Melbourne to Sydney: your ultimate road trip guide for the Hume Highway

An SUV overlooking a grass plain near Gundagai

Nicola Dowse

Posted September 30, 2022

The main Melbourne-Sydney route is long, but it doesn’t have to be arduous, with plenty of fascinating towns, sights, and experiences to explore along the way.

It’s one of the country’s oldest, longest and most-travelled roads. The mighty Hume Highway is a vital part of Australia’s transport infrastructure and has been so (in one form or another) since 1817.

As the primary connection between Australia’s two biggest cities, the Hume is well-used by travellers journeying between Melbourne and Sydney. 

Sure, you can tackle the 840km, nine-hour drive in one day, but with so many sights to see along the way, it’s well worth taking your time.  

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No matter where you are on your road trip, make sure you have a playlist on hand to keep you focused and entertained. Rather than pumping out the same top 20 (mostly American) most-popular pop hits, check out this great Australian road trip playlist featuring Australian artists from the past and present.

Towns, attractions, and rest stops on the Hume Highway


You’ve barely left Melbourne when you reach Seymour, making it a great option for a coffee break or daytrip from the city. 

The town is great for bushwalking (try the Goulburn River Trail) and is home to the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre and Railway Station.

Get your caffeine hit at the Brewer’s Table, which uses Mansfield Coffee Merchant beans and is open from 7am weekdays (8am on weekends). Little Stones is another Seymour café worth stopping at, with owners Milan and Kris aiming to recreate urban coffee culture in a regional environment.


Benalla has enough street art to put Hosier Lane to shame, with the regional town having become something of a street art destination thanks to the Wall to Wall festival launched in 2015 by Juddy Roller Studios. While the festival hasn’t been able to run since 2019, the town and surrounds still feature several beautiful works.

For a more conventional art experience, try Benalla Art Gallery, which looks out over Lake Benalla. The town is also home to the Benalla Aviation Museum (housed in a former WWII RAAF pilot training school) which explores Australia’s history of military aviation.

Winton Wetlands, the largest wetlands restoration project in the entire southern hemisphere, isn’t too far from Benalla either. The site is of cultural, scientific and environmental importance, and welcomes visitors for outdoor recreation. You can even learn about the culture of the Yorta Yorta owners through the Lotjpatj Natjan Danak sculpture walk.

The Bootmaker’s Shop might seem like a cute tea house serving sandwiches, soup, cakes and pastries, but this café has quite the past. The cottage was once owned by Robert John King, a bootmaker who in 1877 helped police recapture Ned Kelly after the (not yet) notorious bushranger escaped from custody on a public drunkenness charge. 

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Seymour isn't far from Melbourne, but has cute coffee shops and walking trails to enjoy. Image: Visit Victoria.
Benalla is known for its street art, as well as its proximity to the Winton Wetlands. Image: Visit Victoria.


History buffs know Glenrowan as the location of Ned Kelly’s last stand. It’s here that you can take a picture with The Big Ned Kelly, learn more at the Ned Kelly Museum (complete with a replica of the Kelly homestead), and pick up plenty of Ned Kelly-themed souvenirs. 

The town has a few food options including the Billy Tea Rooms (try the scones or tall milkshakes), a country bakery and a pub. 


Wangaratta is a growing regional town and the birthplace of notable Australians like Nick Cave and Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop.  Stop and stretch your legs at Merriwa Park or let the kids burn some energy at Apex Park, complete with an adventure playground. 

Lying on the intersection of two rivers, Wangaratta is known for its proximity to gorgeous natural oases like Lake William Hovell and King River. Pack your bathers and you can even go for a dip at Northern Beaches on the Ovens River. 

There’s no shortage of good food, with many of the top spots dotted around the main Ryley, Murphy and Ovens streets.  

If you’re hungry for a pub meal, the 165-year-old Vine Hotel in North Wangaratta has a friendly atmosphere, spacious (dog-friendly) beer garden and generous meals. Alternatively, enjoy an Italian feast overlooking the Ovens River at Rinaldo’s Casa Cucina.  

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Glenrowan is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Ned Kelly. Image: Visit Victoria.
If you've the time, why not explore the mighty Murray River by hiring a canoe or kayak in Albury-Wodonga? Image: Visit Victoria.


