Sydney to Melbourne drive or maybe something else?

Old May 3, 19, 1:20 am
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Sydney to Melbourne drive or maybe something else?

Hey all,

We'll be arriving Sydney from AYQ (Uluru) on the 13th of Nov around 17:00 (5.00 pm) and we're thinking of doing a roadtrip from Sydney to Melbourne (we have a flight out of MEL Friday night at 01:00 am on the 22nd) but want to have a few days in Melbourne as well. Sydney is already cleared prior to our Uluru trip so no need to spend any additional time in the city...

So, what is best to do as we are open between 13th (evening) until when we want to be in Melbourne on the 18th or 19th during the day giving us 2-3 days before returning back home?

Options we have been thinking about are as follows:

1) Overnight at a SYD airport hotel, get a car the following day (14th) to start driving towards Melbourne along the coast the next day. Stop over in Canberra and other coastal towns?
2) Fly to somewhere else from Sydney stay a few days and then drive to Melbourne?
3) Fly directly to MEL from SYD and stay in the area with a car finishing up with a day or two in the city?
4) Drop the whole car hire idea and catch a few flights around the country with a few days here and there?

Any pointers/ideas/own experiences would be great...

PS. It's the first time for both of us visiting the land down under so maybe aiming for a "best" of taster trip...

Last edited by Cupart; May 3, 19 at 5:27 am Reason: Added date of leaving - caused confusion :-) Thanks @nancypants
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Old May 3, 19, 2:41 am
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Iím slightly confused by your timings as 13th Nov being a Wednesday, til Friday 1am gives around 36 hours? Although the mention of 18/19th suggests longer. Probably iíve misunderstood something there

Sydney to Melbourne is a fairly long drive- 9 ish hours if you just got in the car and drove. Into Canberra would be a couple of hours detour

i live in Canberra at the moment. Itís just OK, I mean there are museums and galleries and parliament and stuff. But if this is your first trip to Australia iíd focus on more interesting stuff that makes Australia unique

skipping Canberra the most direct route would take you through Goulburn, which has a giant sheep, Yass, Gundagai (has some aboriginal history that interests me but I suspect most skip it!), Holbrook (has a submarine despite being 250km inland), Lake Hume (very scenic although not to the point of flying across the world to see), Albury (where my mother in law lives), Glenrowan (site of Ned Kellyís last stand), and eventually into Melbourne

with limited time, my personal preference would be more to just fly Sydney-Melbourne, explore the city, possibly rent a car or take a trip out to some wineries, and maybe go see the Great Ocean Road (although I found it beautiful, the excess tourist numbers stressed me out)

Iím not sure who youíre flying with from Yulara but iíd suggest padding any onward flight connection in case of delays

purely out of interest, other than Uluru and Sydney, what else is on your itinerary so far?
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Old May 3, 19, 3:22 am
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The direct route (Hume Hwy) is 10-11 hours drive and not very scenic. I don't recommend it. The coast drive is 16-20 hours and quite scenic but also has narrow twisty bits so it depends on your RHD driving skills. It makes sense only if you do at least 1 day stop on the NSW south coast (say Narooma or Bega) which leaves about 10-12 hour drive to Melbourne the next day. It is beautiful but all you see is trees I've done the drive 4 times now (its sooooo bad), but recognize that it isn't what most tourists are looking for.
Personally I would rather spend the time in Melbourne which is a great city but hides its attractions, and you don't need a car (spend that money on coffee instead). The dropoff charge for one-way rental can be quite high (varies by company, date and direction quite a bit, anything from $1000 to $0 for SYD-MEL). Also petrol will cost you $200 for that trip
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Old May 3, 19, 5:44 am
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Thanks a mill @nancypants & @number_6 for your feedback. Sorry, I was a tad too quick on the post button so forgot to add the actual date of return (updated in the original post).

OK, so no need to stop over in Canberra by the sound of it (and general feedback based on the time constraint) the overall consensus is pointing towards flying rather than road "trippin'" based on what we had in mind.

The itinerary looks as follows (bold means booked and not changeable).

Nov 8th arriving Sydney a.m. hotel booked until 11th
Nov 11th SYD -> Uluru (AYQ)
Nov 13th AYQ -> SYD p.m

Nov 14th -> OPEN
Nov 18th -> Arrive MEL (or could be pushed to the 19th of Nov)
Nov 21 (after midnight to 22nd, flight out at 01:00 to HKG and back to Europe)

so this leaves us with 5 "open" days... Should we maybe fly off to BNE from SYD on the 13th already, stay a few days there and fly down to MEL (a tad earlier maybe) and rent a car when there and drive around in the MEL area instead?

