Road trip: Sydney to Melbourne in 3 days

Aerial View Sydney my nrma local guides
Aerial View Sydney my nrma local guides
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The best Sydney to Melbourne coastal drive, taking in Berry, Mollymook, South Durras and Lakes Entrance.

This road trip begins at Sydney and takes you along the NSW South Coast, offering spectacular views and hotspots to stop at along the way. From a cultural stop at the majestic Sri Venkateswara Temple, to a walk at Murramarang National Park, there is plenty to do.

Image credit: Destination NSW

Day 1: Sydney to South Durras

4hr 22min | 300km

Take the coast road from Sydney near Wollongong and explore the beautiful NSW South Coast on a leisurely four hour drive.

Stop 1: Heathcote

About an hour from Sydney’s CBD the Princes Highway skirts the edge of Royal National Park to arrive at Heathcote. It was briefly known as Bottle Forest until 1835 when the Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell named it after a soldier who fought with him against Napoleon. Good place to get a full tank before heading south.

Royal National Park Hume Highway my nrma road trips
Royal National Park (Photo credit: Destination NSW)
Stop 2: Take a detour via Sri Venkateswara Temple

Go left on the Princes Motorway when it forks East from the Princes Highway, then take the Helensburgh exit about 12 minutes later to visit its majestic Sri Venkateswara Temple. Built on bushland in the late 1970s, the Hindu temple is especially breathtaking at the end of the week when the statues of deities are decorated with fresh flowers. The Nan Tien Buddhist Temple is another 30 minutes south in Berkeley.

Stop 3: Enjoy lunch at Berry

Try to get to Berry as early as possible for lunch because its roadside cafes are often busy. You’ll find an incredible range of locally made sourdough and European pastries from Flour Water Salt (the only three ingredients you really need for sourdough) and Berry Sourdough Cafe, delicious European cuisine at South on Albany, and Modern Australian served at the converted grain storage of The Silos. For something sweet, line up for doughnuts at the Berry Donut Van on Queen Street (you can’t miss them), indulge with handmade chocolates at The Berry Chocolatier or reconnect with your childhood at The Berry Bon Bon Sweet Shop.

Stop 4: Mollymook

If you’re craving a romantic sojourn only a few hours from Sydney, the locally-sourced seafood by Rick Stein at Bannisters is worth booking ahead for. Meanwhile, families with kids older than five can build up an appetite for local fish and chips learning to surf together. Book at Mollymook Beach Surf School or get special coaching from former world champion Pam Burridge when she’s in town.

Bannisters Pavilion Sydney to Ulladulla my nrma road trips
Bannisters Pavillion (Photo credit: Bannisters Hotel; Destination NSW)
Stop 5: Murramarang Aboriginal Area

Or stretch your legs in the National Park, the Murramarang Aboriginal Area contains ancient middens built up by the Aboriginal people who lived here for thousands of years. Its short (2.2km) walking track is easy for most ages and finishes with a rewarding swim near Bull Pup Point.

Eurodobella national park
Murramarang National Park (Photo credit: Nick Daine; Destination NSW)
Stop 6: Stay in South Durras

15 minutes before Bateman’s Bay is the very family friendly NRMA Murramarang Beachfront Holiday Resort with breathtaking water views from many of its villas and camping sites. It offers lots of fun activities for kids and adults alike including water park, swimming pool, bikes and go-karts for hire and the Umbarra (little black duck) Kids’ Club. Eat on site at the beach bistro, get takeaway from Skippy’s or swim up to the Wasphead Pool Bar for a snack.

Murramurrang
NRMA Murramarang Beachfront Holiday Resort

Day 2: South Durras to Lakes Entrance

5hr 42min | 421km

Cruise into Victoria along the far south coast, eating local produce all the way.

Stop 1: Enjoy breakfast at Mossy Point

Once colloquially known as “the muffin shop”, The Mossy Cafe (half an hour south of South Durras) still serves the warm sweet or savoury muffins generations of locals and visitors have flocked here for, plus fresh rolls, burgers and Moruya-roasted coffee.

Stop 3: Lunch at Eden

The Princes Highway kinks down through a few mountain ranges before aiming straight at NSW’s southernmost town. As Eden is home to the state’s largest fishing port, fresh seafood is in abundance. Watch the boats come in at Drift as you tuck into delicacies from Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters, Tilba Real Dairy and Eden Smokehouse. If you don’t want fish, Sprout caters to vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike with a highly regarded menu using local produce.

Eden
Eden (Photo credit: Geoqing Zhang)
Stop 4: Take a break at Cabbage Tree Creek

An hour and a bit into Victoria along the A1 is an ol- fashioned country general store in Cabbage Tree Creek called the Bushware Cafe. It’s a well-positioned pit stop selling homemade pies, burgers, sauces and cordials alongside steak sandwiches and bushies’ cooking gear.

Stop 5: Rest at Eastern Beach, Lakes Entrance

At Nowa Nowa the A1 drops south through Lake Tyers to meet the ocean at Lakes Entrance where you’ll find the NRMA Eastern Beach Holiday Park. Its villas and camping sites are close to lake and sea water, making it an excellent spot for adventurers young and old. You could kayak across Cunninghame Arm, explore Flagstaff Hill, dive into the ocean at Ninety Mile Beach, leap onto a jumping pillow or race each other in pedal karts. Or you could relax by the solar heated pool. Buy some local seafood and produce at the shops nearby and enjoy a meal in the BBQ area or large camp kitchen.

eastern beach villa
NRMA Eastern Beach Holiday Park

Day 3: Lakes Entrance to Melbourne

4hr 18min | 327km

Stop 2: Lunch at Warragul

Heading towards the Great Dividing Range you’ll come to the mid-sized town of Warragul, famous for supplying milk to Peters Ice Cream, although becoming more renowned for gourmet destinations including the nationally connected Bean Scene coffee studio and e-commerce hub, Modern Australian at In2Food and traditional Italian plus gourmet burgers at 3 Brothers And An Oven.

Warrugul
Warragul parks (Photo credit: Destination Gippsland)
Stop 3: Detour to Nar Nar Goon

An hour before you get to Melbourne make a pit stop at Nar Nar Goon off the C433 to view this little town’s public murals depicting country town life a century ago. They’re as impressive in size as some of the laneway art you’ll encounter in the big city, though with their own gentler charm.

Stop 4: Stay at Melbourne Docklands

Positioned in the southern heart of Melbourne’s CBD near Southern Cross Station, Travelodge Docklands is a modern and family-friendly hotel in easy walking distance or tram ride to many of the city’s best shops, cafes and entertainment and, and less than a block from the Etihad Stadium if you’ve booked for an AFL match or concert.

Alternatively, you can stay at Travelodge Hotel Melbourne Southbank, which is close to restaurants and transport or Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne offers services apartments and penthouses in the CBD.

Melbourne Southbank
Melbourne Star at Docklands (Photo credit: Visit Victoria)

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