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What to Expect on a Road Trip from Melbourne to Brisbane

What to Expect on a Road Trip from Melbourne to Brisbane

Driving from Melbourne to Brisbane? Well, consider yourself lucky because you’re in for a ripper of a road trip! Now, don’t expect this journey to be a walk in the park – it’s more like a stumble through nature’s greatest hits album.

From the sprawling Aussie landscapes to the occasional “I-thought-this-was-the-right-turn” moments, it’s gonna be a fair dinkum adventure, mate!

Buckle up, grab your maps (or just rely on the GPS lady who’s always way too polite), and get ready to soak in the best Australia’s east coast has to offer – one quirky pit stop at a time. G’day to the open road!

1. The NSW Vineyards Route

The NSW Vineyards Route
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When driving from Melbourne to Brisbane, you can take the NSW Vineyards Route, spanning 2,000 kilometers and around 22 hours and 40 minutes of driving time, excluding breaks and stopovers.

This route offers a more direct path, leading to delightful inland towns like Boorowa, Orange, and Mudgee, celebrated for their wine culture and dining experiences.

Along the way, you’ll also discover Canberra, Australia’s capital, and have the opportunity to explore national parks such as Wollemi, Pilliga, and Namadgi.

The following are some of the top spots to visit and activities to enjoy along this route.

1. The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion

Address: 75JQ+5G, 25 Sandhurst Town Rd, Myers Flat VIC 3556


Contact Details: +61 3 5446 7568, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Friday: 9 AM–4:45 PM, Saturday & Sunday: 10:30 AM–4:45 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Self Guided Tour: by donation
  • Group Tour (groups of 10+):
    • $9 per person weekdays
    • $11 per person weekends
    • $15 per person public holidays
    • Carers free
  • School Tour:
    • $6 per student weekdays
    • $8 per student weekends and public holidays
    • Teachers free

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion is a remarkable site that boasts the largest Buddhist stupa in the Western world, mirroring the size and design of The Great Stupa of Gyantse in Tibet.

Towering 48 meters above the serene Bendigo bushland and spanning 50 meters at its base, it’s a majestic sight to behold.

One of the Great Stupa’s most prized possessions is the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace, the largest Buddha carved from gem-quality jade globally.

After a world tour that drew in over 10 million admirers, this exquisite jade Buddha has found its permanent residence within The Great Stupa.

Here, you can immerse yourself in a spiritual journey with daily tours starting from The Great Stupa Visitor Centre, where you can explore the Peace Park, witness sacred relics and artworks, and delve into the teachings of Buddhism and Asian culture.

Pro tips:
• Treat yourself to a barista-style coffee and a meal at the StupaView Café. It’s an excellent spot to relax and savor the tranquil surroundings.
• Allocate at least 1.5 hours for your visit to ensure you can explore the Stupa and its beautiful surroundings without feeling rushed.

2. Mansfield Zoo

Address: 1064 Mansfield-Woods Point Rd, Mansfield VIC 3722


Contact Details: +61 3 5777 3576, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 AM–6 PM

Mansfield Zoo, located in the heart of North East Victoria, attracts travelers on a road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane with its captivating collection of exotic and native animals sprawled across 30 acres of picturesque parkland.

As you explore, you’ll have the unique opportunity to hand-feed or share a moment with creatures like deer, kangaroos, and the mischievous capuchin monkey, Hobbs. Don’t be surprised if Cybil, the cheeky camel, decides to borrow your spade!

Friendly encounters continue with Sammy, the amiable sambar deer, and Vicki, a stunning fallow deer, making your stroll through the zoo a memorable adventure.

Mansfield Zoo invites road trippers to not only explore the diverse world of animals but also to share a picnic or BBQ lunch with family and friends in their covered facilities.

For the more adventurous, consider an overnight stay in your tent or swag to fall asleep serenaded by the enchanting nocturnal sounds of lions and other fascinating creatures.

Pro tips:
• Check the zoo’s opening hours, as they can vary with the seasons.
• Don’t leave without checking out the gift shop for unique animal-themed keepsakes.

