Road Trip from Melbourne to Sydney


Nov 17th, 2011, 11:49 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 21
Road Trip from Melbourne to Sydney

Hi everyone. My family and I are planning on a trip to Aus/NZ for 2.5 weeks in fall of 2012 - beginning the last week of April to be exact. We're from Manila, Philippines and it's the first time for everyone to travel to the continent. It will be 5 adults - my husband and myself, sister-in-law (all below 35) and my parents-in-law (both 60).
My questions are specifically around the fact that we would like to rent a car and drive ourselves from Melbourne to Sydney, allowing 2 overnight stays in between. There are hundred of stops to choose from I'm sure - my family are seafood lovers and would ideally spend nights in one of the better beaches or coastal towns. We're basically bent on soaking in the scenery and wildlife.
I had the mistake of thinking that the Great Ocean Road is a drive from Melbourne to Sydney - just found out it's the opposite way!

Anyway, our broad itinerary as follows:
Day 1-3: Melbourne
Day 4: in the AM, begin the drive to Sydney. Is Wilsons Promontory worth a stopover? After that, continue on to Lakes Entrance area. Spend the night in either Sale, Paynestown or Metung? Which town has more to do and more places to stay?
Day 5: Visit Lakes Entrance Area/Gippsland? After that, drive to Mallacoota. Spend the night there? Or do we move further ahead and spend the night somewhere else?
Day 6: End drive in Sydney

Any thoughts? Another question would be if we should rent a car when we arrive in Melbourne OR if we should do it only on Day 4? We'll just be sightseeing in Melbourne itself - I hear parking is a pain? Unless we try to do the GOR route (or at least some of the places) between Day 1-3. Or will that be overkill?

Anyway, your thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks for your help in advance!
cokes is offline  
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Nov 18th, 2011, 01:42 PM
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If you're not going down the GOR or planning on driving yourself to the Yarra Valley (or elsewhere out of town), you don't need a car in Melbourne. You won't use it and you'll pay to park it. The central part of Melbourne is easily walkable and/or accessible by tram, including places such as St. Kilda. When you do need a car, most of the car rental companies have facilities in town.
tt7 is offline  
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Nov 19th, 2011, 06:24 PM
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Wilsons Prom is lovely and you will see wildlife there but it's a long way off the main highway if you have only such a short time.

Merimbula is a popular place on the coast, you could stop overnight there. There are lots of places to stay, from cabins in caravan parks to motels and apartments, and restaurants, shops and long walks along the beaches.

Even though you are having two overnight stops I still think you will spend most of your time in the car driving, it won't be very relaxing. Have you also considered how you will get everyone's luggage in the boot? Most boots will only hold one or two large suitcases. If you all travel with soft bags that would make it easier to squash everything in. Hard sided cases are the worst for taking up a lot of space.

The Great Ocean Road is great for scenery but you will be adding another long day in the car to your trip. It depends on if everyone thinks that's worthwhile. Lakes Entrance would be OK for an overnight stop but there is not much there.

Raymond Island, near Paynesville, has a large koala population. Out of the big cities, you will notice lots of clubs offering meals, such as Golf Clubs, Bowling Clubs, Sports Clubs etc. You don't need to be a member to eat there but you do have to sign in (name and address) when you arrive and sometimes, though rarely, show some ID to prove you live out of the area. These clubs are popular for meals and drinks and have some nice lounge areas overlooking the golf course etc.

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Nov 20th, 2011, 06:18 PM
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Welcome to my backyard!

Lakes Entrance is the biggest of the coastal towns and will have the most accomodation. Bairnsdale is the Main Town for the region with plenty of accomodation. Stop in at St Mary's Cathedral on the main street and look at the painted ceiling. Note quite the Sistine Chapel but still very impressive. The face of the devil is a likeness of the house keeper. Apparently she was not a nice woman!

Sale, although my home town, is not really worth stopping in. There is a great wetlands walk,lake and some old buildings, but really it is an administrative/shopping town. There is lots of accomodation here.

When driving near Sale keep and eye on the Sky for eagles and for the Roulettes - the RAAF Aerobatic team. They regularly practise.

Wilsons Prom is lovely for walks and Granite mountains, but would be out of the way.

The Gippsland Lakes have boat trips so you can see the doplins and the incredible bird life. There are currenlty 77000 ducks on the wetlands. The wetlands are RAMSAR Wetlands.

It is a good 10-12 hour droive from Melbourne to Sydney via the coast. Daylight saving will still be in place so you will have plenty of light.

Malacoota is a very small town but on a very pretty lake. It is remote for most tourists but only half an hour or so off the highway.

Eden in NSW would make a good stop. There is a good whaling museum. It is a lovely section of coast.
peterSale is offline  
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 03:19 PM
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Places to stop closer to Sydney - Ulladulla / Mollymook / Milton is pretty countryside and nice beaches; Pebbly Beach has kangaroos. Kangaroo Valley (slightly inland) and Berry are small towns to stop in (pretty and worth seeing). When you get to Wollongong, take the road that goes through the northern beaches and stop at the Scarborough Hotel for a lunch and fabulous sea views. It's a bit slower but the views are nicer. There is also the Sea Cliff Bridge in that part of the world, also with great views. The road will take you to Stanwell Park; when you get to Stanwell Tops you can take a direct road to Sydney or drive through the Royal National Park for some pretty bushland.

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Nov 24th, 2011, 09:26 PM
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If you overnight in Merimbula, go to the golf club for dinner. Usually good food plus lots and lots of kangeroos on the course at that time of evening.
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Dec 1st, 2011, 02:33 AM
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I'd agree with the above posters that your stops are probably a bit too close together and will leave you with a long drive to Sydney on the last day. Lakes Entrance is a logical stopping point - quite a big town and a good base for exploring the area. If you'd prefer something quieter, you can drive for an extra hour or two and stop at Mallacoota instead. There are lots of beautiful little towns on the south coast of NSW. Merimbula is a good place to spend a night and you could then cut inland and go to Sydney via Canberra if you wanted to (or just continue up the coast). It's a lot smaller than Merimbula but one of my favourite spots is Tathra, just past Merimbula. Fish and chips on the deck of the Tathra Pub is hard to beat. Or you could drive further on the second day and get to Bateman's Bay - a similar sized town to Merimbula. This would leave you a shorter trip into Sydney on the third day.
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Dec 1st, 2011, 08:03 PM
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This is timely (and the author is one of our most experienced travel journalists) -
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