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Adelaide to Melbourne in 4 days

Journey from abundant and nourishing South Australia’s wine regions to the awe-inspiring wind swept coast of southern Victoria. This 4 –day Adelaide to Melbourne road trip stretches across 1000 kilometres (621 miles) of road and provides buckets of things to do.


By DriveAway Holidays

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Sip on McLaren Vale Shiraz wine
  • Drive along the Great Ocean Road
  • Visit unique modern Australian restaurants & boutique galleries
     

FAST FACTS

  • Time: 4 Days
  • Distance: 1,116 Kilometres (693 Miles)
  • Transport: Car
  • Nearest Major City: Adelaide & Melbourne
  • Price: $$$ - $$$$
    This four day road trip involves a few luxury wine and fine dining experiences. However, you can adjust to your budget.

This four day road trip starts in Adelaide, and will take you along Australia's south coast, meeting up with the Great Ocean Road through to Melbourne. Sample some of South Australia’s best wine in McLaren Vale, feel the sand between your toes at the Coorong and find friends amongst local artisans. We’ve found the best places to stop along the way, with plenty of opportunities to create unforgettable memories.

Day 1: Adelaide to Coorong National Park (via McLaren Vale)

d’Arenberg Winery, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Morning
Leave Adelaide bright and early and drive 45 minutes south to McLaren Vale. McLaren Vale is one of South Australia’s most visited wine regions and has over 120 superb vineyards. The region is best known for its dry reds, and in particular, its Shiraz.

Spend the morning wine tasting; our top three to check out would be: d’Arenberg, Wirra Wirra and Hugh Hamilton. Feel free to spend an extra night in the Vale as there are many more fantastic vineyards to visit. Keep in mind; most of the Cellar Doors don’t open until 10 or 11 am so go for a cheese tasting at Blessed Cheese.

After lunch at one of the vineyards, it’s time to see the Coorong. Head east and follow the B45, you’ll pass the dry landscape of South Australian countryside and drive by Lake Alexandria.

Evening
Coorong National Park spans more than 130 kilometres (80 miles) and is a series of saltwater lagoons, sheltered from the Southern Ocean by the sand dunes. The park can be hard to see all of without a 4WD, however there are a number of campsites that provide 2WD access, allowing you to get close to the action. We recommend staying the night at Parnka Point campground; you can download a map.

Pro tip: Book in advance and bring appropriate camping gear if you’re not in a motorhome.

If camping isn’t your style, the Hotel Wellington Courthouse is an option. This former courthouse and police station (dating back to 1841) is now a museum and hotel and provides comfortable accommodation with a historical twist.


Day 2: Coorong National Park to Mount Gambier

Umpherston Sinkhole, Mount Gambier, South Australia

Morning
Wake up to the fresh sea salt laden air of the Coorong and go for a morning dip, followed with breakfast by the water. See how many different wading birds you can spot.

Head south for Mount Gambier. You can either go straight down to town or take an optional detour through the Coonawarra, another famous South Australian wine region. Admittedly the Coonawarra doesn’t have as many vineyards as McLaren Vale, but this doesn’t mean it’s any less worth a visit.

If you’re in Mount Gambier you can’t skip past Blue Lake – a deep blue body of water in a volcano crater. The best time to see the lake is from November to March, as its peak vibrancy is seen between these months.

Evening
End the day by grabbing dinner at Sorrentos Café, a local favourite for more than 17 years. If you’re still in the mood to explore, Umpherston Sinkhole, also known as the Sunken Garden is another natural wonder of the area. This distinctive place was formed when a cave collapsed downwards. The sinkhole was later transformed into a garden by James Umpherston in 1886. Dusk brings with it possums, who enjoy a feed in the gardens.

Mount Gambier is a welcoming place with many accommodation options to choose from. However, for something unique, knock on the door of the Colwyn House; a restored 1920s bed and breakfast located within walking distance to town.


Day 3: Mount Gambier to Port Fairy (via Cape Nelson)

Port Fairy Lighthouse, Port Fairy, Victoria

Morning
Today you’ll cross the South Australian border into Victoria. Take the C192 from Mount Gambier, this route takes you along the coast. You can expect to see sweeping views of the ocean and green and gold foliage along the road. Take a detour down to Bridgewater Blowholes lookout, offering sweeping views of the ocean and the occasional blue whale sighting.

Continue on to Cape Nelson Lighthouse for a cosy lunch with a view. After eating, jump back in the car and head on to Port Fairy.

Port Fairy is a fishing town with a bunch of character, as can be seen in the historic buildings that still line the main street. The town is also home to many artists and craftspeople.

Evening
In the afternoon, visit Eclectic Designs, who specialise in unique and otherworldly glass blowing pieces. Another spot is the Wishart Gallery, a fab little joint that houses art and antiques and will even serve you pizza and beer in the garden!

If art isn’t your thing, then surely a festival will tempt you? Port Fairy has a number of festivals each year including the Port Fairy Folk Festival and the Jazz Festival to get your heart racing and your feet tapping.

We recommend a night’s rest at the rustic Comfort Inn Port Fairy & Seacombe House or the sweet Cherry Plum Cottages.


Day 4: Port Fairy to Melbourne (via Apollo Bay)

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Morning
For the final leg to Melbourne, it’s all about the Great Ocean Road. This southern stretch deserves all the praise it gets and we believe it rivals California’s Big Sur.

This is a long drive so we recommend stopping in at Apollo Bay for lunch and a proper break. If you have extra time, stay the night here to explore the natural beauty surrounding the bay.

Bright and early in the morning, take the A1 from Port Fairy and then the B100 (Great Ocean Road). Your first stop will be the iconic Twelve Apostles. Fun fact, there are actually only eight limestone pillars to spot off the rugged coast as time, salty air and salty water have swallowed four of them. Besides the Twelve Apostles, you can spot the Bay of Islands, London Bridge, Lord Ard Gorge and the Grotto – all fascinating natural phenomena in their own right.

Continue along the B100 towards Apollo Bay and stop at the Great Otway National Park. If there’s one thing you do here, make sure it’s the Maits Rest rainforest walk. It’s an easy 800 metres walk and takes about 30 minutes return.

Evening
At Apollo Bay, lunch time calls for a modern Australian fine dining affair at La Bimba or chill out at the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse.

Back on the road and an hour north, swing left at Lorne and stop at Erksine Falls, an idyllic rainforest hideaway with rushing water and lush vegetation. 

With a reinvigorated spirit and a camera full of photos head north for another 150 kilometres (94 miles) until you reach Melbourne.

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