Explore the natural beauty and diverse wildlife on this two-week coastal adventure of Victoria and South Australia. Starting and ending in Melbourne, you'll drive along Australia's southern edge navigating the Great Ocean Road and choosing to stop on your schedule until you reach Adelaide. Along the way, you'll discover dramatic rock formations like the famous Twelve Apostles, meet kangaroos and fur seals on Kangaroo Island, and learn about aboriginal culture in Grampians National Park.

Highlights

  • Explore the cosmopolitan cities of Melbourne and Adelaide
  • Watch penguins parade in from the Indian Ocean on Phillip Island
  • Drive the Great Ocean Road for views of the coast and stellar rock formations
  • Tour the Barossa Valley wine country and stop to sample local vintages
  • Discover native wildlife on Kangaroo Island
  • Hike to stunning viewpoints in Grampians National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Melbourne Melbourne
Day 2 Explore Melbourne - Sports Lover Tour Melbourne
Day 3 Pick up rental; Drive to Phillip Island Philip Island
Day 4 Free Day Philip Island
Day 5 Drive along the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay Apollo Bay
Day 6 Drive to Coonawarra Coonawarra
Day 7 Drive to Adelaide Adelaide
Day 8 Day trip to Kangaroo Island Adelaide
Day 9 Day trip to the Barossa Valley & wine tasting Adelaide
Day 10 Half-day tour of Adelaide Adelaide
Day 11 Drive to Halls Gap Halls Gap
Day 12 Free Day Halls Gap
Day 13 Return to Melbourne Melbourne
Day 14 Depart Melbourne  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Melbourne

Australia - Melbourne - CBD
Discover Melbourne - ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world

Welcome to Melbourne! Arrive in the Melbourne airport, then proceed to the designated shuttle area for your transfer to your accommodation. You'll be met by a tour representative who will go through the upcoming itinerary and answer any questions you may have.

The remainder of the day is free. Head out to explore the city or rest after the international flight. 

Day 2: Explore Melbourne - Sports Lover Tour

Australia - Melbourne - Melbourne Cricket Ground at Yarra Park
Tour the Melbourne Cricket Ground

Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation before making your way to the Melbourne Cricket Ground or "MCG" for your personal tour. The MCG is a super stage for Australian sports and was the stadium for the 1956 Olympics, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, International Cricket, as well as Australian Rules Football. Break up the tour with lunch in the nearby Docklands neighborhood and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.

Day 3: Pick up rental car - Drive to Phillip Island

Koala Conservation Centre, Phillip Island
Learn about koalas in the Koala Reserve, Phillip Island

Today you will collect your car and drive to Phillip Island just south of Melbourne (about 2 hours). Head to the western point of the island, stopping first at the Koala Reserve for the opportunity to spot koalas in their natural habitat as well as get up close with one. Continue into Phillip Island Nature Park where you'll likely spot kangaroos and wallabies and if you have a keen eye, koalas, and wombats. Reach the Nobbies Center and stroll the series of boardwalks that overlook the Bass Strait. Depending on the time of year you may be able to watch a parade of little penguins come in from the sea.

Driving duration (Melbourne to Nobbies Center): 2 hours
Driving distance: 94 miles (151 km)

Day 4: Free Day

Australia - Phillip Island - The Nobbies
Discover Phillip Island using its many boardwalks

Today is free for you to explore Phillip Island at your own speed. Join an Eco Boat Adventure Tour for a 60-minute boat ride exploring Phillip Island's rugged coastline where you'll encounter a fur seal colony. Or for more kid-friendly options, check out the Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies Center or the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory.

Day 5: Drive along the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay

Drive along the Great Ocean Road for spectacular views of the Indian Ocean

After breakfast, leave Phillip Island behind and drive back to the mainland, working your way around Port Phillip Bay, past Melbourne and onward to Apollo Bay. Along the way, stop in Torquay to watch the surfers, before picking up the famous Great Ocean Road and carrying on to Bells Beach for a little sun and Aireys Inlet and Lorne for great cafés and shops. Check into your hotel in Apollo Bay and enjoy an evening of relaxation and stunning views.

