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Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

Singapore
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Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

Hubby, myself and a 9-yr old son (2A/1C) will be headed for Sydney mid June for 11 nights. This must be our at least 9th or 10th time that we're in Sydney for holidays, but the previous trips involved loads of driving towards Gold Coast or Canberra-Melbourne, or just doing a "Port Stephens-Hunter" thing. This time we're thinking of doing a loop south in about 7 days after 3 days in the city. (Usual practice is to grab some groceries at the markets then head out)

1. Any itinerary to recommend? Which towns are good bases to venture out?

- Open to suggestions, but like comfort. Want to include a big suburban shopping centre, local produce and skiing at Snowy Mountains - self-contained, minimal time to get to the ski area (I'm new to skiing, hubby and son have done it before)

- We want to stay at each place for 2-3 nights minimum to avoid packing and unpacking too much.

- We arrive on a Wednesday morning and leave on a Monday, 8am flight, so we're thinking of doing the ski resort the last few nights, then heading to the Sydney airport in the middle of the night after checking out - Is this a bad idea? Have researched that from the Snowy Mountains, it takes about 6 hours to drive to Sydney. Is that under normal traffic conditions? Any ideas what will be open on that Sunday? Especially food-wise.

2. Any good recommendations for local produce? Especially from farms or markets open to the public? (Excl the Rocks Market, Sydney Fish Market, Paddy's and Paddingtons) [Pls give an idea about opening hours/days in winter and the best time to visit]

3. Trying to minimise cost involved (like staying for a longer period of time to take advantage of the "longer-stay" deals, but will rent a car when we're out of the city. Thinking of either the Mercedes C200 or Ford XR6 - Is there any significant difference in either? Any advice for driving in snowy conditions? Are 4-wheel drives necessary? Heard of "chains" but not sure how to use them or if they are really a must.

4. There's a really lovely scenic drive north of Sydney (maybe an hour's drive), hilly and above the water. What route is that? There's also a wildlife park along the way. Any idea the name of that place?

5. Which are the suburbs which have bigger shopping centres (like the Eastgardens near the airport)? Should I only be looking at Westfield shopping centres or are there others?

6. Would I need an e-Pass for this trip? Must I apply myself or can the car rental company get it done for me? I need the license plate number first, right? Which is cheaper?

7. Was looking at the Lake Crackenback Novotel. When they say there is a kitchen, does it mean full facilities to cook everything? Like I'd have an oven to do a roast?

Thanks for reading through all this!! :D

Thought of putting in separate posts for each of the questions but at least this way you would get a fuller picture (hopefully) of what I'm looking for.

Gungahlin, Australia
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1. Re: Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

>> We . . . leave on a Monday, 8am flight, so we're thinking of doing the ski resort the last few nights, then heading to the Sydney airport in the middle of the night after checking out - Is this a bad idea? <<

We live near the highway from the snow. We've seen the Driver Reviver station, the dead roos, the slow-moving lines after an accident.

Singapore
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2. Re: Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

Really appreciate the quick reply.

Haha. Ok. Get the idea. So this particular area has very slow traffic and loads of wildlife...Must re-look plans.

Any other comments on the rest?

Cairns, Australia
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3. Re: Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

4. There's a really lovely scenic drive north of Sydney (maybe an hour's drive), hilly and above the water. What route is that? There's also a wildlife park along the way. Any idea the name of that place?

Do you mean south?

If so then Symbio Wildlife Park

www.symbiozoo.com.au/

The drive

Grand Pacific Drive

www.grandpacificdrive.com.au/

Gungahlin, Australia
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4. Re: Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

>> Haha. Ok. Get the idea. So this particular area has very slow traffic and loads of wildlife... <<

Haha? Er, no that wasn't quite what I was getting at.

…nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/fatigue/stoprevivesur…

This website has more on Driver Reviver stations, and you might want to pay particular attention to this information.

"Tips on avoiding fatigue-related accidents:

Get a good night’s sleep before commencing a long trip.

Do not drive at times when you would normally be asleep.

Avoid long drives after work (=daytime activities)."

"Microsleep

During a 4 second microsleep a car travelling at 100 km/h will travel 111 metres while completely out of the driver’s control."

Canberra, Australia
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5. Re: Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

I stayed at the Novotel resort a few years ago - very comfortable self contained units with good sized pretty well equipped kitchens, can't recall an oven ( I was on a course that was fully catered) but there was definitely fridge, cooktop, microwave.

Not cheap in snow season and very popular.

If you aren't cooking your own meals, there is only the resort restaurant which is quite expensive - otherwise a long way to Jindabyne for alternatives. A resort shop for (expensive) grocery essentials - suggest stocking up before you get there.

Singapore
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6. Re: Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

@ MacKnee : We do a fair bit of driving around Oz cos we're there practically every winter (to escape the heat here), this is probably like our 15th visit Down Under and we drive all over that particular state (NSW, WA, Vic, Queensland, Tas), so we're pretty used to long distance driving (Usually for Sydney we head north). Each trip is slightly different though, that's why wanted to know if the conditions there are very much different. We hardly see any kangaroos, driving at various times of the day/night, so wasn't quite expecting much wildlife. (In Tas we saw quite a fair bit of wombats and echidnas. In WA we caught sight of a wild cassowary/emu-like bird. In Vic a couple of rabbits and kangaroos, but hardly any near the road. In NSW, we only went as far up as Vacy and saw some small kangaroos which always stayed along the road. That's about it.) Get your point about the delays to be expected, but 15 hours should be plenty of time? Or could the jams be so bad that traffic comes to a halt?

@verdant : Think the Grand Pacific Drive's the right one. The view is really breathtaking! I remember the water glistening from a distance away, and swearing I would return by that route soon! Really looking forward to that. But the Wildlife Park's along that stretch too, so I think it should be north? On the way up to Port Stephens but much nearer the Sydney end.

@ ActRegular_traveller : Yup! Stocking up on local produce is exactly what I'm planning to do! Love to cook and really appreciate fresh, simple food, so usually get a self-contained unit when we're over there. But no one seems to have caught on to my post on the other questions (like the markets) yet though....

Thanks for the tips so far! :)

Jamaica
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7. Re: Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

For a loop drive to the snowies from Sydney my suggestion is you drive along the coast all the way to almost Bega. From here you turn right to head up towards Cooma via Brown Mountain. From Cooma it is not too far south to Jindabyne. On your way back you can drive back to Cooma, straight up to Canberra and onto Sydney. Driving down the coast from Syndey is quite beautiful with many great views, it's nice to drive via Helensburgh and come through Stanwell Park through to the gong, and near Albion park I think you can turn off to Kangaroo valley which itself is lovely drive through. The town of Moruya used to have a local market that included some produce on Saturdays, it may have been once per month though, I cannot recal. Tilba Tilba is a worthwhile stop just after Narooma.

Sydney
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8. Re: Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

The area around Bateman's Bay is interesting. Quite a bit to see and do, and there's Mogo Zoo - which I loved, and your child might like.

Edited: 08 May 2010, 02:49
Singapore
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9. Re: Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

@ margo_oz : The Mogo Zoo - How does it compare with Taronga? Is it more of a family-owned cozy-type thing or a commercial zoo?

10. Re: Driving south of Sydney in mid-June

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