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The ultimate family road trip: Melbourne to Brisbane road trip itinerary

Remember the exhilarating thrill of a childhood road trip? Let's rekindle that magic with a family-friendly campervan trip!

Luna Park, Stockton Sand Dunes, Sydney Opera House, and Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie

This ultimate Melbourne to Brisbane Australia road trip itinerary is hands down one of the best road trips from Melbourne and is perfect for an adventurous family planning a campervan adventure. Kicking off in the bustling streets of Melbourne, set the rhythm for your trip with great food, Luna Park carnival fun and laid-back Aussie charm. Then, as the road unwinds, you'll cross paths with Questacon in Canberra, the white sails of the Opera House in Sydney, the cuddly koalas in Port Macquarie, and so much more. Pack your sense of wonder, and let's hit the road to explore this iconic Australia road trip itinerary, discovering the heart of Australia together. 


Day 1: Melbourne to Mansfield

Distance: 188km

Travel time: 2 hours 25 minutes 

Kick off your campervan adventure by picking up your motorhome hire in Victoria from the conveniently located Apollo branch in Melbourne. Before heading out of the city, spend a few hours exploring the diversity of things to do in Melbourne, Australia. If you're intrigued by science and technology, your first point of call is to make a pit stop at Scienceworks. Here, you can dive deep into the universe in the state-of-the-art planetarium, experience electrifying exhibits in the Lightning Room, and let your kids run wild at the interactive sports exhibit. There are endless things to challenge curious minds and capture hearts of all ages, making this one of the most family-friendly things to do in Melbourne

Then, add a little Melbourne nostalgia to your visit with a stop by Luna Park. With its iconic laughing face entrance and stunning location on the St Kilda foreshore, Luna Park has been an iconic Melbourne attraction since 1912. Whether you opt for riding the world’s oldest continually operating Scenic Railway rollercoaster with its panoramic views of Port Phillip Bay, jump on the enchanting carousel, or simply want to soak up the joyous screams, cotton candy in the air, and carnival games – this is a must-do for adventurous families looking for things to do in Melbourne, Australia.  

Once you have had your fun, it’s time to head out of the city to explore the other incredible things to do in Victoria, Australia and the best family-friendly campsites in Victoria. First stop: driving to Mansfield to visit the Mansfield Zoo. Home to both native Australian wildlife and exotic animals, this is the perfect chance to get up close with majestic white lions, feed gentle deer, or simply enjoy a leisurely walk amidst the zoo's expansive grounds. 

Where to stay: Mansfield Holiday Park.


Day 2: Mansfield to Falls Creek

Distance: 237km

Travel time: 3 hours 5 minutes 

After an inner-city adventure exploring the best things to do in Melbourne, Australia, on day two, it’s time to explore the wilder side of Victoria. En route to Falls Creek, make a stop at Towonga to explore the history of the region at the Kiewa Valley Historical Society. Then, once you arrive at Falls Creek, what better way to embrace the wild, rugged mountain terrains than by exploring the Falls Creek mountain bike park? Falls Creek is renowned for its world-class biking trails and is home to over 50 km of single tracks, flow trails, descents, and technical features that snake through stunning alpine landscapes. Whether you're a seasoned biker or a beginner looking to try out the sport, there are trails catering to all skill levels. 

If cycling isn’t your thing, you can enjoy this region's wild beauty on one of the many alpine walking trails or head to the Falls Creek Museum for a dose of history and culture. 

Where to stay: Falls Creek All Season Alpine Resort/BIG4 Porepunkah Holiday Park.


Day 3: Falls Creek to Albury

Distance: 120km

Travel time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Transitioning from the cool mountain air of Falls Creek, day three of your family road trip guides you to the charming town of Albury. One of the first stops to consider, especially if travelling with kids, is the Oddies Creek Adventure Playspace. This modern park isn't your average playground. Situated on the banks of the Murray River, the play space is designed with both kids and kids-at-heart in mind. From towering slides and intricate climbing nets to musical instruments and swing sets, there's an adventure waiting at every corner.  

Then, unwind with a peaceful afternoon picnic along the Murray River with the gentle flow of the water as your backdrop – the perfect way to wrap up exploring the best things to do in Victoria, Australia, before entering the Australian Capital Territory on day four!

Where to stay: Albury All Seasons Tourist Park.


Day 4: Albury to Canberra

Distance: 338 km

Travel time: 3 hours 45 minutes

Next up is Australia's capital and beating heart of Australia's political scene: Canberra. This lesser-known Australian city is bursting with national treasures and scenic spots. On the way, take a refreshing break at Hume Lake. With expansive views and tranquil surroundings, it offers a welcome opportunity to stretch your legs.

