The route we took from Melbourne to Sydney was a whopping 1,200 km! That’s further than the South Coast of England to the North Coast of Scotland. That’s further than the drive from Nashville to Toronto. It is such a long drive, but there is just so many cool things to experience along the way.
Welcome to the first part of a mini-series of one of the greatest and most common road trips to take across Australia. In this first part, I’ll share about the beautiful drive from Melbourne to Sydney via Canberra. The next two parts will magically appear as links here once they are published – sometime in the next week.
We hugged the coast from Melbourne before turning inland to visit Canberra not long after the Victoria/NSW border. From there, the plan was to head back towards the coast and make it to Sydney stopping in Wollongong on the way.
Yarragon is an adorable little town, building itself up around the tourism provided by both the Princes’ Highway (which you’ll be driving on) and the railway that runs right through. The railway station is over 100 years old, which might not seem old to those of us in the UK, but is pretty impressive nontheless. There are shops to stroll around, and the chippie does some amazing tasting chips. They come in huge portions and traditionally wrapped in paper.
Old Gippstown Heritage Park
Just down the road from Yarragon is a museum showcasing a collection of buildings from the 1840s to 1930s, which have been transported here from all over the state for preservation. There’s also information about the history of the fledgling state of Victoria and loads of different activities throughout the year.
Marking almost exactly the halfway point between Melbourne and Sydney, Mallacoota is a sweet little town on the water, that explodes with tourists at Christmas and Easter. Most of what there is to do here is heavily water based, but there are so many, you could do a different activity every day of the week!
Eden was actually named after a British secretary for the Colonies, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was named after the biblical garden. The views of the surrounding ocean are breathtaking. Eden draws thousands of tourists every year for the bi-annual migration of whales. The most famous of Eden’s whales, Old Tom, has had the honour of having his skeleton hung in the Killer Whale Museum (which may or may not be your cup of tea).
Snowy Mountains Highway
This highway winds its way from the coast road all the way up to Canberra. Despite the capital being in an area called the flatlands, there is a stonking great hill in the way! How much you love this scenic drive will depend on your attitude to driving constantly in first gear, being as speedy as a tortoise and occasionally having to stop to put snow chains on your tires.
It’s ultimately a much funner drive than some of the more arduous, straight highways. And with the highest point at almost 300m higher than Uluru, you’re in for some spectacular views.
Canberra is often missed out by travellers who bunny hop from Melbourne to Sydney. It’s perceived as a boring government centre with nothing much else going for it. The truth is not massively far from that. But if you have a spare day or two, it’s a lovely place to go for a walk around the huge man-made lake, visiting all the museums or exploring the markets at the old bus depot.
If you don’t have a crappy car that is in danger of spluttering to a stop and using up three times as much petrol as it should do, I would absolutely recommend going to Wollongong. (It’s only been two months, and I can hold a grudge for years, so don’t think you won’t hear about the blasted car again!)
It’s a perfectly picturesque place, with something to do for anyone no matter what it is that you like doing. Even if you’re not on a road trip, it’s a great place to visit on a day trip or weekend getaway from Sydney.
Congratulations on finally making it to Sydney!! Covering the city in a paragraph would be pretty much impossible. Stay tuned for another nifty link here to check out our top tips for how to cover Sydney in 48 hours. Or visit our favourite veggie joint in the whole of Australia.
You could visit a million places on and not far from this route, and still not have seen everything. There really is an excess of things to do and see; you are completely spoilt by the beauty in this part of the world.
Have you road tripped in Australia? What was your favourite bit? Do you have any tips for how to make a road trip great? Let us know in the comments below!
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