3. Woomargama National Park

Woomargama National Park
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Address: Tunnel Rd, Wantagong NSW 2644


Contact Details: +61 2 6070 8400

Woomargama National Park is a serene wilderness, offering travelers on the Melbourne to Brisbane road trip a chance to immerse themselves in nature.

The park’s vast expanse is a haven for endangered species, making it a bird watcher’s paradise with sightings of the regent honeyeater, superb parrot, and powerful owl.

For campers, there are two campgrounds that provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and the opportunity for wildlife watching.

Whether you’re hiking along the Hume and Hovell walking track, exploring unsealed routes in your 4WD, or cycling through the bush on a mountain bike, Woomargama invites you to enjoy the great outdoors.

Alternatively, you can take a leisurely stroll to breathe in the fresh air, marvel at the wildflowers, and savor the breathtaking vistas from Norths lookout. 

Pro tips:
• The night sky in Woomargama National Park is a canvas of stars. Don’t forget to bring a telescope or a star-gazing app for a celestial show.

4. Explore Australia’s Capital: Canberra

Explore Australia's Capital Canberra
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As you journey from Melbourne to Brisbane, Canberra is a strategic midway point on the NSW Vineyards Route. Nestled within its picturesque surroundings, you’ll find mountain ranges and pristine natural reserves, offering a serene overnight stop.

While in Canberra, be sure to explore Lake Burley Griffin. This central hub boasts museums, galleries, restaurants, and serene parks connected by cycling and walking paths, providing the perfect launchpad for your city exploration.

Art enthusiasts can delve into the National Gallery of Australia, while those intrigued by politics and contemporary architecture can explore the striking Parliament House located in Downtown Canberra.

Just outside the city, you can unwind in a cool-climate wine region renowned for its exceptional wine production.

Pro tips:
• Visit the Australian War Memorial. This iconic site is not only educational but also deeply moving. Don’t miss the Last Post ceremony at the end of the day.
• Check local event listings. Canberra hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, from food and wine to cultural celebrations.

5. Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum

Address: 224 Howick St, Bathurst NSW 2795


Contact Details: +61 2 6338 2860, [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Sunday:        9 AM–4:30 PM
  • Monday:       9 AM–4:30 PM
  • Tuesday:      9 AM–4:30 PM
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday:     9 AM–4:30 PM
  • Friday:          9 AM–4:30 PM
  • Saturday:      9 AM–4:30 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adults – $15
  • Children (School Age) – $7
  • Concession – $10
  • Family – $35
  • Infant – Free

The Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum is a true gem on your Melbourne to Brisbane road trip.

Housed in a stunning 1876 Gothic-style former public-school building, this museum is the proud custodian of the globally acclaimed Somerville Collection, curated over a lifetime by Warren Somerville AM.

Within its walls, you’ll encounter a diverse and captivating assembly of mineral crystals and fossils, spanning the far corners of the globe.

With over 5,000 specimens thoughtfully displayed, the collection weaves a compelling narrative of Earth’s evolutionary history.

At the heart of the museum, a complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton takes center stage, a captivating sight for all ages. Equally fascinating are the extensive exhibits of fossils encased in amber and the remarkable Australian opalised fossils.

Pro tips:
• Consider joining one of the museum’s guided tours if available. Knowledgeable guides can offer unique insights into the Somerville Collection and its fascinating history.
• Inquire if there are any temporary or special exhibitions during your visit. These exhibits can provide a fresh perspective and unique specimens not always on display.

6. Cobb+Co Museum

Address: 27 Lindsay St, Toowoomba City QLD 4350


Contact Details: +61 7 4659 4900, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9:30 AM–4 PM 

Entry Fee: $12.50

Cobb+Co Museum, an integral part of the Queensland Museum Network, is a fascinating stop on your road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane.

This museum invites you to explore the rich history of Toowoomba, offering a blend of interactive displays, heritage trade workshops, and captivating exhibits, all housed within its walls.

One of the standout attractions at Cobb+Co is the National Carriage Collection. Here, you’ll find a charming array of horse-drawn vehicles that played a vital role in Queensland’s development.

As you stroll through this captivating collection, you’ll gain insight into a significant era in Australian transport history.

This museum caters to visitors of all ages, with special attention to family experiences.

