Coastal Route

Coastal Route

Melbourne - Adelaide Coastal Touring Route

Melbourne - Adelaide Coastal Touring Route

The scenic routes between Melbourne and Adelaide take in some of Australia’s best beaches, greenest forests, most amazing marine parks and dramatic cliffscapes.

When you add in globally recognised icons like the Great Ocean Road and Twelve Apostles, the Naracoorte World Heritage Fossil site and the place recently recognised as the number one island in Asia-Pacific, Kangaroo Island, these are journeys that just have to be undertaken.

The coastal route has stunning seaside villages like Lorne, Apollo Bay, Port Fairy, Robe and Goolwa all add to the absolutely unforgettable experience - the journey of a lifetime - of taking a trip from Melbourne to Adelaide via the coast.

However, there is much more, including the magic of the Fleurieu Peninsula and its wineries, the Naracoorte World Heritage Fossil site and the grandeur of the world famous Great Ocean Road. So it’s not difficult to see why this is one of the most popular drives in Australia.

Majestic scenery

Drive the exhilarating Great Ocean Road, taking in highlights like the famous Bells Beach, the seaside towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay and the dramatic coastline of the Shipwreck Coast, including the Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell and Port Fairy. The regions rich maritime history is recreated at Flagstaff Hill in Warrnambool.

Continue through a treasure trove of natural wonders on the Limestone Coast. This is a journey of thriving contrasts. Explore underground wonders and fossil secrets, wild coastlines and wetlands of international significance.

As you travel further, green hills are bounded by clifftops, beaches and coves and the winding Murray River. The river pans out and forms a beautiful, calm pool at Goolwa.

Surf culture

Torquay is the surfing capital of Australia with its beaches, surf museum and an all surfing shopping centre. Visit iconic Bells Beach, near Torquay, the gateway to Victoria's Surf Coast on the Great Ocean Road.

You'll find gentler waves at Jan Juc, Point Impossible and Point Danger. Choose from right-handers and beach breaks in Lorne. The surf is almost always up at Apollo Bay and on the Shipwreck Coast, past Cape Otway. You'll find great surf beaches at Warnambool, Port Fairy and Portland.

The excellent breaks continue across the South Australian border. Beginners, head for Robe, Beachport or Posties, which is just east of the original Port MacDonnell Lighthouse. Cape Northumberland suits skilled surfers. Stoney's Rise and Browns Beach are also known for their big waves.

Closer to Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula has surf beaches that attract surfers from around Australia. Find reef and beach breaks from Christies to Sellicks Beach in the centre, and huge swells in the south from Goolwa to Parsons. 

The Twelve Apostles

The icon of the Great Ocean Road coast, the majestic limestone stacks rising up out of the ocean. They can be viewed from a helicopter or from a boardwalk for easy walking and great views.

Wildlife

Southern Right Whales come to Warrnambool’s Logans Beach each year between June and September to give birth to the calves. Other wildlife along the road includes koalas at Kennett River, Cape Otway and Tower Hill and the friendly mob of kangaroos on the golf course at Anglesea.

Cape Bridgewater

The chance to see more wildlife, one of Australia’s largest seal colonies. Also visit the Petrified Forest.

The Blue Lake

South Australia’s second largest city, Mt Gambier, sits on the edge of an extinct volcano. The mysterious Blue Lake, formed in one of the largest craters, is always a spectacular sight.

Begin your visit at 'The Lady Nelson' Visitor and Discovery Centre. Staff will help you to choose the most suitable activities for yourself and your family. Be sure to take a self-guided tour of the Discovery Centre, which presents the history and geology of the area, using a series of exciting interactive displays.

Mount Gambier is an ideal family holiday destination, with many free-of-charge fun attractions. Walk to the Centenary Tower for a remarkable view. Picnic at the Valley Lake Crater, with its wildlife park and boardwalk. Stroll among the beautiful roses in the Cave Gardens. Marvel as the possums come out for an evening feed at the Umpherston Sinkhole. Take the City Centre Walk and discover an impressive array of heritage buildings, while catching a glimpse of Mount Gambier's history. On your journey, stop and explore the many art galleries, studios and markets and sample local wines and cheese.

