Sydney Melbourne via Canberra Inland Trip Planner

Sydney, Canberra & Melbourne are famous cities that attract millions of people to visit every year. If you want to plan a road trip between these cities by driving. In this article, I will show you the best route plan & itinerary from Sydney to Melbourne via Canberra in Australia.

There are two routes for self-driving road trips between Sydney and Melbourne. The first route will drive the coastal highway. The second route is the inland highway, so I will show you this inland route for a road trip across M31 Highway.

Before You Take Action

I must say that I haven’t been to every attraction on this road. So here I just tried some practical recommendations for road trips by my friends & local residents and wrote itineraries using my experience as suggestions.

You don’t need to follow my whole plan; arrange it, add and remove some places in your mind, and consider your limited day & budget. So, hopefully, you enjoy a fun fill & unforgettable road trip of your own!

Sydney Melbourne Via Canberra Drive Route Map Overview

Drive to Melbourne to Sydney that have two routes, let’s check these two route maps:

Sydney to Canberra to Melbourne drive route map Australia
Sydney to Canberra to Melbourne drive route map

(Click on Google Map)

As the first map you see, this M31 is an inland highway, faster than the A1 highway along the coast and its main route linking Sydney and Melbourne.

Enter the state of Australia Capital Territory (ACT) when you have a road trip on the highway. In this state, a journey in Canberra near the state New South Wales border is about 286km distance by self-drive.

How Many Kilometers Is This Route?

If just departing from Sydney, it’s 862 km total distance, but if you add Canberra trip, that’s 932km total.

Note: You have to avoid the tolls before entering the downtown of City (Either Sydney and Melbourne) on M31. Make sure you already set up ETC no matter you rent or own the car, but you have to set “avoid toll“ on the Google Map app before starting. To know about toll paid, ask Rental Service before you make a book.

How Many Days Are Best For A Road Trip?

No matter whether you wanna go to Canberra or not, at least need 2 days drive. If you wanna go to Canberra by self-drive from Sydney, it will take 4 hrs up about 281km, if, from Melbourne, you need about 8 hrs 660km. So that’s why I recommend you start your trip from Sydney.

But, I must first say that I have not been to every attraction. I just tried to recommend some of the more worthwhile attractions, which may be familiar to you. And the advice itinerary I gave, you don’t have to do it all, because you can’t drive as long as I can, you can follow this route at your own pace. Finally, you must carefully consider your limited vacation time. Basically, there is beautiful scenery on this road, so enjoy this trip.

Best Attractions in Canberra & between Sydney Melbourne

This section will show you these attractions that you can fill in your trip plan, some places that make you have fun with children. So take walking around, and enjoy the natural, peaceful atmosphere. Also, you will find out these tourist attractions which don’t appear in most tourist groups.

  • Parliament House
  • Old Parliament House
  • National Library of Australia
  • National Museum of Australia
  • Anzac Park
  • Australian War Memorial
  • more…

Check Over 20 Up Attractions between Sydney Melbourne via Canberra>>

Above these destinations, what’s the best route? I got two kinds of itineraries for you. But before starting the route review, one point must remind you.

Don’t forget To rent A car!

You can through these two websites and compare the car rental prices, it’s DriveCarNow and RentalCars.

But why do you need to rent a car? Because Australia is a vast mainland with many beautiful attractions to add to your trip, self-driving cars are much more convenient than joining the tour group. When you want to get to one destination, that’s pretty far, so you need to drive several hours for these two itineraries, which are separated by different types of vehicles.

2 Days Itinerary Sydney Melbourne Via Canberra Road Trip

If you just have 2 days, you can stay over in Canberra; some accommodations have the best rate of reviews. Learn More>>

If you start from Sydney, I recommend you stay in Canberra City Centre for the two-day drive trip. Check-in the University House-ANU because it’s in the city center, and just visit most typical attractions by walk.

