Road Trip from Melbourne to Adelaide

A road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide is one of the most popular routes for backpackers looking to find work in Australia. In this article, we’re going to talk you through the eight-hour drive and highlight some places of interest along the way.

Melbourne to Adelaide Via M8

The quickest way to get from Melbourne to Adelaide is via the National Highway M8, which becomes the A8 shortly after the city of Ballarat, the first notable location on the route for backpackers seeking employment. Ballarat is a relatively small city, with a population of 100,000. Its economy is primarily service-driven, so backpackers can expect to find work in bars, restaurants or in customer service.

After Ballarat, the road skirts the Grampians National Park, a popular location with hikers because of its striking sandstone mountains, before passing through several remote towns such as Dimboola, Nhill and Bordertown, where occasional agricultural work may be sought.

Melbourne to Adelaide Via M80

An alternative route out of Melbourne would be via the M80, which takes you past Bendigo, a city of a similar size to Ballarat which offers similar opportunities. Bendigo, however, is also known for its farming – there are some large pig and poultry farms in the area, while wine is also grown nearby. This route passes close by several national and state parks before joining the A8 at Dimboola.

Melbourne to Adelaide Via Great Ocean Road

A slower, but far more scenic route between the two cities would be via the Great Ocean Road, one of the most popular journeys tourists take Down Under. Just ensure you set aside a few days and nights so you don’t miss anything! Backpackers can admire Australia’s overwhelming south-east coastline, stopping off at Torquay and Bells Beach – surfers’ paradises – before visiting Lorne and the Twelve Apostles, iconic limestone stacks just off the shore. Whale-watching at Warrnambool is a must-do, while the Naracoorte Caves in South Australia are world-heritage listed.

This route passes through Mount Gambier, South Australia’s second city, where backpackers can expect to find a variety of work, from jobs in hospitality to farm work.

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