Robe

A picturesque fishing village well known for seafood and as a gentle, relaxing place for a long or short stay.

Experience the charm and fine hospitality of this year-round holiday destination, amidst the stunning beaches and rugged cliffs, tranquil lakes and mountainous sand dunes.

Laze on Long Beach or indulge in the distinctive local wines, fresh seafood and regional produce. Explore the diverse coast or encounter Robe's seafaring past, its heritage buildings and their legends. Take some time to join in activities for all ages, interest and weather conditions.

A fantastic shopping strip features friendly pubs, groovy cafes, trendy homewares, tasteful galleries and clothing outlets oozing coastal chic. A range of museums, cottages and historic walking trails bring to life the local maritime culture. Be sure to visit the Obelisk shipping marker on Cape Dombey, the Old Goal and the Chinese Gold Trail monument.

Everyone knows Robe for its crayfish and you can purchase the best catch from local outlets, or order it at local hotels and restaurants. Thrill your palate with the distinctive flavours of Mount Benson and Robe regional wines. Savour succulent Robe barramundi and Atlantic salmon, spring lamb and high grade beef together with the region's olives, almonds, berries and herbs. Feast in a summer courtyard, by the beach, or bask in front of a raging winter fire.

Anglers will delight at the quality and choice of fishing locations. Choose from rock fishing, surf fishing wharf or open water fishing.

Nature lovers are well catered for. Robe is surrounded by conservation parks and offers outstanding off-road experiences. Drive along the famous 17 kilometre Long Beach, a fantastic spot for fishing, swimming and surfing. Explore the many four-wheel drive vehicle tracks through Little Dip Conservation Park. The park provides peace, solitude and a truly Australian escape - allowing visitors the opportunity to see the beautiful, rugged environment up close. Stay on the tracks to avoid damage to the sensitive coastal ecosystem.

The Coorong

The famous body of water at the mouth of the Murray River is alive with the history of Australia both ancient and modern. There are Aboriginal middens (mounds of shells deposited from many years of fishing) and legends, and the stories of the riverboats, the aquatic packhorses that carried wool and other riches up and down the Murray River.

Cruise the serene backwaters or brave the elements along remote stretches of beach in the Coorong National Park. Its long, shallow, salty lagoons - stretching more than 100 kilometres - are a haven for birdlife while a narrow strip of sand hills protects the sheltered waters from the pounding surf of the Southern Ocean.

The park is popular with four-wheel drivers, anglers, boaties and birdwatchers lured by its stunning scenery, fabulous lookouts and designated four-wheel drive tracks.

The northern gateway to the park is via the historic town of Goolwa and the Murray mouth, with southern access via the towns of Meningie and Salt Creek.

Meningie

Set on the shores of Lake Albert, Meningie is known as the northern gateway to the Coorong. Stroll along the foreshore of Lake Albert and look out for the resident pelicans. Swim, fish or relax and take in the fabulous sunsets. Meningie also boasts a waterfront playground and barbecue area and a range of accommodation offerings.

The Meningie Cheese Factory and Museum offers a good insight into the area, showcasing both historical and present-day artefacts, as well as cheese tastings and sales.

A short walk to Meningie Hill Lookout provides uninterrupted views of Lake Albert and surrounding properties.

The Wetland Bird Sanctuary serves as a haven for many of the birds seen in the Coorong, providing unrestricted viewing. The annual spring wader migration brings a special reward to those visiting the Coorong and Lower Lakes - download your guide to discovering migratory wader birds.

The free car ferry operates 24 hours a day

Welllington

At Wellington you can cross the Murray River on the free car ferry which operates 24 hours a day. The short trip over the widest crossing of the Murray gives travellers an appreciation of the charming river landscape.

Wellington is one of the oldest towns on the Murray River (1838) and the site of the first river crossing ferry. It's a popular location for fishing, bird watching and water sports featuring historic buildings which are genuinely interesting.