If you start from Melbourne, I recommend booking a night at the University of Canberra Village, which is also cheaper. Next, the day you can visit the city center, then heading to Sydney.

So what about this itinerary detail?

Better you need to consider the fuel so add this point to your plan, for the two days itinerary, the detail of the project is like this:

2 Days Sydney To Melbourne Via Canberra

Day 1 – Sydney to Canberra

Front of War of Memorial Museum ACT Australia
Front of War of Memorial Museum
  • Estimated Distance – 310 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 3 hr 50 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

  • Departure from Sydney
  • Stop & load food & fuel at Goulburn
  • City tour of Canberra
  • Australian War Memorial
  • Parliament House & Old Parliament House
  • Mount Ainslie Lookout
  • Stay over at University House-ANU

Day 2 – Canberra to Melbourne

Vietnam Veterans Memorial VIC Australia
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Estimated Distance – 658 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 7 hr 8 min

>>Get navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

  • Stop & load food & fuel at Albury
  • Arrive Melbourne, trip complete

2 Days Melbourne To Sydney Via Canberra

Day 1 – Melbourne to Canberra

Weapons of War Memorial Museum ACT Australia
Weapons of War Memorial Museum
  • Estimated Distance – 658 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 7 hr

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

Day 2 – Canberra to Sydney

Queen Victoria Building Sydney NSW Australia
Queen Victoria Building Sydney City
  • Estimated Distance – 315 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 4 hr

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

  • Australian War of Memorial
  • Parliament House / Old Parliament House
  • Mount Ainslie Lookout
  • Stop & load food & fuel at Goulburn
  • Arrive Sydney, trip complete

PS: You have to turn on the “Avoid Tolls” mode that helps you save money on both routes.

7 Days Itinerary Sydney Melbourne Road Trip in Regular Vehicle

This’s 6 days 5 nights itinerary suggestion; transport prefers either sedan and wagon. How many days of planning a self-drive trip of Sydney Melbourne through Canberra? The ideal trip by self-drive is 6 days even one week should be fine, but this plan which just a reference, you can arrange your own.

An ordinary car like a sedan, wagon, jeep, etc. Most people don’t want to overeat on a single-day trip. They just need to relax and chill and enjoy this place in slow motion, especially families. So I’m here try share this plan for this audience:

Day 1 – Departure from Sydney

Big Merino NSW Australia
Big Merino
  • Estimated Distance – 243 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 3 hr 10 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

  • Harpers Mansion.
  • Sunnataram Forest Monastery.
  • Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy at Penrose Park.
  • Big Merino.
  • Overnight at Goulburn Central Motor Lodge, a good location for shopping.

Day 2 – Canberra Tour Part-1

Australian War Memorial ACT Australia
Australian War Memorial ACT Australia
  • Estimated Distance – 111 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 1 hr 40 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

  • Australia War Memorial.
  • Anzac Park, walking along Anzac Parade to visit statues at side of the road.
  • National Carillon.
  • Mount Ainslie Lookout.
  • Overnight at University House, in central of Canberra, easy shopping, loading food.

Day 3 – Canberra Tour Part-2

Parliament House Canberra ACT Australia
Parliament House Canberra Australia
  • Estimated Distance – 5.5 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 15 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

  • The Shine Dome.
  • Reconciliation Place (Certain Questacon, National Library of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, High Court of Australia).
  • Old Parliament House.
  • Parliament House.
  • Overnight at University House.

Day 4 – Canberra Tour Part-3

National Library of Australia Canberra ACT Australia
National Library of Australia Canberra
  • Estimated Distance – 17.5 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 25 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

  • National Zoo and Aquarium.
  • National Arboretum Canberra.
  • Australian National Botanic Gardens.
  • Telstra Tower.
  • Overnight at University House.

Day 5 – Canberra to Albury

National Museum of Australia ACT Australia
National Museum of Australia
  • Estimated Distance – 346 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 3 hr 36 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

Day 6 – Head to Melbourne

Melbourne City VIC Australia
Melbourne City
  • Estimated Distance – 342 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 4 hr 5 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

  • Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk.
  • Funfields.
  • Melbourne City Tour (Finish).