Driving duration: 5 hours
Driving distance: 209 miles (336 km)

Day 6: Drive to Coonawarra

Australia - Cape Bridgewater
Stop for lunch in Cape Bridgewater

This morning you'll complete the rest of the Great Ocean Road leg (it ends at Allansford), working your way to Coonawarra. Stop at Cape Otway and Port Fairy along the way, before continuing to Cape Bridgewater for lunch with a view of the coastline: white dunes and sweeping beaches. Carry on west to the hamlet of Nelson, set on the Glenelg River, turning inland to check out the volcanic lakes around Mount Gambier with Blue Lake as the most notable.

From there, it’s a short drive to Penola and the Coonawarra wine region, where you'll check into your lodging in the late evening.

Driving duration: 6 hours
Driving distance: 283 miles (455 km)

Day 7: Drive to Adelaide

Naracoorte Caves, Australia
Visit the Naracoorte Caves

Enjoy breakfast before hitting the road and stopping at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves to discover delicate calcite formations and a 350,000-year old fossil bed. From there, you'll cross the Murray River (the third-longest navigable river in the world) on a car ferry for a short introduction to the beautiful river landscape, to reach the historic town of Strathalbyn, the region immediately south of Adelaide.

Check into your hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy the city at your leisure. 

Driving duration: 4 hours
Driving distance: 219 miles (352 km)

Day 8: Day trip to Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island's inhabitants
Hang out with Kangaroo Island's inhabitants

Board a coach bus in Adelaide this morning and ferry to Kangaroo Island, KI as it is commonly referred to, for a full day observing animals. Start with a visit to Seal Bay accompanied by a local park ranger to see a colony of rare Australian sea lions. Explore Flinders Chase National Park, a sanctuary for Australian animals including kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas and stop at the Remarkable Rocks for a stunning view of the sea. And finally, cross a boardwalk to the Admirals Arch stone formation to see a colony of New Zealand fur seals.

Return to Adelaide late this evening.

Day 9: Day trip to the Barossa Valley & wine tasting

Barossa Valley
Discover the wineries in the Barossa Valley

This morning you will be collected from your accommodation to travel to the Barossa Valley to tour wineries and sample local wines. Pass by rolling hills, charming villages, noting the German influences leftover from the 19th century.

Day 10: Half-day tour of Adelaide

Adelaide City
Discover Adelaide

Today you will board a tour bus to explore South Australia's cosmopolitan Adelaide, ending the tour in the mid-afternoon. Take the rest of the day to venture out on your own and at your own pace.

Day 11: Drive to Halls Gap

Famous Mackenzie falls near Halls Gap in Grampians National Park, Australia
Admire MacKenzie Falls near Halls Gap 

This morning you will set off for Grampians National Park. To break up the long drive, stop in Robe for lunch and to stretch your legs before carrying on to Halls Gap.

Driving duration: 5 hours
Driving distance: 295 miles (474 km)

Day 12: Free Day 

Australia - Grampians National Park - The Balconies
Enjoy views of the Victoria Range from the Balconies

Take advantage of today and explore Grampians National Park, known for its sandstone mountains, wildflowers, and wildlife including echidnas and wallabies. Visit the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Center for insight into the local Aboriginal history and rock art before choosing from several hiking trails, like the trail leading to the towering MacKenzie Falls and lookout points like The Balconies.

Day 13: Return to Melbourne

Australia - Ballarat - Old gaol and courthouse
Old gaol and courthouse courtyard turned into the Federation University

Return to Melbourne today, stopping along the way at Ballarat for lunch and to make a quick visit to Sovereign Hill for a peek into the town's gold mining past.

Arrive back to Melbourne and check into your hotel, spending the rest of the afternoon as you choose.

Driving duration: 3 hours
Driving distance: 158 miles (254 km)

Day 14: Depart Melbourne

Melbourne
Enjoy your last few hours in Melbourne

Take the morning to unwind and reflect on your trip before making your way to the airport to drop off your rental and board your return flight home. 

Driving duration: 30 minutes
Driving distance: 15 miles (24 km)

Map

Map of Self-Drive Tour: From Melbourne to Adelaide - 14 Days
Map of Self-Drive Tour: From Melbourne to Adelaide - 14 Days