Melbourne - Sydney via Princes
Highway (Hwy 1)
Total Distance km 1,059km
All distances measured from Melbourne
This is no route for anyone in hurry as for a great part of the journey the road is twisty and quite hilly. The magnificent scenery of rich, fertile valleys, sweeping sea views and forest-clad hills, more than compensates for this.
Leaving Melbourne find your way on to the Monash Freeway or some other means of getting on to the Princes Highway (Hwy 1) and you will be travelling under freeway conditions as you head east into Gippsland.
Even though the highway nowadays by-passes a number of towns, they are worth a visit if you have time. A 'Gourmet Trail' from Drouin takes you to a number of attractions including a berry farm, cheese factory, smokehouse, and art and craft galleries. Nearby Warragal has good shopping and restaurants while the little town of Darnun has a music museum.
Just off the highway at Moe (131km) is the Old Gippsland Pioneer Township and this is where you can turn off to visit the historic gold-mining town of Walhalla - a round trip of about 90km. The Long Tunnel Gold Mine runs tours into the mine that gives visitors an idea of how mining was carried out years ago when the area teemed with hotels and camps. Those unfortunate enough to die here were buried standing up as level ground was at a premium.
We enter the industrial Latrobe Valley at Moe and the tall chimneys of power stations can be seen on the skyline at Morwell(148km) and Traralgon (162km). Away to our left and right are the rolling Gippsland hills as we pass though the little town of Rosedale (185km) to reach Sale (211km). On the left as you enter the town is the old gaol that is still in use today. The RAAF Station at Sale is the home of the famous 'Roulettes' aerobatics team that delights crowds whenever they give a display.
A major city in East Gippsland is Bairnsdale (279km) and just past the town the road leading to Victoriaís high country turns off to the left through Bruthen. Paynesville on the beautiful Gippsland Lakes can be reached on the right from here and a little further on another turn to the right would take you to Metung - also on the shores of the lakes.
The view of the lakes and the narrow entrance to the ocean is a photo opportunity not to be missed and approaching Lakes Entrance (315km) from the west you need to stop at the lookout at the top of the hill as the two on the way down cannot be entered in that direction.
Lakes Entrance is a real holiday town - particularly in summer - and abounds with restaurants, bistros, motels and holiday flats. There is a great choice of caravan parks.
From Lakes Entrance we start to drive though forest country on the way to Orbost (374km) - look out for some craft and art galleries a little way before the town. There is a great view of the Snowy River valley as you start to descend to the causeway leading to the town and you will notice the old trestle bridge on the right. The forest continues as we pass the turn off to the little fishing village of Bemm River, drive through Cann River (449km) and turn northwards at the Victorian border just after Genoa (496km)
Our first NSW town of note is the fishing centre of Eden (558km) on the Sapphire Coast with lovely ocean views as you approach the town and this is a good place for an overnight stop with quite a few places of interest to see.
The highway leaves the attractive seaside town of Merimbula to one side at Pambula (577km) but its well worth the detour if you áre taking things easy with time to spare and Pambula itself warrants a little time to explore itís attractions.
From here northwards we will notice the Yellow Pinch Wildlife Reserve on the right and the turn-off to the Yellow Pinch Dam as we head towards Bega (612km) with its winery and cheese factory and the seaside towns of Narooma (687km) and Batemans Bay (756km) Just after leaving Narooma there is a delightful scenic drive on the left with another coastal drive on the right. We have been in dairy country today and we pass the home of Bodella Cheese.
After passing through the attractive little township of Ulladulla (808km) with its descent to the sparkling ocean at the bottom of the hill and the climb out of town, we reach the main centre of the Shoalhaven District - Nowra (882km). This is quite a large city with plenty of caravan parks if you decide to linger for a while in this lovely area.
Even if you are just passing though you could do worse than take a left turn after the bridge and have your morning or afternoon tea - or even lunch - down by the riverside in a nice little park.
From Nowra to Kiama (929km) the road is quite twisty but the sea views are great and the blossoms on the trees the last time we passed through in September were lovely. Kiama is noted for its ëBlow Holeíand when the tides and winds are right this is quite spectacular.
In the old days the climb up from Wollongong (970km) was quite a feat as it corkscrewed its way though the notorious Bulli Pass but nowadays it's a much easier climb up Mount Ousley a little inland although with a heavy trailer or caravan itís not to be laughed at and sometimes early morning or late night fog makes the climb treacherous.
After the climb up the mountain you may feel like a break and what better place to spend it than looking at the wonderful view spread before you on the right from Bulli. The stretch at the top of the climb is a high wind area so care must be taken if you are towing - it can even affect you in a campervan or motor-home.
If heading on north, you will probably want to turn left at Heathcote (1013km) and then follow the signs that takes you right to the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway and on to the NSW capital. (1,059km)