Road tripping from Brisbane to Melbourne

An epic journey spanning more than 1600kms.

Those planning a trip to Melbourne will most likely choose air travel as their number one preference but, if you’ve got a few days spare, a suitable car and a friendly companion, spending the time to road trip the journey from Brisbane to Melbourne will be a frankly unforgettable experience. 

Setting off before the sun creeps above the horizon, we aim our wheels first to the City of Flowers, Toowoomba, on the long 10-hour trek to Dubbo in northern NSW. The roads are eerily quiet as we leave the outer suburbs of Brisbane and a near miss with a giant kangaroo provides an early morning wakeup call. 

Beyond Toowoomba lies the great stretch of road that is the Newell Highway, spanning sprawling plains and vast farm land. It’s not the most scenic of vistas but great company and a perfectly picked playlist will make the hours pass by that little bit easier. There are plenty of great little towns on the way to check out so make frequent stops on your journey and swap drivers if you can to avoid fatigue. 

We hit Dubbo in the heart of winter, waking up to a -6 degree morning the following day. At first we worried our car would not start as everything outside was completely frozen, and were very relieved when it did. 

One must not leave Dubbo without first visiting the zoo. Taronga Western Plains Zoo is a must-do experience with more than 4000 animals to see. You can hire a bike or electric cart to get around which comes in handy as it is an extensive property. 

Onwards from Dubbo the highway continues again, winding its way from town to town. It’s well worth stopping at the town of Parkes, home to the famous Parkes Observatory. The large radio telescope there has had a fascinating history with NASA, tracking and receiving data from various spacecraft including Apollo 11, 13 and Voyager 2. The Dish even got its own movie in 2000 starring Jurassic Park star Sam Neill.

From Parkes, multiple routes are available to head into Melbourne, but we took the road via Wagga Wagga and Albury/Wodonga. From Albury, following the Hume Highway, you can stop off in Glenrowan, the town in which famous bushranger Ned Kelly had his final standoff with police. There is a Ned Kelly memorial in the town’s main street. From Glenrowan it’s an easy two-hour drive into the bustling heart of Melbourne. 

So, what do you do once Melbourne is at your fingertips? There are plenty of fantastic things to see and do while you are in the city. You can check out the nation’s best art at the National Gallery of Victoria, drive a boat down the Yarra River, see a free concert at the Myer Music Bowl, take photos inside Melbourne’s graffiti laneways or buy local goods at the Queen Victoria Markets. 

When you’ve fully soaked up all you can see, change things up by taking the coast road back home to Brisbane (via Sydney). There are plenty of great places to stop on the way, from the beautiful Central Coast to Coffs Harbour.

Road tripping is the best way to experience what Australia has to offer.