5 days to drive from Melbourne to Sydney

Old May 2nd, 2005, 10:36 AM
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5 days to drive from Melbourne to Sydney

Hello. I am considering purchasing an Australian vacation package from virginvacations.com.

This package includes a round-trip flight from LAX, 4 nights in Melbourne, 4 nights in Sydney and 4 nights in between those cities to "book as you go".

Is this package reasonable for under $2000US? Also, where do you suggest we should stay those 4 nights during the road trip? What time of the year would be better to go?

Any help would be great! Thanks.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Our airfare alone for a November trip from LAX-SYD and MEL-LAX is running us $1400 each. That is high season down under but when we need to be there so we booked right away. Perhaps it can be had for cheaper by waiting but we wanted a sure thing. So the fact that you get hotels (is that what you are saying?) seems like a good deal to me depending on the time of year. Melbourne is pretty chilly in the middle of the year (their winter) but Sydney is fairly temperate year-round (correct me if I'm wrong, Oz experts!). If it were me, I'd head up to the Great Barrier Reef with my extra days. We are planning to fly from Melbourne-Mackay and head out to the Whitsundays from there.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 02:07 PM
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Can't go to the Great Barrier Reef, although I'd love to, because the package includes hotel stay for four nights in cities between Melbourne and Sydney.

I was wondering what places are worth stopping. Maybe Canberra? The Mountains? Please let me know!
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Oh, I get it, sorry. Unfortunately then I am not going to be any help, but lots of the board will be, I'm sure! We thought the Blue Mountains were very nice but I'm not sure they are between those two cities and whether there would be any hotels in that area. Good luck!
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 03:39 PM
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Hi, pinkfloyd18!

You have basically two options travelling between Melbourne and Sydney: the coast route or the inland route. Both have their attractions; the coast route (called the Princes Highway) takes you through many sleepy little coastal towns which are popular holiday destinations with Aussies (so there are motels everywhere and there are plenty of facilities for tourists). Depending on the time of year, you can take boats out from some of these to do some whale-watching.

The inland route (called the Hume Highway) shows you the "real" Australia: the country towns where wool and wheat are the main industries, and the people are not very different from the Australians depicted in all those outback movies (well, maybe not "Wake in Fright&quot. Not many tourists ply this route -- it's mainly for people who need to get from Sydney to Melbourne as quickly as possible -- so acccommodation is usually motels along the highway (for the business travellers) or the good old country pub in the middle of town (for the locals).

The best reason to do the inland route is that you can take a very small detour (at a town called Yass) and travel down the Barton Highway for about forty-five minutes, which brings you to Canberra, Australia's capital. This is very definitely a must-see city, full of important buildings, monuments, and museums. From there you don't have to retrace your steps: the Federal Highway takes you towrds Sydney, and it rejoins the Hume Highway at a town called Goulburn.

It is possible to have the best of both worlds, and, unless one of these routes is particularly appealing to you, I think the route I am going to outline now would be my preferred choice for you. Take the Princes Highway around the coast from Melbourne, and journey through the coastal towns (such as Eden, Merimbula and Narooma) as far as Bateman's Bay. From there head west towards Queanbeyan, and you will find yourself in Canberra, having approached from the opposite side to Yass. Spend a night or two in Canberra and then travel to Sydney via the Federal and Hume.

This is, I think, doable in four nights, as long as you are prepared to leave Melbourne in the morning and arrive in Sydney at night, giving you five days of travel for your four nights. You could take your first night in Eden, second in Bateman's Bay (that's a realtively short leg, allowing lots of time to look around Bega, Merimbula and Narooma), and third and fourth in Canberra, which is only a three-hour drive from Sydney.

I think you'll have a great time -- it's an interesting part of Australia! The Blue Mountains, mentioned above, is another must-see, but it's only a two-hour train trip from Sydney, so it isn't necessary to try and see it as part of this trip. However, if you do want to include it, on that last day (when you're heading up the Hume to Sydney), you can take a left turn at Campbelltown (you will see a sign directing you to "Penrith&quot and follow that road through to Penrith (about forty-five minutes), which is at the foot of the Blue Mountains. Another hour's drive from there would have you in Katoomba, where there is no lack of accommodation.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 10:57 PM
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Hi pinkfloyd
Alan's suggested combined itinery is great. I'm not so rapt about the Princes Highway in Victoria, but once you get to Bateman's Bay etc the mountains and coast are spectacular. Cutting through to Canberra via either route would be a good way to use your travel time- as the national capital it has a lot of museums galleries etc.
Remember that Australia is a fairly new nation- there aren't the historical memorabilia towns and villages that you find in England or the east coast of the States.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 05:39 PM
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Thank you for all of your expert advice.

I was doing some research, and the coastal towns around Batemans Bay look great!

I was wondering why sange41 wasn't too happy with the Princess Highway on Victoria. Do you suggest to drive up the mountains instead? (Perhaps on the Albury/Wodonga area?)

Please let me know! Thank you.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 07:28 PM
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I can't tell what was on Sange41's mind, but I'd hazard a guess the reason he's not crazy about the Victorian part of the Prince's Highway is that is doesn't actually go close to the coast, except perhaps once or twice (Lakes Entrance?) -- until you get into NSW, the only way you can see the sea is to take byways off the Prince's and detour for maybe 15 or 20 km.

You could certainly do the Albury route and then take the mountain road through Cooma to either Bega or Canberra(I think that's a combination of the Valley Highway, Snowy Mountains Highway and Alpine Way. This would be an extremely pretty route, like most mountain roads -- these are the highest mountains in Australia. However, it also has the disadvantage of mountain roads -- it's a lot of winding, narrow roads and hill-climbing, and it's considerably further. Also, in winter it might be slow going.
I think the Prince's all the way to Bateman's Bay is probably the best way to go with the limited time you have available.
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