10 best stops on a Melbourne to Canberra road trip



Posted May 17, 2024

Towns, wineries, bakeries, and forest walks – here are the top places you can’t miss on a road trip from Melbourne to Canberra. 

A road trip from Melbourne to Canberra offers the chance to visit picturesque towns, historical sites and national parks.

Rather than driving direct via the Hume Highway, a 663km journey that takes about seven to eight hours, why not consider an alternate route that is more scenic, with an overnight stay in Cobram?

There's also the coastal route, following South Gippsland and Princess Highway, which could include stops at Inverloch, Wilsons Promontory and Mallacoota, or the Alpine route that takes you through the Alpine National Park and picturesque towns like Bright.

Before you embark on your adventure to Canberra, stay road trip happy by packing a emergency car kit and updating your emergency roadside assistance. Electric car owners are advised to check EV charging availability along the route prior to leaving.

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Map showing Melbourne to Canberra inland road trip

Enjoy a more leisurely road trip to Canberra and discover some hidden gems in NSW.

The best places to stop between Melbourne and Canberra on a road trip

Melbourne to Kilmore

  • Distance: 110km
  • Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Because: It's one of Victoria’s oldest inland settlements

Your first stop is Kilmore, which has an impressive number of 19th century bluestone buildings, and plenty of cafes. At the peak of Momument Hill Reserve, you'll find a watchtower from the former Kilmore Gaol that's become a momument to the Hume and Hovell expedition of 1824. The reserve has walking trails and is home to lizards, birds, and kangaroos. If you have children with energy to burn, stop at Wallan instead. It has an adventure playground, with a water splash park that operates from December to March. 

Kilmore to Nagambie

  • Distance: 66km
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Because: It’s a haven for wine lovers

Next up is Nagambie, a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Nagambie. This 170ha artificial lake was created in 1891 by the damming of the Goulburn River at Goulburn Weir. Walk along the waterfront to the small beach and back. There are family friendly facilities, including playgrounds, bushy patches and BBQ areas. Along with the pubs and cafes in town, the region is renowned for its vineyards and wineries. 

Nagambie to Shepparton

  • Distance: 53km
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Because: It’s great for fine food and cultural experiences

Continuing your journey, venture into the heart of Victoria's food bowl, Shepparton. This agricultural hub is famous for its orchards, dairy farms, and the iconic Shepparton Art Musuem.

Enjoy a relaxing walk along Goulburn River, sift through items at the largest resale shop in the area, head to one of the area's best craft breweries, or visit the Moooving Art public art project featuring creatively decorated cows scattered across the town.



How many different cows can you find in Shepparton on the Mooving Art Trail?
A vintage talking tram in Bendigo. Image: Visit Victoria
Settle in for a night in nature at the RACV Cobram Resort. Image: RACV

Shepparton to Cobram

  • Distance: 66km
  • Time: 48 minutes
  • Because: It’s the gateway to the Murray

As you travel further north, make a stop in Cobram, situated on the banks of the Murray River. Your gateway to the bordertown region, take a bush hike through the natural trails, head for a swim, and explore the attractions and eateries nearby. 

Enjoy a leisurely cruise, go fishing, or simply relax by the riverbanks. Other towns along the Murray River, such as Echuca and Moama, offer a blend of history and riverside charm. 

Cobram to Jerilderie

  • Distance: 62km
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Jerilderie: It's like stepping back in time

Step back in time by venturing into Jerilderie, a historic town steeped in Australian folklore. Visit the Ned Kelly Raid Museum to learn about the infamous outlaw's daring exploits. It's the town where he attempted to have his 8,000-word manifesto printed by the local newspaper editor in 1879. Explore the heritage-listed buildings that line the streets, relax at Lake Jerilderie and grab a bite to eat at one of the local pubs.

Jerilderie to Narrandera

  • Distance: 62km
  • Time: 50 minutes
  • Narrandera: It's where nature and history collide

Your journey continues to Narrandera, a hidden gem nestled amid the natural beauty of the Riverina region. Explore the picturesque gardens of Lake Talbot, home to an array of native birdlife, and wander through the historic streets lined with heritage buildings. Take a scenic drive along the Murrumbidgee River, which is a major tributary of the Murray River. The river is bound by a red gum corridor characteristic of the Riverina region, and there are nearby walking tracks and a koala regeneration reserve.


The scenic Murrumbidgee River runs through Narrandera, Wagga Wagga, Cootamundra, and Yass in NSW, as well as Canberra. Image: Getty
The house where cricket legend Donald Bradman was born in Cootamundra, NSW, is one of the places to visit on an inland road trip to Canberra. Image: Getty
Wagga Wagga Court House is a superb example of Federation Free Style architecture. Image: Getty

Narrandera to Wagga Wagga

  • Distance: 62km
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Wagga Wagga: It's the largest inland city in NSW

Next, you arrive in Wagga Wagga, affectionately known as the City of Good Sports because it has produced a high number of elite athletes, including Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor and AFL legend Paul Kelly. Immerse yourself in the local sporting culture by catching a game at the Wagga Wagga Sporting Complex. If art is more your thing, visit Wagga Wagga Art Gallery and explore the interactive exhibits at the National Art Glass Gallery. Indulge in a culinary adventure at one of the city's many cafes and restaurants, showcasing the diverse flavors of the Riverina region. Wagga Beach on Murrumbidgee River is a popular swimming location in summer.

Wagga Wagga to Junee

  • Distance: 36km
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Junee: It's home of railway heritage

Our next stop takes us to Junee, a town steeped in railway history and country charm. Explore the iconic Junee Roundhouse Railway Museum, where you can marvel at vintage locomotives and learn about the golden age of rail travel. Indulge in delicious homemade treats at the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory, and wander through the town's historic precinct, dotted with heritage-listed buildings and quaint cafes.

Junee to Cootamundra

  • Distance: 54km
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Cootamundra: It's the birthplace of a legend

As we journey further, we reach Cootamundra, the birthplace of one of Australia's most beloved cricketing icons, Sir Donald Bradman. Visit the Sir Donald Bradman Birthplace Museum to learn about the life and legacy of this sporting legend, and explore the quaint streets lined with historic buildings. Don't miss the opportunity to sample local wines at nearby vineyards, or enjoy a leisurely picnic in the picturesque surrounds.


A day on the water in the nation's capital. Image: Visit Canberra Australia
Your final destination, Camberra, awaits with a range of historical and cultural sights. Image: War Memorial, Visit Canberra Australia

Cootamundra to Yass

  • Distance: 104km
  • Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yass: It's the gateway to the Southern Tablelands

Your final pit stop will be at Yass, a charming town nestled in the heart of the Southern Tablelands. Visit the Yass Courthouse, which is a fine example of colonial architecture. Yass Community Market is held on the first and third Saturday of the month at the Yass Memorial Hall. Grab some fresh produce and enjoy a peaceful picnic down at Banjo Paterson Park. If you have time, nearby Yass Valley has wineries, art galleries, antique centres, and nature walks. If you if time before you reach Yass, the Harden Murrumburrah Historical Museum in Harden is worth a look, too.

Yass to Canberra

  • Distance: 60km
  • Time: 55 minutes
  • Canberra: It's a capital destination

Your road trip culminates in the nation's capital, Canberra.

Explore the iconic landmarks of the ACT, including Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, and the National Gallery of Australia.

RACV Members can also save on a range of hotels and packages in the area, as well as a range of experiences in and around Canberra. 

So why not pack your bags, hit the open road, and embark on your own adventure from Melbourne to Canberra, discovering the hidden gems that await at every twist and turn.