Upon reaching Canberra, your first stop is the National Dinosaur Museum. It houses one of Australia's largest permanent displays of dinosaurs and other prehistoric fossil material – with 23 complete skeletons and over 300 displays of individual fossils! For those with a keen interest in science and technology, Questacon is another must-visit in Canberra. With over 200 interactive exhibits, visitors can experience everything from the depths of the universe to the intricacies of the human body. And for the young ones? The 'Mini Q' section offers a fun, play-based early learning experience.

Where to stay: EPIC Caravan Park


Day 5: Canberra to Wollongong

Distance: 244 km

Travel time: 2 hours 45 minutes 

After enjoying a campervan meal, it’s time to carry on your Australia road trip itinerary to the coastal beauty of Wollongong. But not without a little stop along the way! Your journey from Canberra to Wollongong holds a quirky surprise en route — The Big Merino in Goulburn. This massive 15.2-metre tall concrete merino ram signifies the region's wool industry, but it also doubles as a fun picture opportunity. 

Once you have reached the coastal city of Wollongong, begin your adventure with the Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures. Whether you opt for a zipline or a treetop walk, at 710 meters above sea level, this family-fun attraction offers a perfect bird's eye view of the rainforest and Pacific Ocean. 

Then, stop by the Illawarra Railway Museum to soak up the charm of NSW’s vintage trains. The museum showcases a rich collection of locomotives, passenger cars, and freight vehicles – a perfect snapshot of the history of railways in New South Wales.  

Where to stay: Corrimal Beach Tourist Park.


Day 6: Wollongong to Sydney

Distance: 86 km

Travel time: 1 hour 15 minutes 

As your road trip continues, day six marks your arrival in Sydney, the sparkling gem of Australia's east coast. A city where urban landscapes meet oceanic beauty, Sydney's allure is simply undeniable. 

Upon arrival, for those inclined towards wildlife and nature, your first stop is the internationally renowned Taronga Zoo. Overlooking the glittering Sydney Harbour, you can meet over 4,000 animals from 350 species, including a number of threatened species. Whether you are checking out the immersive exhibits like the Tiger Trek or are marvelling at the beauty of the harbour on the Sky Safari gondola, Taronga Zoo is a perfect addition to any NSW road trip planner. 

For those drawn to architecture and the arts, the Sydney Opera House is an undeniable attraction. A UNESCO World Heritage site, its sail-like structures and imposing façade make it an emblem of 20th-century architecture. While its exterior is striking, the real magic is inside. As Australia’s premier hub of performing arts, there are endless things to explore – spend a few hours touring the halls, learning about its intriguing design history, and watching a live performance. 

Where to stay: Sydney Tourist Park

Image: Destination NSW


Day 7: Sydney to Newcastle

Distance: 161km

Travel time: 2 hours 

Day seven steers you away from Sydney's vibrant cityscape to the coastal city of Newcastle. With its blend of surf, sand, and laid-back coastal vibes, there is no better way to capture the essence of this seaside city than at the Merewether Ocean Baths. This historic landmark is the largest ocean bath complex in the Southern Hemisphere. Dive into its turquoise waters, bask in the sun on its historic pavilions, and enjoy the rhythm of waves crashing onto the adjacent Merewether Beach.

Then, for those with a penchant for adventure, the Stockton Sand Dunes are another Australian road trip itinerary bucket list destination to explore close by. Stretching 32 kilometres, these are the largest coastal sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. Here you can try your hand at sandboarding, join a 4WD tour, or simply marvel at the vastness of these golden terrains. 

Where to stay: Swansea Lakeside Holiday Park


Day 8: Newcastle to Hunter Valley

Distance: 105km

Travel time: 1 hour 45 minutes 

Today it's time to wander inland on your Australian road trip itinerary toward the epicenter of Australia's wine country: The Hunter Valley. While this area is renowned for its vineyard-studded landscapes and cellar doors, there is plenty to explore for the whole family.

If you love unique experiences, the first stop is to make a splash, quite literally, at the Aqua Golf & Mini Putt at the Hunter Valley Gardens. Whether you're an aspiring golfer or just seeking some light-hearted fun, there is plenty of fun to be had as you take aim and launch balls across the lake, aiming for floating targets. And if you prefer something on land, the Mini Putt is the perfect challenge, with its 18-hole course winding amidst water features and garden vistas. 

