It will come as no surprise that the coastal drive between two of Australia’s most incredible cities – Sydney and Melbourne – is one of the country’s most popular road trips. Starting in the stunning harbourside city, Sydney offers a wow-factor welcome, complete with famous landmarks, spectacular natural wonders, world-class dining and awe-inspiring landscapes. Head south and the dream continues – coastal stretches make way for seaside hamlets and stunning beaches blend into lush wilderness and wildlife. Get ready to embark on this extraordinary road trip of a lifetime!
🛣️Route: Sydney > Wollongong > Kiama > Jervis Bay > Batemans Bay > Narooma > Eden > Melbourne 🚗Total distance: 1,027 km/638 miles ⏲️Total drive time: 12 hours, 30 minutes
Itinerary: Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge – enjoy a harbour cruise – embark on a coastal walk – eat fresh seafood
Come for the icons, stay for the variety. That’s Sydney in a nutshell. The charismatic New South Wales capital has it all, from famous landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach to secluded bays and cool cafes, and everything in between.
For an unforgettable Sydney Harbour experience, admire the outlook from above with BridgeClimb Sydney. Climb 1,332 steps to enjoy sweeping views from the summit of this national treasure. Back on solid ground – well, at least for a moment – Luna Park delivers a unique combination of harbour views and hair-raising thrills. The much-loved theme park includes thrill rides, family rides and sideshow games for an ultimate day out. From thrills to chills, take in some of the city’s most spectacular sights on a Sydney Harbour Cruise.
When it comes to beaches, you’re in the right spot with more than 100 peppered along Sydney’s glittering coastline. Bondi and Manly are among the most renowned, while Watsons Bay on the South Head peninsula is another favourite. To help get your bearings, why not set out on foot on one of Sydney’s many coastal walks. The six-kilometre Bondi to Manly Walk, which winds past Tamarama Beach, Bronte Beach and Clovelly, is particularly picturesque.
Not surprisingly, Sydney’s dining scene is full of waterfront options, from glamorous to casual. A treat for the senses, Sydney Fish Market is a hub of activity and the perfect place for a freshly caught seafood lunch. Meanwhile, the cultural diversity in Sydney has given rise to a smorgasbord of global flavours. Foodie hubs such as Surry Hills, Chippendale and Marrickville showcase this variety, and there are also a number of suburban pockets where particular cuisines thrive. For Vietnamese, for example, check out Cabramatta. Indian food lovers might like to head to Harris Park. And for Italian, it’s hard to go past the neighbouring suburbs of Haberfield and Five Dock. If it’s the café scene you’re after, hit up the ever-so-Instagrammable inner west haunts of Surry Hills and Newtown where you’ll find a collection of unique and eclectic dining options.
Days 3 – 5: Wollongong and surrounds | 1 hour, 20 minutes from Sydney
Itinerary: Visit the oldest National Park in the world – get up-close to the animals at Symbio Wildlife Park – walk along the Sea Cliff Bridge – explore the Buddhist Temple – go skydiving in Wollongong
To get a sense of place, there’s no better spot to start than the Royal National Park. The second oldest National Park in the world, and Australia’s oldest, the site is well worth exploring with a guide. After all, you don’t want to miss the incredible spoils, including beaches, waterfalls and rockpools.
Take a few hours off the road and experience a close animal encounter at Symbio Wildlife Park. All of our native animals live here, including koalas and kangaroos, as well as a range of exotic animals such as cheetahs, ring-tailed lemurs, red pandas, meerkats and monkeys.
Just before Wollongong, one of the road trip’s most incredible views will be unveiled. The 665-metre-long Sea Cliff Bridge provides sweeping coastal views from the car, or perhaps you’d like to enlist the help of Just Cruisin’ Tours and enjoy the added thrill of riding on a chauffeured trike, in a side car or on a solo motorcycle. You can also park your vehicle and take a stroll along the Bridgewalk, where the breathtaking scenes come with the wind in your hair. To catch this famous bridge from a different angle, head up to Bald Hill Lookout.
