BEST MELBOURNE TO ADELAIDE ROAD TRIP OPTIONS
Date published: 13/07/23 All content in this article is intended to be general in nature and does not constitute and is not intended to be financial or professional advice.
From idyllic countryside to a world-famous coastline, the drive from Melbourne to Adelaide is blessed with some truly stunning scenery.
Buckle up - here’s our guide to road trippin’ between the two state capitals.
MELBOURNE TO ADELAIDE DRIVE PREPARATION
Thinking about driving from Melbourne to Adelaide? Here are a couple of things to get you started.
How long does it take to drive from Melbourne to Adelaide?
The shortest time it will take you to drive from Melbourne to Adelaide is 8 hours 30 minutes. But for those who’d prefer to take things a little slower, jump into one of our itineraries below.
When is the best time to drive to Adelaide?
There’s no wrong time to travel from Melbourne to Adelaide; it’s beautiful year-round. But if you’re wanting to take the coastal route, opt for the summer months when you can make the most of the sublime swimming spots along the way. Take note of the school holidays to avoid bumper to bumper traffic on the Great Ocean Road.
Preparing your vehicle
Make sure your car is in good shape before heading out on your road trip. If you’re travelling with mates (and want to split up the driving) consider adding them to your car insurance policy. With ROLLiN’ you can insure up to 10 drivers under the one policy, as long as they fit our underwriting criteria.
WHAT ELSE TO CONSIDER
Pack your bags and think about what gear you’ll need. Are you planning on swimming? Surfing? Hiking? Cycling? There are endless opportunities to get out in nature and breathe in that fresh country air.
Melbourne to Adelaide road trip itinerary for 4 different routes
|Route||Days||Stops||Total Distance||Total Driving Time|
|Direct route||1||Ballarat, Murray Bridge||726km||8 hours 30 min|
|Inland scenic route||2||Ballarat, Halls Gap, Mount Barker||751km||8 hours 50 min|
|Great Ocean Road and Grampians route||4||Apollo Bay, Port Campbell, Halls Gap||988km||12 hours 40 min|
|Costal, Forest and Grampians adventure route||7||Lorne, Apollo Bay, Port Campbell, Halls Gap, Mount Gambier, Robe||1,172km||15 hours 10 min|
Note: All driving times are an estimate only and will be subject to change depending on traffic and other road conditions.
DIRECT ROAD TRIP [1 DAY]
In a hurry? The fastest route from Melbourne to Adelaide will travel inland, taking approximately 8 and a half hours.
Day 1: Melbourne to Adelaide direct (726 km, 8hr 30min)
Journeying inland through regional Victoria, the quickest route from Melbourne to Adelaide passes through the quaint towns of Ballarat, Ararat and Horsham, before crossing Bordertown into South Australia. Leave early and prepare for a full day ahead. You can make your first stop in the Goldfields city of Ballarat, known for its stunning streetscapes and flourishing food scene. Explore the bustling rural town of Murray Bridge - nestled on the banks of the Murray River - before checking into your accommodation in Adelaide.
INLAND SCENIC ROUTE [2 DAYS]
Take things a little slower on a two-day scenic drive from Melbourne to Adelaide via Halls Gap.
Melbourne to Halls Gap (252 km, 3hr 20min)
This leisurely drive should allow time to explore the gorgeous regional city of Ballarat. It’s home to Australia’s oldest regional art gallery, weekend farmers’ markets and a delicious line-up of cafes, including FIKA Coffee Brewers, Clothesline Cafe and Yellow Espresso. Stretch your legs on the walking trail around Lake Wendouree or hire bikes to ride between some of Ballarat’s heritage buildings. Back in the car, continue on to Ararat at the foothills of the Grampians. From here it’s an easy 40-minute drive to the village of Halls Gap. Choose from a mix of motels, cottages and holiday parks to spend the night.
