There are six ways to get from Sydney to Melbourne by plane, bus, train or car.
Australia’s two biggest cities are also two of its biggest attractions, and most visitors to the country include both Sydney and Melbourne on their itinerary. So wondering how to get between these huge metropolises? This guide contains everything you need to know.
Why you should visit Sydney and Melbourne
The appeal of Australia’s two largest cities is obvious, each offering a different experience for visitors. For Sydney, the attractions surround the water and the great outdoors—iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge perched on the glistening waterway, and the dozens of city beaches are lining the coast.
For Melbourne, it’s all about coffee, culture and sport—stroll around the inner-city laneways to sniff out a cup of caffeine, duck into the museums and art galleries, and join the masses at a game of footy or cricket at the revered Melbourne Cricket Ground.
What you need to know
It’s effortless to travel between Sydney and Melbourne—no visa, no border, no language barrier. The biggest thing you need to know is the difference in climate—the weather in Melbourne is cooler and more volatile than it is in warm, sunny Sydney, so pack your rain jacket! That said, you can make the journey easily 12 months of the year without worrying about wild weather blocking your route.
Sydney to Melbourne by bus
The bus journey time between Sydney and Melbourne is around 11h 50m and covers a distance of about 934 km. The fastest bus takes typically 11h 35m. Greyhound Australia and Firefly Express operate services. Typically 13 buses run weekly, although weekend and holiday schedules can vary, so check in advance.
Popular with backpackers, the bus is the budget-conscious choice of transport between Sydney and Melbourne. Firefly Express depart either end of the route every day at 7 am, with fares starting at $75 when you book in advance online.
Greyhound Australia also runs a daily service from each destination, departing at 6.30 am from Sydney and 10 pm from Melbourne, at a similar price. The journey takes around 12 hours.
Make your way between Australia’s two most iconic cities, travelling from Sydney to Melbourne in a convenient and comfortable Greyhound bus that comes loaded with features!
Home to some of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks, from the internationally renowned Harbour Bridge and Opera House to the brilliant Bondi Beach and terrific Taronga Zoo, Sydney is a vibrant world city that demands to be explored.
Melbourne, meanwhile, is Australia’s cultural capital. It’s the place to explore hidden laneways dotted with cafes and boutique shops; sip cocktails at a rooftop bar; or book a table at a world-class restaurant.
Of course, catching the tram to St Kilda is a must-do – when you get there, you can take a stroll on the beach, keep an eye out for penguins, and ride the world’s oldest continually operating roller coaster at Luna Park.
Our coaches stop in the heart of Sydney and Melbourne, eliminating the need for a transfer. We also service Sydney Domestic Airport. This route also includes a stop in Canberra, Australia’s capital city!
You’ll spend the 12.5-hour overnight bus trip from Sydney to Melbourne in air-conditioned comfort, relaxing in your reclining leather seat with free WiFi connectivity, an in-seat USB charger and panoramic windows.
Prefer aisle or window seats? There’s no need to queue – you can simply reserve your favourite spot on the bus when you book your bus trip from Sydney to Melbourne with our seat selection feature. You can also keep up-to-date on your expected arrival time and any service delays with our real-time coach tracker.
You can unlock even more benefits, as well as exclusive offers and deals, by joining the Greyhound Rewards program. When you join, every ticket purchased on our network will earn you G-Dollars, which you can redeem on your very next trip or save up in your G-Wallet for a special occasion. The choice is yours!
Whether you’re travelling for business, to see family and friends, or to experience the arts, dining and culture of Melbourne on an unforgettable holiday, you can’t beat a Greyhound.
Choose the bus for a cheap option
The bus tends to be cheaper than other options, though not always. Your main options are Greyhound and Firefly. Both have a day option and a night option. Typically, the bus takes 12 to 14 hours to get from Melbourne to Sydney.
You can buy tickets online or in person. The night fares are sometimes slightly cheaper.
Take the bus if you want to stop to see the Big Merino. The Big Merino is a giant sheep statue between Melbourne and Sydney. Often, buses will make a very short stop here, so you can at least snap a picture.
Pick the overnight bus option for a shorter trip. While sleeping sitting up on the bus generally isn’t fun, you can shorten your trip if you choose this option. In addition, the bus makes fewer stops at night so that it will get you there faster.
