Are you planning a Melbourne to Adelaide road trip?

Then you’re in for a real treat!

This Australian drive is one of the most scenic in the country.

There are also plenty of fun attractions you can stop at along the way!

If you’re looking to make a vacation out of your journey, then continue reading.

Check out the 20 best stops on a Melbourne to Adelaide 3 day road trip.

Rent a Car in Melbourne

Day 1: Melbourne to Port Campbell

1. Melbourne

Let the road trip commence!

Before you hit the road, we highly recommend taking the time to properly explore Melbourne.

Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria and is one of the most vibrant cities in Australia.

From exploring the National Gallery of Victoria to enjoying dinner and a drink at a restaurant by the Yarra River, there are so many ways to pass the time in Melbourne.

Other popular attractions include Queen Victoria Market, Federation Square, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, and the Melbourne Zoo.

Also, be sure to go beyond the CBD and explore hip boroughs like St Kilda, the Docklands, Southbank, and Fitzroy.

Whatever you do, make sure to allocate at least a couple of days at the start of your road trip so you can get to know the city of Melbourne.

Official Site

2. Geelong

The first stop on your Melbourne to Adelaide drive is Geelong!

Geelong is a coastal city roughly 1 hour southwest of Melbourne.

It is most famous for its waterfront esplanade that features everything from a 19th century carousel to a sea bath.

It also has a curved art deco style boardwalk that is perfect for a photo opp!

The Baywalk Bollards are also a sight to behold.

They are a series of colourful sculptures along the water that tell the story of Geelong’s history.

Beyond the picturesque bay, Geelong is home to other attractions suitable for people of all ages.

The Geelong Botanic Gardens, Adventure Park Geelong, National Wool Museum, Geelong Gallery, Serendip Sanctuary, and Narana Aboriginal Cultural Center can all be found in the city.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 75 km (46.6 mi) via M1
  • Duration: 1 h 2 min drive from Melbourne

Official Site

3. Torquay

Get your surf on in Torquay!

This famous seaside town is just 22 minutes from Geelong, making it the perfect place for a brief stop.

Surfing is what Torquay is known for.

There are several of the best surf beaches in the world here, including Bells Beach and Jan Juc Beach.

The Australian National Surfing Museum, with house exhibits showcasing all kinds of surfing memorabilia, is located in town.

Torquay is also the home of Rip Curl, one of the best known surf wear retailers in the world.

Further, if you’re looking for a place to do some hiking, then you are sure to love the Surf Coast Walk.

This gorgeous coastal trail begins at Torquay’s Point Impossible Beach and winds its way southwest, along rugged cliffs and limestone reefs.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 21.4 km (13.3 mi) via Surf Coast Hwy/B100
  • Duration: 22 min drive from Geelong

4. Lorne

Art meets surfing in the charming Australian town of Lorne.

This small town, which lies on Great Ocean Road, might seem sleepy but in reality it is anything but.

Lorne is a major surf hub, thanks to Lorne Beach.

It also has a bustling arts scene, with many galleries and art parks scattered throughout.

If you’re looking for a place to pull over and have a picnic, head on up to Teddy’s Lookout.

This stunning spot is beloved by locals for a reason.

It has sweeping views of St. George River and the coast.

Lastly, if you want to stretch your legs and are interested in a short hike, consider a visit to the nearby Angahook Lorne State Park or Erskine Falls.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 46 km (28.6 mi) via Great Ocean Rd/B100
  • Duration: 45 min drive from Torquay

Official Site

5. Kennett River

Only a short distance out of Lorne and you will find yourself passing through Kennett River.

Do yourself a favour and stop in this Australian town.

If you don’t, you might miss out on your one chance to see wild koalas!

Kennett River is home to plenty of koalas and is regarded as one of the best places to see these fuzzy creatures in the wild in Australia.

Specifically, we recommend taking a drive down Grey River Road.

Be sure to look closely at the gum trees as this is where the koalas are likely to be lounging.

Take your time on this road and remember to pack your camera so you can snaps as many pics as possible of these loveable animals.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 23.3 km(14.5 mi) via Great Ocean Rd/B100
  • Duration: 31 min drive from Lorne

Official Site

6. Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay is a natural paradise, which is why it is well worth a stop en route to Adelaide.

