WAYWARD BUS – SYDNEY TO MELBOURNE INLAND & QUIRKY
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WAYWARD BUS – SYDNEY TO MELBOURNE INLAND & QUIRKY

Take a ‘Wayward Bus’ road-trip deep into country regions of NSW and Victoria, travelling from Sydney to Melbourne over 6 days.

Browse some of Australia’s top regional museums with themes including aviation, rail, road and river.

The trip is also part of a ‘slow-tours’ series, set to run in a 30-day circuit every month: Noosa/Brisbane – Sydney – Adelaide – Broken Hill – Brisbane/Noosa.

DATES:

8-13th of every month, anticipating a start from February 2021 (borders allowing!)

COST:

$480 per person 

EXTRA COSTS:

Accommodation costs can vary according to seasons and other reasons and because we offer choice, we don’t hold allocations.  We will hold places on the tour while accommodations are confirmed.  Some may be bookable through Arcadia Travel.  Travellers can also book direct.

  • YHA/pub accommodation – with a choice of single/double/twin private rooms (approx $90 per room night) – or beds in share rooms (approx $30-40 p.p. per night).
  • Motel accommodation can be arranged, prices may vary according to seasonality and demand.
  • Any activities and entry fees. 
  • Meals are not included – bakeries, cafes, supermarkets, pubs and restaurants are plentiful along the way and the YHAs have guest kitchens and dining/lounge areas.

Visit opportunities

  • HARS Historical Aircraft Restoration Society at Wollongong Airport
  • Canberra’s New and Old Parliament Houses, Aboriginal Embassy, High Court, Portrait Gallery, National Gallery and War Memorial
  • Junee’s Railway Roundhouse, Licorice and Chocolate Factory, and Broadway Museum
  • Temora’s Aviation Museum, Bundawarra Centre includes NSW Ambulance Museum
  • Hay’s Shear Outback, Old Gaol, Bishops Lodge
  • Echuca’s Old Port and paddle steamers
  • Bendigo galleries, museums and cathedral
  • Castlemaine Gold Diggings, Hanging Rock, Mount Macedon, Organ Pipes

Format

  • We provide travel in a touring mini-coach with driver-guide.
  • From 4 to 20 participants.
  • Visits to attractions and museums are optional, some are free, others are modest entry fees.
  • If on any day weather conditions are adverse we may substitute other touring and activities.

Coach and Driver-Guide

  • Our ‘Bandicoot’ mini-coaches are Mitsubishi Rosas refitted with reclining coach seats and extra legroom for extended touring.
  • An enclosed trailer securely carries the luggage.
  • Our drivers are experienced tour driver-guides and adventure leaders.

Overnights x 5:

  • 1 night Canberra City – YHA Akuna St or neighboring 4* hotels (Sebel Civic, Nesuto Apartments)
  • 1 night Gundagai – pub (Criterion Hotel), motel (several) or heritage lodge (Flash Jack’s, flashjacks.com.au)
  • 1 night Leeton – pub (Leeton Hotel, Wade Hotel), motel (several) or heritage lodge (The Hydro, thehydro.com.au)
  • 1 night Deniliquin – pub (Globe Hotel, Exchange Hotel), cabins or motel (several)
  • 1 night Maldon or nearby – pub (Maldon Hotel, maldonhotel.com.au) or motel (maldoneaglehawk.com)

Joining in Sydney

One pick-up point:

  • Sydney Central at 0800 (Pitt Street between Rawson Place and Barlow St) across from Sydney Central YHA and Rail Station).

 

Melbourne  

Drop off point:

  • Courtney Street beside Bedford Street Reserve, close to the junction of Queensberry and Peel Streets.  This is one block north of Victoria Markets and convenient to Melbourne Metro YHA, City Edge Apartments North Melbourne and trams.

An Inland Quest 6 days Sydney to Melbourne itinerary

Bring your curiosity. This is a journey seeking Australia’s Quirky and Quintessential. Communities across Australia and countless volunteers keenly look after and grow collections like you wouldn’t believe. This trip goes there to check some out – and there are many terrific towns on the way. Bring some extra money for the many admissions, usually a modest contribution. 

As well as Canberra’s (mostly free) sights, we have multiple locations that feature Australia’s heritage in communities, aviation, railways, transport, rivers and even imprisonment – as we travel through the Illawarra, Capital Country, Riverina and Central Victoria.

Day 1: Sydney to Canberra 

From Sydney Central we soon pass Sydney Airport, Botany Bay and cross the Georges River into Sutherland Shire, which happens to have Captain Cook’s first landing point at Kurnell. School excursions forgot to mention Cook blasted an elder in the legs with shotgun pellets from his boat before landing.

Out of the ‘burbs, the rainforests, eucalypts and heathlands of the Royal National Park make a welcome change.

Take in the famous view from Stanwell Tops Lookout where Lawrence Hargrave tested his gliders in the 1890s.

