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Best Tips To Drive From Adelaide To Melbourne

The drive from Adelaide to Melbourne could be done in a single day or broken up over as many days as you wish.  The 8 hour Melbourne to Adelaide drive time is taken inland, and is the shortest way to drive from Adelaide to Melbourne.

The longer scenic route Melbourne to Adelaide drive time is 12 hours, along the Great Ocean Road.

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The inland route on the Adelaide to Melbourne drive itinerary, takes you from Adelaide, along the National highway through Murray bridge, Bordertown, Horsham, Stawell, (nearby to The Grampians), Ballarat and on through to Melbourne.

This journey is pretty straight forward, unless you decide to stop in one of the small country towns, Ballarat or visit the Grampians.

The Grampians National Park is full of sandstone mountains and wildlife.  There are plenty of hiking tracks, waterfalls views and galleries and a restaurant to stop for a drink or food re fuel.

The Melbourne to Adelaide coastal drive, while on the Adelaide to Melbourne drive itinerary, includes The Great Ocean Road.

This iconic ocean road, is full of incredible scenery, and is on most travellers bucket lists when they visit Victoria, Australia.

The Great Ocean Road follows the winding cliffs along the edge of the sea.  The views are spectacular and there are many small seaside towns to stop and refuel.

Stopping to refuel is advised on these long road trips, as driving when tired is a hazard to the wildlife and of course your own and others safety.

Along The Great Ocean Road coast, you’ll see secluded beaches alongside cliff top landscapes, and beside many national parks in the journey from Adelaide to Melbourne.

Popular tourist destinations like the Twelve Apostles and Lorne are worth visiting, as you head towards Melbourne, or travelling the reverse direction on a Melbourne to Adelaide road trip, along with the smaller holiday spots like Kennett River and Aireys inlet.

drive from Adelaide to Melbourne, The Great Ocean Road.
The Great Ocean Road

Should you drive or fly from Adelaide to Melbourne?

Of course it may be easier to fly from Adelaide to Melbourne, if you are time poor or only need to get from A to B.

If you decide to take The Great Ocean Road Melbourne to Adelaide coastal drive, you won’t be disappointed, but bear in mind the Melbourne to Adelaide drive time is least 12 hours, as its the longest journey from Melbourne to Adelaide.

Some budget fights come under $100, depending on the time of day and airline, and the flight takes 1 hour 15 in the air.  You should take into account time to park and navigation at the airports, especially the busy Tullamarine airport in Melbourne.

Still it is a lot quicker to fly, if you are in a hurry and don’t mind spending a little extra money.

Those who decide to drive, and are on a timeline, should head through the guts of the country, via Ballarat, Horsham and Bordertown.

The scenery of this direction is pretty boring, and there’s no point in stopping alot along the way, resulting in the drive taking closer to 8 hours.

The Melbourne to Adelaide coastal drive along the Great Ocean Road, is one of the most popular Australian road trips, showcasing some of the best and underrated scenery in Australia.

If you decide to drive on a Melbourne to Adelaide road trip, ensure that you are careful on the coastal road for young families or wildlife wandering over the road from the holiday houses to the beach. 

At night, especially through the Otways be wary of Wildlife on the road at any given time.

Travelling in Australia? See these 3 Secret Beach Getaways

How much does it cost to fly from Adelaide to Melbourne?

Currently flights range from budget deals of $66 to $200 depending on the time of day, and quality of flight you are after.

For example:

Jetstar early morning $66 no baggage allowance.
Virgin 9:30am $99 includes baggage
Qantas all day $130 includes baggage.

As you see, prices vary and flight costs will depend on the time of day you plan to travel and extras like baggage allowance. 

It’s also worth noting, the budget airlines do not include food and drinks in their prices.  Any snacks or beverages are extras on top of your flight cost.

How much does it cost to drive from Adelaide to Melbourne?

Driving costs from Adelaide to Melbourne or on a longer Melbourne to Adelaide road trip, will really depend on if you drive direct with minimal stops or take the scenic route along the Great Ocean Road.

Taking The Great Ocean Road unusually includes at least one stop over night, taking into account the Adelaide to Melbourne distance.

Cost guide to driving from Adelaide to Melbourne:

Driving direct inland:

Fuel: $70 approximately per day
Food and beverages: $30 per day

Driving along the Great Ocean Road:

Fuel: $95 approximately per day
Food and beverages: $50 per day
Accommodation: $100 per day
Plus Attractions, and anything else you need along the way.

Adelaide and Melbourne city breakdown


Beginning your road trip in Adelaide, the small city is usually overlooked , but it’s well worth seeing some of the sights here before you leave.

Adelaide has long been a gorgeous and spacious city.

There’s lovely botanic gardens, colonial heritage, and local markets to discover.

Adelaide isn’t as stunning as Sydney or diverse as Melbourne, but possesses a softer experience, with it’s surrounding hills to the east, stunning beaches, wide streets and many gardens and parks.

Food, wine and the Borossa Valley, are all draw cards to visiting Adelaide. Adelaide is a fairly safe (avoid the parklands and Hindley street at night) and un crowded city providing a relaxed lifestyle to those who are tired of traffic and endless bars and shopping crowds.

