Travel

23 Things To Do On A Roadtrip Between Melbourne And Sydney

1. Before you head over to the east coast, take a little detour south, down to the Mornington Peninsula.

It’s worth staying overnight, just because there’s so much to do. Play soccer golf, treat yourself at the hot springs, go for hikes up giant hills, camp on the beach, take a moonlit wildlife sanctuary tour, or try Australia’s best Vanilla Slice.

2. At the very least, you gotta check out the wineries of the region.

You can go on a guided tour which includes wine, cheese, and chocolate tasting, or just drive yourself around the region and stop in wherever takes your fancy.

You can go on a guided tour which includes wine, cheese, and chocolate tasting, or just drive yourself around the region and stop in wherever takes your fancy.

3. While you’re down south, you’d be mad not to hit up Phillip Island.

Sure, it’s a little touristy, but not without reason. Phillip Island has some stunning places to check out, as well as a ton of native wildlife. Head to the far tip of the island, The Nobbies, for some amazing views of the sea pounding against cliffs. Keep your eyes peeled for the penguins that live alongside the boardwalk. If you wanna get up close to them, check out the Penguin Parade, or if seals are more your thing, hop on a boat cruise and see if you can spot any.

Sure, it’s a little touristy, but not without reason. Phillip Island has some stunning places to check out, as well as a ton of native wildlife. Head to the far tip of the island, The Nobbies, for some amazing views of the sea pounding against cliffs. Keep your eyes peeled for the penguins that live alongside the boardwalk. If you wanna get up close to them, check out the Penguin Parade, or if seals are more your thing, hop on a boat cruise and see if you can spot any.

4. Then see some of Victoria’s most stunning scenery on Wilson’s Prom.

Most people have never heard of this promontory, a protrusion of land near the far south-east of the state. It's a giant national park, the majority of which is inaccessible by car. From the main road you can access some seriously incredible beaches, and there are a few mountains you can climb to get a better view. Pitch a tent or book a cabin at the Tidal River campsite at the end of the park’s one road.Most people have never heard of this promontory, a protrusion of land near the far south-east of the state. It’s a giant national park, the majority of which is inaccessible by car. From the main road you can access some seriously incredible beaches, and there are a few mountains you can climb to get a better view. Pitch a tent or book a cabin at the Tidal River campsite at the end of the park’s one road.

5. Or jump on a boat and really see what it’s got to offer.

If you don’t have three days to hike out to some of the Prom’s most beautiful spots, you can cheat a little bit and see them by boat. Refuge Cove Cruises will take you right out to the southernmost tip of the mainland, and stop in at beaches with impossibly white sand and clear blue water. You’re almost guaranteed to spot dolphins, penguins, and seals.

6. Go koala spotting out on Raymond Island.

It’ll be about a 40-minute detour, but if you’re a koala fan, it’s so damn worth it. Raymond Island is just off the coast of Paynesville (literally just off the coast – the ferry takes less than two minutes). Once you’re there, take a 1km circuit around the island and keep your eyes skyward as the trees are teeming with koalas. They can be a little tricky to spot amongst the branches and leaves, but at least they don’t move too fast before you snap a pic.

7. Have a rest at Lakes Entrance.

This might just seem like a sleepy town on the Victorian coast, but it’s a great place to stop for a night or two. If you like being active, make sure to hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board to take out on the water. At the very least, maybe rent a bike to explore the town and its surroundings. Don’t leave without trying brunch at Albert & Co. – even my snobby Sydney brunch-loving heart was wowed by their offerings.This might just seem like a sleepy town on the Victorian coast, but it’s a great place to stop for a night or two. If you like being active, make sure to hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board to take out on the water. At the very least, maybe rent a bike to explore the town and its surroundings. Don’t leave without trying brunch at Albert & Co. – even my snobby Sydney brunch-loving heart was wowed by their offerings.

Obviously there are beautiful sunrises all up the east coast. But Mallacoota is a particularly special place to stop – try to get a spot at the caravan park which is right on the beach. One of the best ways to see the sun break the horizon is at Bastion Point. Walk across the rocks from the lookout to the point and you’ll be rewarded with unique rock formations which just light up with colour as the sun hits them. Otherwise Betka Beach is always a safe bet.