Children can enjoy The Coach Stop play area, where they can step back in time, play shopkeeper in the old Museum General Store, dress up in vintage attire, or even take a whimsical ride atop a life-sized replica horse.

To top off your visit, don’t miss the opportunity to savor Toowoomba’s best scones at Cobb’s Coffee Shop.

Pro tips:
• If you’re a fan of traditional crafts, consider signing up for one of the heritage workshops. From leadlighting to blacksmithing, it’s a fantastic hands-on experience.
• Let your inner child out and become a shop attendant in the Museum General Store. It’s a fun way to relive the past.

7. Yelarbon Silo Art

Yelarbon Silo Art
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Address: 46 Railway Parade, Yelarbon QLD 4388


Contact Details: +61 74671 7474, [email protected]

Entry Fee: Free

Yelarbon Silo Art is a captivating roadside gem for those embarking on a road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane. The GrainCorp silos feature a remarkable piece named ‘When the rain comes,’ situated on the outskirts of Yelarbon.

This towering mural, standing at an impressive 24 meters high, is a testament to the region’s creative spirit.

Painted by the Brightsiders Group, a collective of artists from Brisbane, the artwork took five weeks to complete.

The mural portrays an oasis amidst the desert spinifex township, delivering a refreshing visual respite to travelers passing through the arid landscape.

This vibrant oasis theme pays homage to Yelarbon’s history and the vital role the Yelarbon lagoon played in the town’s evolution as a permanent water source.

The Yelarbon lagoon, located about 500 meters from the silo viewing area, serves as a lush oasis in the midst of the spinifex desert.

Not only is it a serene retreat, but it’s also a thriving ecosystem, home to a diverse array of wildlife, including black swans, reptiles, marsupials, and various bird species.

Pro tips:
• Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the vibrant silo art. It’s a great spot for photography.
• Bring along some snacks or a picnic lunch to enjoy at the viewing area and make the most of the relaxing atmosphere.

2. The Coastal Route

The Coastal Route
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The Coastal Route is an alternative road trip option from Melbourne to Brisbane, offering a slightly longer but incredibly scenic journey covering 2,070 km and taking approximately 23 hours and 50 minutes to complete.

This route takes you along Australia’s southeastern coast, where you can explore coastal towns and beaches, including Paynesville, Sydney, Byron Bay, and the Gold Coast.

With cultural activities and world-renowned architecture, Sydney makes for an excellent overnight stop along the way.

Here are some of the best places to explore and activities to savor along this route.

1. Coal Creek Community Park and Museum

Address: 12 Silkstone Rd, Korumburra VIC 3950


Contact Details: +61 3 5655 1811

Operating Hours: Friday-Sunday: 10 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee: Free

Coal Creek Community Park and Museum is a remarkable stopover on your road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane where you can explore history and immerse yourself in the past.

This living history museum meticulously recreates the life and times of coal miners in South Gippsland, offering a glimpse into Australia’s industrial heritage.

Established in 1974, Coal Creek has evolved from a single building, the old Korumburra Courthouse, into an authentic coal mining village spanning the late 19th to early 20th centuries.

Here, you can wander through the park and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of pioneer days. With a collection of over half a million items, the museum paints a vivid picture of life in South Gippsland during this era, from antique trains to delicate thimbles.

Beyond its historical charm, Coal Creek is also a versatile venue for special events. Surrounded by period buildings and native bushland, it offers a picturesque backdrop for weddings, birthdays, photoshoots, seminars, and more.

Pro tips:
• Consider joining a guided tour. The guides have an incredible depth of knowledge about the history of the area.
• Consider making a donation or purchasing something from the gift shop. It helps support the museum’s preservation efforts.

2. Agnes Falls

Address: 125 Agnes Falls Rd, Hazel Park VIC 3966


Contact Details: +61 131963

Agnes Falls Scenic Reserve, located 196 km southeast of Melbourne, is a must-visit spot on your road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane. These falls are the highest single-span waterfalls in Victoria, plunging 59 meters into a picturesque gorge.

To reach this natural wonder, take Silcocks Hill Road from the South Gippsland Highway at Toora or access it via Slade Hill Road and Hazel Park Road from Welshpool.

