When most people think of driving from Melbourne to Sydney, they think of driving the coastal roads, however the inland route meanders through some stunning countryside and beautiful towns, and offers a completely different holiday experience.
Scenery along the way includes breathtaking mountain ranges, picturesque rivers and rolling green hills and towns range from large cities to small country villages.
Day 1 – Melbourne to Benalla
Benalla, located close to the Victorian snow fields and wineries is a picturesque town on the Broken River. The river has been damned creating an attractive wide waterway which is used for swimming and boating and is surrounded by parkland and walking tracks. Nearby Glenrowan, also known as ‘Ned Kelly Country’ has a rich bushranger history and home to the Ned Kelly Museum where you can learn about one of Australia’s best known criminals.
Related: Stop and smell the roses as you step back in time in Benalla
For car racing enthusiasts, the Winton Motor Raceway has regular race days including Fun Days where the public can pay for the chance to experience driving on a real race track. The Comfort Inn Benalla offers comfortable, ideally located Benalla accommodation.
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Day 2 – Benalla to Wangaratta
Although Wangaratta is only a short distance from Benalla it is worthy of a visit on its own. Nestled near the Victorian Alps, Wangaratta is the gateway to the Victorian Ski fields for those who enjoy hitting the slopes. Known as the home of Jazz, the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz is held annually and attracts visitors from all over the country, it is also host to the National Jazz awards, Youth Jazz workshops and master classes.
Bushwalking, cycling, fishing, 4WDing and camping are also popular activities in the area. The Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway is an award-winning Wangaratta hotel boasting a range of 4.5 star rooms suitable for singles, couples and families.
Day 3 – Wangaratta to Corowa
The historic town of Corowa is the birthplace of Australian Federation, and is uniquely Australian with a number of historic buildings showcasing traditional 19th century architecture. Nestled on the banks of the Murray River, popular Corowa activities include fishing, picnicking on the banks of the river and boating.
The Corowa Federation Museum offers a fascinating insight into the reasons why Australia became a Federation. Rutherglen is a great base to explore Corowa and the surrounding wine country of Rutherglen.
Day 4 – Corowa to Jindabyne
Jindabyne is located in the heart of the Snowy Mountains, and in winter is a skier’s wonderland, whilst in summer it is a haven for nature lovers. Popular activities in the area include skiing, bush walking, horse riding, fishing, camping and water sports on Lake Jindabyne. The scenic area and rugged bushland was the inspiration behind Banjo Patterson’s famous poem ‘The Man from Snowy River’.
The nearby Snowy Mountain Hydro Electric Scheme is the single greatest engineering project Australia has ever known and took nearly 25 years to construct, costing the equivalent of $6 billion in today’s currency. The popular town has a number of accommodation options including motels, apartments and lodges mostly geared around skiers.
Day 5 & 6 – Jindabyne to Canberra
Canberra, the capital of Australia, is a destination in itself and it is easy to fill a number of days with the attractions and activities it offers. Some of the most popular attractions include Parliament House, Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre, Cockington Green Gardens – a miniature English town complete with miniature people and a working miniature steam train, and the National Dinosaur Museum which houses the largest collection of dinosaur skeletons and fossils in Australia.
There are also numerous festivals held throughout the year including the famous ‘Floriade’ spring festival which showcases themed gardens in a colourful display of over 1 million bulbs. Choice has a selection of excellent hotels in Canberra and Queanbeyan to choose from.
Day 7 – Canberra to Goulburn
Australia’s first inland city, Goulburn is a thriving rural community and regional arts centre. The world class motor racing circuit hosts regular events and was the home of Australia’s first motor-car grand prix in 1927.
There a number of historic buildings to explore along with galleries and museums, and the ‘Old Goulburn Brewery’ is the oldest surviving brewery in Australia. Goulburn has a range of restaurants and cafes, an eclectic selection of boutiques and shops and has monthly craft markets for locals and tourists.
Day 8 – Goulburn to Sydney
Sydney is renowned for its spectacular Sydney Harbour, iconic Sydney Opera House, restaurants, night life and beautiful beaches. You will need a minimum of three days to see the main highlights of Sydney, although a longer stay is recommended. Visit the famous Bondi Beach, catch a ferry to Manly Beach or explore Taronga Zoo with its amazing harbour views and native animals.
The Opera House is a must see and the range of galleries and museums is too numerous to list. Shopping in the Pitt St mall includes many international brands and chains while Oxford St is home to up and coming designer boutiques and eclectic home wares. The historic Rocks area is steeped in history and charm and a fascinating place to visit. Choice has six unique and well positioned hotels in Sydney and surrounding suburbs to choose from.