9. And while you’re there, make sure to eat dinner at Lucy’s.

A Mallacoota institution, Lucy’s serves up some of the best Chinese food on offer in this country. It sounds like a big call, but once you taste her dumplings and home-made rice noodles, you’ll see what I mean. Don’t have time for dinner? Origami Coffee is the cutest little coffee spot I’ve ever seen, so be sure to pay them a visit.

10. Leave your car for a bit and stretch your legs with a three-day hike.

If you’re short on time, this mightn’t be one for you, but it sure is spectacular. The 21km three-day Light to Light hike just north of the NSW/Vic border has some epic coastal views and stunning watering holes for cooling off. And instead of carrying a tent, food, and everything you need, why not enlist this glamping company. They’ll do everything for you, including cook dinner and serve up wine, so all you have to carry around is a day pack.

11. But if you can’t spare three days, there are other ways to enjoy the wilderness.

Why not do a quick kayak tour down the river – make sure you keep your eyes peeled for birds, kangaroos, stingrays, and the occasional wombat!Why not do a quick kayak tour down the river – make sure you keep your eyes peeled for birds, kangaroos, stingrays, and the occasional wombat!

12. Learn about the region’s killer whales in Eden.

OK, a whale museum sounds a bit boring. But the story behind the old killer whale population in the area is actually really interesting. Back in the 1800s, a local whaling family made friends with a pod of orcas, who helped catch and kill whales in return for food. The museum has some pretty cool stuff to check out, including the giant skeleton of a killer whale named Old Tom.

13. Eat the freshest oysters you’ve ever had on the Pambula River.

Captain Sponge has an oyster farm just south of Merimbula, and runs tours of the area on his boat. You’ll learn all about oyster farming (which is more interesting than I had anticipated), but most importantly, he’ll haul in an oyster from its cage and shuck it right there for you to try. Seriously delicious stuff.

Captain Sponge has an oyster farm just south of Merimbula, and runs tours of the area on his boat. You’ll learn all about oyster farming (which is more interesting than I had anticipated), but most importantly, he’ll haul in an oyster from its cage and shuck it right there for you to try. Seriously delicious stuff.

14. Make sure to stop in and check out small towns on your way up north.

NSW’s huge number of small coastal towns have some hidden gems amongst the RSLs and token takeaway joints. Even if you don’t have time to spend the night everywhere, there are some cafes and restaurants that you can’t miss. Sprout in Eden has delicious fresh local produce, as does Pambula’s Pantry. Mister Jones has awesome coffee, and The View in Narooma is a wonderful place for a scenic breakfast. Native Cafe in Ulladulla is fresh, healthy, and delicious, and Hungry Monkey in Kiama has so many options you’ll want to order two meals.

15. Take a dip at Mimosa Rocks National Park.

There are SO MANY national parks all up the NSW coastline, so really you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. Mimosa Rocks has some beautiful little beaches, with good rocks for climbing up to get a bit of a view. You’re pretty likely to get the beach to yourself too, especially if it’s a weekday.

There are SO MANY national parks all up the NSW coastline, so really you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose. Mimosa Rocks has some beautiful little beaches, with good rocks for climbing up to get a bit of a view. You’re pretty likely to get the beach to yourself too, especially if it’s a weekday.

16. Snap some shots of the iconic Blue Pool in Bermagui.

This ocean pool is a pretty big one, and its location set amongst the rocky cliffs of Bermagui is near unbeatable. It’s not the warmest pool I’ve ever swum in, but lying on the rocks in the sun afterward made it all worthwhile.

This ocean pool is a pretty big one, and its location set amongst the rocky cliffs of Bermagui is near unbeatable. It’s not the warmest pool I’ve ever swum in, but lying on the rocks in the sun afterward made it all worthwhile.

17. Then take a walk along the point to Horse Head rock.

This one’s a little off the beaten path but, oh man, the views are worth it. From the Camel Head carpark, take the grassy path heading north (its not signposted but it’s easy to spot), and follow it around up on top of the cliffs. After about 10 minutes you’ll get some really great views of Horse Head Rock, which looks just like a horse's head from the right angle. If you keep heading around you’ll get to Murunna Point, where you’ll find breathtaking views of the sea and rocks below.