A brief 200-meter walk from the carpark leads you to a viewing area where you can enjoy an awe-inspiring sight of the falls, surrounded by lush vegetation. Along the way, you’ll observe the vibrant birdlife flitting through the foliage.

Agnes Falls Scenic Reserve provides a glimpse into the diverse ecosystems of the Strzelecki Ranges, featuring towering Southern Blue Gums, Blackwood, Silver Wattles, Hazel Pomaderris, and a variety of ferns.

The reserve’s rich flora and cool, moist conditions make it a haven for various bird species, including honeyeaters, Eastern Yellow Robins, Grey Fantails, Laughing Kookaburras, Currawongs, and Crimson Rosellas.

Pro tips:
• The short walk to the viewing area is easy, but comfortable walking shoes will make your visit more enjoyable.
• Before your visit, check for any updates or alerts about the reserve on relevant websites to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

3. Fairy Cave

Address: Caves Reserve, Caves Rd, Buchan VIC 3885


Contact Details: +61 131963

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 11:15 AM–12:15 PM, 2–3 PM

Located within the picturesque Buchan Caves Reserve, a visit to the Fairy Cave is a must on your road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane.

This reserve, located on Krauatungalung Country, is not only significant to the Gunaikurnai Traditional Owners but also offers a unique opportunity to explore Victoria’s largest cave system. It’s a place where nature and history merge harmoniously.

You can embark on a guided tour of Buchan Caves and prepare to be mesmerized by the wonders beneath the earth’s surface.

The Fairy Cave, one of the key attractions, reveals spectacular limestone formations that have been delicately sculpted by an underground river over millions of years.

Stalactites and stalagmites abound, forming intricate patterns that make each step a journey through time. As the ancient stream flows and caverns open up, you’ll gain a profound appreciation for the forces that have shaped this subterranean world.

While above ground, you can take a leisurely walk through the reserve’s walking tracks, enjoying the abundant wildlife and lush scenery.

Pro tips:
• Ensure you book your guided tour to the Fairy Cave at Buchan Caves Reserve at least 24 hours in advance. Tours can fill up quickly, so securing your spot early is essential.
• While touring the Fairy Cave, keep in mind that some sections may have low ceilings. Pay attention to your guide’s instructions to avoid bumping your head.

4. Green Cape Lighthouse

Address: Green Cape Lighthouse Rd, Green Cape NSW 2551


Contact Details: +61 2 6495 5000, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 7 AM-7 PM

Situated as the southernmost lighthouse in New South Wales, Green Cape Lighthouse holds a unique place in Australia’s maritime history. Built in 1883, it made history as the nation’s first concrete lighthouse tower, standing tall at 29 meters.

Its whitewashed facade overlooks the untamed beauty of the Sapphire Coast, creating a captivating contrast with the rugged surroundings.

One of the lighthouse’s standout features is its role as a prime whale-watching spot during winter and spring, from August through November. As you stand at this vantage point, you can witness these marine giants as they migrate along the coast.

However, Green Cape Lighthouse offers more than just natural beauty. It’s also a portal to the region’s rich seafaring history, which includes both triumphs and tragedies.

The lighthouse, while a symbol of hope for many, couldn’t prevent the mysterious wreck of the Ly-ee-Moon just offshore in 1886. The hills surrounding the lighthouse are marked with tombstones, a poignant reminder of those who lost their lives.

For a deeper understanding of this historical landmark, guided heritage tours are available upon request.

These tours provide an opportunity to climb to the top of the lighthouse, where you can enjoy panoramic views over Disaster Bay, a name that evokes the region’s tumultuous past.

Pro tips:
• There are campgrounds and cottages in the area, making it convenient to spend more time exploring the lighthouse and its surroundings.
• If you have the chance, stay to watch the sunset. The lighthouse against the colorful evening sky is a sight to behold and a perfect way to end your visit.

5. Discover Sydney’s Treasures

Discover Sydney's Treasures
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Located approximately halfway along the Coastal Route, Sydney is a vibrant and diverse city that beckons road trippers. This bustling metropolis offers an array of enriching experiences and cultural encounters, making it the perfect stopover.

Sydney is not just about its iconic landmarks; it’s a constantly evolving city that introduces new rooftop bars, theater productions, and designer boutiques, ensuring there’s always something fresh to explore.