Bridging, quite literally, Australia’s two most populous states is the city of Albury-Wodonga, one of the primary crossing points between Victoria and NSW.  

Stretch your legs at Noreuil Park Foreshore or Albury Murray River Precinct. The Albury Botanic Gardens are close by and feature an interactive Children’s Garden great for tiring out kids (it even features a life-sized dinosaur).  

Stay longer and take advantage of the proximity of the Murray by hiring a canoe and exploring the region on the water. The Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) is also recommended, with a fantastic collection of contemporary art.  

Drop by Saludos for tapas, paella and more, or Albury Brewhouse for a pub lunch (they brew their craft beers onsite). Coffee offerings include Mr Benedict, Café Musette and Pemberton Pantry.


Holbrook is 250km from the nearest coastline – but that doesn’t stop it from being home to a real, full-size submarine. The HMAS Otway has been planted in Holbrook since 1995 in memory of the town’s namesake, Norman Douglas Holbrook, who served as a Royal Navy lieutenant in World War I. You can explore the submarine or learn more by visiting the adjacent submarine museum at the Holbrook Visitors Centre.

Rest and refresh at the Submarine Café next to HMAS Otway. J & B’s Gourmet Café and The Ten Mile Holbrook are an easy walk from the sub as well.

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Being far from the ocean doesn't stop Holbrook from having its own submarine. Image: Destination NSW.
The Dog on the Tuckerbox is just one of the folk tales and songs associated with Gundagai. Image: Destination NSW.


If you’re travelling from Melbourne to Sydney (or vice versa), Tarcutta is roughly the middle point.

Given its geographic equidistance from both cities, the town has historically been used as a stop for truck drivers and is home to the National Truck Driver Memorial.

The town used to be busier prior to the 2011 bypass, but weary travellers can still get a great cup of coffee plus sandwiches, sweets, and light meals from Coffee @ Joe’s.


Gundagai is located in the Riverina region of NSW and been described as a quintessential Australian country town. 

Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson, and Miles Franklin have all made reference to the town in their works, in addition to Jack O’Hagan’s 1922 folksong, Along the Road to Gundagai. It’s also home to the Dog on the Tuckerbox monument, which commemorates the canine legend of the same name.

There’s a café (and lolly shop) at the Dog on the Tuckerbox, about 5km from the city centre just off the highway. In town, the Niagara Café is the oldest continuously Greek-run café in Australia. Recently restored with a beautiful Art Deco interior, stop by for a hearty breakfast and loaded toasties. 

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The Big Merino isn't far off the Hume Highway and is well worth seeing at least once. Image: Destination NSW.
Bowral is proud of its connection to Sir Donald Bradman, but also features fine food and beautiful gardens. Image: Destination NSW.


Goulburn is known for being halfway between Sydney and Canberra, but more importantly, for having a giant ram. The Big Merino (aka ‘Rambo’) is one of Australia’s iconic ‘big things’ and a famed tourist attraction located just off the southern highway exit. The giftshop next door also stocks a variety of Australian-made wool products, like scarves, gloves and even sheepskin boots. 

The Goulburn region is also home to several cool climate wineries if you’d like to extend your pitstop.

Trappers Bakery, right next to the Big Merino, is a favourite for local travellers passing through on a tight schedule. The nearby Grit Café is a good option for sandwiches and sweets, or head into town for The Roses Café where all the food – muffins, cakes, quiches, pastries, soups, sandwiches etc - are made in house. 


Cricket fans know Bowral as the childhood home of the greatest batsman of all time, Sir Donald Bradman. As such, the town is proud of its Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame, but you don’t have to love sport to love Bowral. 

Bowral is also a beautiful slice of the Southern Highlands, with lush gardens and the annual Tulip Time Festival (held in September). Keep in mind Bowral is a slight detour off the highway (roughly 30 minutes), but it’s well worth a visit.

Dining highlights include Hordern’s (a French fine diner), Onesta Cucina (chic, modern Italian), Raw & Wild Market & Café (an organic café and grocer) and Janek’s Café. If you’re just after a pie or cake, you can’t go past Gumnut Patisserie

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