From sweeping views to glittering beaches and ocean pools, Wollongong boats some the top spots on the east coast. Let the therapeutic salt water wash over you at Coalcliff, Woonona, North Wollongong and Austinmer. Look up and you might just catch sight of a skydiver soaring gracefully above the city. Wollongong is, after all, considered one of the country’s premium skydiving spots. If you’re brave enough, give it a try with Skydive Sydney – Wollongong.
Marvel at the architecture, art and culture of Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere. For a breezy surfside brunch, try Diggies Café, a long-time favourite with the Instagram-savvy crowd. Still on the water, Steamers Bar & Grill offers an extensive menu featuring wild-caught seafood, while award-winning eatery, Lagoon Seafood Restaurant is also a premier dining experience.
Days 5 – 6: Kiama via Shellharbour | 35 minutes from Wollongong
Itinerary: Go surfing at Shellharbour – see the Kiama Blowhole – bushwalk in Budderoo National Park and spot native wildlife
Just 25 minutes’ south, Shellharbour is another seaside escape well worth the stopover. The cosy hamlet offers plenty of great outdoor activities, including surfing, golfing, rainforest walks, fishing, boating, scuba diving – or perhaps you’d prefer to put your feet up and enjoy the picturesque view.
A little further south, stop in at Kiama on your way to Jervis Bay or stay overnight at the Sebel Harbourside Kiama. Motorhome accommodation is also available. The town is awash with natural wonders, seaside dining and a laidback atmosphere. Positioned along the Kiama Coast Walk, the Kiama Blowhole – which is the largest blowhole in the world – is a must-see. The natural rock formation, carved by ancient volcanic lava flows and vents, dramatically shoots seawater up to 30 metres into the air, much to the delight of spectators.
From beach to bush, Budderoo National Park is a bushwalker’s heaven, with the subtropical backdrop of Minnamurra Rainforest. For tumbling waterfalls and resident wallabies, platypuses, lyrebirds and king parrots, be sure to make your way to the park’s eastern edge.
Day 6 – 8: Shoalhaven Coast including Jervis Bay | 1 hour, 12 minutes from Kiama
Itinerary: Relax on the sand at one of the famous white beaches – see dolphins and whales at Jervis Bay – indulge yourself with delicious oysters
Stretching 100 picture-perfect miles, the Shoalhaven Coast is home to some of the country’s most pristine landscapes – and, in a country like Australia, that is some feat. A jewel in an already sparkling crown, Jervis Bay is a particularly alluring drawcard, and its whiter-than-white beaches – famous both on and off Instagram – are certainly part of the appeal. Among them: Murrays Beach and Hole in the Wall Beach, both part of Booderee National Park, and Greenfield Beach, in Jervis Bay National Park.
Then there’s Jervis Bay Marine Park, where 100-or-so resident bottlenose dolphins are regularly spotted. Between May and November, humpback and southern right whales join the viewing party as they migrate south. There are several whale and dolphin watching tours available. Adorable
Swimming, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking are all popular activities throughout the Shoalhaven region, and you’re also now on the trail of the delicious Sydney Rock Oyster. Be sure to pop into one or two of the oyster farms, including Jim Wild’s Oyster Service, dotted along the coast.
Day 8 – 10: Batemans Bay | 1 hour, 55 minutes from Jervis Bay
Itinerary: Sample cheese and wine at Ulladulla – dine at Bannisters in Mollymook – see wild kangaroos at Pebbly Beach
The Eurobodalla region, which stretches from South Durras in the north to the historic village of Tilba Tilba in the south, is a charming patchwork of ocean, river, forest and farmland.
On the trip from Jervis Bay, make time to stop in at Cupitt’s Estate and indulge in the local cheeses, wine and beer. You might also like to take a brief detour to enjoy the fresh seafood and oysters for which Rick Stein at Bannisters Mollymook is famous.
North of Batemans Bay, the Pretty Beach to Pebbly Beach walking track will have you feeling refreshed. It is also a popular with wild kangaroos so don’t forget your camera. Next stop: Batemans Bay, the region’s main hub and a bona fide delight. The beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and myriad outdoor activities, including swimming, surfing, kayaking and fishing, will have you hooked.
