Departing Melbourne, head northwest along the Calder Highway to Bendigo, a city steeped in the history of the Australian gold rush period. Tour an underground mine, travel on the talking tram, learn about the discovery of gold and visit the Chinese Museum, a testament to the large migration after the discovery of gold. A quick detour to Castlemaine is also recommended to visit the old jail, art gallery and historical museum before continuing on to Echuca on the Murray River. Once the largest inland port in Australia, Echuca is now a riverboat capital and boasts an original red gum wharf, riverboats, paddle steamers, the Barmah Forest and Wetlands as well as the Darnyah Aboriginal Centre.
Follow the Murray Valley Highway through the green fields and dairy country to Rutherglen, home of some of Australia's best fortified wines including tokay, muscat and port. Visit some of the well-known wineries including Campbell's, All Saints and Pfeiffers before continuing on to Albury/Wodonga. Here you'll see the spectacular sight where the Murray River meets the mountains. Visit Australia's alpine regions and enjoy adventure activities such as hiking, horse riding and even white water rafting or just relax on cruise down the Murray River on a paddle steamer. Albury/Wodonga marks the state boundaries between Victoria and New South Wales.
Head along the Hume Highway and pass iconic attractions such as the unique hotel of the Ettamogah Pub and Gundagai's 'Dog on the Tuckerbox' before taking the Barton Highway from Yass south to Canberra. In the nation's capital, visit attractions such as the National Gallery, new Parliament House, National War Memorial, Questacon Science and Technology Centre and, if you're lucky enough to be visiting in September, the annual Floriade Festival.
Retrace the Barton Highway north this time where it meets up with the Hume Highway near Yass. Follow the road to Sydney, admiring the landscapes of rolling hills and agricultural land along the way. A stop at Berrima is worth is for the historic colonial architecture of the Surveyor General Inn, Courthouse Museum and art and craft galleries. Don't forget to call in to Bowral and Moss Vale in the southern highlands before finishing up in Sydney.
Drive Time: Approx. 2 hours 15 minutes
Drive Time: Approx. 3 hours
Drive Time: Approx. 4 hours
Drive Time: Approx. 3 hours 30 minutes