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- 1 Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip : The East Coast Road Trip to Remember
Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip : The East Coast Road Trip to Remember
To get from Sydney to Melbourne, one could take the fast inland 880 km long route via Hume Highway, allowing a peek into rural Australia and its awe-inspiring mountainous landscapes.
If you’re not in a hurry, you might prefer the almost twice as long scenic East Coast route via A1 Princes Highway and experience the wonder of one of the most popular coastal drives in Australia.
Always take the scenic route
This route will take you along the spectacularly beautiful coastline dotted with picturesque coastal villages, not-to-be-missed eateries with great local food, world-famous wineries, unique national parks and, of course, more than a few amazing beaches. With so many things to do and places to see, why not take the best of both worlds and make a few detours inland?
Take some time to say your goodbyes
While you’re still in Sydney, pay a visit to the Museum of Human Disease, with over 2,500 specimens of diseased human tissue preserved in formalin. If you don’t have the stomach for the bizarre, you can take a look at the Paddington Reservoir Gardens or the charming Catmosphere cat café.
The road from Sydney will take you to the Royal National Park, the world’s second oldest national park. Further south, you’ll have a chance to stop at Bald Hill and get a stunning view of the countryside from its lookout point, or even dare to try a hang gliding flight.
Driving on will take you to the suspended snake-shaped Sea Cliff Bridge – don’t pass up the chance to check out the crystal-clear waters below and the abundant sea life teeming with huge manta rays.
Dare to venture inland
If you fancy taking a detour, you can visit Bowral and its Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame, but if you’re not that excited about cricket (who is?), go to Canberra and subject yourself to the pleasures of visiting the National Gallery, the National Museum, as well as the Parliament House.
Back on the route, you will eventually get to Kiama, the “place where the sea makes a noise.” It’s known for its Lighthouse, a point for whale and dolphin spotting and, most of all, the Blowhole (yes), a sea-cliff cavern spurting water 60 metres into the air.
Continue driving (and stopping) by the historic town of Shoalhaven Heads, then drive on by Nowra before detouring inland to Berry, the home to the nation-famous bakery serving a brutally delicious dish of field mushrooms, local blue cheese and walnuts.
Explore the local wildlife
Don’t pass up the chance to visit Jervis Bay National Park and the Hyams Beach, reported to have the whitest sand in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.
From there, continue along the so-called Oyster Coast to the Pebbly Beach to enjoy the sight of the celebrated “surfing kangaroos.” Your next stops are the Murramarang National Park and Narooma, where you can take a boat to Montague Island, the home to hundreds of seals and penguins.
After that, head up to Tilba Tilba to explore the wonderfully preserved old buildings and browse the galleries and, even more importantly, the wineries. While you’re there, you’ll also want to try some of the region’s famous cheeses.
Make as many (cheese) stops as possible
Stopping at the Bega will give you the opportunity to taste more local delicacies (most notably, cheese). At this point, you’ll be halfway between Sydney and Melbourne, provided that you’ve had your car checked by the mobile mechanic in Sydney beforehand, which is always a smart thing to do. Nearby is the Mimosa Rocks National Park, with plenty of amazing walking trails leading to its numerous beaches, sea caves and lagoons.
While there, make sure to take a dip in Bermagui’s Blue Pool, a large rock pool located at the bottom of a cliff, listed as one of the world’s best natural pools.
The Sapphire coast has several noteworthy national parks, including the Ben Boyd National Park with its Haycock Point, a great picnic spot where you can lunch with (or rather, nearby) kangaroos.
Visit some of the world’s most unique locations
You will now be near Eden, so either drop by the Killer Whale Museum, or continue to the environmentally diverse Croajingolong National Park, declared a World Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO.
The Gippsland Lakes region is Australia’s largest navigable inland water system, where you can go in search for koalas, seals, dolphins and other animals that inhabit its abode. Many paths will take you inland to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country, including the Agnes Falls.
Nearby is Raymond Island, its waters still blooming with bioluminescent algae Noctiluca Scintillans, making the lakes glow at night.
Follow the road to the old gold mining town of Walhalla, once one of the richest Australian towns, today with less than twenty full-time residents, the last town in Australia to be connected to the electrical grid. Here, you can take an underground tour into the Long Tunnel Extended Mine or visit its cemetery to enjoy the fantastic view of the coast.
Wrap it up big style
Continue to Wilsons Promontory, the southernmost point of mainland Australia, once considered the edge of the Earth. Here, you can roam the eucalyptus rainforests with koalas lazing on the trees, stroll the white sandy beaches contrasted by massive granite mountains and enjoy the stunning sunset from Whiskey Bay.
It’s also possible to go to Phillip Island and take a look at Seal Rocks, home to Australia’s largest wild fur seal colony, as well as a large penguin population.
The last part of your trip will take you via Mornington Peninsula, with over than 50 wine cellars, 200 vineyards and a wide selection of local cheeses (surprised?). You can now once again venture inland to Albury, a trendy gourmet mecca and the home to a new modern art gallery (MAMA).
Your inland detour can be concluded by visiting the Submarine Museum in Holbrook, after which you will get to your final destination – Melbourne.
The road goes ever on
Sadly, your journey has come to an end, but, in Ned Kelly’s (final) words, “Such is life.” Now that you’re in Australia’s most cosmopolitan city, you can go to Kryal Castle, a replica medieval castle where you can even have dinner and spend the night. Also, you can roam the graffiti alleys and snap a pic of the Cow Up a Tree at Docklands.
If your tastes are a bit specific, the Haunted Bookshop or the Old Melbourne Gaol might be great places to visit – especially the latter, which is said to have housed Ned Kelly’s skull until it was stolen. (It still has his death mask, though.)
And, once you’re done with exploring Melbourne, how about taking the trip back and visiting all the places you’ve missed?
Derek Lotts is a Sydney based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.