Last updated on May 3, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Melbourne

Melbourne to Sydney: Train, Flight or a beautiful drive 

  • There are direct trains (11 hours), buses (12 hours) or flights (1h25m). The best transportation really depends on the time you have, the budget and how green you want to be.
  • I suggest booking the tickets well in advance if you move around the school holidays or during the Christmas period
  • Flights depart from the the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport and arrive at the Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, only 10km from Circular Quay
  • Both the trains and the buses depart from the main station in the CBD. The great advantage of using them is that you can check in just a few minutes before departure and you would not need to take transportation to the airport (usually around $20).

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Melbourne to Sydney

  • Melbourne-Sydney Trains: there are 2 trains daily from Sydney to Melbourne and vice-versa. There is a train leaving in the early morning and a night train too. The trip takes 11 hours
  • Melbourne-Sydney Buses: there are two companies operating on this route which creates a bit of competition in the price. There are a total of 4 buses daily that go back and forward from Melbourne to Sydney. There are a few breaks on the route. The trip takes 12 hours
  • Melbourne-Sydney Flights: one of the busiest route in the world. Daily flights depart from the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport to the Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport. There are around 60 flights/day to choose from. The main operators are Tigerair, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Qantas. Tickets may run out during the School Holidays.

Flights from Melbourne to Sydney

The Melbourne to Sydney air route is ranked as one of the busiest routes in the world.

It has over sixty chartered flights plying the route each day. This makes a lot of sense, considering the fact that it links two of Australia’s largest and most populous cities.

The route is dominated by Australia’s biggest airlines which include Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, and Tigerair.

Considering how busy the route is, you have to book your flight as early as you can, at least a day before travelling.

If you are looking to travel on a budget, your airline of choice will be either Tigerair or Jetstar.

How to get from Melbourne to Sydney
How to get from Melbourne to Sydney (see Google Map here)

Tigerair is the cheapest option. You can spend as little as $60 for a one-way ticket to Sydney. However, as you know, there has to be a catch to it.

Tigerair has received a lot of criticism for its stringent luggage policies.

Your carry on luggage should not exceed 7 Kg. Whereas other airlines would pardon you if your luggage exceeds the limit by a few grams, Tigerair will charge you for it.

It could cost you about $30 for the extra luggage. I know, it is quite unreasonable.

Tigerair at the Melbourne Airport
Tigerair at the Melbourne Airport

Being a 180-seat economy class cabin, the legroom is not that much. You can not stretch your legs freely.

On the positive side, you can slightly recline your seat for a more comfortable position. The sitting position is just alright for a one and a half hour-long flight.

Do not expect any free food or snacks. You can buy food during the flight if you want. The food and drinks have reasonable market prices.

Are you on a budget? Save on food since the flight is not that long.

You will not get any entertainment on a Tigerair flight except for a few magazines tacked on the seat sleeves.

Jetstar flights are a great alternative if you are looking to fly economy class.

It is a bit more comfortable with slightly more legroom and a bit flexible luggage policy.

It would cost you about $10 more for a one-way ticket.

Jetstar flight
Jetstar flight

Qantas is the best airline to fly on. However, it is also more expensive than all other airlines.

A ticket would cost you at least $130. In saying that, the economy class cabin area is pretty nice.

The seats are very comfortable, and you have a lot of leg room.

You also get access to in-flight entertainment, a USB charging system, and free snacks and drinks.

Last Qantas flight at night
Last Qantas flight at night

Virgin Australia seats between Qantas and Jetstar.

The cabin is really nice, with comfortable seats, enough leg room and fantastic service from the flight attendants.

You do not receive complimentary food or drinks or entertainment, however, the flight ticket is cheaper than Qantas

Virgin Australia landing at the airport
Virgin Australia landing at the airport

Should I book my tickets in advance?

There is usually a good availability of tickets. You can even book a couple of days in advance and find convenient prices.

The busy periods (when you should book well in advance) are:

  • first and last weekend of the school holidays 
  • Easter long weekend
  • Christmas and end of the year weeks

How do I get to the airport?

It is pretty easy to get to Melbourne airport.

The most convenient and economical way is to take the bus. You can board the Skybus coach.

You can take the bus at the Southern Cross train station. It is cheaper to book your bus ticket online.