The Grand Pacific Drive includes Sea Cliff Bridge and a string of villages existing since the 1800s for the coal mines.

We do a drive-by of Wollongong city centre and stop for a stroll at the Harbour.

South of Botany Bay we’re traversing Dharawal Country, the people who met Captain Cook. Their shout of “warra warra wai” was thought to mean “go away” – but according to a contemporary opinion, the meaning may be “you’re all dead” in their surprise of the visitors’ abundance of white skin.

Glimpse the Nan Tien Temple on the way to Shellharbour Airport where the H.A.R.S. Aviation Museum is home to a 1950s Super-Constellation, 1960s Qantas 707 and 747. 2 hours including lunch time isn’t too long here is it?

The journey climbs the Illawarra Escarpment and rainforests via Macquarie Pass to Robertson, Moss Vale and Goulburn. It’s a long time since the Highlands held the Bong Bong Picnic Races, a once genteel event that became overrun by suburban bogans from Sydney.

The Southern Highlands are the traditional lands of the Gandangara.

Goulburn is a regional city, one of the first towns established outside Sydney. It has some great colonial buildings, most notably the courthouse and post office.

The Federal Highway runs past the endorheic Lake George (no outflow to rivers or ocean) and on to Canberra.

We’re now in Ngunnawal Country.

Canberra YHA is in the city centre and offers choices of share or private rooms.  The Sebel Hotel neighbors the YHA and Nesuto apartments are opposite.  Both are 4* plus with low rates in off-peak periods.

Interesting people to browse: George Lazenby (b.1939) from Goulburn, model, actor,  James Bond in Her Majesty’s Secret Service / (Stella Maria Sarah) Miles Franklin (1879-54) from Goulburn, writer and feminist, best known for her novel My Brilliant Career. 

Day 2: Canberra to Gundagai 

A morning drive up Mount Ainslie is a must for the classic Canberra views.

From 9am to 12noon is free time to walk the Canberra Parliament Precinct – start at New Parliament and stroll around to Old Parliament, Aboriginal tent embassy, National Portrait Gallery, High Court and finish at the National Gallery. A short drive up to the War Memorial and a chance to get lunch at Poppy’s.

Australia Museum and/or free time in the city can be an option if you agree to meet at the War Memorial at 3pm.

Our afternoon drive is interrupted with a one-way walk through historic Yass town centre and a stop for the 1932 sculpture of the Dog on Tuckerbox just before Gundagai. A nice little story with this.

The Wiradjuri are NSW’s most extensive First Nations people covering much of inland NSW west of the Great Divide.

Gundagai is one of Australia’s most iconic towns, certainly the most featured in song and stories. It lies beside the Murrumbidgee River, moved a little higher from the site of the original and tragic first town, destroyed by floods in the winter of 1852. From a population of 250, a third of the town drowned, another 68 were said to be saved by Aboriginal men using bark canoes. A sculpture was unveiled in 2017 depicting Yarri and Jackie Jackie with their canoe.  Though well known, Gundagai didn’t grow into a major centre and has a town population less than 2000.

Gundagai pub, motel or lodge accoms.  The Criterion is the only traditional pub accommodation, there are several motels nearby and for upscale heritage we suggest Flash Jacks.

People to browse: Coleen Shirley Perry Smith (1921-98), Mum Shirl, Wiradjuri woman, social worker and humanitarian activist / Andrew George Scott known as Captain Moonlight (1842-80) preacher, bushranger, re-buried in Gundagai 1995 beside fellow gang member and romantic partner James Nesbitt. 

Day 3: Gundagai to Leeton 

Junee is loaded with heritage. With about 3 hours around town, stroll the historic railway station precinct then choose from the Rail Roundhouse Museum, Chocolate & Liquorice Factory (and car display) and Broadway Museum. We may be able to ask Monte Christo Mansion, reputed to be haunted, to open if enough people are brave for it.

Temora options include the famous Air Museum and a mighty Rural Museum – excellent with many ‘sub-museums’ including the NSW Ambulance Museum.

The drive into the Riverina Region goes via the little towns of Coolamon, Ganmain, Matong and Grong Grong – all are photo ops. Back on the Murrumbidgee River, Narrandera is a grand cross-roads town and marks the entrance to the MIA (Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area), one of Australia’s great nation-building projects of the last depression.

Leeton is respected for its art-deco heritage. Check out the Roxy Theatre.

The Narrandera-Leeton-Griffith area has a large number of Wiradjuri residents.

Leeton’s town centre has two pubs, Leeton Hotel and Wade Hotel.  There are a couple of motels nearby and for upscale heritage (at motel rates) we suggest the historic Hydro Hotel.

Interesting people to browse: Timothy Andrew Fischer, AC (1946-2019) army officer, politician, Deputy Prime Minister, diplomat, author and train buff.

