Our ultimate Sydney to Melbourne inland itinerary shows you where to stop and the best Hume Highway attractions to check out along the way.
You can travel back in time at Bindalong, a small town outside of Yass, explore the arts scene in Albury and go walking in Seymour. Take time to really explore Melbourne once you arrive, including the National Gallery of Victoria and the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Hero image credit: Andrey Moisseyev; Visit Victoria
Day 1: Sydney to Gundagai
4hr 16min | 397km
Wander south-west on the Hume Motorway from the highlands to the plains.
A short detour off the motorway is a region that can look rather English when there’s been rain. Bowral in particular, reads like a storybook of simpler days for kids, like Mary Poppins creator Helen Goff/PL Travers (her childhood house is still there on Holly Street and there’s a statue of Mary Poppins in Glebe Park), Ginger Meggs (the movie adaptation of the popular comic was filmed) or Don Bradman (the Bradman Museum is a must-visit for cricket fans). Drop into the Milk Factory Gallery for coffee and lunch before hitting the road again.
Less than half an hour out of Yass is the tiny town of Binalong where young Banjo Paterson went to primary school and the bushranger Johnny Gilbert was stopped dead in his tracks. Motoring enthusiasts will get a buzz out of the restoration workshop/exhibits at Binalong Motoring Museum; and if you’re travelling through on a Sunday (10am-5pm) there’s also an old homestead and gallery called Black Swan that’s only open once a week, though worth a look.
Don’t forget to slow down 10 minutes before you get to Gundagai to pat the Dog on the Tuckerbox and recite a line or two of the famous bush poem. The town is a popular stopover for families taking the inland route to Victoria, so book ahead for a place to sleep. The Tuckerbox Motor Inn offers the town’s only 4-star motel accommodation with modern suites, family rooms and queen rooms.
The delightfully-named Poets Recall was built on the site of the first inn in the centre of town and serves hearty country meals. The award-winning Fangios at The Star Hotel does a delectable range of local meats with great modern sides; and Sheridan Bouteaque serves vege stacks, smoked trout and other dishes using fresh local produce.
Day 2: Gundagai to Melbourne
5hr 40min | 521km
Roll through the hills into Victoria and south to Melbourne.
An hour and 10 out of Gundagai on the Hume Highway there’s a town once known as Ten Mile Creek and later Germanton (after it was settled by several Germans in the mid-1800s). Now it’s named after a submarine captain. As well as being the final resting place of the ex-RAN submarine HMAS Otway, it’s home to a good number of decent cafés including Morrison’s and the simply-named Submarine Café right next to the Submarine Museum, which has plenty of hands-on exhibits and artefacts to intrigue visitors of all ages.
Before you head over the NSW border into Victoria, refuel and spend a few hours exploring the arts scene in Albury. If the weather is fine, go see at least some of the modern Aboriginal sculptures along the 5km Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk. The newest art gallery is MAMA (Murray Art Museum Albury), which opened in 2015 and houses several decades’ worth of the Albury Art Prize winners in its permanent collection plus frequent international exhibitions. Artspace, Library Museum and GIGs are also worth exploring – all have quality cafés catering to all tastes.
Fifteen minutes after you’ve passed Wangaratta, take the Glenrowan exit to explore a little town just as proud (if not prouder) of its 130-plus years’ winemaking history as its connection to one of our country’s notorious bushrangers. Enjoy some wine tasting at one of the many local vineyards then wander around the Historic Siege Precinct’s collection of sites marking the last hours of Ned Kelly and his gang.
About 100 kilometres out of Melbourne, Seymour is a country town with a rich military history stretching back to the first training camps for World War I at Puckapunyal military base, just out of town. Two striking outdoor memorials that encourage you to walk and contemplate this history are the Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk and Light Horse Memorial Park.
Down by the riverside is the modern, comfortable and family-friendly Travelodge Southbank, an easy walk to all the shops, restaurants and entertainment centres along the Yarra. It’s just a skip and jump to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Rod Laver Arena (home to tennis and concerts); and right next to Melbourne’s Art Precinct including the Arts Centre Melbourne, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, State Theatre, Malthouse Theatre, Hamer Hall, Southbank Theatre and National Gallery of Victoria.