Just 30 minutes southwest of Kennett River lies this small Australian town.

It is conveniently located on Great Ocean Road and is an ideal spot for relaxing on the beach or embarking on an outdoor adventure.

Great Ocean Walk, one of the most scenic hiking trails in Australia, runs through Apollo Bay.

Mariner’s Lookout is also worth checking out as it offers panoramic views of the turquoise blue coast.

Activities in Apollo Bay include horseback riding on the beach and whale watching.

Particularly in the winter and spring, it is a popular spot to find southern right whales who use the region as their breeding ground.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 24.8 km (15.4 mi) via Great Ocean Rd/B100
  • Duration: 30 min drive from Kennett River

Official Site

7. Great Otway National Park

Get out in nature and explore one of Australia’s most stunning parks: Great Otway National Park.

This diverse national park features everything from beaches to mountains, which means you could spend lots of time hiking here.

Expect to find temperature rainforest, a rugged coastline, dramatic waterfalls, and the Otway Ranges.

Triplet Falls is the most popular waterfall in Great Otway National Park owing to its triple cascade.

Meanwhile, another point of interest is the Cape Otway Lightstation, which dates back to 1848.

The lighthouse overlooks Bass Straight and is the ideal spot to stop and take a rest.

In total, the park is home to 57 miles of hiking trails.

Be sure to consult a map before you visit to decide which hike is right for you.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 40.1 km (24.9 mi) via Great Ocean Rd/B100
  • Duration: 48 min drive from Apollo Bay

Official Site

8. The Twelve Apostles

Did you know that by driving from Melbourne to Adelaide you’ll get to see one of Australia’s most famous natural landmarks?

That’s right, the Twelve Apostles are right off of Great Ocean Road on your journey to Adelaide.

This collection of limestone stacks is one of the best photo spots in the country.

They are located off the shore of Port Campbell National Park.

Despite the name “Twelve Apostles,” there were only eight limestone stacks to begin with.

Currently, there are seven after one collapsed in 2005.

Fun fact: Throughout history, the Twelve Apostles have been referred to by several other names, including the Pinnacles and the Sow and Pigs.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 61.6 km (38.3 mi) via Great Ocean Rd/B100
  • Duration: 55 min drive from Great Otway National Park

9. Loch Ard Gorge

A mere 4 minutes by car from the Twelve Apostles and you’ll arrive at yet another natural tourist attraction in the region: Loch Ard Gorge.

It is a sight to behold (especially at sunset) and like the Twelve Apostles, is also part of Port Campbell National Park.

The gorge is named after a ship, which was called the Loch Ard, that ran aground on Muttonbird Island (located nearby) in 1878.

Loch Ard was nearing the end of its journey from England to Melbourne when it accidentally hit the shore.

Today, the gorge is a popular tourist attraction that is accessible via a set of stairs that leads down to a beach.

There is also a pathway that goes to the east side of the gorge if you wish to venture beyond the beach.

Snapping a photo here in front of the gorge is a must.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 4.2 km (2.6 mi) via Great Ocean Rd/B100
  • Duration: 4 min drive from The Twelve Apostles

10. Port Campbell

You’ve arrived at your day 1 destination, which means the first day of your road trip is complete!

Port Campbell is a tiny coastal town on Great Ocean Road.

Although the population is less than 500 people, it has become a popular spot among tourists owing to its proximity to Port Campbell National Park (along with Loch Ard Gorge and the Twelve Apostles).

Beyond these two sites, be sure to take advantage of your time in Port Campbell by exploring other parts of the national park.

It is 1,750 hectares in total with hiking trails and points of interest scattered throughout.

Attractions include the Grotto, the Gibson Steps, and the London Arch.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled for all types of wildlife, such as pelicans, penguins, peregrine falcons, black swans, and albatrosses.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 8 km (5.0 mi) via Great Ocean Rd/B100
  • Duration: 9 min drive from Loch Ard Gorge

Day 2: Port Campbell to Coonawarra

11. Bay of Martyrs

Day two of your road trip takes you from Port Campbell to Coonawarra.

Your first stop is just 15 minutes from Port Campbell and goes by the name of the Bay of Martyrs.

