Jess Campbell

by Jess Campbell

posted on December 14, 2023

Home to world-class wineries and stunning landscapes, Adelaide is the perfect starting place for an epic road trip from South Australia to Sydney. Along the Adelaide to Sydney drive, nature lovers will have plenty of room to roam across hiking trails, boasting panoramic views and wildlife encounters, while culinary enthusiasts can delight in great seafood and local produce.

Whether you’re looking to explore popular attractions in Adelaide over a weekend or want to hit the road for an epic adventure that takes in the coastal beauty of New South Wales and beyond, a road trip makes for an unforgettable experience. With plenty of stops to explore along the way, there’s no shortage of options to keep you entertained. No matter what your travel purposes, we’ve put together the ultimate Adelaide to Sydney road trip itinerary.

In this guide, we’ll be covering a few options for your Adelaide to Sydney road trip, including:

Rolling hills in Barossa Valley, another popular stop between Adelaide and Sydney

Overview of Adelaide to Sydney road trip

The journey from Adelaide to Sydney will take you through stunning vistas as you make your way through South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. You’ll be treated to a landscape of rolling hills, riverlands and sweeping hay plains, with plenty to explore at Australia’s famous regional centres. From culinary delights and historic buildings to the rich Aboriginal heritage of the region, there’s plenty to see and do on this road trip. Naturally, we don’t blame you for being impatient to hit the road!

Looking for some quick answers about the drive from Adelaide to Sydney? We’ve got you covered with the answers below:

  • Distance from Adelaide to Sydney: 1,360 kilometres direct 
  • Drive time from Adelaide to Sydney: 14 hours and 30 minutes (if you drive direct)
  • The most popular route: Take the scenic route and enjoy countless stops along the way, taking in the Barossa Bushgardens and Mungo National Park before hitting the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains in New South Wales for great views of the Three Sisters.
  • Top scenic delights along the Adelaide to Sydney road trip: Big Desert Wilderness Park, the Murray River, Little Desert National Park, Murrumbidgee River, Swan Hill, Bendigo and Bowral are just some of the picturesque stops along the drive.

The distance from Adelaide to Sydney

If you’re driving from Adelaide to Sydney on the most direct route, you can take National Highway A1 (otherwise known as the Princes Highway or Hume Highway). While the distance can vary slightly based on the detours and rest stops chosen along the way, you can expect to cover 1,370 kilometres on the direct route. 

For those looking for a family holiday on the road or who want a scenic tour of South Australia, consider following the Victoria Riverina Route, which equates to a distance of 1,450 kilometres. You’ll head along the Sturt Highway to Wagga Wagga before veering off on the A79 to Swan Hill. It might make for a longer drive, but it’s guaranteed to deliver captivating scenery and breathtaking views as you take in the serenity of waterside towns rich in Aboriginal heritage.

Adelaide to Sydney drive time

Sydney lies approximately 14 hours and 30 minutes to the east of Adelaide on the most direct route. You can expect incredible views and changes to the natural landscape as you cover some 1,370 kilometres of driving. You’ll go from stunning wineries and rugged mountain ranges to coastal views and famous regional centres.   

It’s worth remembering that the exact drive time will depend on your chosen route and how many stops you take along the way. If you want to soak in all the best sights, it’s recommended to take at least three to five days to cover the distance, although those seeking a holiday adventure have been known to take 14 days.

Driving conditions: What is the road from Adelaide to Sydney like?

When it comes to driving conditions from Adelaide to Sydney, understanding the road is key to avoiding the stress of roadblocks and unforeseen hazards. Thankfully, the route is largely on sealed roads, which will be sure to keep you – and your wheels – happy. 

The main route follows National Highway A1 (Princes Highway or Hume Highway), which offers high road quality that is well-maintained. Despite this, there may be construction or roadworks in some areas, so it’s essential to pay attention to all signs. 

As you head out of the major cities and travel through South Australia and parts of regional Victoria, you can expect to encounter wildlife, particularly at dawn and dusk. Ensure you drive at a safe speed limit that leaves adequate time to stop, as it’s not uncommon to see kangaroos, wallabies and other wildlife on or near roads. 

