Skip to content

Discovering Australia South East Coast

Travelling from Sydney to Melbourne

If you visit Sydney and want to travel to New South Wales and head to Melbourne, I can recommend a road trip along the South East Coast of Australia. With over 1000 km of stunning coastal scenery, pristine beaches, ancient national parks, bays and villages the Sydney to Melbourne drive is worth adding to your Australia Itinerary.

A road trip along the south-east coast of Australia is the ideal itinerary if you want to see much of the Australian coastal attractions and immerse yourself, in a pristine natural environment.

Kiama South East Coast
  • Save

How to explore the South East Coast of Australia

On my first trips, I used a combination of Australian public transport, from trains to buses. While you can certainly explore the main coastal attractions by bus and train, most bus routes will not access the inland regions and places off the main highways.

As I mentioned before, driving is the best way to explore Australia.

On this post, you find all the interesting places to see on your road trip from Sydney to Melbourne.

  • Save

From Sydney to Melbourne – What to see on the South East Coast

If you start your trip from Sydney to Melbourne, one must-see stop is the Royal National Park. However, since it’s only 30 minutes away from the city, you can add it to your favourite day-trips from Sydney.

Here are the major coastal attractions for a stopover when driving along the South East Coast.

  • Wollongong

    80 km south of Sydney lies Wollongong, a beautiful coastal town known for its surf beaches and beautiful hinterland. The Illawarra Escarpment is a vast region ideal for bushwalking, offering amazing ocean views from the hill. You can spend a whole day visiting Wollongong and ideally an overnight stay if you plan the walks.

  • Kiama

    Kiama is a charming little seaside town with a famous blowhole, excellent surf beaches. You can reach Kiama from Sydney by public transports. Trains run daily but if you drive you will be more flexible with your explorations. It’s worth taking a short detour from Kiama to Gerringong, a little village known for its long and isolated beaches. Don’t miss out on the walk along the beautiful Seven Mile Beach, a vast sand beach stretching between Kiama and Gerringong, bounded by bush and forest.

  • Jervis Bay

    Jervis Bay is the pearl of Australia’s South East Coast with its beautiful white sandy beaches, forest and bush. It’s home to some of the most famous Australian beaches, and Hyams beach is said to have Australia’s whitest sands. Here you can enjoy all water sports throughout the year, especially kayaking is very popular. Next to being a premium location for whale watching, it offers all kinds of tours and daily cruises. If you don’t fancy driving, you can choose a tour. There are many guided day-trips and tours from Sydney to Jervis Bay, but these are mostly available in summer.
    I would plan 3 days road trip to Jervis-Bay.

  • Batesman Bay

    This area is one of my favourite places for a stop along the south-east coast. Ulladulla is a small village nearby with idyllic beaches, lagoons and lakes.  I stayed overnight in the fishing port of Batesman Bay, which is one of the major centres along the coast. From there I took a long walk in the Murramarang National Park, to Pebble Beach.

    This is a popular place in Eastern Australian where you can experience hand-feeding wild kangaroos and lorikeets. Beware, there are many hungry kangaroos around jumping all over the sites. One more thing I’d recommend is a day-trip to Mogo, a historic gold mining village, 10km south of Batesman Bay. Here you can visit the Mogo Zoo, a unique zoo committed to the survival of endangered animals, really worth a visit. If you plan the walks, two days are needed here.

  • Narooma

    It is a remarkable town on the south coast of Australia. I’d dare say the most picturesque coastal village I have seen in Australia. With its peculiar inlets and lakes, the forest, the lovely singing of the bellbirds, the unique crab soldiers you get to see on the shore, it’s a sort of fairy-tale place. If you crave a peaceful holiday Naroma is a unique spot of pristine nature where you can fill up with relaxation and tranquillity. A full day is good for visiting Narooma on a drive-through.