This is another site that showcases Australia’s natural beauty.

The Bay of Martyrs is part of the Bay of Islands Coastal Park, a 32 kilometre coastal reserve.

Specifically, the Bay of Martyrs is 2.5 kilometres long and comprises two bays: Crofts Bay and Massacre Bay.

You’ll find the bay extremely photogenic and much less crowded than Port Campbell National Park.

This has made it a favorite among locals.

There are plenty of lookout points to stop and take pictures, but swimming and fishing are also permitted on the beach.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 16.9 km (10.5 mi) via Great Ocean Rd/B100
  • Duration: 16 min drive from Port Campbell

12. Warrnambool

Keep driving west from the Bay of Martyrs and you will eventually hit the city of Warrnambool.

This Australian coastal city is located on Lady Bay.

It is home to many beaches, the main one being Bathing Beach.

Bathing Beach is the perfect place to go for a swim, lay beneath the sun, or enjoy a picnic on the sand.

It is located in front of Lake Pertobe Adventure Park, which has all kinds of fun activities for children and adults alike.

Another Warrnambool attraction is Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, which allows you to learn about the city’s maritime history, especially its history of shipwrecks.

Lastly, if you are interesting in trying to spot some whales, then head to Logans Beach where there is a dedicated whale watching platform.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 49.6 km (30.8 mi) via Great Ocean Rd/B100
  • Duration: 38 min drive from Bay of Martyrs

Official Site

13. Port Fairy

Port Fairy is a tiny coastal town of just 3,000 people.

Its main industries are tourism and fishing.

There are many excellent surfing beaches here, including Old Passage and the East Beach.

Port Fairy also hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year like the Port Fairy Folk Festival and Moyneyana Festival.

Further, no trip to Port Fairy would be complete with a visit to Griffits Island.

Griffits Island is a natural reserve that lies at the mouth of the Moyne River.

It has a lighthouse that dates back to 1859, and has many unique geological features including balsaltic reefs and boulders.

You can also expect to see lots of beautiful birds here, such as short-tailed shearwaters (also called muttonbirds).

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 28.6 km (7.8 mi) via Princes Hwy/A1
  • Duration: 24 min drive from Warrnambool

Official Site

14. Portland

Portland is a rather unique city along Australia’s southern coast, which makes it a must-visit on your Melbourne to Adelaide road trip.

It was the site of the first European settlement in the state of Victoria.

As a result, you’ll find over 200 buildings in town that date back to the 19th century.

Portland was founded in the year 1800 by British navigator James Grant.

After its founding, fishing became the dominant industry, which was later rivalled by aluminium.

Given the city’s connection to the sea (being that is located on Portland Bay) and the important role of fishing, it’s no surprise that there is a Portland Maritime Museum.

Cape Spencer Lighthouse, the Portland Cable Tram, and the Great South West Walk are all major attractions in Portland.

  • Location: Southwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 75.6 km (47.0 mi) via via Princes Hwy/A1
  • Duration: 53 min drive from Port Fairy

15. Mount Gambier

Explore some of Australia’s beautiful interior at Mount Gambier.

This city is known for its natural beauty, which mainly takes the form of crater lakes (like Blue Lake) and its volcanic, limestone landscape.

If you’re doing this drive during the summer months, then Blue Lake is a must visit.

It changes colours throughout the year but turns a beautiful bright shade of blue in summer.

The Umpherston Sinkhole is another can’t-miss attraction as you’ve likely never seen anything like it before.

It is a historic sunken garden with plenty of lush flora and great lookout points.

Another geological wonder is Cave Gardens, an incredible garden that contains a 90-foot deep cave.

The Cave Gardens were declared a heritage area in 2001 and have a viewing platform where visitors can take photos today.

  • Location: West of Melbourne
  • Distance: 107.7 km (66.9 mi) via C192
  • Duration: 1 h 15 min drive from Portland

Official Site

16. Coonawarra

Nestled two hours further inland and north of Mount Gambier lies Coonawarra.

This region is famous for its wine and is synonymous with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wineries offer tours and tastings, with the most popular wineries being Penley Estate, DiGiorgio Family Wines, Wynns Coonawarra Estate, and Brand’s Laira Coonawarra.

