The coastal route between Australia’s two great cities is one of the world’s greatest drives, tracing gorgeous bays and dipping through rolling hinterlands. Along the way, you’ll pause at seaside hamlets and gold-rush towns, staying in boutique accommodation that ranges from historic hotels to luxury tented camps. Then, alongside plenty of opportunity to relax on the white-sand beaches, gorgeous walks will see you spot everything from whales and dolphins to kangaroos and koalas. The parading penguins of Philip Island are a special favourite.
Days 1-2: Depart UK
After enjoying your complimentary airport lounge access, board your flight out to Australia.
Days 3-4: Sydney
On arrival in Sydney, make your way to your hand-picked accommodation – both of our options are perfectly central and delightfully contemporary. You’ll then have two days to explore Australia’s largest city. Alongside the harbour icons, both bridge and opera house, there’s plenty more to discover. Wander through beautiful botanic gardens, relax on Bondi Beach and explore the historic architecture of the Rocks, today given over to boutiques and cafés.
Stay: Rendezvous Sydney (Standard) or Amora Hotel Jamison (Superior)
Days 5-6: Jervis Bay
Picking up your hire car, you’ll head south along the coast on the Princes Highway, pausing at Kiama to take in its famous blowhole, which shoots water up to 60m in the air. Then, inland waterfalls and Berry’s redbrick will see you on to Jervis Bay. Reputed to have the clearest water and whitest beaches in all Australia, it’s ideal for both white-sands relaxation and exploration; there’s world-class snorkelling and kayaking on offer. Between May and November, keep your eyes out for migrating whales and dolphins. You’ll stay in either a boutique B&B or a luxury tented bush camp, where you’ll be treated to complimentary dinners, bikes and canoes.
Stay: Dolphin Sands B&B (Superior) or Paperbark Camp (Superior)
Day 7: Tilba Tilba
Mapping gorgeous bays and plunging through Budawang National Park’s dense forests, you’ll continue south to Tilba Tilba. It’s a beautifully restored period village that harks back to the 19th-centiry gold-mining boom. It’s also set dramatically at the base of Mt. Dromedary, with views best enjoyed from the walk up to the water tower. After perhaps sampling the local wine, you’ll then bed down in an elegant country house set on eight acres of tranquil, park-like grounds.
Day 8: Gipsy Point
Today you'll ride rolling hills as you cross into the state of Victoria and arrive at Gipsy Point, where you can picnic with kangaroos and look out for sea eagles. There's plenty to do en route, like heading inland to taste the cheeses of Bega or oysters of Pambula. The whale-watching tours from the town of Eden are a particular highlight. Accommodation tonight is in a spacious apartment at Gipsy Point Lakeside, with floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping views of a world biosphere reserve – Croajingolong National Park. Explore with rugged coastline walks or turn inland for rainforest hikes.
Day 9: Lakes Entrance
As you reach Australia’s southeastern remotes, you’ll start to bear west through coastal forests. You’ll arrive at the appropriately named Lakes Entrance, found on the shores of Australia's largest inland water system. It’s close to the spectacular Ninety Mile Beach, along with a handful of fine wineries and the Nyerimilang Heritage Park – a 19th-century clapboard homestead complete with gorgeous grounds. The Superior accommodation for tonight is a special highlight – your very own secluded cottage.
Stay: Comfort Inn & Suites (Standard) or Waverley House Cottages (Superior)
Days 10-11: Wilson's Promontory
Continuing on through verdant ranchlands, you’ll arrive at mainland Australia’s southernmost point – Wilson’s Promontory. It’s a national-park wilderness of perfect-blue waters, white sands and carpeted headlands, all animated by the likes of kangaroos and wombats, spotted on fantastic hiking trails. Squeaky Beach is a further highlight, so-called for the distinctive noise made by its quartz sands. You’ll stay right among it all in an en-suite glamping tent with its very own wooden sundeck.
Day 12: Phillip Island
The wildlife wonders continue today as you cross onto Phillip Island. Among its pristine beaches and verdant interior, you’ll find koalas, kangaroos and its famous little penguins. Each evening at dusk, they set out of from the surf, completely ignoring the tourists that gather to watch their parade. You’ll stay in a beachfront apartment or a boutique lodge.
Stay: The Waves Apartments (Standard) or Oak Tree Lodge (Superior)
Day 13: Melbourne
Heading into Melbourne, you’ll end as you began – with a city great. Staying in a heritage hotel in the city centre, you’ll have all of its delights on your doorstep. Indulge with its world-class dining scene, catch up on the local sports or get lost in the centre’s winding laneways to discover unique street art and hip bars. The Royal Botanic Gardens and National Gallery of Victoria are further favourites.
Stay: Batman on Collins (Standard) or The Lindrum (Superior)
Days 14-15: Depart for UK
Return your hire car to the airport and board your onward, overnight flight home.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown
Sign up to our weekly Trip Finder email and get a selection of the best trips to feed your Wanderlust