Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip - Odd Way Down

Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip - Odd Way Down

Here's a cracking road trip to get you from Sydney to Melbourne, the odd way down! This Blog is brought to you by our Tuff Arse Head of Logistics, Phil, who recently made this trip in his converted Ford Transit Van with his faithful canine traveling companion. It's a way to get from Sydney to Melbourne whilst avoiding the Hume Highway, by turning OFF the main roads, and discovering a bunch of hidden gems and places along the way.

“This is a Sydney to Melbourne road trip for those who prefer turning left or right OFF highways and main roads… and finding other ways to get between places… and enjoying all the things that lie in between.”

So pull up a Tuff Arse chair and take a browse through this trip. You could do it in three days, or 12 days. Maybe like Phil you’ll stop and find time along the way to sit in your camp chair, enjoying all there is to enjoy about a road trip and the outdoors; views, fresh air, beers, food, open fires and sharing stories with old and new friends...

Sydney - Shell Harbour (100km)

Starting somewhere in/near Sydney… point yourself south and get out of town on the Princes Hwy. TURN LEFT and head for Stanwell Tops. Guaranteed… everyone who drives along here is blown away by how beautiful this bit of the coast is and how close to Sydney it is.

One feature of the road is you get to drive on the Sea Cliff Bridge… you’ve probably seen it on numerous ads and never quite known where it is.

We stayed in Shell Harbour… great place with lots of cafes and a decent pub overlooking the water.

Sea Cliff Bridge

Shell Harbour - Bermagui (270km)

You could and probably should turn left at every side road along this stretch. But for better and/or worse I was only along here a year or so ago headed to a mates in Bermagui. So this time I only stopped at Lake Tabourie, and walked out to the end of the breakwater at Narooma en route.

Shell Harbour - Bermagui (270km)

Bermagui - Jindabyne (185km)

This is a great stretch, taking in Tathra which is a great little hidden gem of the south coast. As we drove through the area, I was reminded of a camping trip to the incredible Mimosa Rocks National Park a few years ago. That said. Enough of the coast. We TURNED RIGHT and took off into them there hills. Well. Let’s call it high country. Through Bega and onto the Snowy Mountains Hwy. We drove into Nimmitabel and was surprised to see in photos that it snows in this town… turns out it is 1000m above sea level!

We then took the road to Dalgety… and ended up in Jindabyne. Sent a pic to my daughter of the dog ’n myself swimming in the lake - 5 months beforehand she had been there snow skiing.


Jindabyne - Towong (126km)

We took off from Jindabyne along the Alpine Way through the Kosciusko National Park. One of the negatives of travelling with a dog is not being able to stop in national parks. Never mind. Worth having him with me for the places we can stop!

Once upon a time i was a civil engineer… so I was impressed by the parts of the Snowy River Hydro Scheme visible from the road. Stopped at Khancoban which looks like it hasn’t changed much in 50 years. Camped beside the bridge in Towong… and took the dog for a run on the Towong racetrack.


Towong - Tawonga (152km)

Heading out of Towong and driving up the Kiewa Valley can be an almost mystical experience. See if you can time it for sunset / sunrise… clouds on the high peaks… mist in the valleys.

There is awesome camping in numerous places along the river. And go for a swim in the Gorge in Mt Beauty.


Tawonga - Italian Flat (110km)

OK… a 4WD will get you to more places. That said… there are enough amazing places you can get to in a 2WD van! Out of Tawonga we TURNED LEFT at Bright and headed over the Dargo High Plains Rd. Wound our way up the Dargo River and found a great campsite at Italian Flat. It’s a great place but don’t expect quaint little Bistro’s or the perfect Latte.

Italian Flat - Briagalong (75km)

This is a quick little hop. It was a 40 degree day so we spent the day in the natural rock pools at The Quarries just south of Briagalong.

Briagalong - Melbs (230km)

Again… plenty of places to stop along this hop. That said… we were close to Melbourne now, so we should have expected the weather to go crazy… it started bucketing rain so we high tailed it and went straight into Melbourne!  And yeah… you get into Melbs without any Hume or Princes highways!


  • Tuff Arse

    G’Day Dino. For sure… although this trip didn’t cover Sheepyard flat, it’s an awesome place and one of our favorites! The main campsite where the Howqua Track crosses the Howqua River is the easiest to access, and is in a great spot right on the Howqua river as are all the nine ‘Flats’ sites. All the sites have basic facilities and pit toilets, the main Sheepyard Flat site however gets super busy in peak times. The camping area at Fry’s Flat is our pick – turn right at the main camping area and head down the track for about 5kms to access. There’s also a great walking track along the river which links the two sites (about 45 mins each way). No bookings are necessary at any of the sites, but get there early to grab a good spot! BTW you can also take your pooch with you:

  • Dino Casasiri

    Do you have any suggestions about where to camp at Sheepyard Flat on the Howqua River? We are heading there after lockdown 6.0 and want to be away from the crowds but close to the river?

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