Day 2: Halls Gap to Adelaide (499 km, 5hr 30min)
Halls Gap is known for its outdoor adventure, such as hiking, rock climbing and canoeing. Start the day with some inspiring panoramic views from Boroka Lookout or follow a walking trail to the awe-inspiring MacKenzie Falls - one of the largest waterfalls in Victoria. Back in the car, you’ll pass through Horsham before reaching Bordertown (yep you guessed it) on the border of South Australia. Continue along the Western Highway through sprawling countryside. Stroll through Stevenson Park in Mount Barker and explore the town’s boutique shops along the main street. From here you’re bound for Adelaide.
GREAT OCEAN ROAD AND GRAMPIANS ROUTE [4 DAYS]
Dive into Victoria’s aquatic playground on this four-day road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide via the breathtaking Great Ocean Road.
Day 1: Melbourne to Apollo Bay via Great Ocean Road (186 km, 3hr)
Your first stop will take you to Australia’s surfing capital, Torquay. If you’re visiting on a weekend, don’t miss the Torquay Farmers Market held each Saturday. Up the road, hit the waves at Bells Beach or tour Split Point Lighthouse. Follow the walking track to Erskine Falls, close to Lorne, then grab a bite at one of the area’s many fish ‘n’ chip shops. See the view from Teddys Lookout before the short 50-minute drive to Apollo Bay.
Day 2: Apollo Bay to Port Campbell (97 km, 1hr 30min)
We’re not judging; it’s no secret you’re here for the 12 Apostles right? Today’s trip will get you there. Rising out of the Southern Ocean, these impressive pillars can be explored on foot from the 12 Apostles Visitor Centre. While in the area, take a self-guided walk to Loch Ard Gorge and take in the magnitude of Gog and Magog rock stacks by descending the 86 stairs of Gibson Steps. Hungry? Make a stop at GORGE Chocolates and Schulz Organic Dairy. Spend the night in Port Campbell.
Day 3: Port Campbell to Halls Gap (205 km, 2hr 30min)
The drive from Port Campbell to Halls Gap will take you to Grampians National Park, a must-visit in the region. This stunning nature reserve is rich in hiking trails, wildlife encounters and panoramic vistas. Start the day early so you have plenty of time to discover the park’s attractions. Picnic at one of its pristine waterfalls, including MacKenzie Falls, Beehive Falls or Splitters Falls, or choose from one of 86 walking tracks. There are plenty of accommodation options in Halls Gap - from camping and glamping experiences to farm stays and cosy cottages.
Day 4: Halls Gap to Adelaide (500 km, 5hr 40min)
This longer stretch will take you all the way from Halls Gap to Adelaide. Driving through Horsham, there are a number of short bushwalks through Little Desert National Park, or continue on to Bordertown and stretch your legs around Bordertown Recreation Lake. Keep your eyes peeled for Australia’s only colony of white kangaroos. From here, continue on to Murray Bridge, just one hours’ drive out of Adelaide. Check out the heritage-listed Round House or relax in Sturt Reserve along the foreshore. Hop back in the car for the short drive to Adelaide.
COASTAL, FOREST AND GRAMPIANS ADVENTURE ROUTE [7 DAYS]
Got a spare week to spend on the road? This itinerary will take you along the spectacular coastline, into the heart of the Grampians National Park, the Limestone Coast and picture-perfect Robe, then onwards to Adelaide.
Day 1: Melbourne to Lorne (141 km, 2 hr 10min)
Leaving Melbourne, head to the city Geelong, known as the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. Start the day with a swim in the area’s world-class beaches then delve into Geelong’s flourishing arts scene - check out Boom Gallery and Geelong Arts Space. From here it’s just over an hours’ drive to Lorne through the coastal hamlets of Torquay, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. Climb the Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet for jaw-dropping views.
Day 2: Lorne to Apollo Bay (45km, 1 hr)
Today’s drive is a short one so take your time to see all the sights along the way. Waking up in Lorne, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the main street - Mountjoy Parade - tucking into brunch at one of the local cafes (such as The Bottle of Milk). Head to Teddy’s Lookout for panoramic views across the coast, then jump back in the car for the short, one-hour drive to Apollo Bay. Easy.
