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Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

Sydney, Australia
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Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

I am travelling to Melbourne from Sydney with my wife and two kids (6 yrs & 2 yrs) in the first week of October. This is a self-drive trip and am conscious of the amount of time we will be spending in the car so have tried to space out the drives with overnight stops. This is our first visit to Melbourne and we are interested in visiting key tourist attractions - natural or man-made, and things for kids to do. I have not made reservations for accomodation yet so am open to other overnight stops but am not keen on changing accomodation every other day, unless absolutely required. After a lot of research, I have come up with the below itinerary and would appreciate any feedback.

Day 1:

Sydney to Merimbula drive (overnight at Merimbula)

Day 2:

Magic Mountain Theme Park (overnight at Merimbula)

Day 3:

Merimbula to Dandenong Ranges / Yarra Valley drive (overnight at DR / YV)

Day 4:

Pannys Phillip Island Chocolate Factory

Phillip Island Nature Park - 3 parks (overnight at DR / YV)

Day 5:

Dandenong Ranges

Puffing Billy Steam Railway (half day)

Yarra Valley (overnight at DR / YV)

Day 6:

Scienceworks

Eureka Skydeck 88

Federation Square

City Circle Tram

Melbourne Aquarium

and if time permits

Old Melbourne Gaol

Queen Victoria Market (overnight at DR / YV)

Day 7:

Mornington Peninsula

Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm

Ashcombe Maze or Enchanted Maze Garden

Queenscliff-Sorrento Ferry

Lorne - Erskine Falls (overnight at Lorne)

Day 8:

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures & Cape Otway Light House

Loch Ard Gorge

12 Apostles

Bay of Islands Coastal Park

Shipwreck Coast

Shipwrecked Sound & Laser Show (night) (overnight at Warrnambool)

Day 9:

Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village

Warrnambool to Albury drive (via Geelong & Melbourne) (overnight at Albury)

Day 10:

Albury to Sydney drive (via Goulburn & Mittagong)

My questions:

1) How does the itinerary look overall in terms of coverage of key things to visit and time allocated? Is it packed with too many things to do? (I actually considered Healesville Sanctuary, Sovereign Hill & Adventure Park-Geelong but left them out as I ran out of time)

2) I am aware that from Day 7 onwards there is a lot of driving to be done and I am tossing up with dropping one night at Merimbula up front for an extra night at Lorne or Warrnambool. Thoughts?

3) I am undecided on visiting Ashcombe Maze or Enchanted Maze Garden. Which would be more suitable for kids 2 & 6?

4) Is the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures & Cape Otway Light House worth visiting considering that we have seen the Illawarra Fly Treetop around Sydney?

Any comments or suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

Oz
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1. Re: Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

Hmm,

If possible I would include a night on the return to take in Soverign Hill.

Cheers,

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

I'm going to reply to this tomorrow in more detail. It is a good start but I'll make a couple of suggestions. Just to clarify - DR/YV means Dandenong Ranges Yarra Valley.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

Thanks Ozrcflyer. I was thinking about Sovereign Hill but thought I will require a full day for that, hence left it out. I can't really add another day to the plan so would you recommend adding in Sovereign Hill at the expense of something else or giving it a miss for now?

Michael, yes, DR/YV is for Dandenong Ranges/Yarra Valley. Looking forward to your response.

Sydney/Melbourne
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4. Re: Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

Just wondering why you would plan on spending all day in Melbourne then driving back to the Yarra Valley or the Ranfpges to sleep, only to go to the Mornington Peninsula the next day? Day 6 I would o/n either in Melbourne or somewhere on the MP.

I also wouldn't be going through Melbourne to get to Albury. Take the road from Warrnambool to Mortlake then up to Ballarat, through Daylesford, Heathcote and join the Hume Freeway at Benalla. Daylesford is a great spot to stop for lunch and have a quick look around.

Unless you are totally committed to seeing Magic Mountain, you could reconsider coming to Melbourne via the coast road and save a day and a lot of driving by heading straight down the Hume to Melbourne.

Another option may be to reverse the entire trip and head from Sydney to Warrnambool first then make your way towards Melbourne. It gets the worst of the driving out of the way early in the piece.

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

Thanks Eva, I really like your suggestion on considering to do the trip in reverse to get the worst driving out of the way. Also, I like the alternate route you have suggested from Warrnambool to Albury. Let me look into that further.

I did not want to change accomodation unless required so was spending multiple nights at the same place. Agreed going all the way upto Yarra Valley and then going down to Mornington Peninsula does not make sense, but guess it would not be much of an issue if I am spending the night at Dandenong Ranges as that is on the way to Mornington.

Finally, the plan was to come in via the coastal route and go back via the inland route to get the best of both worlds.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

I did write an extensive reply today but deleted it before I pressed submit. Will have another go on the weekend.

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

oh Michael, that's quite unfortunate. Will keep an eye out for your response. Thanks.

Sydney/Melbourne
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8. Re: Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

xotiquedude, I think you may be confusing the suburb of Dandenong which isn't too far from the Mornington Peninsula Freeway, with the Dandenong Ranges which are well to the north (check out Google Maps and look for Mt Dandenong). A lot of people unfamiliar with Melbourne make the same assumption.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Melbourne, Victoria, Road Trips
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9. Re: Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

I understand that you don't want to keep changing accommodation, but having the DR/YV as a base for visiting Phillip Island & the CBD will mean you are spending more time in the car than you need. I'd head to Phillip Island from Merimbula & stay there 2 nights, then head toward the DR/YV.

What do you want to do & see in the Yarra Valley? If you aren't going to Healesville Sanctuary, you can probably skip the YV. I'd suggest staying in the CBD for a couple of nights to do what you want to do. While you may have to pay for parking, the costs will offset the extra costs in all the driving you are planning. If you stay in the CBD, you can visit Mt Dandenong & Puffing Billy while driving from PI to the CBD.

If you want to visit some wineries, there are some excellent ones on the Mornington Peninsula. I'd be tempted to include an overnight on the MP, if you can.

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: Melbourne & Surrounds Self-Drive Itinerary - Feedback needed

Eva & Ellenwillow thanks for your excellent input.

You are right, I did incorrectly assume that Dandenong & Dandenong Ranges are the same.

I will look to revise the itinerary to spend a couple of nights in the CBD and a couple of night possibly at Phillip Island.

The only reason I included Yarra Valley was due to the scenic nature but if it is out of the way, I might save it for my next trip.