Sydney to Melbourne flight information
Feeling like flying south and losing yourself in the labyrinth of Melbourne’s laneways or jetting down for an unmissable footy match? Easy! Jetstar operates up to 20 Sydney to Melbourne flights every day, flying into either Melbourne Tullamarine or Avalon Airport.
Sydney to Melbourne is officially the second busiest air route on the planet, according to flight data website OAG.com, with a whopping 54,519 flights per year, or about 150 a day.
The comfortable hour-long flight is definitely the preferred way to commute from Sydney to Melbourne. In addition, the prices are pretty reasonable—low-cost carriers TigerAir and Jetstar can often get you from Point A to Point B for less than $100 each way, especially if you pounce on the deals and special offers they regularly run. In comparison, higher-end airlines like Qantas and Virgin will set you back around $150 to $200.
What makes Melbourne such a great destination?
In just over an hour and a half, you’ll be in Melbourne and diving into the famed cafes, exploring the inner-city suburbs of Fitzroy, Carlton and Collingwood or riding the Ferris wheel and soaking up the seaside fun of St Kilda. Melbourne can serve up fun for all ages!
While you could stay in the centre of Melbourne and spent your days in the galleries, museums, cafes, shopping malls and sporting stadiums, there is a vast range of other treats on Melbourne’s relative doorstep – tour the wineries of the Yarra Valley, the beaches of the Mornington Peninsula or the scenic green walking tracks of Mount Macedon.
Airport information for Sydney to Melbourne flights
Sydney Airport is pretty central – just 8km from the Sydney CBD and about a 25-minute drive in light traffic. (The roads to the airport can get congested at peak hour, so factor that into your plans.) Most Jetstar flights depart from Terminal 2.
You can get to the airport by taxi, rideshare, shuttle, public bus or train (Airport Link), which runs every 10 minutes and takes just 13 minutes from the CBD. You need an Opal card to use the Airport Link.
Arriving at Melbourne Airport (MEL)
Melbourne Airport is located 23kms from the CBD – about a 30-minute drive in light traffic. You can get from the airport by taxi, hire car, rideshare, some public buses and the express SkyBus, which runs every 10 minutes to Southern Cross Station in the city. Most Jetstar flights from Sydney to Melbourne land at Terminal 4.
Arriving at Avalon Airport (AVV)
Some flights from Sydney to Melbourne land at the smaller Avalon Airport, which is 56kms from the Melbourne CBD and 21kms from Geelong. Access is via road – car, taxi, rideshare, some public buses and the SkyBus, which runs between Avalon and Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station and Geelong and other tourist destinations. Avalon is a great airport to fly into if you plan to hire a car and explore western Victoria.
What is the distance between Sydney and Melbourne?
It’s roughly 878kms between Sydney and Melbourne – that’s the equivalent of driving across the Sydney Harbour Bridge 764 times. Even in peak hour.
How long does a flight from Sydney to Melbourne take?
A flight from Sydney to Melbourne is an easy 1 hour and 25 minutes – enough time to watch a movie if you’re happy to skip the credits.
What time do I need to be at the airport if I have checked in online for a Sydney to Melbourne flight?
If you’ve got bags to check-in, you just need to put your bags at the bag drop before check-in closes (30 mins before departure). So basically, get there early enough to drop your bags off, impulse buy some souvenirs, then get to your gate with time to spare (gates close 15 mins before departure).
How early do I have to be at the airport for a Sydney to Melbourne flight?
Earlier is always better – no one likes that last-minute travel stress. If you’re on a domestic flight, check-in closes 30 minutes before departure, so allow enough time to check-in, drop your bags off, have a coffee and get to your gate.
On the other hand, if you’re flying to Melbourne but on a domestic flight departing from an international terminal, you have to get there way earlier – check-in and bag drop opens three hours before departure and closes an hour before.
Hop on the CountryLink train
If time isn’t an issue, this long-distance train is also a charming passage between Sydney and Melbourne. The train departs twice a day from each end—at 7.42 am, and 8.42 pm from Sydney, and 8.30 am and 9.50 pm from Melbourne—and spends about 11 hours winding through the countryside to reach its destination.
Prices start at $91.18 for adults when you book in advance, plus there are more spacious first-class seats for $128.30 and sleeper carriages for overnight trips for $216.30.
This train runs from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station to Sydney’s Central Station. Along the way, it stops at Broadmeadows, Seymour, Benalla, and Wangaratta. The train typically takes 11 to 11.5 hours.
