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Traveling from Melbourne to Sydney can be a short, one-hour plane trip. However, if you fancy something a little more exciting, you can also drive the distance in eight and a half hours, without stops. But why do that when you can break along the way and enjoy the wonderful country towns Australia has to offer?
Driving gives any journey a different angle, giving you the time to appreciate the views whizzing by and the mini-destinations along the way. The road trip to Sydney from Melbourne is surprisingly peaceful, surrounded by the beautiful Australian countryside. Rolling hills, grazing cattle, and fields of canola fill the scene outside your window, as well as charming little country towns. Filled with locals happy to share their history, gourmet produce and have a good old “chin-wag” (chat), these towns are some of the most welcoming places in the country.
Albury sits on the New South Wales and Victorian border and is a historic country town with plenty of local attractions to discover. Albury Botanical Gardens, Hume Dam, museums, and memorials are some of Albury’s highlights.
Only three and a half hours drive North of Melbourne, Albury is a great spot to stop for breakfast if you decide to leave early in the morning. Nord Bakery is a delightful bakery with fresh bread and delicious cakes and pastries, all made with a traditional cooking method and natural ingredients. With its warm and enticing aromas, Nord Bakery is a must-visit for foodies.
This typical Aussie country town is renowned for the statue of The Dog on the Tuckerbox, a small monument to remember the Riverina region pioneers. Created from an early 1900’s Australian poem, the iconic statue sits five miles North of the sleepy town of Gundagai. Here you can find a café selling refreshments and souvenirs, or take a break and re-energize at one of the tranquil picnic areas. There’s also sometimes a few local craft and produce stalls about to give you an authentic taste of Gundagai. Gundagai is so acclaimed, it even had a famous country song written about it, the 1922 ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’ by Slim Dusty.
Holbrook is another quaint country town within New South Wales. A usual stop on the way to Melbourne, Holbrook is noted for its regional bakery, winning many awards for the tasty Aussie Pies. The locally-owned bakery was established in 1899 and continues to deliver delicious fresh bread and sweet treats to hungry commuters.
Named after a courageous submarine, Holbrook is often referred to as the ‘submarine town’. Visitors can even see the Australian submarine HMAS Otway and a half-scale model of the British Submarine HMS B11 from 1914 in the town center. Be sure to check out the Holbrook Submarine Museum to learn more about these incredible structures.
The rural region of Goulburn, only 2 hours drive from Sydney, is bursting with things to do, including the nation’s oldest surviving brewery. Galleries, museums and the Goulburn Rail Heritage Centre are great for cultural and educational experiences but the Big Merino is arguably the most popular attraction. The massive concrete Merino Ram, standing at 49 feet high, was built in recognition of the Australian Wool Industry. Built in 1985, the ram honors wool production in the nearby areas. Souvenirs, cosmetics, natural lanolin products, and of course high-quality wool knitwear are all sold at The Big Merino in Goulburn.
About the author: Lorelle Catalano is the creator of A Mindful Traveler and Mom of two, based in Melbourne, Australia. Her passions are travel and food—her journeys inspire her love of food, while her recipes all have a story to tell. Here, she shares her top 4 top four places to stop on a road trip between Melbourne and Sydney.