@nancypants, seems like we need to stop by Albury and visit mom in law :-D
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Old May 3, 19, 8:06 am
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Originally Posted by Cupart View Post
OK, so no need to stop over in Canberra by the sound of it (and general feedback based on the time constraint) the overall consensus is pointing towards flying rather than road "trippin'" based on what we had in mind.
Whoever said CBR is world's most boring capital city was about right.

I would do this only in one case: there is a Parliamentary session and they still let visitors to access the Parliament building and watch the debate from the spectators seats upstairs. I did it in the 90's (when Howard was the PM) during the budget discussions and it was a fascinating experience. I have never seen politics so openly attacking each other.

Other that that flying is a right decision.

Have you thought about something else? Like garbing a cheap Tiger flight to BNE and going to e.g. Noosa for 3 days?
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Old May 3, 19, 9:29 pm
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I think the drive from SYD-MEL via the coastal route is a great idea. I did this trip in about 5 days in October 2017, and really enjoyed it. There are some absolutely beautiful spots along the way. I actually started in Newcastle, so starting at SYD airport would be a bit quicker. November is a perfect time of year to do the drive as well.

Yes, you can fly anywhere from SYD and probably direct to MEL from that place, but sounds like you are spending enough time on airplanes as it is! If you don't mind driving, this is a great chance to see some overlooked bits of Australia.

Here's my itinerary suggestion:

13th: Get a hire car and stay at the Rydges Cronulla Beachside. If all goes well you'll be there before the sun sets, and it beats any airport hotel.
14th: Get breakfast in Kiama (1 hr drive), then tour down the coast to Vincentia (another hour) for your overnight. I stayed in Dolphin Shores, a pretty little motel.
15th Tour around Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach, and do a whale-watching tour. Jervis Bay is one of the prettiest parts of Australia IMO. Drive to Merimbula or Eden (detour to Tilba-Tilba for a quick look). (3-4 hours)
16th: See the Eden Killer Whale Museum if possible, it is excellent. Check out Ben Boyd National Park. Drive to Lakes Entrance (3 hours), you can side trip to Mallacoota but I'd give it a pass. Beautiful beaches at Lakes Entrance.
17th: Take the ferry to Raymond Island (lots of wild Koalas to see here). Drive to Walhalla, and old Gold-mining town. Stay here or nearby
18th: Drive to Melbourne

Driving distances are only around 3 hours per day so plenty of time to look around and do activities.

Here's my trip album from a similar trip, although it's basically Newcastle to Lakes Entrance (then I went straight home to MEL. All the photos are geotagged. (Having some problems with the preview, so just use the below link and click on the 'Grand Pacific Drive' album.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/
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Last edited by CPMaverick; May 3, 19 at 9:41 pm
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Old May 3, 19, 9:58 pm
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We did SYD-MEL at a nice leisurely pace a few years back, staying two nights a few places. But our trip was broken up like this:
1. Sydney to Kangaroo Valley
2. KV to Mallacoota
3. Mallacoota to Lakes Entrance
4. Lakes Entrace to MEL via phillip island

Stunning scenery the entire way
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Old May 3, 19, 11:37 pm
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Do you have to fly to SYD? If flight change fees are less than the car hire (taking into account petrol, maybe overnight somewhere, etc), might be worth it just to fly direct to MEL instead, or another city since Sydney is already checked off.
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Old May 4, 19, 1:34 am
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Originally Posted by CPMaverick View Post
I think the drive from SYD-MEL via the coastal route is a great idea. I did this trip in about 5 days in October 2017, and really enjoyed it. There are some absolutely beautiful spots along the way. I actually started in Newcastle, so starting at SYD airport would be a bit quicker. November is a perfect time of year to do the drive as well.

Yes, you can fly anywhere from SYD and probably direct to MEL from that place, but sounds like you are spending enough time on airplanes as it is! If you don't mind driving, this is a great chance to see some overlooked bits of Australia.

Here's my itinerary suggestion:

13th: Get a hire car and stay at the Rydges Cronulla Beachside. If all goes well you'll be there before the sun sets, and it beats any airport hotel.
14th: Get breakfast in Kiama (1 hr drive), then tour down the coast to Vincentia (another hour) for your overnight. I stayed in Dolphin Shores, a pretty little motel.
15th Tour around Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach, and do a whale-watching tour. Jervis Bay is one of the prettiest parts of Australia IMO. Drive to Merimbula or Eden (detour to Tilba-Tilba for a quick look). (3-4 hours)
16th: See the Eden Killer Whale Museum if possible, it is excellent. Check out Ben Boyd National Park. Drive to Lakes Entrance (3 hours), you can side trip to Mallacoota but I'd give it a pass. Beautiful beaches at Lakes Entrance.
17th: Take the ferry to Raymond Island (lots of wild Koalas to see here). Drive to Walhalla, and old Gold-mining town. Stay here or nearby
18th: Drive to Melbourne

Driving distances are only around 3 hours per day so plenty of time to look around and do activities.

