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Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)

England
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Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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Hi Everyone,

I previously posted a Brisbane-Melbourne road trip question and the resounding feedback was we were trying to cover too much distance in too little time. Then Qatar Airways cancelled the outbound flight, so listening to the feedback here I now have 21 nights in which to do our road trip, but want 3 nights in each city, so the road trip portion will be 15 nights.

Our original plans had Byron Bay and Hunter Valley as must sees, i have dropped Byron as logistically it would be stupid but am keen to keep Hunter as we have fallen in love with the idea of a hot air balloon and wine trips there. Here is my initial ropey reroute of the itinerary, would be keen for any feedback or suggested improvements.

For context, i am a 33 year old female, travelling with my mum who is a fit and healthy young 61! We want more than anything to have a varied trip, happy to do the touristy thing but also get off the path a bit too... good beaches, time in the cities for shopping and eating, time in the wilderness to see kangaroos/koalas, some good walks/hiking, paddleboarding/swimming, nature, great scenery etc. We don't really plan to do much other shopping outside of in the city stays, would like to vary up the accommodation we stay in for different experiences, and we aren't so into museums or history etc.

Plan for now:

Land in Sydney for 3 nights or so, then head to the Hunter valley, arriving mid afternoon for wine/chocolate/cheese tasting and dinner, then a morning hot air balloon flight.

Then head to the blue mountains (still not a clue whether to stay more central or in the sticks) for a night or two.. is it worth detouring via Putty Road here, to avoid coming back along the Sydney side freeway?

The middle is all a bit uncertain now.. i'm open to totally rerouting this part.. is Kangaroo Valley/Fitzroy falls worth a stop off? Potentially Wollongong, Illwarra for the treetop walk, then over to Jervis Bay. Bodalla to see the little stands selling honey, dairy etc en route perhaps to Narooma.

On my last thread someone mentioned the areas around Thredbo/Yackandandah/Bright which look nice and a bit different. So probably include these areas, then heading back to Wilsons Promonatory for a night or two.

Then the tail end of the trip which i think is more agreed: a night glamping in Phillip island to see the penguin parade and then heading across to melbourne for our last 3 nights, flying home on the fourth day.

Any feedback would be much appreicated.. also would it be worth hiring a 4WD for this trip or is it not really needed on this route! (Also for context before anyone mentions other parts of Aus, I am very keen to see Syd/Mel on this trip due to potentially relocating to Aus in the next few years, and my mum has explored lots of Western Australia in my younger days.. not that I remember much)

Thanks everyone!

27 replies to this topic
England
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441 reviews
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1. Re: Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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Perhaps something like this:

https://tinyurl.com/z5fdyv72

Gold Coast...
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2. Re: Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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Hi Ceri,

Looks like a good trip - what time of year are you thinking of doing this?

Sorry, if you have mentioned that in your previous thread, but it would be helpful to have it here, too.

We all know you’ll be bound by when our borders are open, but let’s just go with what month/s you’d like to do it.

Thanks for linking the map - makes it easy for everyone to see your route. I’m planning a road trip just now & should do that, too.

England
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441 reviews
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3. Re: Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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Thank you! We land 12th Feb and leave 5th March. I’m not sure if I might need to trim some bits out.. perhaps the Yackandandah detour is a bit much so may need to go!

I usually make an overall map and then once I’ve got the overall route down I make an individual map for each day.. makes me feel better having it done that way.

Hopefully the route will give us some good variety but definitely up for suggestions :-)

Drummoyne, Australia
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4. Re: Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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I like your route all the way to Narooma and wouldn't change a thing. However, I would make major changes from here. Rather than backtrack to Batemans Bay, Yass Aubury, I would cut across to Jindabyne and Thredbo. If you want to visit Canberra, I suggest turning to Canberra from Batemans Bay, rather than going all the way to Narooma.

From Thredbo, I suggest going to Yackandandah, Bright and then down to Wilsons Promontory.

I suggest at least couple nights in Bowral. You can visit Fitzroy Falls and Kangaroo Valley on the way form Bowral to Nowra/Jervis Bay.

