The drive between Melbourne and Sydney is not extraordinarily long – but if you take the highway straight there and don’t venture off the beaten path, you’ll miss the incredible scenery & wildlife that make this region, and this continent, so unique. Whether you rent a campervan and meander along the way, or drive from destination to destination staying in guesthouses and hotels, you’ll find an experience that is uniquely Australia waiting for you out there along the Great Ocean Road.

Sydney Harbor Sunset

A road trip starting in Victoria and winding through New South Wales should lead you along the Great Ocean Road, where there are some amazing, must-see destinations. Although the first stop on this Australian road trip list isn’t technically on the way, it’s worth the detour and the extra time to explore one of the most scenic areas of Victoria’s incredible coasts.

12 Apostles Australia Sunset

THE TWELVE APOSTLES

Explore this iconic, beautiful natural area – walk down the Gibson Steps onto the beach, or stay at the top of the cliff and watch the sun set with vibrant colors behind the sea stacks & cliffs.

Due to the constant erosion of the wind & sea, there are only 7 standing Apostles left. This incredible area is covered in delicate sea stacks and rock formations, so get out here and experience this shoreline before erosion causes another formation to fall into the sea.

Island Arch Sunrise

LOCH ARD GORGE & ISLAND ARCH

Just down the road from the Apostles, there are more amazing rock features carved by the ocean. This part of the coast is treacherous, and known for shipwrecks. Explore this region with a hike along the cliffs – spend some time here learning the fascinating history of the area.

Koala Rainbow

Can you spot the sleeping koala in the Eucalyptus tree?

KOALAS AT GREY RIVER ROAD

One of the best places to spot wild koalas in NSW and Victoria – walk or drive along the road and look up high into the trees, searching for furry little creatures nibbling the Eucalyptus or tucked into a ball to sleep. Koalas spend up to 18 hours a day sleeping – but with so many here in the Eucalyptus, you’re bound to find one that’s awake. Keep your eyes up in the trees, and you’ll find not only koalas, but plenty of other amazing Australian wildlife, like the vibrant, beautiful birds that call this area home.

Parrots Australia
Australia Cockatoo Parrots

Several other species of iconic Australian wildlife call this region home – vibrant parrots and gorgeous cockatoos.

Horsehead Rock

CAMEL ROCK & HORSEHEAD ROCK

Stop by this beautiful area of the NSW coast to see more amazing rock formations. This area has several easy trails to view the rugged coast, including a pathway on the top of the cliff when the tide is too high and the ocean too rough for a walk along the shore.

Depot Beach Kangaroo

KANGAROOS IN MURRAMARANG

This area has tons of wild Eastern Grey Kangaroos living all around the Murramurang National Park, and if you spend some time exploring, you’re bound to find a few ‘roos nibbling at the grasses or hopping along the dunes. Come to Pebbly Beach early and watch the sunrise alone on the beach with a family of kangaroos!

Learn more here about where to spot wild kangaroos on the beach.

Bombo Headland Quarry

KIAMA COASTLINE

Explore Bombo Headland Quarry, a fascinating basalt column formation along a quarry site from the nineteenth century. Walk out along the cliffs a short way to this deep ocean inlet, and watch the turquoise waters crash against giant castle-like rock formations. Check out the Cathedral Rocks to the North, another beautiful shoreline landscape. Visit the Kiama Lighthouse and the little blowhole, all in one day. Catch a spectacular sunset along the Kiama coast’s unique rock formations.

Fitzroy Falls Australia

FITZROY FALLS

Stray away from the coast for a while and venture inland, through the mountains and valleys along winding roads to a beautiful set of waterfalls cascading through a forested gorge. There are several other waterfalls nearby accessed by short hikes, but their level of flow varies throughout the seasons. Either way, hiking through this region shows some of the astonishing beauty of the rivers, forests, and mountains of NSW. Although it’s not exactly along the Great Ocean Road, Fitzroy Falls is absolutely worth the detour.

Australia Roadtrip Great Ocean Road

This is just a small list of some of the incredible destinations you can visit on a roadtrip journey from Melbourne to Sydney (or vice versa). Get out there and explore!

What are your favorite parts about Australia? Which destination would you visit? Let us know in the comments below!