The urban vibrancy harmonizes effortlessly with lazy afternoons on its stunning beaches, offering a perfect blend of city excitement and coastal relaxation.

While in Sydney, don’t miss the world-famous Sydney Opera House, an architectural masterpiece designed by Jorn Utzon. It stands as a hub for performing arts and cultural experiences within the scenic backdrop of Sydney Harbour.

For beach enthusiasts, Bondi Beach is a must-visit, easily accessible from the city center and surrounded by trendy cafes, bars, and boutiques.

The city’s attractions extend beyond the shoreline, with notable destinations like the Powerhouse Museum, the Australian Museum, the Sydney Mint, the Museum of Sydney, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Sydney Observatory, all within reach.

Pro tips:
• Sydney is a melting pot of diverse culinary experiences. Savor fresh seafood at the Sydney Fish Market, try multicultural dishes in Newtown, and indulge in waterfront dining at Darling Harbour.
• For panoramic views of the city, head to the Sydney Tower Eye. It’s a great way to get your bearings and appreciate Sydney’s vastness.

6. Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk

Address: 333 Geissmann Dr, Tamborine Mountain QLD 4272


Contact Details: +61 7 5545 2222, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9:30 AM–5 PM

Entry Fee:

  • Adults (17 Age and Over) – $19.50
  • Children (Age 6-16, Must be Accompanied by an Adult) – $9.50
  • Family Tickets (2 Adults + 1 Child) – $44
  • Family Tickets (2 Adults + 2 Child) – $49
  • Extra Children – $5
  • Seniors Card Holders – $16.50
  • Student Card Holders (I.D. Required) – $16.50
  • YHA Cardholders – $16.50

Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk offers a captivating 1.5-kilometer rainforest journey through Queensland’s lush hinterland.

It’s a must-visit stop on your road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane, offering a serene and enchanting encounter with the region’s captivating rainforest.

This unique experience features the Skywalk Bridge, a sturdy steel structure, the impressive 40-meter Skywalk Cantilever, and the Cedar Creek Viewing Platform.

These elements are interconnected by a meandering pathway that winds through the rainforest canopy. Conveniently accessible from the Eco Centre, the walk provides a safe and immersive way to explore the pristine beauty of the rainforest.

This leisurely adventure lasts approximately 45 minutes and both begins and ends at the main center, which houses amenities like the Eco Centre, bus parking, a gift shop, a cafe, and restrooms.

Pro tips:
• The rainforest is home to various insects. Applying insect repellent can help make your walk more enjoyable.
• The Skywalk is designed for a leisurely pace. Take your time, enjoy the surroundings, and soak in the beauty of the rainforest.

7. Mountview Alpaca Farm

Address: 852 Lamington National Park Rd, Canungra QLD 4275 


Contact Details: +61 490 973 865, [email protected]

Operating Hours: Monday-Sunday: 9 AM–4 PM

Entry Fee:

  • 30 Minute Alpaca Experience – $24.50
  • 30 Minute Alpaca Lover Experience – $49
  • 60 Minute Alpaca Experience – $44
  • 60 Minute Alpaca Lover Experience – $88
  • Family Deal – $79
  • Mates Deal – $89
  • Group Deal – $129

Mountview Alpaca Farm offers a distinctive and delightful experience for travelers on a road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane. What sets this farm apart is its focus on genuine farm animal interactions, with a particular emphasis on these charming, wooly alpacas.

Visitors have the opportunity to meet, feed, walk, and even picnic with these friendly alpacas. Each alpaca has its own unique name and character, making it a memorable and personal experience.

Situated within O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards, this alpaca farm offers a perfect blend of nature and leisure. It’s not just for kids; parents can relish the day just as much.

The serene vineyard setting by the creekside complements the alpaca interactions, creating a unique experience suitable for all ages.

In addition to the alpaca experiences, visitors can enjoy a range of food options, from gourmet picnic hampers to pizzas, Devonshire tea, and wine and cheese deals.

Pro tips:
• While many services are available, have both cash and cards handy for any additional purchases or payments.
• Purchase some alpaca treats available on-site. It’s a great way to bond with the alpacas as they enjoy nibbling on these snacks.
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