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Driving from Melbourne to Canberra

Perth, Australia
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Driving from Melbourne to Canberra

Hi There

We are in Melbourne for a few days and then driving to Canberra en route to our holiday destination of Bateman's bay. We would like to drive to Canberra through the mountains - late March 08.

Could anyone suggest an itinerary - we have 4 nights and will spend the last one of those in Canberra.

Is it possible to drive all the way from Melbourne to the high country in one day or is it more realistic to stop at perhaps Wangaratta the first night.

We would like to stay in Threadbo and or Jindabyne overnight and perhaps do a couple of walks in this area.

Or.....would two nights be a possibility in the high country and have two nights in Canberra?


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for Kota Kinabalu, Wangaratta, Sandakan
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1. Re: Driving from Melbourne to Canberra

I would suggest that the better route would be from Melbourne to Lakes Entrance, overnight, then to Cann River, Bombala to Cooma. From Cooma go to Thredbo and overnight.

The Nimmitabel Bakery ( between Cann River and Cooma, closer to Cooma) is a great place to stop for lunch. Between Cooma and Thredbo you could stop at Barracks Flat and catch the Ski Tube (train) to Blue Cow. You could also do this the next morning as you back track to Cooma and then on to Canberra.

I suggest you spend 2 nights in Canberra as you will get to see a lot more.

From Canberra to Batemans Bay via Bugendore and Braidwood is an easy run but take care as the Kings Highway is not a great road especially down the Clyde Mountain between Braidwood and Batemans Bay.

Distances and times:

Melbourne to Lakes Entrance 320 km 4 hours

Lakes Entrance to Thredbo 380 km 5 hours

Thredbo to Canberra 220 km 2 ½ hours

Canberra to Batemans Bay 150 km 2 Hours.

Times are conservative but do not allow for stops.

If you want suggestions on accommodation let me know your price range per night and I’ll see if I can help.

For an idea of thingshttp://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g255055-c4369/Australia:Canberra.Overview.html to see in Canberra have alook at the Inside page at

Gungahlin, Australia
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for Canberra
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2. Re: Driving from Melbourne to Canberra

I'd suggest staying in Thredbo and walking to the top of Mount Kosciuszko or at least as far as the lookout. You can catch a chairlift up the steepest bit at the beginning, then there's an uphill bit at the end, the rest isn't too bad as I recall. Remember the suncream!

Arlington, Virginia
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3. Re: Driving from Melbourne to Canberra

I second the recommendation of hiking to the top of Mt. Kosciuszko. The chairlift to the beginning of the trail is fun. The next part consists of walking over raised platforms to protect the alpine environment. The last section is a little steep, but well worth it considering you end up at the highest peak in Australia. I've done this hike twice and loved it both times.

There are some other good hikes in Thredbo. We did another (can't remember the name of it) and spotted some brumbies. Also, the Alpine Sledding at Thredbo is a lot of fun!

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4. Re: Driving from Melbourne to Canberra

Another alternative would be to take the Hume freeway directly to Wangaratta (about 2 1/4 hours) Then head east to Beechworth for a visit or a night or if you feel inclined drive the extra 50kms to the beautiful town of Bright on the sdge of the Victorian High Country. Next day head north to the Murray Valley Hwy and on through Tallangatta and Corryong. Then up into The Kosciuszko National Park, but stop at the lookouts and checkout the amazing views back down to Corryong and the Murray Valley.

Its about 50 K's to Thredbo but a slowish drive along a winding road. Its about 180kms from Bright to Thredbo but probably 3 to 4 hours drive, so you should be in Thredbo in plenty of time for an afternoon hike. Next day its about 80kms to Cooma (with only 15kms of winding roads and then the rest flat) but with oplenty of great scenery along the way, looking back at the Great Divie. Cooma is well worth a visit if you are interested in the history of the Snowmy Mountain Scheme and then its only 114 kms on to Canberra.

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for Victoria
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5. Re: Driving from Melbourne to Canberra

I don't think you will go wrong with either route mentioned here. I will second the one by AJ, only because I know it reasonably well. I would definetly put in a solid first days drive and get to Bright, it is one of the really great scenic towns in Victoria. It only takes 2.5 hours drive from Melbourne to get to Wang and it is easy freeway driving, then you can head inland to Bright. Follow the rest as mentioned by AJ and give yourself plenty of time in Canberra, there is more to see there than most people realize. Possibly one night in Bright, one at Thredbo, one in Cooma and the last in Canberra or the last two in Canberra.

Canberra, Australia
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6. Re: Driving from Melbourne to Canberra

Late March the deciduous trees may be just starting to turn I think.

If you opt for the Beechworth/Bright route, with a bit of juggling suggest heading up Mt Buffalo, the historic chalet was damaged by fire a couple of years back (haven't been since it happened) but the lookouts give stunning views. Also Yackandandah is well worth a look:


In Beechworth - the Beechworth Bakery is a prizewinner in every sense. Be careful about weekends as I'm told the queues are huge then.

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7. Re: Driving from Melbourne to Canberra

Hello Kezza-08,

This site could be helpful for you - http://www.sydneytomelbournedrives.com.au

I too have taken the chairlift from Thredbo and walked the rest of the way to the top of Mt Kosciusko, and if the weather is suitable, highly recommend it. You do have to be mindful of the weather up there, it can change so quickly, so make sure you check the forecast before setting out. I do know there is an all-day walk that goes from near the top but haven't done it myself, though friends have and they enjoyed it. Thredbo fascinates me as it just doesn't look like your average Australian town. I think because it is built in the national park the park authorities had much to do with its planning, thus keeping it compact so as not to eat up too much of the park.

8. Re: Driving from Melbourne to Canberra

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