Melbourne is Victoria’s state capital, and the perfect spot to pick up a motorhome and head out on an Australian road trip. Positioned near the southernmost tip of mainland Australia, cosmopolitan Melbourne is a fantastic jumping off point for a variety of exciting itineraries.
A hub of arts and culture, Melbourne is all about hip bars and restaurants, eclectic art galleries, and sports of all kinds. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of the most iconic sports fields in the country, and St Kilda is a beachside suburb known for its year-round holiday vibe thanks to the Luna Park amusement precinct, annual St Kilda Festival, and shop- and cafe-filled streets. And of course, Melbourne is home to the annual ‘race that stops the nation’, the Melbourne Cup.
Get to know the modern, trendy side of Australia as you dine, shop and lounge in this Victorian hot spot’s most popular locations before you pick up a motorhome in Melbourne and hit the road.
Where to pick up your Melbourne motorhome
For those who are flying in, it may be easiest to pick up your Melbourne campervan as soon as you leave the airport. A number of RV rental companies have offices just outside the facility, including Apollo Motorhomes, Let’s Go Motorhomes, and Travellers Autobarn Melbourne, just down the road.
West Footscray is just outside of the Melbourne CBD, so it can be a good place to pick up a campervan if you’re headed west towards Adelaide or the Great Ocean Road. Here you’ll find Britz Campers, as well as Maui Motorhome and Campervan Rental.
St Kilda is one of the most popular attractions in Melbourne, and it’s also where you can go to pick up an RV from JUCY campervans. This could be ideal if you’re planning to spend a few days in town before you pick up your motorhome and start your road trip.
What to do in Melbourne
Stroll through Federation Square
Federation Square is a non-stop, energetic spot in the heart of the city. More than 2,000 events are held here every year, from sports games and markets to performances and film screenings. It’s where you’ll find many of the city’s top bars and restaurants, as well as museums and galleries. This square is the size of an entire city block and is capable of holding as many as 10,000 people at a time, so has rightfully earned itself the nickname of ‘Melbourne’s Meeting Place’. There are free guided walking tours Mondays through Saturdays, which can be a good way to learn your way around this city hub.
Explore the Queen Victoria Market
Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market is a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. In a city that loves to shop, it’s a premier shopping destination, with row upon row of stalls selling all sorts of delicious edible goods, as well as a huge section of clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, arts and crafts, and more. Together, they make for the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere, and it’s open most days of the week, aside from Mondays and Wednesdays. One of the most iconic stalls is the hot doughnut van, so be sure to pick up a jam doughnut for the real QVM experience.
Discover the Yarra River
The Yarra River is the natural centre of the city, as it flows past countless attractions through the CBD and out into Port Phillip Bay. The trails alongside the river are ideal for strolling, running and cycling, and the numerous grassy patches are perfect for enjoying a picnic and watching the world float by. You can board a boat for a cruise up or down the river to see the CBD from a whole new perspective, and you can keep an eye out for events on the river such as rowing regattas, dragon boat festivals, the Melbourne Festival, and the Moomba Festival.
Play at Luna Park
Luna Park is a free-to-enter adventure park in St Kilda, and it’s a must-see while you’re in town. There are 20 fun rides to try, as well as plenty of food and drink stalls, all set amongst a frivolous carnival atmosphere. You absolutely must ride on the Scenic Railway Roller Coaster, which tours the edges of the park at high speeds, and is the oldest continually operating wooden roller coaster in the world. The park is open on weekends, public holidays, school holidays, and some evenings over summer.
Visit the Old Melbourne Gaol
To add a little history and a little spookiness to your adventure, plan a visit to the Old Melbourne Gaol. The building is one of the oldest in the city, having been built in the 1800s to cater to the booming number of criminals. These criminals included some of Australia’s most notorious, such as the gangster Squizzy Taylor and outlaw bushranger Ned Kelly. More than 130 hangings were held at the gaol, and you can take a tour to explore its dark and mysterious secrets - by daytime, or night.
Handy petrol stations in Melbourne
Like any major city, you won’t have any problems finding petrol stations during your time there. It’s always a good idea to start any Australian road trip with a full tank, and you’ll need to top it up before you drop off your motorhome at the depot as well. Here are a few of the most convenient petrol stations around the city:
- BP Connect City Road: BP Connect on City Road is a central petrol station on the south side of the Yarra River. Ideal for topping up while you’re in the CBD.
- Coles Express Laverton Ailsa Road: Heading west towards the Great Ocean Road? This petrol station is just off the M1 - the Princess Freeway - as you’re heading out of town.
- BP Centre Road & Melbourne Drive: This station is right next to the Melbourne Airport, so it’s the perfect stop to top up before you return your motorhome to the depot here.
- Coles Express Dandenong Road: For those heading southwest towards the coastal route, the Coles Express just off the Princess Highway can be a good first stop.
Top campervan road trips from Melbourne
Australia is an incredible destination for motorhome road trips. You can strike out in almost any direction and find natural wonders, endless coastline, and thriving cities. From Melbourne, you can go west towards the Great Ocean Road, southeast towards the coast, or northeast towards Canberra and Sydney. Here are a few itinerary suggestions to get you started.
Arguably the most famous road trip in Australia, the Great Ocean Road hugs the coastline from the small town of Torquay outside of Melbourne, all the way to Allanford on the western edge of Victoria. The route covers just 243 kilometres, but packs a lot of bang for its buck with phenomenal scenery at every turn.
For a road trip that is quintessentially Australian, you can’t go wrong with this route from Melbourne, all the way up the coast to Brisbane. You’ll pass through five of the country’s brightest cities, and you’ll get plenty of time to experience the country’s smaller towns, stunning beaches and rural delights as well.
This itinerary is for Adelaide to Melbourne, but it doesn’t take much imagination to turn it around and head the other way. You’ll only need a week or two to cover this beautiful road trip, and it will introduce you to both of these southern cities as well as a vineyards, a national park, Kangaroo Island, and more.