Weather conditions can vary depending on the time of your road trip, with some seasons bringing heavy rain and strong winds, and others delivering extreme heat. Ensure you are well prepared with food and water no matter what the conditions, while also staying abreast of any updates on the road. Bushfires pose a hazard during the dry season, with fire warnings and restrictions in place in many regions along your route. Follow local advice and never drive towards a fire if you see it arise.

Petrol stations and EV chargers from Adelaide to Sydney

Petrol stations are conveniently located throughout the drive from Adelaide to Sydney. You can find a number of petrol stations in Tailem Bend, Murray Bridge, Keith, Mount Gambier, and Portland before heading to Melbourne and Sydney. 

If you’re driving an EV and need to recharge, several charging networks can be found on a road trip from Adelaide to Sydney, particularly in major cities and towns. The NRMA offers fast chargers in New South Wales and locations along the Sydney route, while Chargefox operates charging stations from Adelaide to Sydney. EV Connect also provides a network of charging stations in regions across South Australia for those seeking a charging stop for their EV vehicle. 

Tip from the author: To take the stress out of finding your next charging stop, ensure you plan ahead and check the availability and compatibility of the charging stations on your route. Transport for NSW offers a helpful tool to locate EV charging stations, along with information on the various networks along your route. And with the help of Turo’s local hosts, you can choose from extras like GPS navigation to ensure you’re never veering off course.

What kind of vehicle is best?

The best vehicle for any road trip is the one you feel most comfortable driving. Of course, if there are specific spots you want to visit along the way, you can also tailor your selection to suit your travel needs and itinerary. 

On the Adelaide to Sydney road trip, you’ll drive across well-maintained and sealed roads along the Sturt Highway route while heading east. This makes it an accessible drive for those travelling in a sedan or hatchback. However, if you’re looking to make a holiday of it with your family or friends and need extra legroom, you can also consider a van or spacious SUV. On Turo, you can browse a wide selection of cars to hire in Adelaide to suit your preferences.

Book Anthony’s Subaru Outback in Adelaide and tackle the drive from Adelaide to Sydney in comfort.

What to bring

Every road trip requires the essentials of tasty snacks and a great playlist. Aside from that, be sure to pack plenty of water as temperatures can soar during the dry season, even if you are travelling along the coastline. With countless national parks and walking trails available, it’s also recommended to pack casual, loose-fitting clothing. Make sure you pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat for sun protection, along with mosquito repellent. 

Clothing and equipment will also largely depend on the activities you want to do. With plenty of places to stop along the way, maximise your adventure with hiking shoes, swimmers, and towels. With options to add on extras like beach umbrellas or camping gear thanks to your Turo host, you’ll be prepared no matter what your journey has in store. 

When to travel from Adelaide to Sydney

Adelaide and Sydney experience similar climates, making it feasible to take a road trip between the two cities at any time of the year. However, there is potential for adverse weather conditions during the storm season, which tends to run from December to February. During this period, many of the regional towns you’ll be passing through on your drive can be subject to flooding, proving a risk to some travellers. 

It’s also not uncommon for bushfires to occur during this period, too. Weather conditions like lightning can cause a bushfire to spread through a region quickly, so it’s important that if you’re driving and see one arising, you don’t drive towards it. Ensure you keep a safe distance away from such natural disasters and refer to SES and ABC radio up-to-date advice while driving. That said, as long as you are prepared and know your driving route, you can hit the road at any time of the year.

Expert tips and things to remember before you go

Make the most of your Adelaide to Sydney road trip with these invaluable tips that ensure a seamless ride and memorable travel experience. 

