Make your way along one of Australia's stunning coastlines and leave Sydney behind as you head for the bright lights of Melbourne.

This 719 kilometre drive is best split into four portions so you can make the most out of the area's natural beauty and attractions.

Sydney to Mallacoota

Pick up your car rental in Sydney early so you have plenty of time to complete this 7.5 hour leg of your journey.

If, after around 90 minutes, you fancy a break make sure you stop in Kiama. This town is famous for 'the blowhole,' an area where the waves hit the steep cliffs sending up a spout of water.

You could then take a break to stretch your legs at Batemans Bay and try your hand at one of the many watersports on offer. There are plenty of beaches where you can go surfing, snorkelling, boating, swimming and fishing, so there is something for everyone.

Stop in Merimbula and sample some of the fresh seafood, or continue south to see some wildlife. If you have time to stop in Jervis Bay you could take a dolphin-watching cruise or explore the Montague Island Nature Reserve to spot penguins, seals, turtles and dolphins.

Mallacoota to Lakes Entrance

The beautiful coastal town of Mallacoota is surrounded by the Croajingolong National Park, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

The 100 kilometre park has coast and hinterland as well as beautiful sandy beaches, rocky coastal headlands and granite peaks. You can also spot lush rainforests, towering eucalypts as well as rambling heathland in the area. Stop and do a quick hike or take up yet another opportunity to do some water sports – why not give sea kayaking, sailing or fishing a whirl?

As you continue you will reach one of Australia's most famous beaches as you drive into the Lakes Entrance. Find a secluded spot on Ninety Mile Beach or swim between the flags at the patrolled area, it's up to you!

The Lakes Entrance is the spot where the Gippsland Lakes meet the sea. Dine on delicious seafood here – catch some yourself or try one of the many great local restaurants.

Lakes Entrance to Wilsons Promontory

While this is only a 3.5 kilometre drive, is is bound to take you all day as there are many great places to stop off at along the way. Make sure you've packed your camera – you'll need it.

The first stops you should mark on your agenda are Paynesville and Metung. These are gateways to the Gippsland Lakes and are perfect for exploration by boat.

Take some time to visit portside towns and enjoy the local pubs and restaurants, or visit the public jetties and marinas on offer. You could take a cruise around the lakes to see coastal flora and fauna, spectacular scenery and native bird life.

The last stop of this leg is Wilsons Promontory, one of the best places to visit if you are a keen photographer. It is the southernmost top of the Australian Mainland and you can journey down one of the region's walking tracks through eucalypt forests, secluded coves and displays of wildflowers.

Wilsons Promontory to Melbourne

The final leg has many great attractions, making it a something to look forward to. You might not want to give your car hire in Melbourne back!

You will be able to enjoy the delights of the Gippsland area at the start of this two hour journey. Stop by and fill up your boot with goodies including local produce, smoked meat and venison as well as world-renowned cheeses, organic fruit and vegetables.

You can then gently weave your way down to Melbourne via Phillip Island, which is home to Little Penguins which waddle up the shore at dusk. You can also spot Australian fur seals hanging out there around the Nobbies, as well as the many koalas you can see at close range.