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Adelaide to Melbourne: Make This Coastal Road Trip Your Next Getaway

Make your Adelaide to Melbourne road trip one to remember with scenic stops, stunning landscapes and a visit to one of Australia’s most famous landmarks.

Great Ocean Road

What if we told you that the ordinary (and to some quite tedious) 8-hour drive from Adelaide to Melbourne could become an unforgettable journey filled with breathtaking scenery, untouched clifftops and iconic landmarks? Prepare to hit the road on an epic drive from one capital city to another, tracing the coastline and the world-renowned Great Ocean Road, embarking on an expedition that turns every kilometre into an opportunity to discover a new favourite spot or piece of natural beauty. 

Picture yourself gazing in awe at the Twelve Apostles, walking through rugged national parks, and strolling through charming beachside towns as you try to find that perfect, old school bakery meat pie. With every stretch, the Adelaide to Melbourne road trip promises to be a memory-making drive. So, pack the car and your sense of wonder, and let's roll.

Never Never Distilling Co.

Adelaide and McLaren Vale

Kickstart your road trip with a quick bite at one of Adelaide's charming cafés before venturing southeast towards McLaren Vale. Though it's just an hour from the city, it's easy to declare this your first destination. With a designated driver assigned, explore the world-renowned wine region, filled with top-notch restaurants and cellar doors offering culinary delights and panoramic vistas of lush vineyards and rolling hills. Consider snagging a quality bottle of award-winning Pinot Noir or Prosecco to toast at your first overnight stop!

Sitchu Tip: If gin and Italian food is your thing, stop in for lunch at Never Never Distilling Co. It's a guaranteed delicious meal surrounded by lush greenery.

Robe (Photo credit: South Australian Tourism Commission, Adam Bruzzone)


Fuelled from your meal in McLaren Vale, you can cruise along the Princes Highway for 4 hours until you hit Robe, a cosy coastal town in the Limestone Coast. Usually, it's the definition of chill, but when summer rolls in, Robe transforms into a bustling hub of holiday goers and coastline cravers. Holiday homes and caravan parks fill up with families and fellow road trippers living the dream.

The real treat? Driving along 14 kilometres of white sandy beach and parking metres from the water for a quick dip. You can sip a cold beer at Robe Town Brewery, and if you're a seafood lover, brace yourself for crayfish galore. It's the ultimate laid-back country town with a sprinkle of seaside magic.

Sitchu Tip: Take the drive to The Obelisk, a historic navigation point at Cape Domby with spectacular views of the vast ocean below.

Check out our guide to the best stays in Robe here

Coorong National Park

Coorong National Park

Take some extra time after your time in Robe to soak up the serenity at Coorong National Park. A perfect pit-stop, overnight stay or to recharge your batteries over a few days and nights, Coorong is full to the brim with European and cultural history. You can explore the park on a four-wheel drive tour, by boat, kayak or canoe, or maybe just on your own two feet. You may recognise this park and its pelicans from the film adaptation of iconic Australian novel Storm Boy, so keep an eye out for a feathered friend or two!

Photo Ops: Keep an eagle eye out for pelicans and capture a film-worthy shot to take the memory home.

Little Blue Lake (Photo credit: South Australian Tourism Commission, Lucy Adamopoulos)

Mount Gambier

The next leg of your road trip from Adelaide to Melbourne takes you slightly inland to Mount Gambier. This inland township is South Australia's second-largest city with a population of 30,000 and is your last stop before crossing into Victoria. Here, geological wonders await in the heart of the Limestone Coast, and we recommend allowing plenty of time to see it all. 

Marvel at sapphire waters of the famous Blue Lake and swim in the locals' cherished Little Blue Lake. Unwind at a bar or dive into adventure snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters of the Piccaninnie Ponds, shaped by limestone over thousands of years. Stroll through streets adorned with heritage buildings, and explore shops, cafes, and restaurants. Mount Gambier is a detour that promises extraordinary experiences.

Sitchu Tip: Prepare to be blown away by the beauty found within the Umpherstone Sinkhole, where a massive, lush garden awaits below the surface

Port Fairy (Image Credit: Great Ocean Road)

Port Fairy

Nestled at the end of the iconic Great Ocean Road, Port Fairy beckons with its quaint streets and well-preserved 19th-century cottages. With over 50 buildings classified by the National Trust, history comes alive as you wander through its charming streets. Take a leisurely stroll along the wharf, where you might catch a glimpse of southern right whales during the winter months. Explore the rich maritime heritage on the Port Fairy Maritime and Shipwreck Heritage Walk, offering insights into the town's seafaring past. It's a perfect destination for those seeking a blend of history and coastal beauty.

Sitchu Tip: Visit in March, when the town's buzzing local art scene comes alive with the arrival of the Port Fairy Arts Festival. 