  • Start early: Begin your journey with the sun by setting off early in the day. Not only does this offer the chance to witness breathtaking sunrise views, but it also helps you beat the rush hour traffic, allowing for a smoother, stress-free drive.
  • Book a car: If you’re not using your own vehicle, consider booking a hire car in Adelaide that suits your preferences and travel needs. Turo gives you the freedom to select a vehicle tailored to your journey so you can experience the best of South Australia and New South Wales. If you’re doing this road trip in reverse and heading on a road trip from Sydney to Adelaide, you can book a car on Turo in Sydney instead. 
  • Consider a National Parks Pass (NPWSA Pass): With so many national parks on South Australia’s doorstep, it’s worth considering an NPWSA Pass that provides entry to some of the most popular in the region. Prices typically range from $12 for a one-day pass to $100-$120 for an annual pass, which allows for unlimited entry to specific parks within South Australia for 12 months. Camping permits are also required for those looking to camp in national parks or conservation areas, along with 4WD permits to access some more remote areas.
  • Kangaroo Island: For those planning to visit Kangaroo Island, specific passes are available to grant you access to Kangaroo Island parks and conservation areas. A separate pass is also required for those visiting Flinders Chase National Park on the island, which grants you access to the park and its attractions like Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch.

Discover the perfect Adelaide to Sydney driving itinerary

Choose your perfect Adelaide to Sydney road trip itinerary from our options below.

Route 1: The direct Adelaide to Sydney road trip (2 days)

If you don’t have much time up your sleeve, don’t stress. We’ve compiled a great itinerary that packs in the best sights in just a short time. The Mallee Highway presents the shortest route from Adelaide to Sydney, Canberra, and the Snowfields. With vast landscapes that take you through unique wildflowers and vibrant local communities, the Mallee Highway is a quick route that offers a number of places to stop along the way.

Given that you can expect long hours of driving, prepare beforehand and consider making rest stops along the way. You can choose where to stop based on your travel needs or preferences. But if you’re really looking to get a taste of South Australia and explore its national parks, you’ll want to give yourself more time.

Suggested stops along the way

  • Adelaide to Robinvale: At a distance of 400 kilometres, in just over 4.5 hours you’ll find yourself in the charming town of Robinvale in northern Victoria. Though relatively small, its location on the Murray River makes for a great place to soak up the natural surroundings and enjoy local produce, including local winemakers. 
  • Tailem Bend: Located 100 kilometres southeast of Adelaide, Tailem Bend is situated on the banks of the Murray River and makes for an important hub for travellers. With the major highways of the Dukes Highway from Adelaide to Melbourne and the Princes Highway from Sydney to Adelaide intersecting in Tailem Bend, it’s a great place to stop and recharge. Rich in history, there are also a number of water sports activities on offer, like boating, fishing, and recreational activities.
  • Robinvale to Hay: The three-hour drive to Hay makes for some unforgettable scenery. The historic town located in the Riverina region of NSW is just a short drive from Mungo National Park, known for its unique landscapes, including the Walls of China and Lake Mungo. Outdoor enthusiasts will love it for the river activities and native wildlife. 
  • Yass to Kangaroo Valley: The 4.5-hour drive to Kangaroo Valley takes in sweeping vistas of the Southern Highlands. Soak up the region’s serenity and admire the stunning waterfalls from various lookout points. Along with culinary delights and tasting at local wineries, local markets also offer fresh produce and handmade crafts.

Places to explore in Adelaide

If you’ve just flown into the South Australian capital, you might want some time to get over that jet lag. Consider taking in the sights of Adelaide before you hit the road on an epic road trip. 

  • Mount Lofty Summit: Hike the stunning Mount Lofty to reach the summit, and you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Adelaide’s incredible landscapes. 
  • Glenelg Beach: Explore the sandy shores of Glenelg Beach for some relaxing sunshine or take a dip in the ocean. You can also take a historic tram ride that takes you from the city to the coast. 
  • Hahndorf: This charming village will transport you to Germany, even if it is only located in the Adelaide Hills. With German cuisine, boutique shops and local art galleries, it makes for a fun and engaging discovery.
  • Barossa Valley: Renowned for its incredible wineries, the Barossa Valley in northeast Adelaide is well worth a visit. Encompassing the towns of Tanunda, Angaston and Nuriootpa, you can visit wineries for a tour of their breathtaking landscape and a cellar-door tasting.

