Sydney-Blue Mts-Melbourne by car

May 19th, 2005, 08:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 29
Sydney-Blue Mts-Melbourne by car

I have searched this forum for the best way to go from Sydney to Melbourne with a stop in the Blue Mts./Canberra by car but couldn't find advice on my particular situation.
We (family of 4) would like to leave from Sydney to Melbourne by renting a car. We would also like to spend a day in the Blue Mts. We will be leaving Sydney (Dec 28) early Wednesday morning and would like to arrive in Melbourne by the evening of Dec 30 or the 31st at the latest so that we have 3 days to see Melbourne before taking off for Singapore on Jan 3.
Our plan is to rent a car in Sydney, driving to the Blue Mts, then Canberra and dropping it off at the airport in Melbourne before we take off for Singapore.
I would like to know what the experts on this forum think about this plan.
Also do you have accomodation recommendations for the two-three nights before we arrive in Melbourne.
Many thanks.
byr is offline  
May 19th, 2005, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,430
Hi, byr!

Dec 28: Leave Sydney before 8 a.m. and have breakfast at Euroka Clearing (Glenbrook, 80 minutes drive) in the Lower Blue Mountains (you can buy hot bread from the Glenbrook bakery). Continue for a further 50 minutes to Katoomba, where you can visit Echo Point (pay for parking nowadays, but if you walk the last 200 metres you don't have to worry about this) and have lunch. Spend the rest of the afternoon there, and then continue west to bathurst, where you can have dinner and spend the night.

Dec 29: Head south on the road to Crookwell/Goulburn, arriving in Goulburn after about a two-hour drive. Don't bother spending more than five minutes in Goulburn. From here to Canberra you are on the Federal Highway, which is a superfast superduper superhighway, and the last 85 km to Canberra will take you only an hour (the scenery, past Lake George, is quite pleasant -- very open and easy driving). You can be there in time for lunch. An afternoon and a morning should be enough to at least give you a taste of this interesting city. There is a hotel on every main corner, so don't worry about arriving without a booking, especially (I would imagine - Neil might be able to correct me if I'm wrong) in the quiet week between Christmas and New Year.

Dec 30: Leave Canberra after lunch and drive along the Barton Highway to Yass (40 minutes), where you will join the Hume Highway (the fast route from Sydney to Melbourne). Ths highway will take you through Albury, Wangaratta and Seymour, and have you in Melbourne for a late dinner (or, if you don't want to arrive in Melbourne just as it's getting dark, you might like to spend the night at Seymour and do the last hour on the morning of the 31st).

Have a great time!
Alan is offline  
May 19th, 2005, 07:37 PM
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Posts: 29
Thanks again, Alan. The itinerary from Sydney to Katoomba and then to Canberra sounds perfect. Would you recommend driving along the coast from Canberra to Melbourne? Bee.
byr is offline  
May 19th, 2005, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 26
My 2 cents for what it's worth...
Up until Canberra is good but I would go through Cooma from Canberra rather than Yass.

From Cooma you can go down through Bombala. Then maybe stay at Lakes Entrance, or somewhere closer, before going into Melbourne proper.

I would also pre book, it is school holidays here at that time and if you would rather get a two bedroom/family room rather than two seperate rooms at hotels then pre booking is a good idea... and a must, to pre book, in Melbourne as it is New Years.

It is a longer trip than through Yass but boths way have good scenery I just like the longer way better. Then again you will have been driving for a couple of days by then and may want to get there the quickest way you can, so this is just an alternative view.
BlueGum is offline  
May 19th, 2005, 11:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,430
If you had a bit more time, byr, then I might indeed suggest the coast road, heading from Canberra to Bateman's Bay. And Bluegum's suggestion through Cooma is another very scenic road. I chose the Yass - Melbourne leg simply because I thought you might like to minimize your driving.... and it's my guess that you will find so much to see in Canberra that it will be mid-afternoon before you finally get out of there. The other two possibilities are further and slower: the Cooma road is lovely, if I recall, but full of hills and bends, and the coast road is only worth doing if you plan to stop at a couple of the country towns and look around. Also, when you get into Victoria, there is a LONG stretch of road -- virtually all the way to Melbourne -- that doesn't actually get closer than about ten kilometres from the coast, so there's not much to see.

However, all three roads have their good points; take an extra night, and the other two would both be preferable. But, otherwise, spend the extra couple of hours in Canberra and then dash straight down the Hume.
Alan is offline  
May 20th, 2005, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Staying two nights en route is a very good idea, and will allow you to take advantage of one or other of the good suggestions as to routes between Canberra and Melbourne other than the Hume Highway, which is dead boring. The NSW South Coast in particular is a beautiful region, and it would be a pity to miss it entirely.

If you really want to sample a range of scenery, albeit with a little backtracking, you could head east from Canberra to Batemans Bay, go south to Merimbula, then cut back through Bega to join the road that runs south from Cooma to Cann River in Victoria, from where you'll head west along the coast to Melbourne. You could spend your second night at Merimbula, say, which would give you a longish but enjoyable last leg.

A night in Canberra, definitely (as a resident, I happily admit to bias). If you search on "Canberra" on this forum you'll find previous threads mentioning places to see, stay and eat, and will help you make the most of your stay.

Visitors to Canberra often complain of getting lost. I have no sense of direction, and I don't know why anyone would expect to navigate a city of 320,000 people by pure animal instinct, so I would take the elementary precaution of equipping myself with a street map, which I recommend buying at a service station before you reach the city (there's one on the left about 10-12 km short of the city at Eagle Hawk Hill). A little prior research will help you avoid the Bill Bryson syndrome - he wrote a generally uncomplimentary review of Canberra after foolishly wandering in sans map or, it seems, any but the most basic prior research.

The hotels and motels Alan mentions as being on every corner are down the LH side of the main drag into Canberra, Northbourne Avenue. There are many others, though, which are less obvious. For a family of four I'd suggest a 2-bedroom apartment. provides details of many, and you can search there well before the "T minus 2 weeks" discount booking period.
Neil_Oz is offline  
May 21st, 2005, 12:15 PM
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Join Date: May 2005
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Thank you, all. Your advice have given me options I would never have had.
byr is offline  
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