The south east corner of Australia holds many the best natural wonders, sprawling cities and rolling coastline that this magnificent country has to offer. Planning a road trip from the Gold Coast to Melbourne will take you through some of the highlights, spanning a journey that covers 1,700km and taking approximately four or five days, depending on how long you wish to stop off for along the way.
Start off by finding a flight to Gold Coast, and then follow the scenic routes to take in the best of Australia.
The pretty journey isn’t just for looking at though – along the way you’ll go through dozens of national parks which all deserve to be explored, as well as some of the best cities where you can enjoy culture, nightlife and Australia’s famous food.
Start from the town of Gold Coast, where the aptly named Surfers Paradise epitomises what the city is all about. Stroll along the beach and watch the surfing buffs hit the waves, or get involved and learn how to surf from one of the many schools here: you may just find you’ll need it on your journey down Australia’s coast!
Bundjalung National Park
A two and a half hour drive from Gold Coast, you’ll pass through quaint surfing towns like Byron Bay and Ocean Shores to get to Bundjalung National Park where you can go canoeing down the park’s rivers and creeks or even explore the coral reef just off the coast. And if you really want to be at one with nature, you can camp overnight here.
Approximately three hours from Bundjalung, Coffs Harbour is a favourite holiday destination for many Australians. A quaint tourist settlement, highlights here include the Big Banana, one of the first of Australia’s Big Things. There’s also a range of accommodation here if you need a well-deserved break.
Crowdy Bay National Park
Perhaps one of the lesser-known of Australia’s National Parks, Crowdy Bay is a pretty swathe of coastline, perfect for stopping off and enjoying a day by the seaside, and it’s around 3 hours from Coffs Harbour. One of the more serene stop-offs on this journey, it’s a nice place to stop and stretch your legs.
Two and a half hours down the coast, you’ll enter Newcastle, one of Australia’s largest cities. A diverse settlement, you’ll find a backdrop of mountains and beaches with wineries and trendy restaurants nestled in between. Make sure you visit one of the famous Newcastle Baths – outdoor swimming pools which attract sunbathers and swimmers alike.
Just over two hours away lays the gem in the crown of Australia: Sydney. The largest of Australia’s cities, it offers up some of the most recognisable landmarks including the Sydney Opera House and the harbour. Spend a few days here sampling the cuisine, surfing at Bondi Beach, and getting to know what Australia is really about.
Canberra is Australia’s capital, and while it’s not as vast as Melbourne or Sydney, it has its own unique attractions that are well worth a stop-off on your journey. A planned city in the middle of the bush, it offers up manmade lakes and national monuments surrounded by Australia’s untamed outback. Take a trip up the Black Mountain Tower for amazing views over the cityscape.
Australia’s largest inland city, Wagga Wagga has close Aboriginal ties, which is how it got it’s unique name. Enjoy attractions like the Wagga Zoo and the RAAF Wagga Heritage Museum to understand how life in this town has developed.
Your final stretch of the journey will be the longest; you’ll travel through untamed outback and small villages along the route, which will take just over four hours. Once in Melbourne enjoy the cultural arts at Southbank, or catch a game at one of the city’s many sporting arenas including the world famous MCG. If you’re feeling inspired to continue your journey, why not take a road trip on the Great Ocean Road?