Then, for those with a sweet tooth, a visit to the Hunter Valley Chocolate is non-negotiable. Beyond a simple chocolatier, this establishment is a tribute to the art of chocolate and fudge making. Dive into their range of hand-made chocolates, sample an array of fudges, and surrender to the intoxicating aroma of fresh cocoa.

Where to stay: Ingenia Holidays Hunter Valley.  


Day 9: Hunter Valley to Port Macquarie

Distance: 242 km

Travel time: 3 hours and 15 minutes 

Leaving the hinterlands behind, it's time to steer your campervan hire towards the scenic Port Macquarie. Midway, rev up your engines at the National Motorcycle Museum in Nabiac. This museum showcases over 800 motorcycles, including vintage beauties, iconic classics, and rare gems – tracing the journey of motorcycling through the ages.

Once you arrive in Port Macquarie, stop by the Koala Hospital to immerse yourself in the world of these cuddly marsupials. Here you can attend the daily tours, meet the hospital's patients (and cuddle them better), and learn about the conservation efforts championed here. 

Alternatively, tread the path less travelled at the Sea Acres Rainforest Boardwalk. Spanning 1.3 km, this 7-metre-high elevated boardwalk offers an intimate encounter with the rainforest canopy. Listen to the symphony of bird calls, watch slithering goannas climbing the trunks, and feel the hush of ancient trees. 

Where to stay: Diamond Waters Caravan Park.

Image: Destination NSW


Day 10: Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour

Distance: 160 km

Travel time: 1 hour 45 minutes 

After fueling up on breakfast in your campervan hire, begin the day with a scenic drive from Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour. Upon arriving in Coffs Harbour, tick off another iconic Australian ‘Big Thing’ with the Big Banana Fun Park. More than just a massive banana structure, this park is home to a giant slide, candy store, Laser Tag, ice-skating rink, toboggan ride and more!

If a more serene and gentle experience calls to you, make your way to the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House. Wandering through the indoor subtropical rainforest, you'll find yourself amidst clouds of vibrantly hued butterflies fluttering freely around you. Here you will have the chance to spot rare species, learn about the life cycle of these delicate insects, and appreciate their contribution to our ecosystem.

Where to stay: Coffs Coast Holiday Parks


Day 11: Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay

Distance: 236 km

Travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes 

Byron Bay is the most easterly point in Australia – giving an enviable viewpoint for whale watching and is a perfect spot to join a whale watching tour. As you sail the sapphire waters, keep an eye out for the majestic humpback whales, gracefully breaching and playfully tail-slapping. Guided by passionate marine biologists, these tours are magical and educational, shedding light on the marine life of Byron Bay. 

If you simply wish to lay back and let the world drift by, Main Beach is your go-to. This iconic Byron spot is a swirl of soft golden sands and turquoise waters. It's the perfect place to sunbathe, read a book, or indulge in some beachfront yoga.

Where to stay: First Sun Holiday Park


Day 12: Byron Bay to Gold Coast

Distance: 92km

Travel time: 1 hour 10 minutes 

From the tranquillity of Byron Bay, make your way north to the sparkling glitz of Australia's entertainment capital: The Gold Coast. Whether you are exploring the cinematic universe at Movie World, riding rollercoasters at Dream World, or splashing your way through Wet’n’Wild, a visit to this entertainment capital is a no-brainer when it comes to the best things to do in Queensland, Australia, for adventurous families.

Where to stay: Broadwater Tourist Park.

Image: Tourism and Events Queensland


Day 13: Gold Coast to Brisbane

Distance: 79 km

Travel time: 1 hour

The last leg of your journey leads you to our final destination of this road trip around Australia: Brisbane. For the thrill-seekers of the family, there’s nothing like the Story Bridge Adventure Climb in the nearby Glasshouse Mountains to soak up the panoramic views of the city, river, and mountains in one frame. If that’s not quite your style, another one of the best ways to see the city is by taking a cruise on the Brisbane River – floating past Brisbane's iconic landmarks, and enjoying the city’s skyline from this stunning river. For more ideas on family-friendly activities, check out our full guide to the top family-friendly things to do in Brisbane

Once you have explored the city, it’s time to drop off your motorhome at the Apollo Brisbane branch and begin the journey home. 

Image: Tourism and Events Queensland


Get your family packed and hit the road with Apollo

Your great Australian road trip itinerary adventure, with a world of scenic routes, iconic destinations, and cozy motorhome moments, is just a click away. Book your dream campervan hire and pick it up from one of our ten Apollo branch locations before setting out on this Brisbane road trip of a lifetime!





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