Perfect for students, Adelaide is an affordable city with an arts community and has also been named one of the greenest cities in the world.

Adelaide has breathtaking countryside at a close distance, including an epic wine region, and the city possesses a vibrant art scene.

From the B&Bs and vineyards to choose from within an hour’s drive of the CBD, it’s a perfect reason to set off on a winery tour if you have the time.

drive from Adelaide to Melbourne, Adelaide.
Adelaide at night

Shopping in Adelaide

Adelaide also has a vibrant shopping scene, with markets and boutiques and impressively designed buildings to gaze upon.

There are also full streets and lanes dedicated only to food, for all the foodies visiting Adelaide.


Melbourne is the coastal capital of the Australian state of Victoria.

A city rich with arts, culture, food and wine.  If you plan on spending more than a day in Melbourne, I highly recommend visiting one of the many bars or highly rated restaurants for a meal and people watching.

Aside from COVID restrictions, there is usually always an event on in Melbourne, whether it be an arts or food festival, musical theatre and of course the many live gigs which are on every night in the CBD and surrounding suburbs.

Alternatively, if you are on a budget, one of the main attractions in Melbourne is wandering the graffiti lined alleyways, past hidden breakfast and coffee spots, boutique shopping and specialty restaurants and cafes.

The coffee is best in Melbourne (yes I am biased!), due to the large italian population who began visiting here and migrating in the 1850s due to the Victorian Gold Rush needed additional labourers.

Melbourne is a lively city that knows how to live, complete with 5 star restaurants and hotels, to live gigs, plays, festivals and huge sporting events, surrounded by historic buildings and parks and gardens.

There are many festivals in Melbourne, including writing, anime, design, projections, alongside or within historic laneways lined with fine dining restaurants, cafes, secret bars and boutiques.

drive from Adelaide to Melbourne, Melbourne.

Adelaide to Melbourne drive stops

Inland route:


BEERENBERG FARM: A farm selling locally grown produce made, into premium jams, sauces and condiments.
TAILEM BEND: 9 km east of Adelaide and essentially a railway town.
TINTINARA: A small town situated in the Mallee region of South Australia.
BORDERTOWN: On the “border” between South Australia and Victoria.
DIMBOOLA A quiet town on the Wimmera River, Western Victoria.
ARARAT: 198 kilometres west of Melbourne, is an old gold mining town.
BALLARAT : Possessing colonial-era heritage, Ballarat is the 3rd largest city in Victoria.

Drive from Adelaide to Melbourne, Adelaide.

Coastal route:

This list below is bearing in mind you don’t veer off to other destinations. The Adelaide to Melbourne distance, is manageable in a day or two, or over a longer time to really see the small coastal towns.

There are many other gorgeous areas in The Otways and surrounds if you do change track for a day or two.

MOUNT BARKER: 33 kilometres from the Adelaide city centre, and the biggest town in the Adelaide Hills.
ROBE: Gorgeous seaside town in South Australia.
PORT FAIRY A pretty, historic town with an annual legendary festival Port Fairy Folk Festival
WARRNAMBOOL The biggest town on the journey, with over 4 schools, plenty of cafes and large department store shopping.  Attractions include the foreshore beach and whale watching.
PETERBOROUGH A quiet beach side town with mostly locals and stunning surrounding secluded beaches.
PORT CAMPBELL A seaside summer tourist town, plenty of local, main street with cafes pub and accommodation options through the summer.
12 APOSTLES The big tourist attraction the 12 Apostles are currently ** number and a huge rock formations in the sea.
APOLLO BAY A fun popular summer beach location which is also nearby to the Otways and incredible bushland and forests.  Plenty of food and drink options along this beachside strip.
SKENES CREEK Smaller swimming and surf spot, quieter for families when Apollo Bay is busy.
LORNE Tourists flock to Lorne every summer, due to the closer distance to Melbourne, and accommodation options. 
BELLS BEACH internationally renowned surfing destination, which holds the Rip Curl pro surf comp annually over Easter.

Adelaide to Melbourne Maps

Here below are the two main routes from Adelaide to Melbourne.

Inland Adelaide to Melbourne drive map:

Drive from Adelaide to Melbourne map.

Coastal Adelaide to Melbourne drive map:

Drive from Adelaide to Melbourne map.


Whichever option you decide to take for the drive from Adelaide to Melbourne,  for and what you plan for your Adelaide to Melbourne drive itinerary, , there are many stops along the way to refuel, and take in all the regional South Australian and Victorian hidden towns or beaches. 

If you have never done the coastal drive and you are hoping to stop along the way and take in the view, The Great Ocean road should definitely be added to the main Adelaide to Melbourne drive stops along the journey.

People are generally friendly and will offer advice or answer any queries on the area.

This spectacular part of the world will leave an impression whether you drive over one day or 10. 

Alternatively if you are driving direct with no Adelaide to Melbourne drive stops, and decide to take the inland route, both Adelaide and Melbourne at either end of the trip, have a huge amount of arts, culture, food and wine to experience while in each city.


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