Days 10 – 11: Narooma and Montague Island | 56 minutes from Batemans Bay
Itinerary: Snap photos of the amazing rock formations – visit Montague Island’s lighthouse – embark on a seal cruise – sample fresh oysters
Still in Eurobodalla, Narooma is a water wonderland, with its beaches, lakes and inlets providing a gorgeous backdrop. Explore more of this postcard-perfect region with the help of two wheels on a bicycle or e-bike tour with Southbound Escapes. Photo opportunities are easy to come by here, especially with lookout points such as Australia Rock, Horse Head Rock, Camel Rock and Cathedral Rock. Just off the coast, Montague Island is a treasure trove of natural wonders as well. Home to the largest colony of little penguins in New South Wales, plus thousands of birds and a thriving colony of fur seals, the island is renowned for its wildlife encounters. There are a number of tour providers that can help, from Montague Island Adventures’ Snorkel with the Seals tour to Island Charters’ Meal with a Seal cruise. Built in 1881, the island’s lighthouse is a popular attraction, both in its own right and as a lookout – the 360-degree views are nothing short of spectacular.
Back on the mainland, The Oyster Farmer’s Daughter serves some of best local produce in the region. Run by a fourth-generation oyster farmer, the café is waterside gem where customers enjoy delicious food and drink in a quintessentially laidback Aussie setting.
Days 11 – 13: Sapphire Coast, including Eden | 1 hour, 36 minutes from Narooma
Itinerary: Go swimming in the famous Blue Pool – enjoy a coastal walk and the markets in Bermagui – explore Mimosa Rocks National Park and Ben Boyd National Park – visit the Killer Whale Museum in Eden
Located about halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, the Sapphire Coast is every bit as iridescent as the name suggests. Glistening beaches, coast-hugging hamlets, wildlife encounters and moreish flavours await, but before you get there, make a stop in Tilba Tilba. About 20 minutes south of Narooma, this historic town is a showcase of original Victorian architecture, culturally significant land, and stunning seasonal gardens.
You know you’ve hit the Sapphire Coast when you reach Bermagui, located in the shadow of Mount Gulaga (formerly Mount Dromedary). Bermagui is one of the region’s prettiest spots – a quiet seaside town and fishing haven where gorgeous beaches, coastal walks and local produce are standard.
Speaking of produce, shop fresh at the Bermagui Growers Market, a thriving community event held each Thursday. The famous Blue Pool is a must-see Bermagui attraction. The natural ocean rock pool – rated one of the best in the world – is a wonderful swimming and snorkelling spot, while the viewing platform offers incredible views. Check out the colourful Water Tank Art before you head out of town.
Whether you’re in the mood to sip or savour, Mimosa Wines is a treat. The seven-acre vineyard is known for its biodynamic practices and alternative varieties. As well as a cellar door, there is a wonderful on-site restaurant and accommodation.
Just 25 minutes south, Mimosa Rocks National Park will reward you with show-stopping headland views, pristine beaches, pure lagoons, verdant rainforest and historic sites. Better yet, the park is a sanctuary for koalas, swamp wallabies, long-nosed potoroos and ringtail possums. In Ben Boyd National Park, meanwhile, the Light-to-Light Walk is delightfully scenic – the combination of thick wilderness, spectacular beaches and intriguing indigenous history making for a memorable journey.
Oysters continue to reign throughout the Sapphire Coast. In fact, this region is famous for the delicious morsels. In Pambula, just north of Eden, Wheeler’s Oyster Farm Tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at the process, an opportunity to meet the farmers, and – most importantly – a chance to taste prized Sydney Rock Oysters fresh from Merimbula Lake.
Speaking of tasting, North of Eden Gin is a worthy pitstop. The tiny regional distillery produces award-winning gins, which are available for tasting at the cellar door. Another incredible, albeit unusual, attraction is the Eden Killer Whale Museum, where the full skeleton of ‘Tom’ the killer whale is among items on display.
Akin to paradise, Eden is hard to pry yourself away from, but once you do, the coastal delights continue across the border and into Victoria. Fly out from the cosmopolitan Victorian capital of Melbourne.
Are you ready to hit the road to discover the wonderful nature, food and wine from Sydney to Melboutne? Start planning your next journey and find your flight tickets straight away at CheapTickets.sg.