  • Merimbula

    It is located further south the coast, close to the border to Victoria. Merimbula is a busy holiday resort during summer, popular with families with kids and retired people. The place has a picturesque inlet and lakes on one side, red rocky cliffs and lovely sandy beaches peppered by dense forests like Pambula beach. Outside the village, you can play golf with wild kangaroos grazing undisturbed on the golf course. I would plan one day here.

  • Eden

    This little place has a great charm with a double bay, a beautiful spot for watching humpback whales when resting and feeding before migrating to the Antarctic waters. Do not miss a visit to the Killer Whale Museum, where you can learn about the fascinating history of whale hunters and killer whales and the whaling industry.

  • Lakes Entrance

    We have now entered the state of Victoria. Lakes Entrance is the gateway to 400km² huge lakes. A trendy holiday region which offers fantastic sand beaches, and the access to the Ninety-Mile-Beach. A huge stretch of pristine beach backed by dunes, lagoons and swamplands. This is a popular area for camping lovers as it offers many campsites.

The National Parks of Australia South East Coast

The beauty of the South East Coast is the variety of the landscape. Most of the coast is bounded by national parks, offering many driving and bushwalking tracks. Moreover, there are plenty of activities that you can do, including, fishing, surfing, birdwatching and whale-watching in season (June-October).

Here below, I have picked three from the New South Wales National Parks.

  • The Booderee National Park

    Located south of Jervis Bay the Booderee National Park is bounded by the ocean, with rugged cliffs. What I love is the top location is the diversity: the rough sea on one side and, gentle, calm water on the other. You can enjoy cliff beaches, heathland, dune lakes, rainforest, botanic gardens. The Booderee National Park offers a good range of beachfront camping site facilities. An excellent place for getting active in the forest with walking tracks. A true paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The park has an entry fee of around 15 AUD.

  • The Murramarang National Park

    If you plan an overnight stay in Batesman Bay, it could be a good occasion to take a walk in the Murramarang National Park. I did this walk because I wanted to reach Pebbly Beach, which you can access by walking through this park or directly from Ulladulla. Get ready for a 3-hour hike along a stretch of dense forest and woodlands mostly skirting the coast. At Pebbly Beach storms of lorikeets and hungry Kangaroos are there to welcome your hand-feed.

  • The Ben Boyd National Park

    This is a National Park you should not miss if you are stopping in Eden. Just 15 km outside the little village, the Ben Boyd National Park has good beaches and campsites. There are several Aboriginal heritage sites and an impressive lighthouse. If in season go on a whale-watching tour, it’s one of the top places on the coast for spotting whales and dolphins. It’s a popular destination for Australians in the summer holidays.

If you plan the coastal drive from Melbourne to Sydney, you can read more about my road trip.

A Guide to the South East Coast of Australia
  • Save

Go to the East Coast of Australia Guide

 Australia Travel Destinations


First published in 2015, last updated in Jan 2021

If you find this article helpful for your trip, I’d appreciate it if you could support Rocky Travel and book your tours, accommodation, rental car, or purchase my book using the links in the box below, thank you!


Search and find the right type of accommodation that suits your style and budget. For Australia get the best comparison results among apartments, homestay, B&B and hotel deals with

Find the best deal among thousands of offers, with the no. 1 Australian Comparison Site for rental cars, campervans and relocation vans. We recommend booking your vehicles with our partner DriveNow.

Travel with peace of mind. Get travel insurance that is affordable and offers the coverage that suits you. If you are aged up to 66, we recommend the plans, including coverage for outdoor activities by WorldNomads.


An Australia Book, with all planning elements to create a cost-effective travel plan. With 5 detailed itineraries, +40 customisation options, and +15 pages of sites, this is hands-down the best guide book you can find on the market.  Buy Your Australia Itinerary Guidebook

Get Michela’s expert advice to answer your questions, clear doubts, and craft a personalised Australia itinerary with rock-solid knowledge, first-hand tips and professional help to plan your trip to Australia.

  • Save
Share via
Copy link