I should add that the road from Goulburn to Albury is quite boring, scenery wise . Good road though.

Edited: April 23, 2021, 5:33 am
Gold Coast...
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5. Re: Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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I agree with Cromans. Summer in the high country can be lovely.

Just be aware February is one of our hottest months. Slather, really slather on the sun-screen, wear hats & take plenty of water when you’re out walking.

The summer heat may also affect your hot air balloon flights - so allow a bit of flexibility & be prepared for a pre-Dawn start. I’ve been hot air ballooning in the Hunter Valley a couple of times and it was gorgeous. Went once in December & the other time in late April.

Bring a coat, cushions & a rug for the Penguin Parade. Even in high summer, it can be very cold down there at night with the arctic breezes blowing in.

I think you’ve done a super job of planning what should be a great trip.

Ballarat, Australia
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6. Re: Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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Have a look at the Yarra Valley. An hour east of Melbourne, very scenic wine area with hot air balloon flights. This might fit into your itinerary better than the Hunter.

It also seems a shame to miss the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians. Google Halls Gap kangaroos. You need 5 days for this area, and from HG it's an easy 3 hour drive to Melbourne airport without having to go through the city or suburbs.

Greater Melbourne...
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7. Re: Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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Near the end of your itinerary, you could travel directly to the Yarra Valley from Philip Island, without having to go into Melbourne suburbs. It is a pretty drive through the Dandenongs. You can visit some of the many local wineries, plus Healesville Sanctuary to see native birds and animals, and also do a hot air balloon flight in the Yarra Valley. It is a very scenic part of Australia for flights; unlike the Hunter it has no open cut coal mining, and is fiercely protected from urban development by Green Wedge legislation. If you stayed the night in the Yarra Valley, you could then go into Melbourne (about 1.5 hour drive) and return the car. This would save expensive parking costs in the CBD. You don't need a car to see Melbourne for your last two days. You also don't need a 4WD for the whole trip.

https://visityarravalley.com.au/

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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Hot air ballooning. If it is just the experience you are after, you can do one over Melbourne itself.

I have not done it but have been over the Yarra Valley which was stunning but I would think that over a city would be more interesting

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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Your route south from Jindabyne won't be suitable in a hire car, as the road over Suggan Buggan is a dirt road - I'm 95% sure most hire places would not allow that kind of distance on dirt.

Suggest: after Narooma, go to Canberra for a couple of nights, then head down via Cooma to Jindabyne and go the other way over the Alpine Way to Yackandandah, and then head over the Great Alpine Road via Omeo down to Lakes Entrance (ideally one or two nights along the way) and then on to the Prom and to Phillip Island. Like this: tinyurl.com/7pdk953y

I'd need to think more clearly about the timing, but it could work. You may not need to go via Canberra either, you could go via the Snowy Mtn Hwy to the Monaro Hwy, but I think there's dirt on the direct route from Nimmitabel across to Dalgety - but you can always whiz up via Cooma.

Roy
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10. Re: Road trip Sydney-Melbourne (3 weeks, with 3N in each city)
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In terms of wine districts, Hunter Valley is great but Yarra Valley near Melbourne is probably better. Also if you skip the Hunter Valley it simplifies your trip in that you go up to the Blue mountains and keep driving, rather than head north to the Hunter Valley, then back again.

About the Blue Mountains, you can be central and in the bush at the same time in the Blue Mountains, as it is a narrow suburban strip with canyons on either side. I have tried to explain it to people, but they still don't understand it, but when they go there, everything I say makes perfect sense. Basically, look for a place to stay that is close to the edge of the mountains, and you are a short drive to restaurants etc.

I would say, keep driving over the mountains, through Bathurst then back through Canberra (which is worth a look, and back down to the coast, perhaps getting to the coast at the aptly named Eden. Then following the coast down to Melbourne, detouring through the Yarra Valley for wineries and Ballooning.

I would say, don't keep an exact schedule, as it is all going to depend on the weather. In Australia you will often be able to escape the rain by heading inland.

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