Route 2: Adelaide to Sydney road trip in 5 days

  • Total distance: 1,477km
  • Total driving time: Approximately 18 hours

If you’ve only got a week to spare, don’t stress. This five-day journey by car will take you through the most inspiring natural landscapes and regional towns before hitting the stunning coastline of NSW as you head east. 

Day 1: Adelaide to Mildura

  • Distance: 393km
  • Driving time: 4 hours 30 minutes

To ease into your travels, enjoy a stop at the Barossa Valley before continuing east through the rolling hills of Nuriootpa. As you head northeast along Sturt Highway, you’ll have views of the Murray River before heading into Victoria, where lush landscapes give way to the red earth of Mildura. 

Day 2: Mildura to Hay

  • Distance: 296km
  • Driving time: 3 hours 15 minutes

You’ll drive to another memorable river in the form of the Murrumbidgee, which serves as the gateway to World Heritage-listed Mungo National Park. Take a stop there for birdwatching and hiking trails, before heading east as you enter the Hay plains – one of the flattest places on earth. It feels as if you’ve been transported to another world entirely. In Hay, you’ll find plenty of cultural activities to do and sites to see. 

Day 3: Hay to Wagga Wagga

  • Distance: 268km
  • Driving time: 2 hours 50 minutes

Though a relatively short drive, you’ll follow the Murrumbidgee east to Wagga Wagg. There, you’ll be treated to the laidback charm of this regional town that’s rich in history and culture. 

Day 4: Wagga Wagga to Bathurst

  • Distance: 315km
  • Driving time: 3 hours 50 minutes

As you head north on the Olympic Highway, you’ll be treated to views of NSW’s central tablelands. Continue to Cootamundra, the birthplace of cricketing icon Sir Donald Bradman, before making your way to Bathurst. As the oldest Australian inland settlement, there’s a lot of history to soak up, along with heritage streetscapes and decor that screams of a time gone by. 

Bathurst is perhaps best known for the annual Bathurst 1000, a 1,000km touring car race held on the Mount Panorama Circuit. If you’re passing by in October, this bucket-list event is worth checking out.

Day 5: Bathurst to Sydney

  • Distance: 200km
  • Driving time: 2 hours 50 minutes

You won’t want the journey to end as you head through New South Wales. As you travel east on the Great Western Highway, you’ll find the amazing scenery of the Blue Mountains with their hiking trails and many vantage points over the undulating mountain ranges and sandstone cliffs. Visit Echo Point Lookout to see the famous Three Sisters, or try delicious local produce at the many cafes and restaurants in nearby towns.

Route 3: Adelaide to Sydney road trip in 7 days

  • Total distance: 1,913 kilometres
  • Total driving time: 22 hours 45 minutes

Want to make a holiday of your South Australian road trip? Consider this seven-day itinerary that is guaranteed to see you take in all the main attractions in Adelaide before venturing into Victoria and New South Wales.

Day 1: Adelaide to Barossa Valley

  • Distance: 76km
  • Driving time: 1 hour

Ease into your week-long adventure with a voyage to Barossa Valley, where you can sample delicious wines. Explore the neighbouring towns of the region like Tanunda, which boasts some of the region’s most impressive architectural structures and gourmet delights.

Day 2: Barossa Valley to Mount Gambier

  • Distance: 453km
  • Driving time: 4 hours 52 minutes

With its volcanic terrain and incredible blue crater lakes, Mount Gambier is a must-see destination. Here, you can explore limestone caves or take a hike around the natural landscape as you learn more about the ancient fossils and geological formations that can be found here.

Day 3: Mount Gambier to Albury

  • Distance: 672km
  • Driving time: 7 hours 31 minutes

Though it might be a long drive, there are plenty of stops along the way to Albury. You’ll have views of the amazing Murray River on this leg of the journey, before heading to towns like Swan Hill and Echuca. Visit the Albury Botanic Gardens to soak up the native flora or the Albury Library Museum to learn more about the town’s rich cultural history before your overnight stay.

