Want to get from Sydney to Melbourne with kids as efficiently as possible without the kids losing it?
I usually do this drive over two days. It can be done in one but it’s just that little bit too long and with little kids it is a bit of a punish.
Over two days it is actually a really cruisy drive, you can leave home later in the day and arrive a bit earlier at your destination.
If you are unsure of what to pack, I’ve created a list of essential items to pack for road trips with all my can’t live without bits and pieces.
As per the road tripping with kids survival guide, I limit drive time to about 2.5 hours each stretch as the kids start losing it at about that point.
Our first stop is Goulburn, it’s bang on 2.5 hours from Sydney and there is a great park where they can burn off some energy.
There is a playground with a train and a heap of play equipment at the far end when you are coming from the centre of town.
There are toilets in the park and you are also walking distance to the shops so it’s easy to restock any items you need.
Our next stop is a toss up between Gundagai which is right on the highway and Wagga Wagga which is half an hour inland from the highway.
Goulburn is 2.5 hours from Wagga Wagga and just under 2 hours from Gundagai.
I always stop in Gundagai these days as I don’t want to add to the trip.
When the kids were a bit younger and not as chilled about road tripping, I was prepared to tack on an hour drive time (total) so I could get to an indoor play centre.
Gundagai is beautiful, I love it, but there aren’t any good playgrounds and none that are fenced.
We tend walk up and down the main street, grab a bite to eat at one of the pubs or go and sit in the shade by the river.
There are also the most awesome old bridges there that are worth having a look at.
If you decide that the kids are going completely stir crazy and need more than a stroll head to Wagga Wagga.
It is your standard large indoor play centre and is perfect for getting the kids thoroughly exhausted before the next leg of the trip.
If neither of these are sounding that great, you could keep going down the highway for another hour and a half and head to Holbrook Submarine Museum.
I find it a little too far for my two to make in one stretch but if you have older kids who can do the drive it might be perfect for you.
You can find the museum at Albury St & Wallace Street, Holbrook NSW.
If I am doing the drive over two days I spend the night in Gundagai.
If you are in a campervan, caravan or RV there is a great free park right on the river and walking distance to the centre of town. It’s called Pumphouse Reserve and you can stay for free in a self contained vehicle for up to 72 hours. Check it out on WikiCamps here.
If you are staying in a motel then the Tuckerbox Motor Inn is the winner I reckon.
Really clean, large rooms and consistently good reviews. It’s also close enough to the highway to be easy to pull in but not close enough to be too noisy.
Our next stop is one of my favourites, Albury is just under 2 hours from Gundagai and 2.5 hours from Wagga Wagga.
It’s a beautiful town and the playground we head to is AMAZING, one of the best I’ve been to. It’s called Oddies Creek Park and it’s at Wodonga Pl, South Albury NSW, it’s huge and suited to all ages.
There are toilets nearby and plenty of shady parking.
Check out this post on Weekend Notes to see a whole lot of photos of the playground – Oddies Creek Adventure Playspace.
Even if you don’t eat at the cafe it is the perfect spot to take a picnic.
There is also another smaller playground right near the picnic tables and under plenty of shade.
From Albury you are just over 3 hours from the very centre of Melbourne City.
You can of course turn this plan on it’s head and do it in reverse, it works just as well, funny that!
I tend to use audiobooks to get the kids through the driving with minimal meltdowns. Check out my favourite kids stories on Audible for a list of great books that my two love.
Food – If you need to stop for munchies or a meal along the way my favourites are Oliver’s Real Food. They are popping up all along the highways which is awesome as they only stock organic nutritious food.
I’ve heard that they are hoping to put an Oliver’s next to every Maccas in the big service stations on the highways. How cool would that be 🙂
I am totally addicted to their steamed green beans masquerading as chips in a bucket.
You can find Oliver’s on the way to Melbourne in the following places –
Hopefully we will see more pop up between Gundagai and Melbourne in the near future.
So there you go, good luck, and have fun!
If you decide to do the coast road next time check out Sydney to Melbourne via the coast road.
If you are worried about how the kids will go in the car for long stretches check out 10 ways to entertain your kids on a road trip or apps for road tripping with kids (that don’t involve screens) for some cool ideas.
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