PERTH TO MELBOURNE DRIVE: 10-DAY ROAD TRIP ACROSS AUSTRALIA
This was it.
Months of planning, saving, selling off all of our belongings and saying goodbyes.
Hitting the road with everything we owned in one tiny trailer. Driving from Perth to Melbourne and then onto Brisbane.
The plan was to leave the trailer in Brisbane with a friend while we set off on our five-month campervan trip across Europe. That five months changed to 12 months, which gradually morphed into us road tripping around the world with no end date in sight.
This Perth to Melbourne drive was just part of our full road trip to Brisbane. However, for the purposes of this post, we are focusing on Perth to Melbourne. There are so many scenic parts of Australia that you can explore on this road trip, such as the wild plains of the Nullabor and the stunning coastal Great Ocean Road.
We chose to start the drive from Perth to Melbourne via Kalgoorlie. Another route that you may consider is detailed below. As we had visited the south of Western Australia (WA) several times we chose to take the quicker route through Kalgoorlie.
Read this road trip guide for all you need to know about driving from Perth to Melbourne, with places to visit, Nullabor info, camping tips and how we were ambushed by one of Australia’s most ferocious beasts.
PERTH TO MELBOURNE DRIVE: SUMMARY OF 10-DAY ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
PERTH TO MELBOURNE DRIVE: 10 DAY SUMMARY
- Perth, WA to Kalgoorlie, WA: 593km 6hr 30min (Visit Kalgoorlie Mines and one of the oldest working brothels)
- Kalgoorlie, WA to Fraser Range, WA: 265km 2hr 50min (At Norseman you hit the Eyre Highway which links Perth to Adelaide and takes you across the Nullarbor Plain and the world’s longest straight road)
- Fraser Range, WA to Madura, WA: 449km 4hr 35min (On this part of the Nullarbor, you drive the 90-mile straight road… and it really is straight!)
- Madura, WA to Bookabie SA: 583km 6hr (Pass Border village, leaving WA [Western Australia] and entering SA [South Australia] and you’ll have great views of the Great Australian Bight)
- Bookabie, SA to Kyankutta, SA: 334km 3hr 30min (You’ll pass SA’s Quarantine Border and come to the end of the Nullarbor at Ceduna)
- Kyankutta, SA to Middle Beach, SA: 498km 5hr 10min
- Middle Beach, SA to Tintinara, SA: 238km 2hr 45mins (You can stop in Adelaide on the way)
- Tintinara, SA to Port Fairy, VIC: 398km 4hr 15min (Go by Mount Gambier to see its ultra Blue Lake)
- Port Fairy, VIC to Apollo Bay, VIC: 190km 2hr 40min (A little way past Port Fairy, you’ll come to the iconic Great Ocean Road, with the Twelve Apostles, beautiful beaches and lush rainforests)
- Apollo Bay, VIC to Melbourne, VIC: 197km 2hr 30 (Stunning beaches, Erskine Waterfall and the end of the Great Ocean Road)
Perth to Melbourne Distance: Total 3745km
Perth to Melbourne Drive Time: Total 34 hrs, 15mins
PERTH TO MELBOURNE ROAD TRIP: INTERACTIVE MAP
This interactive map shows the following information for your drive from Perth to Melbourne:
- Driving route from Perth to Melbourne
- Our road trip overnight camp stops (free and paid)
- Accommodation (camp and motels) on Nullarbor
- Gas Stations along the Nullarbor
- Places of interest on the drive from Perth to Melbourne
PERTH TO MELBOURNE DRIVE: 10-DAY ITINERARY
DAY 1: PERTH TO KALGOORLIE, WA
593km / 6hr 30min
On the first day of our Perth to Melbourne road trip, pumped with adrenaline and eager to get on our way, we did one of our longer drives, stopping for the night in a motel in Kalgoorlie.
We knew we were doing a long first drive and it would likely be dark on arrival, so we had pre-booked accommodation for the first night rather than pitching the tent.
DAY 2: KALGOORLIE TO FRASER RANGE, WA
265km / 2hr 50min
That was our last night in a proper bed until we reached Melbourne, (tenting the rest of the way). We started the day exploring a little of this famed gold digger’s outback town, Kalgoorlie.
Kalgoorlie Boulder or ‘Kal’ as it is affectionately termed by locals, is in the Goldfields region of WA. It grew up around the great gold rush of the 1880s, and to this day, gold is still being mined from them there hills.
