Getting there and away
588km from Melbourne, it takes approximately 7 hours of driving plus stops. Bairnsdale or Lakes Entrance provide a good halfway stop. If driving with children, we recommend stopping at the giant yellow slide on the left just as you leave Bairnsdale township. http://goo.gl/maps/8w3mu There is also a flying fox and an average takeaway coffee here, plus easy parking.
Also at Bairnsdale there is a choice to make. You can go inland via Bruthen or along the coast via Lakes Entrance. Bruthen is less likely to see you stuck in traffic but Lakes Entrance is more scenic.
Rex flies from Melbourne or Sydney to Merimbula.
For good food, stop at the Bullant Brewery in Bruthen – book in advance during the holidays, and if it is a windy day ask to sit inside http://bullantbrewery.com/ 46 Main Street, Bruthen (on the Great Alpine Road) Phone: (03) 5157 5307 The main man there is Cameron….wait for it….Brewer.
For good chocolate, stop at the chocolate shop in Sale https://www.facebook.com/pages/red-chocolate-tree/137194989786471
The best coffee stop on the way from Melbourne is Three Little Birds Cafe, 62 hotham St, Traralgon, 03-5176-4333 no no no, 2015 update, the BESTEST coffee is at Coffee Cog in Traralgon – it is almost worth just driving down there from Melbourne! https://www.zomato.com/traralgon-vic/coffee-cog-traralgon
The best coffee on the way down from Sydney is at Bermagui, Mister Jones, which is owned by lifestyle hipsters who try not to open too much in case you get the wrong idea about them. (not open late) It’s at 4 Bunga St, Bermagui.
Walks and side trips on the way.
There is absolutely SO much to do on the way to Pambula from Melbourne.
If you’re doing it over two days and you want to go somewhere you’ve never been before, may we respectfully suggest this route?
…because you’ve never been to McKillop’s bridge before. Lots of curves, mountains and gravel, but fine for any car except maybe your Ferrari.
Otherwise, there’s an app called “walks in gippsland” which will show you some nice walks. Or a .pdf https://www.discovereastgippsland.com.au/images/uploads/activities/Inspiring_Gippsland_Walks_Brochure_2014.pdf
You can turn off to Cape Conran or Bemm River or Mallacoota if you want some salt air.
Otherwise, there are some nice walks on the side of the highway.