Day 4: Leeton to Deniliquin 

It’s about 2 hours to the town of Hay in almost desert-like outback surrounds, with plenty more to see and do: Shear Outback, Bishops Lodge, Hay Gaol & Museum, rail station, a grand main street, Murrumbidgee River banks etc. The info centre has 4 free bikes to use.

Learn about the WW2 escape of ‘The Fox’, Italian POW Lieutenant Edgardo Simoni who made it to Melbourne’s cafes on foot, evading capture for months. He returned in 1974 as a dapper retired Colonel to re-enact the trek but was thwarted by Murray River mozzies!

Hay is about the western edge of Wiradjuri lands with the Nari Nari their outback neighbours. To the south, we will travel into the country of the Barapa Barapa People.

Our overnight Deniliquin on the Edwards River is infamous for the ‘Deni Ute Muster’.

Choose pub or motel accommodation.  Traditional pub-stays include the Globe Hotel and Exchange Hotel and we may also use campsite cabins for budget share.  Several motels are nearby.

People to browse: Eileen Mary Casey (1881–1972) born in Deni and became a radical suffragette, hunger striker, escapee, gardener, pre-WW2 English teacher in Japan and translator for the Australian Board of Censors.

Day 5: Deniliquin to Castlemaine/Maldon (Goldfields)

An hour brings us to the mighty Murray River and The Port of Echuca precinct with its riverboats and working museum. This is a heritage icon and we have a few hours here.

The Yorta Yorta (meeting of the rivers) are the people of the Mid-Murray. The Goulburn and Campaspe Rivers flow into the Murray near Echuca.

Another hour and some and we are in the Gold-Rush city of Bendigo, another good stop. Options include Central Deborah Gold Mine, City Art Gallery, Golden Dragon Museum and Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Bendigo is on traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung peoples.

The country becomes hillier and perhaps greener on the way to Maldon and Castlemaine, lying 18km apart in the heart of Victoria’s Goldfields.  Maldon is nowadays a small town of 1500 and deemed ‘Australia’s first Notable Town’ for its retained 19th century appearances.  Castlemaine is grander and a few times larger.

Choose pub rooms at the Maldon Hotel or motel-style at Eaglehawk Motel.  If accom is tight in Maldon we can access extra accom in Castlemaine if needed.

People to browse: Frank Arthur Nankivell (1869–1959) born in Maldon, artist and political cartoonist in USA, known for his caricatures in publications such as Puck.

Day 6: Gold Fields to Melbourne 160km:

The Gold country continues through the Castlemaine Diggings.

Kyneton pre-dates the gold-rush. North of the town, the Waterloo Creek massacre occurred in 1838 when as many as 20+ Dja Dja Wurrung were killed in a reprisal raid for the killing of 2 servant convicts and theft of sheep.

Hanging Rock or Ngannelong is a volcanic core, famous as the setting for Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock novel and 1975 Peter Weir film. It’s an energetic climb to the top.

Concerts held at Hanging Rock since 2020 include Leonard Cohen, Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Cold Chisel, Ed Sheeran, Midnight Oil and Elton John.

Mt Macedon is a dormant volcano of 1001m. The summit has gardens, a stand of snow gums, and the 21m high WW1 Memorial Cross. On 8 Nov 1948, VH-UZK a Douglas DC3 ‘Kurana’ operated by ANA crashed on the mountain killing the pilots but the hostess and all 19 passengers survived.

At the base of the mountain is an axe grinding site of the Wurundjeri People, evidenced by a sandstone rock with 31 grooves. They, the Boon warung and Wathaurong comprise the Aboriginal peoples of present-day Melbourne.

If there’s some time remaining, the Organ Pipes are just off our route. Hexagonal basalt columns form the walls of the valley. This small national park has a varied and rich geological history.

Arrival to Melbourne is soon after, coming in through Essendon to North Melbourne.

Melbourne Metro YHA is just on the edge of the CBD and offers a choice of share or private ensuite rooms.  Trams nearby run into the city.

People to browse: Frank Hardy, (1917-94) journalist, communist, writer of the novel Power Without Glory and The Unlucky Australians on the plight of First Nations peoples / John Wren (1871-1953) colourful identity, subject of the novel Power Without Glory / John Safran (b.1972) radio personality, satirist, documentary maker and author 

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Bookings by email or phone to Arcadia Travel.

Booking arrangements for departures up to 30 June 2021:

  • To give time to arrange accommodations, bookings can be held for up to 7 days except that in the 14 days prior to departure a shorter amount of time will be apply
  • Deposit of $100 is required when confirming a booking (non-refundable)
  • Full payment due 14 days before start (then 50% refundable if customer cancels)
  • Advise your accommodation preference at time of booking and we will arrange or assist with contacts
  • If a trip is cancelled due to reasons beyond our control (such as Covid19 border closures), any payments made will be refunded in full.

Shorter trips are possible to book:

  • Canberra to Melbourne 5 days $420

For other start/end possibilities, just ask for a rate.

Contact us or email go@arcadiatravel.com.au