We have done this Sydney to Adelaide drive several times. If you are looking forward to doing something different and if your kids travel well, I highly recommend it.
This post is the first of three which cover the route Sydney to Adelaide via Albury and Bendigo, instead of via Hay.
We have also travelled via Hay, but I think that it is less scenic and has fewer interesting places to stop.
By Mireia Garriga
Why Drive Sydney to Adelaide ?
Sydney to Adelaide is not a popular road trip, but we think it should be, here’s why:
- The route is very scenic in spring with all the bright yellow canola fields and the farm animals that you can spot from the car.
- It is a cheaper option than coastal road trips, where accommodation tends to be more expensive.
- It is a good way to catch up with old friends or family, if you have some
- This road trip combines historic landmarks with child friendly places, which makes it quite unique.
- Adelaide is a great city to explore. Plus, there are plenty of family friendly beaches, too. And the most important, lots of playgrounds!!!
- The whole trip is feasible to do it in 2 weeks, so it might be a good plan for school holidays.
- Plus, you visit 3 states (NSW, VIC, SA)!
How Long Is The Journey and How Many Days Do I Need?
The total journey is 1,300 km. For one way, you need minimum three days. Then, you need minimum of three – four days in Adelaide. This means that you need 10 days in total, or ideally two weeks. Of course, if you have more time, the better.
Some Advice for Planning the Trip
- Plan ahead: read some information about the places that you would like to stop (and agree with your partner!), pre-book accommodation (if school holidays), check your tires or get your car serviced, have an early start every day and avoid travelling at night, pack some snacks and drinks, balance the idea of organising one suitcase with the clothes for the road trip stops and another one with the rest of the clothes for the longer stay in Adelaide.
- Be flexible: prepare to stop more than you planned (specially, when children need to go to the toilet; my calculations is that every stop for going to the toilet can easily add 20 minutes to the total traveling time), and, expect some misbehaving (sometimes, children get fed up, even they are good travellers!).
- Keep the kids entertained: it really requires professional brainstorming! We used a portable DVD Player, played “I spy”, bought sticker books / free mess colouring books and listened lots of music.
Note: be aware that internet signal and the FM radio are very weak or inexistent in some areas.
Sydney – Albury 550 km: Where and When To Stop?
The way that we chose to stop not only helped us to cope with the tiredness but also it had all the kid friendly elements that you need for a smooth road trip.
We chose to stay at motels, as it is easy to park and drag the bags into the room. Albury and Bendigo have also hotels.
Personally, we like early starts. So, we have more freedom to stop and spend more time in each place, if we feel tired. Also, we like to do a long stint of driving like Seana suggested in a previou post about the road trips from Sydney to Orange.
Gunning (243 km from Sydney)
Gunning is a small country town on the Old Hume Highway, between Goulburn and Yass. It has managed to retain the old rural and historic charm.
62 Yass St, Gunning NSW 2581
Phone: 02 4845 1250
This café has a patio at the back and a kid’s corner inside. The best: the homemade cakes! For travellers, it is the perfect stop to refuel, as it has an extensive all day breakfast menu.
The Dog on the Tuckerbox near Gundagai (375 km from Sydney)
Gundagai is famous because of “the Dog on the Tuckerbox´” and “the Marble Masterpiece”. “The Dog on the Tuckerbox” is not in town, but it has big signs on the highway.
Note: I recommend stopping it on the way back, as there isn’t any bypass unless you take West St from Gundagai.
Dog on the tuckerbox Tourist Centre
37 Annie Pyers Dr, Gundagai NSW 2722
Phone: 04 0037 3231
The Tourist Centre is next to the Dog on the Tuckerbox. The Centre also has a kiosk. Café and hamburgers are nice. There is plenty of space for children running around.
Note: Be aware that they close early.
Gundagai (380 km from Sydney)
If you decide to stop in Gundagai, don’t miss “The Marble Masterpiece”, which is an impressive cathedral-in-miniature made by the same sculptor of “the Dog on the Tuckerbox”, Frank Rusconi. This masterpiece is permanently on display at the Visitor Information Centre.
Albury (558 km from Sydney)
On the border with Victoria, Albury is a vibrant regional major city in conjunction with Wodonga. Albury belongs to New South Wales, while Wodonga is in Victoria.
The Snowy Mountains and the vineyards of Rutherglen are around the corner. We must stay longer and explore the region next time!
In Albury, we spent the afternoon in the beautiful Noreuil Park and we visited the Monument Hill War Memorial next morning before departing.
Other attractions: the Albury Botanic Garden, the Albury Library Museum and the Murray Art Museum.
River Deck Café in Noreuil Park and playground
48 Noreuil Parade, South Albury NSW 2640
Phone: 02 6023 5980
Bless this place! Watch your children from the deck and relax after the long drive! There are not many places that you can have beer or a glass of wine, meanwhile your children play. Furthermore, the food is exquisite.
Important: the playground is not fenced and it is next to the river. If you have little terrors, you might prefer to go to the fully fenced Oddies Creek Adventure Playspace, which is only 500 metres walking distance from Noreuil Park.
Commercial Golf Resort
530 North Street, North Albury NSW 2640
Phone: 02 6041 1211
The Commercial Golf Resort is a motel style accommodation with a touch of luxury. The family rooms are spacious. It has a swimming pool, a tiny playground and a very popular bistro besides the golf.
Albury Garden Court Motel
426 David St, Albury NSW 2640
Phone: 02 6021 6244
Ultra convenient location, if you plan to stay in the CBD of Albury. Good customer service. The rooms were clean and comfortable. Also, the motel has a swimming pool for the hot summer days.
Suggested DETOUR: Southern Highlands
Click here for information about Bowral and Berrima. This article by Fiona Kirsch is full of suggestions of things to do with kids!
Less busy than Bowral, Mittagong is a good place to stop if you plan to detour, as the Mittagong Visitors’ Centre is the main tourist information bureau for the Highlands. Besides its historic importance due to the coal and iron in the past, nowadays Mittagong is getting very popular because of its wineries.
18 Bowral Road, Mittagong NSW 2575
Phone: 02 4872 1466
This Coffee Shop and Record Bar has kept in mind children. Next to the records, you can find some pencils and paper. Furthermore, the sandwiches are delicious!
Note: closed on Sundays.
Sydney to Albury is an easy road trip to do with kids, specially if you plan a stop to the Southern Highlands or if you plan to detour in Canberra.
Ready? Don’t foget to share your adventures with us!
Other shorter NSW road trips: There are some great ideas!