Travel Advice: A Month in Australia

australiaThe Daily Telegraph, May 16, 2013

Ask the experts: Mark Chipperfield, our Australia expert, helps a couple plan a holiday in Australia, including tips on driving between Sydney and Melbourne.

Joyce and Stewart Ibbotson write

My wife and I are planning to visit Australia for the first time, for a month in October, staying with relations for the first week in Sydney then driving to Melbourne across the mountain range, stopping at any recommended sights, national parks etc.

We expect that will take three or four days. We then want to drive back to Sydney around the coast. Can you help with the following please?

1) What are the best routes between Melbourne and Sydney?

2) We plan to stay in motels en route but not booking to give us flexibility. Will that work?

3) Any advice on car hire?

4) For the rest of the time would you recommend going up to Queensland for a few days or would you take a flight down to Tasmania?

We don’t want to cram too much into the four weeks and hope we can return to Australia in future.

Mark Chipperfield replies

1) Long-distance driving in Australia is exactly that: long. The inland route from Sydney to Melbourne (717 miles) follows a dual carriageway called the Hume Highway. It’s dull.

The coastal drive, however, is a delight and will take you to fishing villages, national parks and wild surf beaches. Spend four or five days on this drive (stopping at Jervis Bay, Eden, Lakes Entrance, Wilsons Promontory and the Mornington Peninsula) – and then fly back to Sydney. See for detailed information on the Victorian leg.

2) Outside school holidays, finding accommodation should not be a problem on the coastal route from Sydney to Melbourne. But country motels are often very basic. Consider b&bs and self-contained cottages. Both and have useful accommodation guides.

3) Car hire is incredibly competitive in Australia. Compare rates for all the major rental companies at or .

4) Queensland or Tasmania? Given the attractions of the Great Barrier Reef, it has to be Queensland. Tasmania, of course, has its own charms, but nothing quite compares with diving on the reef – or exploring the magnificent Daintree rainforest.