Come face to face with the enduring legacy of Australia’s gold rush, learn about the resilience of early settlers and discover the timeless spirit of Australia’s Aboriginal people on the fascinating Melbourne-Sydney Heritage Drive. This inland route takes you past the mighty Murray River to fabulous wineries, farm gates and restaurants, iconic national parks and lakes, as well as Australia’s fast growing capital city, Canberra.

Wherever you go, the welcome is sure to be warm so fill up the tank and get driving.

Day one

Six Day Melbourne to Sydney Heritage Drive

Day one – Melbourne to Bendigo
(Approx. 150km)

The first leg of your drive takes you to Bendigo, just 90 minutes from Melbourne. With its grand gold rush-era buildings and historic attractions, Bendigo is rich in history as well as modern culture. You can go from taking an underground tour at Central Deborah Gold Mine to visiting a contemporary exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery, from discovering the stories behind historic locations on a vintage Talking Tram to visiting The Great Stupa, home of the largest gem quality Jade Buddha in the world. Follow the Food Fossicking Tour guided or self-guided tour and discover some of the best restaurants, local produce and passionate food leaders in the region.

Day two

Six Day Melbourne to Sydney Heritage Drive

Day two – Bendigo to Echuca-Moama
(Approx. 150km)

It’s time to tackle the mighty Murray. Head to the twin towns of Echuca Moama on the banks of the Murray River. Home to the famous paddle steamers and colonial attractions, it also has one of the largest riverboat fleets in the world.

Get a sense of place by wandering past the quaint cafes and old-time shops that line the Murray Esplanade at Echuca. No trip to Echuca Moama is complete without taking a historic paddle steamer cruise, and nature lovers will relish the chance to take an adventurous hike through the bush or enjoy a fun picnic on the banks of the river. Drop a line into the river and snare a Murray Cod, the largest freshwater fish in Australia.

Day three

Six Day Melbourne to Sydney Heritage Drive

Day three – Echuca-Moama to Yarrawonga-Mulwala
(Approx. 150km)

Travel through ‘Sun Country’, the region between Echuca-Moama and Yarrawonga-Mulwala that’s blessed with year-round sunshine and some of Australia’s finest gourmet produce. Soak up the relaxed atmosphere and discover fine food and wine, water sports, nature, golf and fishing.

Make the most of your time by taking a Kingfisher Cruises eco-guided Murray River cruise and learn about local myths and legends. Dive into pretty Lake Mulwala and enjoy kayaking, swimming and waterskiing, or tee off on one of the many magnificent golf courses along the Murray River. Follow the Sun Country Farm Gate Trail to sample award winning local produce at places like Rich Glen Olive Estate and Byramine Homestead Brewery.

Day four

Six Day Melbourne to Sydney Heritage Drive

Day four – Yarrawonga-Mulwala to Albury-Wodonga
(Approx. 100km)

Staying on the Murray River, head to Albury-Wodonga via the Rutherglen wine region. Call into cellar doors and stock up on rich fortified wines and robust reds.

Known as a city of positive contrasts, Albury-Wodonga is a friendly, accessible place where the great outdoors meets urban culture, proud heritage and breezy sophistication.

Wander through a farmer’s market or explore the Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA). Cycle along the Murray River, enjoy a picnic made from fresh local produce on the banks of Lake Hume, or splash out and eat in a top restaurant. Experience Wonga Wetland’s abundant bird life, and take a leisurely walk or cycle to see the unique Aboriginal sculptures at the riverside Yindyamarra Sculpture Walk. Visit the heritage-listed Bonegilla Migrant Experience and get a glimpse of life as a post-war migrant.

Day five

Six Day Melbourne to Sydney Heritage Drive

Day five – Albury-Wodonga to Canberra
(Approx. 340km)

It’s one good thing after another when you visit Canberra. Award-winning food and wine, iconic national attractions and native wildlife in beautiful national parks are just the tip of the iceberg in Australia’s capital city. Canberra is the perfect self-drive destination with no tolls, minimal traffic, ample and affordable parking and a range of world-class attractions all located close to each other.

With just one day to discover the city, waste no time. Take a sunrise hot air balloon flight with Balloon Aloft and view the ‘bush capital’ from high above.

Back on the ground, venture into the fascinating display of meticulously crafted miniature buildings at Cockington Green Gardens, or see over 150 skeletons and realistic robotic dinosaurs at the National Dinosaur Museum. Take the ultimate museum tour at the National Museum of Australia for a comprehensive overview of Australia’s history. Discover historical gems in the Treasures Gallery at the National Library of Australia, including James Cook’s handwritten Endeavour journal and Australia’s first pound note.

Go behind the scenes at AIS – Australian Institute of Sport with an elite athlete as your guide. And finally (phew!) sample cool-climate wines at one of thirty-plus wineries and get a reservation for a meal at an excellent city restaurant.

Day six

Six Day Melbourne to Sydney Heritage Drive

Day six – Canberra to Sydney
(Approx. 280km)

The final leg of the journey leaves Canberra and charts a course to Goulburn, with its rich pioneer history, and through the Southern Highlands. Take your time and visit the quaint villages and towns of Moss Vale, Mittagong and Berrima where antique and craft shops and relaxing cafes abound. Cricket fans will pay homage to The Don at the Sir Donald Bradman Museum at Bowral.

Continue along the Hume Highway to Sydney, the harbour city. There’s a mind-boggling array of things to see and do in one of the world’s great cosmopolitan cities.