Adelaide - Melbourne via Princes Highway (Hwy
Total Distance 895km
All distances measured from Adelaide
The start of this route is the same as for the Adelaide - Melbourne via the Dukes and Western Highways as you leave South Australiaís capital city on the Glen Osmond Road and climb up through the hills using the lovely freeway on the way to Murray Bridge (74km) and Tailem Bend (99km).
This is quite open country and people towing should be aware of the high winds encountered on some stretches of the freeway and watch for the windsocks indicating the strength and direction of the wind.
Just after Tailem Bend you take the right hand fork on to the Princes Highway (Hwy 1) and head towards the Coorong and eventually Mount Gambier. You get glimpses of the mighty Murray River for a little while before it mingles with the waters of Lake Alexandrina on its way to the ocean. The road soon reaches the shores of Lake Albert and the little town of Miningie (150km).
For the next stretch, the highway runs beside the Coorong - a chain of lakes and marshes stretching from the mouth of the Murray for 135km to the east along the narrow Younghusband Peninsula that protects it from the Southern Ocean. The Coorong National Park is the habitat of many kinds of water birds and these can often be seen as you drive along the fairly narrow and twisting highway - a road for meandering not speeding.
A huge lobster marks the entrance to the coastal town of Kingston South East (286km) or as it is usually known Kingston SE with the SE distinguishing it from the similarly named Kingston on Murray.
An alternate route (Hwy Alt 1) would take you along the coast to Robe - a delightful seaside township famous for its role in the early days of Victorian gold rushes when hundreds of Chinese people landed at Robe and walked overland to Bendigo to avoid the heavy taxes imposed by the government in Victoria. If you are in Robe at the right time in the season you will be able to sample some of the bountiful crayfish catch.
Staying with the main highway we come to Millicent (393km) and by now we are seeing huge plantings of pine forests for local sawmills and to supply the two paper mills that operate in the town.
We continue through forest country and fertile agricultural areas as we drive on to the large and thriving city of Mount Gambier (443km) famous for its Blue Lake - a huge lake in an extinct volcano that turns a striking blue at certain times of the year. This is the last town in South Australia and we soon cross the border into Victoria just after the turnoff to the Glenelg Highway (Hwy 112) to Casterton and Hamilton.
The road now takes us through more quite pretty forest and pastoral country on the way to Heywood (531km) where we have to make another decision about our route. To continue down to Portland (558km) or to take the short cut to Tyrendarra (553km) that would save about 30km. If you are not in a hurry, time spent visiting Portland would be time well spent as it is the only deep water port along the coast between Melbourne and Adelaide and handles a great number of ships each year. It is also an important fishing centre and was once a whaling station.
Just after Tyrendarra you will notice the Codrington Wind Farm with fourteen three-bladed rotors on high masts driven by the wind to produce electricity to feed into the grid. This is something seen in various parts of the country including: Rockingham, Albany and Esperance in WA, and just one generator at Coober Pedy.
Our next place of interest is historic Port Fairy (574km) and this is a very nice little seaside town with plenty to interest the traveller. The Moyne River provides safe anchorage for the fishing fleet based here and for the many privately owned boats and there are plenty of interesting little shops in the main street.
A bit further along the coast we come to the city of Warrnambool (625km) - the largest centre in Victoriaís south-west and this is the place for more decisions because the celebrated and scenic Great Ocean Road (B 100) starts its journey alsong the coast just after Warrnambool while the Princes Highway (Hwy 1) turns inland on its way to the thriving agricultural centres of Terang (671km) and Camperdown (693km).
We continue through rich farming country to reach Colac (739km) noticing the waters of Victoriaís largest freshwater lake, Lake Colac, as we approach the town. The lake is a popular venue for sailing, fishing and swimming and the local botanic gardens are along its shores.
There is only one more township - Winchelsea (778km) before we reach Victoriaís second largest city - the bustling port of Geelong (809km).
Here there is all you would expect from a major city - good shopping, a range of accomodation, choice of excellent restaurants and hotels, plenty of sight-seeing areas, a busy waterfront and all the facilities needed to make an extended stay enjoyable.
A short drive would take you to the beaches of the Bellarine Peninsula or to Queenscliff where a luxurious, hourly, vehicular ferry service plies to and from Sorrento on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula - a very pleasant way to reach Melbourne if you have plenty of time to spare.
Alternatively, we can continue through the city and use the busy Princes Freeway (M1) to get to Melbourne (895km) via the Westgate Bridge and Westgate Freeway.