Deep Blue Hot Springs


Keep the good times rolling for another 2 hours as you drive from Mount Gambier to Warrnambool, a coastal town famed for epic whale watching and being the starting point (or finishing line) of the iconic Great Ocean Road. Art and history buffs are in for a treat with street art and galleries galore found here. 

Warrnambool is the town to savour the sea breeze, treat your taste buds at top-notch restaurants, or dive into the vibrant arts, culture, and music scene. Nature lovers won’t want to miss Hopkins Falls and the incredible whale migration - keep an eye out for mumma whales and their calves in the sheltered whale nursery of Lady Bay. You can even spot little Fairy penguins here!

Sitchu tip: Take a moment to relax in the natural thermal baths at the Deep Blue Hot Springs, with open air rock pools, cleansing waterfalls and sensory caves

12 Apostles. Image credit: Visit Melbourne

The Great Ocean Road

Arguably the most famous stretch of road in Australia, the time has come to drive along the Great Ocean Road, spanning 243 kilometres from Allansford to Torquay. With vast clifftops and the endless ocean as your constant companion, photo opportunities are plentiful. Popular stops include London Bridge, Gibsons Beach, the charming Kennet River Koala Walk for a chance to spot the cuddly creatures, Loch Ard Gorge, the quiet beach town of Apollo Bay, and the historic Memorial Arch.

Before you reach Memorial Arch and head to Torquay, take plenty of time ogling the star attraction: the 12 Apostles. Though only 8 of these colossal limestone formations remain, witnessing their grandeur is an experience beyond belief. This world-famous road is a visual feast of natural wonders, promising memories that will last a lifetime, and endless photo ops to throw up on the ‘gram.

Sitchu Tip: Take your viewing of the 12 Apostles to new heights, with a helicopter ride taking you over the cliffs and giving you unparalleled, awe-inspiring views of the formations and crashing ocean.

Check out our guide to the best accommodation along the Great Ocean Road here

Red Rock Lookout (Image Credit: Otways)


Set against the backdrop of the world's third largest volcanic plain, Birregurra's beautifully restored facades evoke its rich history; discover its vivid past as you wander about its peaceful setting. Once a hub for the Otways timber industry, today it offers a scenic countryside embrace for you to escape to.

Be sure to visit Red Rock Lookout, where you can take in pristine views of Victoria’s largest permanent inland lake and surrounding volcanic peaks. 

Foodies are bound to enjoy the Otway Harvest Trail's farm gates and breweries, while Brae Restaurant, helmed by chef Dan Hunter, promises an unforgettable dining experience. It's one of the state's finest restaurants - seasonal, local fare has never looked so exquisite! 

Geelong Pavilion, Geelong

Geelong and Torquay

Before starting the final stretch to Melbourne, be sure to stop by both Torquay and Geelong for a taste of coastal and urban delights. Torquay exudes surfer town vibes, boasting a lively main street, busy yet laidback pubs, beachfront picnic spots, and a collection of boutiques and surf shops. World-famous Bells Beach - home to the annual surfing Rip Curl Pro comp - is just a 15-minute drive away.

Meanwhile, Geelong has undergone nothing short of a transformation in the past decade, earning its place as Victoria's second-largest city and is a constant stop for road trippers. Stroll down the esplanade, gaze into the water from the circular jetty boardwalk, explore a bustling retail scene at Westfield, or simply relax at a waterfront cafe. These pit stops will add a layer of beachside bliss and excitement to your road trip adventure.

Sitchu Tip: If the timing is right, pick up a road trip knick-knack from the Piccadilly Markets, with stalls held by locals all around Geelong. Also book in for a lunch at Caledonia Shores at the Geelong Pavilion. The views alone are worth it!



Finally, your road trip ends as you coast into the bustling metropolis of Melbourne, Victoria's vibrant capital, where a world of experiences awaits. Dive into a sea of bars and restaurants, each offering a unique culinary journey. Catch the excitement of a sporting event at the iconic MCG or indulge in the city's diverse food festivals and events happening year-round. Melbourne is a place where culture thrives, from art exhibitions and live performances to sports, theatre and galleries galore.

Whether you're looking for hidden laneway gems or high-end dining, we've got your ticket to all things Melbourne, to ensure you make the most of your time in this buzzing city. Discover the hottest spots to eat, drink, play, and find the perfect place to rest your head after a day of exploration in this dynamic destination.

Sitchu Tip: While there is no shortage of places to eat and drink, why not swap the car for a boat and float down the Yarra river as you take in the cityscape on a little GoBoat? BYO nibbles, drinks and vibes.

Check out our guide to the best inner-city hotels in Melbourne here

Got the taste for the open road with our itinerary from Adelaide to Melbourne, and seeking more Australian adventures? Check out the epic road trip from Adelaide to Perth, or take the trip national with our guide to the best places to visit in Australia this year.

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