Here's my trip album from a similar trip, although it's basically Newcastle to Lakes Entrance (then I went straight home to MEL. All the photos are geotagged. (Having some problems with the preview, so just use the below link and click on the 'Grand Pacific Drive' album.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/
Great summary, mate.I'd maybe do late breakfast or lunch in Berry or Kangaroo Valley instead of Kiama. The NSW South Coast is beautiful and far less touristed than heading north.
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Old May 4, 19, 1:58 am
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Must say, a vote from me for an itinerary including jervis bay (now weíve got the timeline right &#128521
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Old May 4, 19, 2:34 am
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Originally Posted by CPMaverick View Post
I think the drive from SYD-MEL via the coastal route is a great idea. I did this trip in about 5 days in October 2017, and really enjoyed it. There are some absolutely beautiful spots along the way. I actually started in Newcastle, so starting at SYD airport would be a bit quicker. November is a perfect time of year to do the drive as well.

Yes, you can fly anywhere from SYD and probably direct to MEL from that place, but sounds like you are spending enough time on airplanes as it is! If you don't mind driving, this is a great chance to see some overlooked bits of Australia.

Here's my itinerary suggestion:

13th: Get a hire car and stay at the Rydges Cronulla Beachside. If all goes well you'll be there before the sun sets, and it beats any airport hotel.
14th: Get breakfast in Kiama (1 hr drive), then tour down the coast to Vincentia (another hour) for your overnight. I stayed in Dolphin Shores, a pretty little motel.
15th Tour around Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach, and do a whale-watching tour. Jervis Bay is one of the prettiest parts of Australia IMO. Drive to Merimbula or Eden (detour to Tilba-Tilba for a quick look). (3-4 hours)
16th: See the Eden Killer Whale Museum if possible, it is excellent. Check out Ben Boyd National Park. Drive to Lakes Entrance (3 hours), you can side trip to Mallacoota but I'd give it a pass. Beautiful beaches at Lakes Entrance.
17th: Take the ferry to Raymond Island (lots of wild Koalas to see here). Drive to Walhalla, and old Gold-mining town. Stay here or nearby
18th: Drive to Melbourne

Driving distances are only around 3 hours per day so plenty of time to look around and do activities.

Here's my trip album from a similar trip, although it's basically Newcastle to Lakes Entrance (then I went straight home to MEL. All the photos are geotagged. (Having some problems with the preview, so just use the below link and click on the 'Grand Pacific Drive' album.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/
This GOLD CPMaveric... Thank you so much for helping out. I think we'll follow your itinerary and I will report back in due time (will without doubt be positive).
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Old May 4, 19, 5:31 pm
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Glad to help! Australia has so many great spots it can be difficult to narrow it down.

If the itinerary interests you enough to take another day, I'd suggest an additional night near Vincentia or Eden would be worthwhile, there's a lot to see in Jervis Bay as well as the Ben Boyd NP.

If you had to cut something out you could just do a quick drive-through in Walhalla and continue to Melbourne (would be a long day's drive but nothing crazy). Or skip Walhalla entirely if you are running behind, it could be a day-trip from Melbourne unlike your other locations. It's less than 4 hours from Raymond Island to Melbourne.
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Last edited by CPMaverick; May 4, 19 at 5:44 pm
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Old May 5, 19, 8:44 pm
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Originally Posted by TPJ View Post
Whoever said CBR is world's most boring capital city was about right.

I would do this only in one case: there is a Parliamentary session and they still let visitors to access the Parliament building and watch the debate from the spectators seats upstairs. I did it in the 90's (when Howard was the PM) during the budget discussions and it was a fascinating experience. I have never seen politics so openly attacking each other.
To be fair to Canberra, it's not what it was in the 1990's. We had family down there so I spent many a school holiday in Canberra and as a teenager I was shocked that there was nothing to do after about 6pm. It's actually a reasonably popular weekend away from Sydney these days. The bars and restaurants have improved out of sight, the NGA has some interesting exhibitions, the War Memorial and the associated museum is well worth a visit and finish it off with a tour of the Parliament especially if it's in session.

The glory days of question time where when Paul Keating was treasurer/PM.
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Old May 5, 19, 8:48 pm
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I enjoy Canberra and it is a nice place to visit, especially if you like history, museums, etc.

It's just a bit out of the way from anywhere else in Australia and difficult to place in the 'top attractions' for anyone with limited time.
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Old May 5, 19, 8:53 pm
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Originally Posted by CPMaverick View Post
I enjoy Canberra and it is a nice place to visit, especially if you like history, museums, etc.

It's just a bit out of the way from anywhere else in Australia and difficult to place in the 'top attractions' for anyone with limited time.
Agree on that. If the OP wanted to just do the South Coast without driving on to Melbourne then Canberra would be worth a night. But it's a difficult detour to shoe horn in.
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