eden is one of the whale watching places to be.
In the early days Eden was known for it’s whale hunting for oil and fats because the whales would swim into the bay on their way to Antartica or to the tropics. A whaling tour only costs about 90 AUD and you have a 99 percentage chance to see at least one whale! Don’t forget to visit the famous Whale Museum in the city centre for more information about the history of Eden and whales in general.
Another way to spot whales is to go to Ben Boyd National Park. Ben Boyd was a Scottish entrepeneur who became a major ship owner, banker, politician and more and wanted to eventually create his own city next to Eden. He eventually didn’t succeed but there are some remains like the Ben Boyd Tower which was used for spotting whales that would come into the bay. From there lightsignals were sent towards Eden and the whalehunters would get in their boats to go catch it. It is worth a visit and when lucky you might be able to spot a whale yourself.
Mimosa Rocks National Park
One of the most beautiful campgrounds I’ve been sleeping on this roadtrip was in Mimosa Rocks National Park. It’s a short drive on a bumpy unpaved road but easily doable with a van or car. The road ends at the beach where there is a lot of space for you to camp. Also the beach is very impressive and get’s filled with herds of kangaroo’s who will pose for your picture at dawn.
On the way to Mimosa Rock National Park you could have a stop in Pambula and Merimbula. These small coastal towns are filled with nice little coffee shops and restaurants surrounded by gorgeous and lively beaches.
On the way toward Jervis Bay you will pass by these three interesting towns. Bermagui has several nice beachstops and a beautiful natural swimming pool whereas Central Tilba is a small old town a bit inland which has similarities with the Swiss Alps with cows and colourful flowers.
Narooma has some of the most beautiful blue water beaches, a lot of seals as well as the possibility to take a ferry to Montague Island. The best thing is to see it all for yourself because it isn’t coincidence that this is one of Australia’s favourite holiday location.
Jervis bay National park
Another definite highlight before you reach Sydney is Jervis Bay National Park. White carribean sand that burns your feet when you walk on it. Blue water like you haven’t seen before (although a little bit chilly). Very nice camping facilities right in Booderee National Park and plenty of wildlife just outside your doorstep!
Hyams beach :
The most famous beach and therefore star attraction of Jervis Bay. A safe family beach with little swell and a caribean feeling. It does get a little busy in high season but there are plenty other beaches to check out.
Huskisson beach and Pebbly Beach :
On Pebbly beach you might be able to get your instagram worthy ‘Kangaroo on a beach’ photo! Every evening at dusk many Kangaroos go to the beach to be fed by tourists. It isn’t the most natural phenomenom but it will get you your beloved photograph.
Murrays Beach and Governor Head Lookout :
Known as the jewel and probably my favourite beach in the Booderee National Park, Murrays Beach offers swimmers and snorkelers alike, pristine clear waters and pearly white sand. From Murrays Beach you can also do a little hike towards Governor Head Lookout and further along the cliffs. If you bring your binoculars you might be lucky enough to spot some penguins, dolphins or whales.
Green Patch Booderee Camp ground :
Right in the middle of the national park you have this stunning campground. Make sure to book it in advance because the spots get sold very fast and easily especially in summertime! This campground is very close to the beach and ideal for families to have a relaxing holiday.
Whale watching :
Just like all the other coastal towns along this side of Australia Jervis Bay also has a high concentration of migrating Whales. Therefore there are a lot of whale watching tours you could take in order to go and spot these magnificent
Kangaroo valley camp
Now you have the choice to drive along the coast via the city Wollongong to Sydney or you can drive inland towards Kangaroo Valley. If you want to sleep with Wombats running around your camp and jump into a river in the morning to start your day fresh I’d go for Kangaroo Valley and the Bandeela Recreation Area. A beautiful open grassy area with good facilities, a nice place to stay for a few days before heading out to busy Sydney to end your roadtrip or start a new roadtrip all the way to Cairns…
For me this coastal roadtrip towards Sydney was probably one of the most beautiful trips I did. First of all because of the scenery that was unexpectedly astonishing and also because I travelled all by myself in my Van for over a week. Camping out all alone in nature, making bacon and eggs with the best views ever and hiking trails with magnificent views was truly my lifechanging experience. On the side I had time to reflect on what all happened on my trip up untill then and reflect on myself too. After this trip I continued heading North to eventually pick up one of my best friends who was coming to visit me for three weeks all the way from Europe!