Sydney to Melbourne itenary help

Old Jul 5th, 2006, 11:39 AM
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Sydney to Melbourne itenary help

I'm planning a trip to Australia starting from Sydney and ending in Melbourne. I will be traveling with my parents, they are around 60 yrs old. We'll arrive in Sydney Oct 1st and I will leave Melbourne on Oct 15th. My parents will stay on with family in Melbourne until Nov 1st.

So my question is if we rent a car in Sydney and return it in Melbourne. Is there a good destination to go in between these two cities? It seems Cairns is too far away to drive. I would like to see the Great Barrier Reef if possible, but it also sounds like a bad time of the year to go snorkeling.

Any advice?

vjoe is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2006, 12:16 PM
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Well, you can rent a car and return it in Melbourne, however Melbourne is a fair distance from Sydney. You are look at easily a 12+ hour drive, depending on rest stops. In US distance, it's probably the same distance between Indianapolis and Philly.

I would recommend taking an overnight train departing from Sydney and arriving in Melbourne the following morning.

As for going to the GBR, I can't comment on good or bad times to snorkle, but there is a bit of distance to make up. If you were in Melbourne and going to Cairns, there would probably be a connecting flight in Sydney or Brisbane, and a similar distance from Indianapolis to Houston.

Flights don't depart Aussie airports with the same regular frequency as American airports, so keep that in mind. There might be a longer layover on your flights.
emilid is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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The road between Sydney and Melbourne is excellent. A freeway virtually all the way. An enjoyable stopover between the cities is the Bright/ Beechworth area about 8-9 hours from Sydney and 3 from Melbourne. It is a historic area with magnificent countryside. Albury on the River Murray is another good stopover with plenty of accomodation.
The GBR is way North of Sydney and involves great (and expensive with the price of fuel) driving distances especially if you are heading to Melbourne. The GBR is always a "must see" and a cheap domestic return flight to Cairns from Sydney is the way to do it.
I would not recommend the train as it is a boring trip and you miss so much of Australia.
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Old Jul 5th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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I assume you're not fazed by driving on the left, for a start. No doubt there'll be a one-way surcharge on the car - check the major companies' websites (EuropCar/Hertz/Avis/Budget).

I agree the main Sydney-Melbourne road, the Hume Highway, is fine, but IMO deadly boring. If you're prepared to allocate two or preferably three days to the trip, there are certainly more interesting (albeit slower) routes that will expose you to a variety of Australian landscapes, including the coast. One option is to include a one-night stopover in Canberra, the national capital. There are previous threads on this if you use the 'search' box above.

I think you really need to set aside the best part of a week for a side trip to North Queensland. There's a lot to see up there in addition to the Reef. Yes, Cairns is way too far to drive unless you have plenty of time at your disposal.
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Old Jul 5th, 2006, 03:51 PM
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We probably take it pretty easy on the drive to Melbourne so 2-3 days is ok with me. I'll save the trip up to the reef for next time when I visit with the mrs then.

Maybe I can book a tour from Melbourne for my parents to go see Ulruru after I leave. They have a little more time.

Would Brisbane be worth a detour up north from Sydney?

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Old Jul 5th, 2006, 05:05 PM
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vjoe, don't know where you got the idea that October is a bad month for GBR, when it is in fact one of the best. It's after the south easterlies of winter which is now (tomorrow's forecast is 34knots which would make any reef trip miserable, indeed many reef boats won't be going out at all). October is well before the onset of a possible wet season, usually sunny and warm with calm seas and low humidity. There's plenty of flights to Cairns from Melbourne and Sydney - Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Blue.
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Old Jul 5th, 2006, 09:33 PM
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for your syd - melbourne drive, I've got a few options for you (have been down that way many times) Also, have a look at this site for some ideas driving sydney-melbourne. to give you some ideas of what you can do.

my advice - whatever you do, don't go hume hwy all the way, it is very very very very very very boring! only to be done if you absolutely need to do it in the fastest possible amount of time.

There are so many options of ways you could go / things you could see - what do you and your folks like to do? do you prefer beach or bush? that will also probably help you make a decision on which way to go.

A couple of options
1. go to canberra in afternoon and have 1st night there (3hr drive from Sydney). have 1/2 day in canberra, do a tourist drive around maybe see 1 of the major attractions (war memorial, parliament house, gallery, museum ...) around lunchtime, head off. destination - eden/merimbula (as october is whale watching time). several ways to get there. Go bungendore/braidwood batemans bay and coastal drive all the way (nice, but slowest). or, go to cooma and down brown mountain to bega then coast. stay in merimbula or eden that night, have 1/2 day there next day to do whale watching. then head to Lakes Entrance or Seaspray. Day 3 head Gippsland hwy down to phillip island. If you could stay another night at cowes that would be good – see the fairy (or little) penguins, then drive to Melbourne the next morning. The quickest way to Melbourne from lakes entrance is via Bairnsdale / Traralgon / moe, but this is also a fairly un-scenic drive.

Other options:
Sydney – down through royal national park, Stanwell park to berry then up through kangaroo valley and on to Canberra. Then down through high country Jindabyne, Khancoban, corryong, Tallangatta, beechworth (or Yackandandah). Explore Bright/mt hotham area here if you like. Then down round lake Eildon then Marysville, Healesville to Melbourne.

If you like wine, Rutherglen might be an option for you – particularly if you are into fortifieds! It’s not far from albury-wodonga (nsw vic border) which is on the hume highway.

If you want coastal - Sydney – Narooma (explore Central Tilba), narooma to – lakes entrance (stop at Merimbula / eden) then same as first – down through PI.

Basically, Sydney to Phillip Island via the coast is 1038km, then another 130km from there to Melbourne.

Hope this gives you some options if you do want to drive.
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Old Jul 6th, 2006, 03:53 PM
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Wow, thanks for the detailed drive options. My dad likes big red wines and probably would like to look around Rutherglen. I'll read up on it.

GBR - man, it's like going to China and not see the Great Wall. I'll see if I can get a flight up there somehow.

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Old Jul 7th, 2006, 04:10 AM
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Freeway nearly all the way from Syd - Melb - Rutherglen is really nice - about 40 minutes detour but worth it. Try Cofields, Stanton and Killen and Pfieffers - great fortifieds and red wines. Beechworth and Bright are really nice as well - again a detour but worth the effort. Would also recommend the GBR - try from Cairns - drive up to Port Douglas (out of season if possible).

Have a great time
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