Melbourne to Sydney - route and itinerary choice

Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 12:32 PM
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Melbourne to Sydney - route and itinerary choice

In tweaking our August itinerary for Oz I'm coming up against a choice I'd like some help in resolving. It has to do with the last week or so of our visit, comprising Melbourne - road - Sydney.

Our current plan is to spend a couple of nights along the Great Ocean Road, then a couple around Melbourne, then a couple en route to Sydney via the coast. That would put us into Sydney the night before our departure. (We will have had 4 days in Sydney earlier, so not concerned about missing city time.) This period might be extended by a day if we curtail our stay in Palm Cove (Cairns) before arriving in Melbourne due to accommodation shortages in Queensland.

Here's the option and the rationale - By the time we're ready to head north, we'll have had quite an exposure to southern coastal scenery thanks to the Great Ocean Road and Melbourne environs (possible day trip to Philip Island etc.) On the other hand, we'll have had no exposure to any countryside inland or north of Sydney (except way, way north). So what would be gained (and lost) if instead of taking the coastal route to Sydney we went up the Hume Hwy with one night stopover, and then used the "extra" day to go up to the Hunter Valley (bypassing Sydney to the west) for an overnight there before returning to the city and the airport.

I guess I'm thinking coast is coast, and whilst I'm sure there are many attractive places to see on the Pacific between Melbourne and Sydney, and stark differences from the Great Ocean Road, I also think that the inland alternative would expose us to more varied landscapes, and the Hunter Valley, even in winter, would be worth the effort.

Any feedback? And thanks yet again for valuable input.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2005, 08:53 PM
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Gardyloo, if you want to break away from the coastal road, why not consider the following suggestionbr /> Drive from Melbourne up the Hume highway, to Albury, then divert across to Bright, Mt.Buffalo, Mt.Beauty region, absolutely beautiful country.
then instead of following the 'boring" Highway, all the way into Sydney, try to cut across other destinations & highways west of the hume highway, towns like Wagga Wagga, Narrandera, Leeton (wineries), then north to Young (Japanese Gardens & wineries), and finally drive into Sydney, from the Blue Mountains.
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Old Jun 4th, 2005, 05:53 AM
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I rather agree with your rationale, but the main thing wrong with taking the Hume Highway is that it misses -- only by about 70 km -- one of Australia's best attractions, Canberra. I think that if you are going to take this road, you should detour at Yass and spend a night and a day in Canberra, then take the quick Federal Highway through Goulburn to Sydney. Tropo's idea of heading west to the Blue Mountains and coming into Sydney that way is a good one, and could still be done by leaving the highway between Canberra and Sydney at Campbelltown and heading to Penrith, and from there into the Blue Mountains. You could return to Sydney via Bell's Line of Road through the historic old towns of Richmond and Windsor.

All of this, of course, leaves the Hunter Valley out of things, but I did that without remorse, as it is well "out of the way" to anyone travelling from Melbourne to Sydney -- the quickest way to get there would be to go into Sydney and then just keep going northwards -- and to try to fit it into this journey would waste a good deal of precious time (driving through Sydney is not a pleasant task!). If you have a few days in Sydney at the beginning of the holiday, a one-day tour into the Hunter Valley might be better scheduled then. You could even go by express train to Newcastle and hire a car there to cruise around the valley for a day.
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Old Jun 4th, 2005, 11:18 PM
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You could also take the Hume to Albury and then follow the Murray River to Tocumwal - passing through some lovely riverside towns and wine country head north along the Newell Highway to Jeriderie - across through Urana to Lockhart and Wagga Wagga - These are back roads but in excellent condition. Then get back on the Hume. Stop at the Dog on the Tucker Box nine miles from Gundagai (it's a famous song and legend). If you want to divert to Canberra at Yass you would need another day. Melbourne to Tocumwal is about five hours without sightseeing. From Tocumwal to Sydney is an easy 7 hours. You will be off the major highway for a good portion and will see some different countryside. I agree that the Hunter is not an option in your itinerary. If you love in the Hunter and are driving to Melbourne you go through Sydney.
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Old Jun 4th, 2005, 11:25 PM
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Thanks for the feedback - my road atlas is getting dog-eared.

Will the fact that it will be August make any major difference in some of these alternate routes?
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Old Jun 5th, 2005, 04:11 AM
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The Hume Highway has always been boring for me. I love the coastal road.

Our culture dictates we hang off the edge of our continent, we don't do inland as well as other nations. Even if we do go inland the Hume isn't the way I would choose.
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Old Jun 5th, 2005, 06:04 AM
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I don't think you will need to make any special allowances for the time of year you are doing this trip, unless you chose to go yet another route through Cooma and the Alpine Way. Along the Hune -- or just about anywhere inland -- in summer it is hot and dry, whereas in August it is still hot and dry, only with very cold nights. Actually, I think I'd prefere August, as you won't have milliond of grasshoppers turning the windscreen of your car into porridge every few kilometres!

I guess Tassietwister has a point about the inland of Australia, but, I must admit, I find much to recommend the inland routes, with their lonely towns, like an oasis in a sea of wheat fields, with their old "country pub" from (in some cases)the gold-rush days, and the opportunity it gives you to meet some "real" Australians. It's not by any means a photographer's paradise, but it's still a memorable experience. You won't get much of this along the Hume, however, as it gets most of the traffic between Sydney and melbourne, so the towns are starting to look like mini-versions of the larger cities. That OTHER route, suggested above, sounds much more "genuine"!
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