You can enjoy the chill garden and a great city tour on this route trip because most destinations are suitable for a child. Therefore you can add some forest tours from the attractions list. All you need to do is just book an ordinary car so that it’s easy to start the Sydney Melbourne road trip.

7 Days Itinerary Sydney Melbourne Road Trip in Camper Van & 4WD SUV

The difference with the previous paragraph mentioned is that transport suggestions for those who want to go camping in wildness prefer camper van and 4WD SUV. In this kind of route map, show the day tour detail include best destinations for campers trip so if you rent a camper van, that’s an excellent choice for your road trip. Now let’s check this trip detail:

Day 1 – Sydney To Gembells

Mermaid Pools NSW Australia
Mermaid Pools
  • Estimated Distance – 182 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 2 hr 35 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

Day 2 – Tour at Bungonia National Park

Sunnataram Forest Monastery NSW Australia
Sunnataram Forest Monastery
  • Estimated Distance – 120 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 2 hr 10 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

Day 3 – Canberra Tour Part-1

Mount Ainslie Lookout ACT Australia
Mount Ainslie Lookout
  • Estimated Distance – 145 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 2 hr 10 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

Day 4 – Canberra Tour Part-2

Parliament House Canberra ACT Australia
Parliament House Canberra ACT Australia
  • Estimated Distance – 9.2 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 19 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

  • The Shine Dome.
  • Reconciliation Place (You can visit Questacon, National Library of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia, High Court of Australia, etc. ).
  • Old Parliament House.
  • Parliament House.
  • Overnight at Dickson Backpackers or Alivio Tourist Park Canberra.

Day 5 – Canberra Tour Part-3

Telstra Tower ACT Australia
Telstra Tower ACT Australia
  • Estimated Distance – 18.7 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 26 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

Day 6 – Canberra to Albury

Lake Hume Tourist Park Beach Area NSW Australia
Lake Hume Tourist Park Beach Area NSW Australia
  • Estimated Distance – 353 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 4 hr

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

Day 7 – Heading Melbourne City

Melbourne City VIC Australia
Melbourne City VIC Australia
  • Estimated Distance – 342 km
  • Estimated Drive Time – 4 hr 10 min

>>Get Navigation on Google Map

In this part route, you have these places drive-through:

  • Vietnam Veterans Commemorative Walk.
  • Funfields.
  • Melbourne City Tour (Finish).

Want to know more attractions?

Check Over 20 Up Attractions between Sydney Melbourne via Canberra>>

What’s the Difference Between these Two Drive Routes?

In the first plan, recommend motels for Overnight because it’s convenient for families. But if you rent camper vans, I recommend caravan parks to help you save money so you can check the second trip plan.

Generally, campers usually take more days for travelers to have tours in forest trails and national parks because they need the whole day by walking. Indeed, you can make your own just by checking these two routes samples.

Are You Ready to Go?

In this article, you can make yourself by getting these two route maps. There is no need to follow all attractions on the list because there are still many more beautiful destinations, especially near Canberra. So I just list these popular for you also, consider your budgets.

As I said, these two kinds of road trips route Sydney to Melbourne. Did you book your car before the road trip? To book a regular car or camper van, you can compare the prices through these two websites. They are DriveCarNow and RentalCars.

Have you ever been to the Blue Mountains by self-driving? If you haven’t touched it, I have a 1-day tour for you. Get More Detail>>

Conclusion

I hope you enjoy this road trip, you already know the best route for Sydney Canberra, and Melbourne. Now, get your belongings ready, get food and a map, then turn on your car engine and start it! 

By the way, besides Sydney Melbourne Canberra trip planner, I recommend these route planners for your next road trip:

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Best trips in Australia by Lonely Planet on Amazon

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