Day 3: Apollo Bay to Port Campbell (97 km, 1hr 30min)
Keen on fish ‘n’ chips for breakfast? Tuck into the region’s freshest of seafood at Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-Op. Today’s leg will take you to the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, but if you have the time make your first stop the remote Cape Otway. You’ll be treated to secluded sandy beaches and rugged rainforests, along with the historic Cape Otway Lightstation - the oldest on mainland Australia. Next, get those must-have photo opps at the 12 Apostles before ending the day at Port Campbell.
Day 4: Port Campbell to Halls Gap (205 km, 2hr 30min)
Start the day at Grassroots Deli Cafe, a Port Campbell staple. Hop in the car and head towards Halls Gap. Get outdoors at Grampians National Park, a mountainous landscape of peaks and valleys, packed with thrill-seeking adventure. Visit Brambuk in Halls Gap to learn about the area’s rich Aboriginal culture. In summer, cool off in Lake Bellfield or Lake Fyans, both close by.
Day 5: Halls Gap to Mount Gambier (221 km, 2hr 40min)
Today’s drive will take you from Halls Gap to Mount Gambier in South Australia. Get your reel ready, there’s so much to capture here, from sinkholes to caves and a mesmerising Blue Lake, nature truly puts on a show. While in the area, Naracoorte Caves National Park - South Australia’s only World Heritage site - is certainly worth a visit, while Kilsby Sinkhole is famed for its snorkelling and diving. For dinner, head to one of Mount Gambier’s historic pubs.
Day 6: Mount Gambier to Robe (128 km, 1hr 30min)
Today you’ll be driving along the beautiful Limestone Coast, known for its sandy beaches and relaxed holiday vibe. The coastline is dotted with towns and hamlets, along with plenty of selfie spots. Follow Bowman’s scenic drive through the Beachport Conservation Park, taking in the undulating sand dunes and dramatic cliffs. Wander along the beach or stop off at one of the lookout points. Beachport Jetty is a true icon and popular among locals jumping into the turquoise bay below. Continue on to Robe.
Day 7: Robe to Adelaide (335 km, 3hr 50min)
The picturesque seaside town of Robe is blessed with beautiful beaches and bushland. It’s known for its fishing, which you can try your luck at off the Robe jetty. A walk through the town will reveal more than 70 heritage-listed buildings, such as Robe House, and a number of eateries serving up Robe’s world-class seafood (splash out on the local southern rock lobster). Long Beach is great for swimming and surfing, and one of the few beaches in Australia where you can actually drive your car onto the sand. Get your caffeine fix at Drift before the journey on to Adelaide.
FINAL CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE DRIVING MELBOURNE TO ADELAIDE
Before heading out on the road, check the weather conditions and consider changing your route accordingly. Remember you’ll be travelling between two states – Victoria and NSW – so read up on whether there are any differences in the road rules. When driving long distances, the recommendation is to stop every two hours for at least 15 minutes to prevent fatigue and to avoid driving more than 8-10 hours per day.
WHY CONSIDER ROLLIN’ FOR YOUR INSURANCE
Road trippin’ with your mates? With ROLLiN' you can have as many as 10 drivers listed under one policy, as long as they fit our underwriting criteria. And we reckon on a road trip like this, you’ll want to share the driving. ROLLiN’s comprehensive car insurance can help cover loss or damage to your car, which is helpful when you’re away from home.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the most scenic drive from Melbourne to Adelaide?
No matter which way you choose to drive from Melbourne to Adelaide there’s plenty to see along the way. But if we were in the front seat we’d recommend travelling along the Great Ocean Road - a bucket list item among many Aussie travellers.
What is the best road from Melbourne to Adelaide?
The inland route from Melbourne to Adelaide will get you there the fastest. But if you have time, the Great Ocean Road offers an unforgettable experience.
What is the best time to visit the Great Ocean Road?
Take in the beauty of the Great Ocean Road any time of year. Those wanting to hit the surf may prefer to travel in the warmer months, while generally speaking, the cooler months are much quieter.
This is general advice only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs (“your personal circumstances”). Before using this advice to decide whether to purchase a product, you should consider your personal circumstances and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations available from rollininsurance.com.au. Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 AFSL 227681 trading as Rollin’ Insurance.