In the past, the town of Coonawarra was a stop on the Mount Gambier railway line, but it closed in 1995.

Today, most visitors come to the town for its wine.

The historic town of Penola is also nearby.

Penola dates back to the mid 19th century and has many heritage buildings, especially on Church Street and Wilson Street.

The town is mostly known for its connection to Mary McKillop (St. Mary of the Cross).

McKillop was the first Australian to gain Roman Catholic sainthood and she had lived in Penola for a good part of her life.

  • Location: Northwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 173.8 km (108 mi) via C192
  • Duration: 2 h 5 min drive from Mount Gambier

Official Site

Day 3: Coonawarra to Adelaide

17. Robe

When you’ve had enough time to explore the charming wine region of Coonawarra, it’s time to hit the road once again for the final day of your road trip.

Day three will have you arriving in Adelaide, but not without a few stops along the way.

First up is the seaside enclave of Robe.

Robe is roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes from Coonawarra.

It is a port town located on Guichen Bay, one of the oldest towns in Victoria, with European settlement dating back to 1845.

As a result, the town has many beautiful heritage buildings.

In addition to its history, Robe has many beaches for visitors to enjoy.

These include Long Beach (great for water sports) and Little Dip Conservation Park which offers camping and swimming among other activities.

  • Location: Northwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 112.5 km (69.9 mi) via Clay Wells Rd
  • Duration: 1 h 15 min drive from Coonawarra

Official Site

18. Coorong National Park

By the time you’ve reached Coorong National Park, you will be only a couple of hours from Adelaide.

Unless you’re in a rush, we advise you to stop here and explore a national park very different from the others on this list.

Coorong National Park is a protected natural area made up of a lagoon ecosystem called Coorong.

Younghusband Peninsula is also part of the park.

The park was founded in 1967 as a refuge for local wildlife, such as birds and fish, who were suffering from the country’s droughts.

Coorong National Park spans 467 square kilometres and protects a wide range of flora and fauna.

Many rare species of birds live here, including the chestnut teal, Australian shelduck, sharp-tailed sandpiper, and banded stilt, to name a few.

  • Location: Northwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 126.2 km (78.4 mi) via Southern Ports Hwy/B101 and Princes Hwy/B1
  • Duration: 1 h 17 min drive from Robe

19. Victor Harbor

Step back in time at Victor Harbor.

This is the largest city on the Fleurieu Peninsula and is a popular end of year trip destination for Australian high school graduates.

Victor Harbor is known for its natural beauty, but also for the unique horse-drawn trams that are offered here.

The trams cross the causeway to Granite Island, which is home to a colony of wild penguins.

Even if you are only able to stop for a short time in Victor Harbor, we recommend taking the horse-drawn tram to Granite Island and back in order to enjoy the scenic ride and see the local penguins.

Beyond these two attractions, the coastal city is a great spot for whale watching, as southern right whales come into the harbour to breed between June and September.

  • Location: Northwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 23.8 km (14.8 mi) via B37
  • Duration: 24 min drive from Coorong National Park

Official Site

20. Adelaide

You’ve made it!

Your three day journey has come to an end now that you’ve arrived in Adelaide.

This cosmopolitan coastal city is full of attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Some of the most popular ones include the Adelaide Zoo, the Adelaide Botanic Garden, Adelaide Central Market, Cleland Conservation Park, and the South Australian Museum.

In addition, there are plenty of top-notch eateries in Adelaide like Africola (North African fare), Golden Boy (Thai food), and Andre’s Cucina and Polenta Bar (authentic Italian cuisine).

Of course, being that it is on the coast, Adelaide also has many beautiful beaches like Glenelg Beach and Henley Beach.

  • Location: Northwest of Melbourne
  • Distance: 83.8 km (52.1 mi) via A13
  • Duration: 1 h 9 min drive from Victor Harbor

Official Site

We hope this list has proved to you that driving from Melbourne to Adelaide is the best way to explore South Australia.

From Port Campbell National Park to Victor Harbor, there are so many incredible places to see along the way.

With so much to see, it might even be worth driving back by renting a car from Adelaide to Melbourne.

Rent a Car in Melbourne