Help me plan a leisurely, kid-friendly trip from Adelaide to Sydney
July 14, 2011 9:30 PM   Subscribe

Help me plan a leisurely, kid-friendly trip from Adelaide to Sydney

I have fond memories of a road trip I took some years ago from Adelaide to Sydney, the long way around via the Great Ocean Road and Melbourne.

I'm planning a similar trip for September this year. But last time I was a single guy and this time around I'll have a wife and a five-year-old boy.

So, help me plan a more careful, predictable journey which won't have us pulling into random motels at 9 PM and hoping they have rooms.

Say we were to take up to seven days to do it,
  • where are good places to plan overnight stays, and
  • where are the good places we should be stopping and spending time, bearing in mind one of us is only five?
Bonus question: one of the interesting things about the trip was some kind of salt-flat/desert area, not far outside Adelaide on the first day. What/where was that?
posted by AmbroseChapel to Travel & Transportation around Australia (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can't help with the Victoria-NSW bit, but we did Adelaide-Great Ocean Rd-Melbourne a little while ago: Adelaide-Murray Bridge-Coorong-Kingston-Mt Gambier and then down the Great Ocean Road to Geelong and on to Melbourne.

Stuff that was fun on the route we took (and could be kid-friendly too?): paddle steamers at Murray Bridge; frog cakes at yummy South Australian bakeries; the Big Lobster at Kingston; the Blue Lake and Umpherston Sinkhole at Mt Gambier.

Also, I had the best hot chips of my life - of my LIFE, I tell you! - at a servo just outside Salt Creek. I think the salt-flaty place you're thinking of is the road that goes past Coorong.

Other possibly relevant stuff: You might consider going from Adelaide along the Fleurieu Peninsula, via Victor Harbour and maybe Kangaroo Island, then on to Kingston instead of Murray Bridge? Also, Robe, just after Kingston is meant to be lovely.
posted by t0astie at 10:40 PM on July 14, 2011

Assuming your son isn't scared of giant clown faces you should stop in at Luna Park in Sydney. I think there's a LEGO exhibit on at the aquarium too.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:11 PM on July 14, 2011

Melbourne to Sydney will take roughly 10-12 hours all up.

The faster route is inland, skirting north of Canberra, through Yass. It goes through Kelly Country, which is pretty enough (should be some good bushranger museums there?) but the road's not very interesting once you're inside NSW.

On the coastal route, Eden makes a good half-way point to stop at. It's reasonably scenic, has a frivolous castle tower thing at Boyd Town, and some really tasty old-school pizza. The entire coastal road is dotted with holiday-ish towns, so there are plenty of places to stop, snack, and stretch your legs.

Maybe see if you can go via Phillip Island, where during the day you can still see the penguins (which do the famous 'parade' at/after sunset) huddled under boardwalks, and there are plenty of family-friendly things for the daytrippers from Melbourne.

In Melbourne, the Old Melbourne Gaol is fun, especially the "guardhouse" experience of being locked up by an actor / prison warden. Could be a bit above the head of a 5yo, though. You can make that call yourself; I think I would've enjoyed it at that age...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:32 PM on July 14, 2011

Victor Harbor is worth a visit outside Adelaide, especially for kids. They have penguins, a horse driven tram that goes across a wooden bridge, and working steam trains.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 1:42 AM on July 15, 2011

Canberra has Questacon. Oh, we also have..., that's it. Questacon is pretty much the only thing a five year old would find remotely interesting about Canberra.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:36 AM on July 15, 2011

I'd almost count Cockington Green in Canberra as OK for a 5 yr old too... but apart from that Canberra has a great road out of it! :)
posted by grb_au at 7:11 AM on July 15, 2011

The kangaroos on Depot Beach are way cool. You can stay in a Parks and Wildlife cabin there or camp. Nearby Batemans Bay should have plenty of motels to choose from at that time of year. (Eat oysters at the Pearly Oyster Bar or fish and chips beside the Clyde River and watch the boat traffic and the lift bridge. Boat rides on the river and out to the estuary look fine. That said, our five year old spent his time chasing seagulls.) The coast road from there up to Sydney is gorgeous. The beaches might be warm enough for swimming. (I swam at Seal Pup Beach in July one year - one of the top five swim experiences ever. It's quite a walk in but worth it.) Canberra is underrated, though its gems are hidden and probably not that flash for a five year old. Nonetheless there's pleasure in a ferry ride on the lake and that Captain Cook Fountain thing is coooooool. Still.
posted by firstdrop at 8:43 AM on July 15, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I really appreciate your contributions.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 9:02 PM on July 16, 2011

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