In Kalgoorlie, you’ll find one of the largest open-cut mines in the world and the biggest in Australia. The super pit in Kalgoorlie is 3.5km long and 1.5 km wide. You can see the haul trucks, which look tiny, at the bottom of the pit in this photo.
Among the old colonial buildings in the centre of Kalgoorlie, is a rather flat looking pink building. In fact, it looks more like. container than a building. This is Casa Questa, the “Pink House”, one of the worlds’ oldest working brothels run by a madame in her eighties.
For more information on what to see and do in Kalgoorlie head over to the West Australian Tourist Board.
About 188km and a two-hour drive out from Kalgoorlie, you’ll come to the small town of Norseman.
It is here that you turn onto the Eyre Highway, one of Australia’s longest roads. The Eyre Highway links Norseman to Port Augusta in South Australia (SA) and entails 1675 kilometres of driving.
It crosses the Nullarbor Plain and driving this route is known as ‘crossing the Nullarbor’.
DRIVING THE NULLARBOR
There’s no doubt about it, the Nullarbor road trip is an iconic Australian outback adventure that has to be done at least once in your lifetime.
For a large part, the Nullarbor borders the Great Australian Bight, one of the largest continuous coastlines in the southern hemisphere. With magnificent cliff faces, epic wide open spaces and chance encounters with kangaroos, emus, wombats and camels, this is an authentic Australian journey not to be missed.
Here the stars are brighter and the air pure. Here, you experience the essence of Australia.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DRIVE ACROSS THE NULLARBOR?
From Norseman to Ceduna, the total amount of driving hours, without stops, is approximately 12.5 hours with a total distance of about 1200 kilometres. We travelled across the Nullarbor in about three and a half days, camping at three spots along the way.
DRIVING THE NULLARBOR: ROAD CONDITIONS
The Nullarbor road is a sealed highway but if you drive off-road to camp then most are dirt tracks.
Petrol prices can be high along the Nullarbor but there are enough to ensure you don’t run out of fuel between gas stations.
See the Perth to Melbourne Drive map at the beginning of the post for marked pins showing gas station locations on the Nullarbor.
There is a free app called Petrol spy which provides you with the latest prices at petrol stations. This may help you better budget your petrol costs on this Perth to Melbourne road trip.
FUEL STOPS ALONG THE NULLARBOR
The fuel stops are marked on the map at the beginning of the post and are also listed below with the distance in km between them:
- Norseman ⇒ 190 km
- Balladonia ⇒ 181km
- Caiguna ⇒ 65.5km
- Cocklebiddy ⇒ 91km
- Madura ⇒116km
- Mundrabilla ⇒66km
- Eucla ⇒12km
- Border Village ⇒ 184km
- Nullarbor Road House ⇒144km
- Nundroo ⇒ 81.5km
- Penong ⇒ 71.5km
ROAD SAFETY DRIVING THE NULLARBOR
Driving in the remote areas of the outback of Australia requires you to take extra precautions. The reason for this is that if you break down, or have an accident, help may not be easily accessible. You also need to pay heed to wildlife and the monster road trains which can also make driving conditions more precarious.
Road trains can have up to four trailers, and you need to give them ample space. You may see wild camels, kangaroos, emus and wombats on your trip across the Nullarbor which is great, but for a safer journey choose to drive in the daylight hours. Kangaroos tend to stay close to the roads at night and can suddenly appear out of nowhere.
PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE DRIVING THE NULLARBOR:
- Check your vehicle and ensure any servicing is done before you start the journey
- Carry extra water and food supplies
- Carry spare fuel in approved containers
- Ensure your vehicle has a spare tyre and it’s pumped up
- Have a signal device with you as the network signal is intermittent. For example, an EPIRB
- Consider driving in daylight hours only
- Give road trains plenty of space check out this list of further points to take into account when coming across a Roadtrain.
WHERE TO STAY WHEN CROSSING THE NULLARBOR
If you are camping or driving a motorhome or campervan, you can stop in the points marked on our itinerary or you can find a spot using a camping app such as WikiCamps, which is what we used when looking for free camping in Australia.
If you are looking for accommodation then these are some of the main hotels/motels/roadhouses along the Nullarbor:
- Nullarbor Road House: Near to the Great Australian Bight this hotel’s reviews say it is comfortable, clean and has great food.
