Road trip: Sydney to Canberra By Car With Kids

Is it only me or does everyone gnash their teeth when they read how long a journey should take… then compare it to how long it actually does take when you’ve got kids in the car? I read in several places that the road trip from Sydney to Canberra would take three to three and a half hours. I’m sure I can remember that it did take me that long in the past.

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Well, it’s 302km door to door from my house in the northern parts of Sydney to the Avenue Hotel in canberra. And it took us five hours!

Mind you, that includes one toilet stop and one lunch stop…. and the traffic coming through central Sydney and out to the airport was a horror, even mid-morning.

Anyway, a word to the wise… allow plenty of time, even for this relatively straightforward and much-travelled route. Also if you are not used to family road trips do think about what you pack. There’s an excellent list of road trip packing essentials on this road trip planning article.

map Sydney Canberra

Sydney-Canberra Road Trip: The Route

We got ourselves to the airport and then into the M5 tunnel and tollway. The route is plain sailing from there, dual carriageway and very clearly signed.

The M5 Tollway connects to the Hume Highway (31.)  You turn left after Goulburn on to the Federal Highway to Canberra.

Highway driving is not my favourite. I don’t like all the huge trucks thundering by.

The twins also gave me a row on a couple of occasions when my attention to the speed drifted and they noticed we were hammering along at 120 kmh. Bad!


Remembrance Driveway

The route between Sydney and Canberra has many sections with beautiful avenues of trees. In fact the route is known as Remembrance Driveaway and sections have been planted in memory of Australian soldiers who have died in service.

In 1954 the Queen and Prince Philip launched the Remembrance Driveway when they each planted a plane tree in Macquarie Place, Sydney.

These trees mark the Sydney end of the Driveway. In 2002 three Red Spotted Gums were planted by the Governor-General in the Remembrance Park, behind the Australian War Memorial, Canberra to mark the Canberra end of the Driveway.

You can read amore on the Remembrance Driveway website.

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The playground at The Olive Grove

Sydney – Canberra: Rest and Toilet Stops

There are nine rest stops with toilets on this journey.

The best place I can direct you is to the RMS Online Interactive Rest Area map.  It’s a fantastic resource.

You can get all the info before you go so you can be super-prepared for any toilet emergencies.

Coffee and Lunch Stops

If you take the drive slowly, you can enjoy a stop off and explore in the pretty Southern Highlands towns of Moss Vale, Mittagong, Bowral and Berrima.

There’s also the village of Collector, just off the Federal Highway about 45 minutes outside Canberra.

We didn’t explore any towns but we did pull off into Fedra Olive Grove where the lovely cafe called Olive View is found.

There’s a good play area there and some swings with excellent views. The menu is wide and the food very good. Highly recommended!

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This cafe has an outside eating area and below that some swings with sweeping views over the olive grove.


Family Trips to Canberra – More Posts

15 Things To Do in Canberra With Kids

Canberra’s Best Park and Playgrounds

Our road trip home, from Canberra to Sydney was done without a stop and took four hours. My car is small and generally I am pretty slow and careful. The roads were much clearer in Sydney.

Are you planning a trip to Canberra from Sydney?

Done the trip? Can you pass on any good information about places to stop?

If you love a road trip, try this one from Sydney to Broke in the Upper Hunter!


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