Coastal Road Trip from Melbourne to Adelaide

There’s nothing quite like an epic road trip. The journey from Melbourne to Adelaide is one of the best; two cities separated by fantastic scenery, incredible viewpoints, and plenty of fun-filled activities. Spend a few days in the cultural capital of Melbourne, Victoria, before heading to your local Thrifty car rental location, picking out your preferred vehicle, and setting off to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. Sounds fantastic, right? 

This blog will feature the best bits from Melbourne to Adelaide, but we won’t be taking you on the most direct route - with so many unique spots to stop off at between the two cities, it would be a shame to miss out just to shave a couple of hours off your trip. Get ready - your road trip awaits!


Torquay is Australia's undisputed capital of surf and is the start of The Great Ocean Road, a mighty road trip all in itself. If you can ride the waves, head on in and experience the waves for yourself. Torquay is also the birthplace of Rip Curl, so if you’re in need of some new surf gear, head to their store here. With plenty of beaches, shops, and scenic views, and just 94 kilometres from Melbourne, it’s the perfect place to stop for a much-needed driving break. 

Cape Otway

Cape Otway is where the Southern Ocean meets the Bass Strait. While this is magical all in itself, you can also head to Great Otway National Park, which is spectacular from start to finish. With thick forests, rugged coastlines, and waterfalls, it’s a nature lover's dream - plan a few hikes or simply drive through and admire from within your car.

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles is a regular feature on travel blogs worldwide. The limestone sea stacks tower above the ocean and create a dramatic scene. While there were originally twelve stacks, only seven remain due to sea erosion. Visit the Twelve Apostles at sunset or sunrise for the best lighting - it’s one of the most photographed sites in Australia, and you’ll see why when you visit. 

Great Ocean Road

The sites we’ve mentioned are some iconic locations in themselves, but they also make up the Great Ocean road - a spectacular stretch of diverse landscapes and scenic spots. And the best part is that you can do the road trip as part of the bigger drive to Adelaide! Other landmarks you can visit while driving along are London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge. 

Mount Gambier

Mount Gambier is the halfway mark of the road trip: sitting in South Australia, it’s an underwater wonderland. If you can scuba dive, be sure to arrange a couple of days in this incredible spot. The swimming hole here is surrounded by volcanoes, creating an idyllic playground full of sea life. Perhaps drive to The Cathedral or Ewens Pond Conservation Park. The water here is beautifully clear, with visibility of up to 80 metres - and if you can’t dive, a swim or a snorkel will still be a very unique experience. 

Fleurieu Peninsula

Spend a few days cruising along the Fleurieu Peninsula. It’s a magical corner of the world, with a rugged coastline that is simply spectacular to see. Beach hop till your heart’s content, or taste your way through the delicious local food that is grown and made here. Standout spots include Port Elliot, The Bluff, Victor Harbour, and Granite Island.

McLaren Vale

Relax in your final stop before the busy and bustling Adelaide. McLaren Vale is a haven of artisan produce and wine, so be sure to taste your way around the town. The wines in South Australia are outstanding, and it’s widely regarded as one of the best producers in the world. Here, in McLaren Vale, you can try some for yourself. From Down the Rabbit Hole to Chalk Hill and Alpha Box, the wineries in the area are fantastic. Always have a designated driver and follow the local road laws if you visit wineries. 

Getting from one city to another can be tiresome, but with a road trip like Melbourne to Adelaide, you can have a wonderful time going from one to the other. The landscapes here are out of this world, and you can experience it all while on this epic road trip. Spend a few days on the road to make the most of the trip, and enjoy all that these two states and cities have to offer. 

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