- Eucla Motor Hotel: This hotel is rated the best value in Eucla and has an outdoor swimming pool and restaurant.
- Border Village Roadhouse: Border Village Roadhouse offers pet-friendly accommodation, an outdoor pool, restaurant, bar and game room.
For more accommodation options use the interactive map at the top of this post where all accommodation options have yellow pins.
WILD CAMPING ON THE PERTH TO MELBOURNE ROAD TRIP
After about 120 km of driving the Nullarbor, we found a pull-off on the side of the road and set up our tent.
Refer to the ‘Perth to Melbourne Drive Map’ at the beginning of the post to get exact coordinates and details.
When wild camping, remember to always leave the place as you found it. We always have a shovel to dig a toilet hole in the bush area away from the main tent pitching area.
If you are camping while driving from Perth to Melbourne, you may want to consider the following to make life a little more comfortable.
- Deet protection against flies and mosquitoes (even if not camping)
- A fly screen canopy (we had one so we could sit outside without getting bitten and bothered by the pesky mozzies and flies)
- Remember to stomp into the bushes when you go to the toilet to scare off any snakes.
DAY 3: FRASER RANGE TO MADURA, WA
449km / 4hr 35min
This leg of the Perth to Melbourne drive takes you further along the Nullarbor and on to the ’90 Mile Straight’. This length of the road is one of the straightest in the world with no bends for the whole 90 miles.
Campsite: We stopped the night at the Madura Roadhouse which had good showers and a basic restaurant.
DAY 4: MADURA, WA TO BOOKABIE, SA
583km / 6hr
Leaving Western Australia, your Perth to Melbourne road trip will take you past Border Village, just before entering South Australia. From here you will pass plenty of lookout areas to stop and take in the views of the Bunda Cliffs overlooking the Great Australian Bight.
With it being April, we were too early to spot any whales, but if you are travelling in the months of June to October it is possible to spot hundreds of whales and their young off the coast here.
DAY 5: BOOKABIE TO KYANKUTTA, SA
334km / 3hr 30min
You drive the last stretch of the Nullarbor on this part of your Perth to Melbourne trip, which ends at the town of Ceduna.
Just before you reach Ceduna you will need to stop at the Quarantine Station. You cannot take any fruit, vegetables or plant material into South Australia, a rule which is in place to prevent fruit flies. If you breach these regulations you risk possible fines of up to $100,000. Therefore get rid of any fruit and veg in the bins provided before passing the quarantine station.
Once we arrived in Ceduna, we stocked up on supplies and had a picnic on the foreshore overlooking Murat bay.
Perth to Melbourne Road Trip Fun
There is no doubt about it, the drive from Perth to Melbourne is a long one and driving long distances can sometimes be a little tedious. But we managed to keep ourselves occupied with some car karaoke.
Please feel free to share your own videos with us if you feel inclined to do the same thing.
Perth to Melbourne Road Trip Karaoke Video
Enjoy our embarrassing example of how to stop the boredom setting in on a long drive.
At the end of the day, we pulled off the road at a free spot near Kyankutta. It looked like a lovely place to camp. However, just after we finished setting up the tent, whether it was the season, environment, or just bad luck, we were ambushed by one of the most ferocious beasts known to campers in Australia.
The female, with her scissor-like jaws, relentlessly attacks, painfully extracting your blood. She can easily penetrate through clothes and even DEET insect protection doesn’t seem to deter her vampire desires. This one occasion was so bad, that we had to forgo cooking dinner and hastily dive into the tent for cover.
We love wildlife but these guys were just a tad too wild for us.
DAY 6: KYANKUTTA, SA TO MIDDLE BEACH, SA
498km / 5hr 10min
Luckily, in the morning the flies weren’t too bad, but we didn’t hang around to wait for them to amass their army.
We didn’t stop today, apart for a lunch break, and drove straight to our next paid campsite, Middle Beach.
This site is set on the Sapphire Coast surrounded by mangroves.
DAY 7: MIDDLE BEACH TO TINTINARA, SA
238km / 2hr 45mins
An hour’s drive from Middle Beach, you’ll reach South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide. We spent a good part of the day looking around the city before heading to our next free campsite at Tintinara, SA
DAY 8: TINTINARA TO PORT FAIRY
398km / 4hr 15min
On this leg of your Perth to Melbourne road trip, make sure to stop off at Mount Gambier to see its beautiful Blue Lake sitting in the crater of an extinct volcano.
