Fly or Drive - Sydney to Melbourne

Old Jan 19th, 2004, 04:43 PM
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Fly or Drive - Sydney to Melbourne

Will be flying in and out of Sydney, have 14 nights, end of Feb/begining of March. Was thinking of driving down the coast from Sydney to Melbourne, but then some of what I have read talks about it being a 12+ hour drive and much of the same scenery. Maybe not the best use of my time. Now I am considering flying down and back to Melbourne, thinking of spliting the time a week in Sydney and surrounds (Blue Mountains, etc) and a week in Melbourne and surrounds (Great Ocean Road, Grampians, etc). Am I much better off taking a flight rather than doing the drive?
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Old Jan 19th, 2004, 05:22 PM
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Hi Gr8travels, it's me again. I think that, given the time frame with which you're working, there is some merit in flying between Sydney and Melbourne.

If memory serves me correctly, the coastal route from Sydney to Melbourne, along the Princes Highway, is at least 15 hours. Everyone I know considers it to be a 2 day drive.

Although I've never done it, I think the interior route, on the Hume Highway, is a long day's drive.

The flight from Sydney to Melbourne, in contrast, is 1.5 hours (even if you need to add time for driving to the airport, checking in for your flight, and then driving from the airport to your accommodation at the other end).

One thing I could suggest is that you take the flight from Sydney to Melbourne in the evening, so that your flying time doesn't erode sight seeing in Sydney on the day of your departure. You'll need to check out of your hotel that morning, of course, but perhaps the hotel will be kind enough to hold your luggage for you. Alternatively, if you have a rental car, you could keep your suitcase in the trunk (or the boot as they say in Australia).

The one downside of arriving in Melbourne at night is that, if you want to rent a car and drive to your accommodation, it won't be as easy to find your way in the dark as it would be during daylight.

You could, however, catch a cab to your accommodation, and spend your first day seeing the centre of Melbourne by tram and on foot. This would be entirely feasible as long as you were centrally located in Melbourne or else located along a tram or commuter train route. Then you could take delivery of your rental car on your second morning in Melbourne and spend your second day driving through the Dandenong Ranges (if you're agreeable to that concept).

I personally like the coastal route from Sydney to Melbourne, but you will be seeing a generous stretch of coastline when you drive along the Great Ocean Road, and I do think it's worthwhile carving out time for the Grampians. So, all in all, I think you have come up with a good idea.

In case you haven't already come across it, here is a good website on the Grampians:

You'll notice the website says there is accommodation in Halls Gap and "neighbouring townships." When Australians say "township" they mean a small town, a place that in British English would be called a village. When Australians say "village" they mean a wide spot in the road, what in British English would be called a hamlet. (By a hamlet I mean a small trading store that maybe also dispenses gasoline -- oh, that would be petrol in Australia -- and has one or two houses next to it.) Austrlian English (or Strine) is a language unto itself, but then that's one of the things that makes Australia Australia.

On the way back from the Grampians to Melbourne, you might want to stop in at Ballarat to see Sovereign Hill, which depicts the gold rush days of the 1850s.
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Old Jan 19th, 2004, 06:04 PM
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HI, many of us Australians would consider the drive between Sydney and Melb as a holiday in itself, taking a week or so. There are some great places to stop eg Byron Bay. Its quite a drive but very nice but if its more a means to an end for you, I'd suggest flying. Keep in mind that given the places you are interested in , you will be doing a reasonable amount of driving anyway. eg the Great Ocean road has plenty of seaside towns to stop off in and grab a coffee and partake of the view. The road itself bewteen Torquay, say , and Lorne and further on to Apollo Bay is windy and so, not the fastest trip. You could go on beyond these towns and see Port Fairy which is in western Victoria and very charming.
On the other side of Melbourne is Phllip Island which has the famous Fairy Penquin parade which is the little penquins coming out of the ocean each night and going up the beach to their nests. That is a good 3 hour trip west of Melbourne.
Old Jan 19th, 2004, 06:25 PM
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Since when has Byron Bay been between Sydney and Melbourne!!
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Old Jan 19th, 2004, 07:23 PM
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Aussie 8 - do you mean Batemans Bay rather than Byron Bay?
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Old Jan 19th, 2004, 08:43 PM
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The Princes Highway route is long and time-consuming, and the (inland) Hume Highway route is pretty boring. However, there's another admittedly leisurely but interesting route from Sydney to Melbourne (I'm not recommending to this enquirer for reasons of time, but it's worth remembering for travellers with more time to spare.) You get to see stop off in Canberra on the way and see a lot of pleasant and varied country by the time you hit Melbourne. The idea is to drive Sydney-Canberra via the Hume and Federal Highways, then take the Monaro Highway south from Canberra through the towns of Cooma, Nimmitabel and Bombala, then the Cann Valley Highway to Cann River (Vic). From there you travel west to Melbourne via Bairnsdale, and if convenient swing through the Dandenong Ranges. Admittedly it's a few years since I did it - other Oz readers may wish to comment as to whether they thnk it's worth adding to the advice armoury.
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Old Jan 21st, 2004, 04:09 PM
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Thank you to all for your advice and insights, it really helps with my planning! I have decided I will be doing the flight between Sydney and Melbourne rather than the drive.
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