Day 4: Albury to Kosciuszko National Park

  • Distance: 155km
  • Driving time: 2 hours

Visit Australia’s highest peak for panoramic views of the alpine landscape. You can choose from a number of hiking trails that take you past picturesque streams, incredible mountain vistas and stunning bushland.

Day 5: Kosciuszko to Batemans Bay

  • Distance: 259km
  • Driving time: 3 hours

Given that NSW is known for its stunning coastline, Batemans Bay is worth the drive. With clear waters and pristine beaches, it is the perfect spot to relax for an overnight stay. Those seeking adventure can visit Murramarang National Park for hiking and birdwatching.

Day 6: Batemans Bay to Jervis Bay

  • Distance: 108km
  • Driving time: 1 hour 30 minutes

With its sandy beaches that seem to stretch on for eternity, Jervis Bay offers plenty of activities for those who enjoy time spent outdoors. Known for once holding the world record for whitest sand, here you can go kayaking, explore the marine life in the bay, walk to Point Perpendicular Lighthouse, or take a dip in the ocean.

Day 7: Jervis Bay to Sydney

  • Distance: 190km
  • Driving time: 2 hours 45 minutes

It’s time to finally head back to Sydney, and while that might cause some post-road trip blues, there are still sights to be seen along the way. From the iconic city views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, you’ll be able to explore iconic beaches like Bondi and Manly, or grab a coffee at one of countless delightful cafes.

Saheb’s Tesla Model 3 in Adelaide – there are plenty of EV chargers between Adelaide and Sydney!

Top stops on the Adelaide to Sydney road trip

From spotting native wildlife in sprawling national parks to tasting local flavours and delicious wines at some of Australia’s top wineries, there’s plenty to explore on a road trip from Adelaide to Sydney. Discover some of our top recommended stops below. 

Wagga Wagga

Located in regional New South Wales, Wagga Wagga offers a dazzling array of attractions that are sure to please every traveller. From its sprawling Botanic Gardens that feature native plants and a zoo, to Wagga Beach where you can enjoy a picnic by the Murrumbidgee River or take a quick dip in the water, there’s no shortage of things to keep you entertained. You can also explore the rich Aboriginal heritage of the area at Wiradjuri Reserve, which features cultural displays and educational resources on the local Wiradjuri people. 


It would be remiss to pass through the nation’s capital and not make a stop. With plenty on offer, Canberra is known for its rich history and natural surroundings, making it a great detour on any road trip. Visit the Australian War Memorial, Parliament House and the National Gallery of Australia. Or, soak up the beauty of the region with a walk or bike ride around Lake Burley Griffin and stroll through the Australian National Botanic Gardens. 

Want to start heading back around this point? Check out our guide to road tripping from Canberra to Melbourne and then head back to Adelaide from there.

Murray Bridge

Located in South Australia and boasting sweeping views of the river, Murray Bridge is a picturesque town that demands exploration. You can visit the oldest surviving inland navigation building at the Round House, before heading to Captain’s Cottage Museum. For the adventurers, you’ll find yourself mesmerised by the scenic views of the river and Sturt Reserve, while Lavender Federation Walking Trail offers hikes in the sprawling countryside. 

Murray Sunset National Park

This remote park located in northwestern Victoria is known for its unique flora and fauna. Adventurers will be enchanted by the incredible landscapes within the park, including the famous Pink Lakes. There are plenty of walking tracks around the park and campgrounds for those wanting to sleep under the stars. This national park is renowned for its spectacular sunsets and stargazing opportunities. 

Big Desert Wilderness Park

Located in the northwestern corner of Victoria, this rugged park offers a number of hiking trails that allow you to explore the incredible landscape up close. Home to a variety of native wildlife like kangaroos and echidnas, it’s known for its sightseeing opportunities, while many also come to birdwatch parrot species and raptors. 