Langhorne Creek by Mark Piovesan

Langhorne Creek

With the oldest recorded Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world and families that have been making wine for five generations or more, it's fair to say wine is in the blood in Langhorne Creek. What makes the area truly special is its blend of the old and the new, drawing on its proud heritage to create exciting wine styles that reflect the vitality and passion of the people who live and work here.

Its winemakers and grape growers are not afraid to break the rules, which is one reason why Langhorne Creek is Australia's largest premium red grape growing region and one of the most awarded wine regions.

The cooling lake and ocean breezes (the locals call it the air conditioner) gives the red and white wines their distinctive character, memorable flavours that are friendly and approachable providing the perfect accompaniment to food.

Enjoy the atmosphere of an 1800s stone barn at Bremerton Wines, amongst the vines at Langhorne Creek. Indulge in platters of food, sourced and made locally.

Have you ever tried White Cabernet Sauvignon Shalistin? It’s a specialty at Cleggett Wines. This lovely cellar door is surrounded by lavender bushes. Settle in for a wine tasting and graze over a cheese plate.

A little over 10 years ago, just four wineries operated out of Langhorne Creek, but today you'll find 18 wineries and eight cellar doors.

Wine aside, the landscape is inspiring, with ancient gum trees, windmills that used to pump water, standing retired in the vineyards amongst rows of vines that date back more than 100 years.

McLaren Vale

Known for its wineries and welcoming cellar doors, McLaren Vale also produces fruit and is an extensive almond growing region. It’s little wonder that McLaren vale has an abundance of cafés and restaurants, whose chefs delight in cooking with local produce.

The main street of McLaren Vale packs a lot in. There are cellar doors, local produce, craft stores, cafés and bakeries.

Walk or cycle along the old railway line between Willunga and Seaford. You'll travel through vineyards, past wild olives and old gum trees and get a feel for this gorgeous countryside.

More than 50 wineries are dotted throughout the McLaren Vale region. Find boutique wineries and major Australian wineries, like the BRL Hardy Group and Rosemount. About 270 independent grape growers can also be found here. There are dozens of cellar doors. You'll love the choice in McLaren Vale.

Visit the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre for comprehensive information and advice.

Port Elliot

One of the sweetest beach settings in South Australia, Port Elliot is a popular place to visit.

Port Elliot is a model seaside village, with outstanding dining options plus antique and gift shops. Feel the sand between your toes at picturesque Horseshoe Bay - its large beach and safe swimming conditions which makes it a hit with the children. If you like surfing, Boomer Beach is the place to go, it lies on the western edge of the town.

Jump aboard the Cockle Train to nearby Goolwa or Victor Harbor - other popular seaside destinations - or try the cliff-top walking path for stunning views of the coast. The Encounter Bikeway weaves its way through Port Elliot's streets.

The Port Elliot Maritime Heritage Trail highlights the area's role as the first seaport for River Murray trade, telling the story of the seven vessels wrecked between 1853 and 1864.

Victor Harbor

Set on Encounter Bay, this town is famous for its Mediterranean climate, horse drawn double-decker tram and Granite Island, home to a colony of Little Penguins.

Victor Harbor is all about the sun, surf, sand, stunning views and intimate wildlife encounters.

It's here that you'll find the Little Penguins of Granite Island, Southern Right Whales blowing into Encounter Bay, and some of South Australia's best surf at beaches like Petrel Cove, Chiton Rocks and the Dump.

Granite Island can be reached via a 600 metres causeway from Victor Harbor. Take a Clydesdale-drawn tram or walk across and absorb the stunning sea views.

Victor Harbor features outstanding early colonial architecture, good pubs, cafes and restaurants, and plenty of accommodation and fun events to attend.

Visit the South Australian Whale Centre or climb aboard the Cockle Train for a steam rail experience along the cliff tops to Port Elliot and Goolwa. Find your own fun at Greenhills Adventure Park, the Dunes Mini Golf Course and Urimbirra Wildlife Park.

Generations of South Australians have made Victor Harbor their summer holiday destination - and it's easy to see why.