Driving from Sydney to Melbourne
Choose the inland route for a faster drive. The quickest way to Sydney is by the inland route along Hume Highway. You’ll hit some small towns along the way, but this route isn’t exactly scenic. This route averages 9 to 11 hours.
Pick the coastal route for more scenery. The coastal route, which is about 130 kilometres (130,000 m) longer than the inland route, is much more scenic than the inland route. It takes you along the coast of Australia through several small coastal towns. It follows the A1 Princes Highway. The coastal route is much slower, not just longer, as it’s a winding road at lower speeds. This route averages about 13 hours.
Frequently asked questions about driving from Sydney to Melbourne
What is the best driving route from Sydney to Melbourne?
How do you determine best? Is the best the fastest, most scenic, easiest drive? Only you can decide that, but we can help by showing you what you can see, do and eat on the road between these two capital cities to help you make your choice.
How far is it from Sydney to Melbourne?
Along the coast road, the distance between Sydney and Melbourne is 1030kms or about 640 miles. Along the inland road, it is 880km or 550 miles.
How long does it take from Sydney to Melbourne?
The fastest route along the inland road with only a stop or two for coffee takes 10 hours. So you need to leave Sydney by 6 am to make a good time and not get stuck in peak hour traffic.
How long does it take to drive from Sydney to Melbourne along the coast?
The coastal route is infinitely more scenic; it takes an average of 13 hours. I would not recommend you attempt this in less than two days. Three or more is preferable.
Can you drive from Sydney to Melbourne in one day?
Can you, yes, the inland road can be covered in one long day. But, should you do this drive in one day? No, not unless you start early and stop and rest at least two or three times or have two drivers.
How many days should you allow to drive from Sydney to Melbourne?
You can do the inland road in one day – especially if you have two drivers. However, the coast road requires an overnight stop. Ideally, you should allow two days for the inland road and three days or more for the coast road.
Is it worth driving from Sydney to Melbourne?
Sure is, if you have enough time to stop and smell the roses. This road trip is worth devoting a week to there is so much beautiful landscape, gorgeous beaches and cute little towns to visit. If you are in a hurry, a one hour flight is often a better option than the nine-hour inland drive.
Sydney to Melbourne drive via the coast road in 2-5 days
This itinerary is an excellent choice for nature lovers, with stunning national parks and plenty of chances to see Aussie animals in the wild. The road follows the coast at least half of the way as you head south. At times it goes inland for short periods, but it is still very scenic.
The trip is best enjoyed over 4-5 days, although you could do it in 3 at a push or quickly spread it over a week or longer to make the most of the natural beauty and wildlife of the region. We do not recommend doing this if you only have two days.
Key highlights on the coastal drive between Sydney and Melbourne
- Sea Cliff Bridge
- Kiama and its famous Blow Hole
- Jervis Bay and its white-sand beaches
- Mollymook and Milton
- Ben Boyd National Park
- Lakes Entrance
Stopping at Ulladulla, Murramarang, Eden, Lakes Entrance, La Trobe Valley, Raymond Island and Wilson’s Promontory. Choose the number of stops based on the time you have. For example, with only two days, do not attempt Wilson’s Promontory. You need a 4-5 day trip for this.
Two days from Sydney to Melbourne via the inland route
Highlights on the Inland drive between Sydney and Melbourne
- Mary Poppins Statue in Bowral
- Don Bradman Museum also in Bowral
- Canberra – detour
- Dog on the Tuckerbox
- Glenrowan – Home of Ned Kelly
Driving Safety tips
- Fatigue – Fatigue is one of the biggest killers of drivers on outback roads. Don’t underestimate how tiring driving long distances can be, particularly if you drive on the opposite side of the road you are used to.
- In busy periods Driver Reviver areas, which provide free coffee and snacks, are set up along both routes. Check this map for the best places to pull over and rest.
- Speed – Speed cameras and radars are set up along these routes are the spots where the speed you are driving is likely to get away from you. Be extra careful during holiday periods where fines and demerit points are doubled.
- Wildlife – Driving at dusk and dawn brings its own dangers. Kangaroos often run into the traffic at these times of the day. Also, be extra vigilant in areas known for kangaroos on these drives anywhere south of Ulladulla along the coast route or Canberra on the inland road. If one runs in your path, slow down but don’t swerve, while the roo can do serious damage to your car, moving to the wrong side of the road can do much more.