This small town makes for a delightful rest stop, with Ouyen Lake ideal for a picnic or some birdwatching outdoors. With an expansive range of parks and reserves available for you to explore, you can also visit Cowangie Nature Conservation Reserve or take in the iconic Mallee Hay Stacks which make for a great photo opportunity. 

Swan Hill

The region town in Victoria offers a rich history, natural beauty and countless activities. The Regional Art Gallery hosts rotating exhibitions that regularly include Indigenous artists, while the Murray River provides a stunning backdrop for a rest stop or time spent soaking up the natural surroundings. Aside from local wineries that offer tasting sessions and wine tours, there’s also the Giant Murray Cod: an iconic statue you have to pose before. 


As the home of Australian icon and legendary cricketer, Don Bradman, Bowral is certainly worth checking out if you consider yourself a sporting buff or avid historian. Check out the museum that celebrates Bradman’s incredible legacy and impact on the game, while also shedding light on his own life. Bowral also boasts a charming atmosphere with exceptional cafes and local stores to meander your way through. 

Frequently asked questions about the Adelaide to Sydney road trip

Can I get a flight from Adelaide to Sydney?

You can! Given that Adelaide and Sydney are both two major cities, flights run year-round and operate daily, providing travellers with plenty of options. For those looking to make the journey from Adelaide to Sydney by flight, the average time is 1.5 to 2 hours, making it a relatively short journey – but again, you’ll miss out on an unforgettable road trip experience. 

Can I get a train from Adelaide to Sydney?

You can take a scenic railway from Adelaide to Sydney, with the “Indian Pacific” train offering a relaxing journey through the diverse landscapes of southeastern Australia.

Typically, train journeys begin in Adelaide and depart from the Parklands Terminal. The route then takes you across the iconic Nullarbor Plain before making a stop in Cook. You’ll then continue across the Nullarbor into Western Australia, making stops at Kalgoorlie. The scenic railway then arrives in the Blue Mountains before concluding its journey at Sydney’s Central Station.

What is the best time of year to travel from Adelaide to Sydney?

With Adelaide and Sydney experiencing similar climates throughout the year, the best time to travel depends on your preferences and the activities you might wish to do. Spring proves most popular when visiting Sydney due to the mild temperatures that make for great outdoor sightseeing. Travelling at this time means you can also avoid the peak tourist season of summer, which can draw big crowds to the main attractions across Adelaide and Sydney. 

For those looking to make a holiday out of their road trip, winter also makes for a great time to travel as it’s the off-peak season. Should you need accommodation or wish to partake in indoor activities, you’ll likely find better deals at this time due to fewer crowds. 

What is the time difference between Adelaide and Sydney?

Adelaide sits in the Australian Central Standard Time (ACST) zone, while Sydney is in the Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) zone. During daylight saving time, the time difference between the two cities is one hour, with Sydney being one hour ahead. 

However, when daylight saving time is not in effect, both cities have the same time. In Australia, daylight savings typically starts the first Sunday in October and ends the first Sunday in April. 

Is it worth driving from Adelaide to Sydney?

A road trip from Adelaide to Sydney is certainly worth the drive, allowing you to experience the diverse and dramatic scenery of South Australia up close. You’ll be able to stop off at key attractions like the Flingers Ranges, Clare Valley, Mildura, and Barossa Valley, before taking in the stunning coastlines and World Heritage-listed national parks of New South Wales. 

So, keen to hit the road for a memorable road trip from Adelaide to Sydney? With Turo, you can find the perfect ride for your journey. If you’re starting your journey to Sydney from Adelaide, let Turo connect you with the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Jess Campbell

Jess Campbell

Jess is Sydney-based and loves the outdoors. While she likes to think she has what it takes to compete on ‘ALONE’, her survival skills need some work. Born in Singapore and raised in South Africa, she’s hiked across Ireland, surfed in Hawaii, spent six months in Kenya and covered much of Africa. Having spent a year in the north of Spain, she’s resolved to come back to tackle the Camino de Santiago. Until then, you can find her providing the best snacks and playlists on Aussie road trips.

coffs harbour lighthouse, a popular stop along east coast australia road trip routes
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