This one’s a little off the beaten path but, oh man, the views are worth it. From the Camel Head carpark, take the grassy path heading north (its not signposted but it’s easy to spot), and follow it around up on top of the cliffs. After about 10 minutes you’ll get some really great views of Horse Head Rock, which looks just like a horse’s head from the right angle. If you keep heading around you’ll get to Murunna Point, where you’ll find breathtaking views of the sea and rocks below.

18. Hang out with the kangaroos at Pebbly Beach.

There aren’t too many beaches in Australia that kangaroos also call home, but Pebbly beach is one of them. Not only is there fresh, clear water and white-as sand, but if you’re lucky you’ll spot a roo or two hopping around. Hint: keep an eye on the shady parts of the beach, they like to hang out there on hot days.

There aren’t too many beaches in Australia that kangaroos also call home, but Pebbly beach is one of them. Not only is there fresh, clear water and white-as sand, but if you’re lucky you’ll spot a roo or two hopping around. Hint: keep an eye on the shady parts of the beach, they like to hang out there on hot days.

19. Walk along some of the whitest sand in the world.

There are a couple of places around the country vying for this title, but Hyams Beach is definitely in the top three. Coupled with incredibly clear water, and a huge amount of marine life, this place has got to be one of the most scenic places on the NSW coastline. While Hyams might be the most well-known, Jervis Bay is actually home to a huge number of beaches, all with the same talcum powder-like sand and amazing snorkelling opportunities. Hire a bike to cruise around the bay and find your fave spot, or head out on a boat to try and spot some dolphins.

There are a couple of places around the country vying for this title, but Hyams Beach is definitely in the top three. Coupled with incredibly clear water, and a huge amount of marine life, this place has got to be one of the most scenic places on the NSW coastline. While Hyams might be the most well-known, Jervis Bay is actually home to a huge number of beaches, all with the same talcum powder-like sand and amazing snorkelling opportunities. Hire a bike to cruise around the bay and find your fave spot, or head out on a boat to try and spot some dolphins.

20. Taste an iconic doughnut from the Berry Donut Van.

Is there anything better than a hot cinnamon doughnut? And I'm not talking about the day-old ones you can get from that dodgy bakery in the train station. At the Berry Donut Van, they'll make your order fresh, which means a piping-hot cinammon creation that tastes like nothing you've ever tried before. So. Damn. Good.

Is there anything better than a hot cinnamon doughnut? And I’m not talking about the day-old ones you can get from that dodgy bakery in the train station. At the Berry Donut Van, they’ll make your order fresh, which means a piping-hot cinammon creation that tastes like nothing you’ve ever tried before. So. Damn. Good.

21. Check out the Kiama blowhole.

Sure, some days it’s not as impressive as the photos might make it seem, but it can be pretty mesmerising to sit there and watch the water pound through the rocks. Once you’ve had enough, wander along the beach, swim in the rockpools, then pick up some fish and chips or something a little more gourmet at Penny Whistlers.

22. Take a walk amongst the treetops with amazing views out over rolling hills.

The Illawarra treetop walk is built literally right into the trees, giving some seriously impressive views from 50 metres up. After walking up a spiral staircase tower you’ll be rewarded with a 360º view which, on clear days, stretches out all the way to the coastline. If you’re feeling brave, why not give ziplining a go as well?

23. And finally, watch hang gliders and spot whales from the Bald Hill Lookout.

This iconic viewpoint faces south, over the cliffs and beaches that separate Wollongong from the Royal National Park. Watch out for hang gliders taking off behind you, then marvel as they soar gracefully with the wind back down to the beach below. Fingers crossed the ice cream van is there when you are – what's better than enjoying a view while also enjoying a soft serve?!

This iconic viewpoint faces south, over the cliffs and beaches that separate Wollongong from the Royal National Park. Watch out for hang gliders taking off behind you, then marvel as they soar gracefully with the wind back down to the beach below. Fingers crossed the ice cream van is there when you are – what’s better than enjoying a view while also enjoying a soft serve?!

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