Just after Mount Gambier, you enter the next state of Australia, Victoria.
DAY 9: PORT FAIRY TO APOLLO BAY
190km 2hr 40min
Just after Port Fairy, at Allansford, you’ll turn on to the famed Great Ocean Road.
THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. It has amazing surf beaches, stunning rainforests, wineries, breweries and arts and cultural events galore. There is plenty to see and do on this 244 km stretch of ocean road.
Some of the most famous natural landmarks on the Great Ocean Road are the dramatic rock stacks, called the Twelve Apostles. Funnily enough, they used to be called the Sow and Piglets, but the Tourism Board changed the name to The Apostles.
This name then morphed into the Twelve Apostles, even though at the time there were only nine stacks. Today there are eight rock stacks with some up to 50 metres high. They remain a huge drawcard for tourists and locals alike and gazing at their powerful presence you can certainly see why.
The ‘Twelve Apostles’ however are just one group of rock formations, and all along the coast, there are incredible formations with various names and stories behind them. For example, the ‘Tom and Eva’ rocks were named after the only two passengers that survived the shipwreck in 1878 of the clipper ‘Lord Ard’.
You will pass many lookouts and viewing points for these stunning spectacles. The main ones are:
- The Bay of Islands
- The Grotto
- The Arch
- The London Bridge
- The Lord Ard Gorge
- The island Lookout
- Tom and Eva Lookout
- The Twelve Apostles
- Gibsons Steps
DAY 10: APOLLO BAY TO MELBOURNE
197km / 2hr 30
There are just so many places you could stop along the Great Ocean Road, but we were on a time schedule so we couldn’t indulge ourselves too much. On a positive note, there are still plenty of sights for us to see on a return trip.
On our final day, before arriving in Melbourne, we walked along Apollo Bay in the morning and then headed off along the coast to Lorne.
After coffee and cake in lovely Lorne, we headed up to the lush Erskine Falls. The Falls are one of the most popular in the Otway National Park and are only a 9 km drive from Lorne.
There is a lookout over the Erskine Falls just a five-minute walk from the carpark, but if you want to get to the base of this 30-metre waterfall you have 240 steps to climb down. Coming back up is great exercise;)
The Great Ocean Road ends just past Torquay and from there you conclude the long drive from Perth and reach Melbourne in about another 100km.
Your road trip from Perth finally brings you to Melbourne, one of the most hip cities in Australia.
Full of laneways of art, rooftop bars and cafes Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria. For the many fun things to do in Melbourne, check out this link below:
If you are looking for accommodation in Melbourne, you can check out the best deals on Booking.com here.
AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE FOR YOUR PERTH TO MELBOURNE ROAD TRIP
When driving from Perth to Melbourne you need to get onto the Eyre Highway (Nullarbor) in the town of Norseman. However, to reach Norseman, you have a choice of driving via Kalgoorlie or driving south from Perth along the southwestern coast of Western Australia and then northwards to Norseman.
If time is not an issue for you and you are looking for a more scenic route, this alternative would be to head south from Perth to Margaret River, Albany and Esperance. This is an absolutely beautiful part of the South West of Western Australia.
Your drive from Perth to Melbourne would then entail an extra 500 km and there is so much to explore that you would need at least a week or more to add to your Pert to Melbourne itinerary.
From Esperance, you would then drive north to Norseman and there join the Eyre Highway, the only road across the south of Australia to Adelaide, Victoria.
PERTH TO MELBOURNE ROAD TRIP … THAT’S A WRAP
We hope this Perth to Melbourne Drive guide has been useful. Please feel free to ask us anything you think we might be able to help you with.
We’d also love to hear from you if you’ve driven this route and if you have any extra tidbits of knowledge you could share with our readers.
Just leave a comment below:)
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PLANNING YOUR TRAVELS?
These are travel resources we use when planning our trip and can recommend:
- Travel Insurance: World Nomads
- Book Accommodation: We use Booking.com and Tripadvisor to find accommodation that suits our budget
- Travel Gear and Accessories: Check out our top picks @ Lifejourney4two page on Amazon
- Car Hire: We use Rentalcars.com
- Motorhome/Campervan Rental: We highly recommend Motorhome Republic
- Activity Tickets: Get Your Guide
- Free Accommodation: Get 25% off Trusted House Sitters
- Wall Art: Shop our ETSY store