sydney to melbourne

Sydney to Melbourne: The Ultimate Guide to Planes, Trains, & More

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A trip to Australia isn’t complete without visiting the country’s two largest and dazzling cities, Sydney and Melbourne. While they look fairly close to each other on the map, they’re actually over 500 miles apart. So how do you get from Sydney to Melbourne? In this blog post I’ll cover the best routes for you to consider, including planes, trains, buses, and cars.

Depending on how much time you have and what your transportation preferences are, you’ll be able to decide which route is best for you. No matter the route you take, visiting these two cities is absolutely worth it. Both Sydney and Melbourne have so much to discover, with numerous historic landmarks, creative cultures, and food scenes.

Once you arrive to your destinations, I recommend spending at least three days in each city. You could easily spend weeks getting to know the diverse neighborhoods or galleries that these cities offer, but three days (at least!) will help you get a good feel for each.

How To Get From Sydney To Melbourne

The transportation options for getting from Sydney to Melbourne are by train, bus, car, and plane. By plane will be the quickest option of course, however you won’t get to see any of the beauty in between! If you have the time, traveling on land will maximize the adventure.

Below are the best routes, including average time duration, costs, and recommendations.

By Train

train at Sydney Cross station
Train at Sydney Cross Station | Image from Wiki Commons
sydney to melbourne
Interior of First Class cabin | Image from Wiki Commons

Duration

The train from Sydney to Melbourne takes 10 hours and 50 minutes.

Costs

The cost for an economy fare ranges between $78 and $117. The cost for a first class fare ranges between $109 and $165.

Departure Details

The train is direct with no stops in between and departs twice daily.

The first train departs at 07:40 and arrives at 18:30. The second train is an overnight train and departs at 20:42 and arrives at 7:30 the following morning.

Trains depart from the Sydney Central Station and arrive at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station. Both of these stations are centrally located in each city.

How to Book

The easiest way to buy tickets is through the XPT website. Book here.

Do I recommend this? Not quite. It’s not the most scenic route and takes a really long time to get there.

By Bus

Duration

The buses on average from Sydney to Melbourne takes about 12 hours.

Costs

There’s a few different options for buses, and the costs range from $65 to $120, depending which you book.

Departure Details

Buses depart at several different times throughout the day. There are early morning, afternoon, and overnight buses. Most routes include 1-2 transfers in between and depart from Town Hall Station in Sydney.

How to Book

Two of the main bus companies are Firefly Express and Greyhound Australia.

Do I Recommend? No! It costs about the same to take the train, which is faster and would be more comfortable.

By Car

Duration

If you’re taking the inland route, the drive from Sydney to Melbourne is about 9 hours. This route won’t be as scenic, but you could pass through to see Canberra, Australia’s capital city.

For a more scenic route, you can drive along the coast which passes through several charming towns. If you’re going to drive, you might as well take this route and make an adventurous road trip out of it! If you drive straight along this route, it will take about 14 hours.

Costs

There are a few things to factor in for costs. You’ll be looking at costs for gas (called petrol in Australia), car rentals, and potential one-way drop fees from car rental companies. The average cost for gas per liter as of November 2023 is $2 AUD.

I love renting from Discover Cars; they offer lots of good options at a great rate.

From browsing a couple different sites like Discover Cars and Hertz, the average cost for a one-day rental is about $270 USD. The bulk of that cost is the one-way drop fee, which is around $200 USD.

Book a rental car here!

If you’re going to take the road trip, I’d highly recommend taking the coastal route so you can experience the cute beach towns in between. The drive is beautiful! A few of the towns I’d suggest stopping through include Jervis Bay, Eden, and Walhalla.

Do I Recommend? Yes! It’s the only way to discover the charming towns in between these two cities. If you’re up for the adventure, by car is a great option.

By Air

airplane

Flying from Sydney to Melbourne will be the easiest and quickest route to take. There are several flights leaving from Sydney to Melbourne every day that are pretty affordable depending on how far in advance you book.

Duration

The flight time from Sydney to Melbourne is about 90 minutes.

Costs

Flight costs range from about $77 to $200 depending on which airline you book through and how far in advance you book. The airline Jetstar is going to offer the cheapest flights, and the planes themselves are pretty good.

You can also book through airlines like Qantas or Virgin Australia. Qantas is my favorite airline, so if you’re looking for a bit of a higher quality flying experience, they should be your go-to.

Baggage Allowance Details:

Jetstar: Free carry-on bag up to 7-14kg (dependent on fare). Checked bags cost $25-50 AUD (dependent on bag size).

Qantas: Bags allowance complimentary (factored into each fare).

Do I Recommend? Yes!

Where To Stay in Sydney and Melbourne

Below are a few of the best options of where to stay in Sydney and Melbourne. They’re all centrally located in both cities and top-rated by visitors.

Where to Stay in Sydney

📍YHA Sydney Harbour ($)- I’ve stayed at this hostel before and it’s one of the nicest I’ve stayed at! Also, the rooftop views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge are amazing.

📍InterContinental Sydney, an IHG Hotel ($$)- This hotel is stunning and goes for about $300/night. It’s definitely reasonably priced for what you get! Located right in the CBD (downtown) of Sydney.

📍Crown Towers Sydney ($$$)- This 5-star hotel comes with an infinity pool, tennis courts, and rooms that looks out at the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Where to Stay in Melbourne

📍voco Melbourne Central ($)- For under $200/night this hotel offers a central location, outdoor pool, fitness center, and terrace. They also offer a great breakfast.

📍QT Melbourne ($$)- Swanky hotel with an onsite restaurant, cafe, and bar. Centrally located in the Melbourne CBD.

📍W Melbourne ($$)- One of Melbourne’s chicest hotels, the W offers 5-star accommodations with an indoor pool, multiple restaurants, and terrace.

Sydney To Melbourne: FAQs

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about traveling from Sydney to Melbourne.

Is it worth driving from Sydney to Melbourne?

Yes, it’s worth driving from Sydney to Melbourne if you have the time and are seeking a scenic road trip. There are so many charming towns in between that are only accessible by car.

Is it cheaper to drive or fly to Melbourne from Sydney?

It’s cheaper to fly to Melbourne from Sydney. When you factor in the costs of rental cars, drop fees, and gas, it’s more expensive to drive than fly.

Can you catch a train from Sydney to Melbourne?

Yes, there is a train that departs twice a day from Sydney to Melbourne. There is one that departs in the morning and another that departs at night.

What is the best way to travel from Sydney to Melbourne?

The best way to travel from Sydney to Melbourne is by plane. This will be the cheapest and fastest way to get there. The next best option is by car so that you can explore the charming coastal towns in between.

Conclusion: Sydney to Melbourne

Hopefully by now you feel confident on how you want to get from Sydney to Melbourne. If you’re looking for the cheapest and fastest way to get there, traveling by plane will be the best way. If you’d like to make an adventure out of it and see more of Australia’s beach towns, then traveling by car will be best.

Looking for more things to do in Australia? Check out the top 25 reasons to visit Australia and best activities across the country. You can also check out this 3 week Australia itinerary to help you plan your dream trip.

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