Southern Cross Station in Melbourne
Southern Cross Station in Melbourne

It will cost you a decent $19.50 from the station to the airport.

If you opt for a taxi, it will cost you up to 3 times as much. I wouldn’t recommend a taxi because you could end up getting stuck in traffic during peak hours and end up paying more or miss your flight.

If you want to get to the Airport in Sydney, you can take the airport link train from the City Hall station (or any other station in the city circle, including the Central Sation) to the domestic flights’ section of Sydney international airport.

It will cost you $17.50.

Alternatively, you can take a bus to Mascot and then take a taxi all the way to the airport.

The second alternative is not very convenient, time-wise, but it is cheaper than the airport link train.

The Metro-Train to the Sydney Airport
The Metro-Train to the Sydney Airport

From Melbourne to Sydney by train

Yes, you can catch a train from Melbourne to Sydney, or vice-versa. It’s obviously the greenest solution of all.

The XPT train from Melbourne for Sydney leaves twice every day. The first train leaves at 8:30 AM whereas the second train leaves at 7:50 PM.

The same train, on the opposite route, from Sydney for Melbourne, leaves at 7:42 AM and 8:42 PM on weekdays.

Departure times could vary by a few minutes on the weekends.

Check the XPT website for the latest timetable. This is where you can also book your ticket.

How long does it take the train from Melbourne to Sydney

It is a distance of about 950km (six hundred miles). The train takes about ten to twelve stopovers between Melbourne and Sydney.

A journey from Melbourne to Sydney by train takes about 11 hours. Just relax and check out the Australian outback.

The train from Melbourne to Sydney
The train from Melbourne to Sydney

Should I book my tickets in advance?

You have to book your ticket and seat earlier.

The daytime tickets are on high demand and sell out pretty fast.

If you don’t get your ticket a few days before the day of the journey, you are likely to miss out on the train.

An economy class ticket will cost you $117 whereas as a first class ticket will cost you $164.

However, the extra $47 is not worth it. There is very little difference between the economy and first class seat.

The first class seats only recline a little beat more than the economy class seats and offer you more leg area.

The most luxurious option is the sleeping cabin which will cost you a whopping $264.

If you are looking to travel at night, this is the best choice if you can afford it.

You can not book a sleeping cabin directly online. You have to call the train booking office (13 22 32) for a reservation.

How do I get to the train station?

To get to the Southern Cross train station in Melbourne, you can take pretty much all trams in the CBD.

How to get to Southern Cross Station
How to get to Southern Cross Station (check Google Map here)

If you are in Swanston Street, like at the Victoria State Library, then you will need to change at Bourke Street.

The train station in Sydney is accessible by train or bus.

It’s in the centre of many bus route. Moreover, it is on the metro ring, hard to miss it

It is easier and cheaper to use the Opal card (a local transportation credit card available at the convenience stores) for Public transport within Sydney.

Buses from Melbourne to Sydney

There are two bus companies serving the route from Sydney and Melbourne:

Greyhound operates three buses each day. The scheduled departure times are 9:00 AM, 8:00 PM and 10:00 Pm.

Firefly Express, on the other hand, has only one bus which leaves at 7:00 PM.

A Greyhound bus ticket will cost you $99. This is almost $25 more than what you would spend on Firefly Express.

However, you get to enjoy free Wi-Fi. You can also choose your seat while booking your ticket online. You don’t have to queue to choose a seat.

Greyhound also offers a reward program that helps you save money on future trips.

Greyhound bus
Greyhound bus

How long does it take the bus from Melbourne to Sydney

The journey takes about eleven hours and thirty-five minutes.

Both companies depart from the Southern Cross Coach terminal Melbourne.

The Sydney terminal is at Central Station.

Both buses usually make stopovers at Sydney’s international and domestic airports along the way. This makes it convenient for anyone looking to catch a flight to anywhere else.

How do I get to the bus station?

Both bus companies depart from the coach terminals located at Southern Cross, in Melbourne, and Central Station, in Sydney.

Southern Cross Station in Melbourne
Southern Cross Station in Melbourne

The Melbourne to Sydney drive

Driving from Melbourne to Sydney can be quite an exciting road trip.

Let’s see two different options.

Stopovers on the Melbourne to Sydney drive – the direct way

The Hume Highway is the quickest route for the drive from Melbourne to Sydney, around 900km.

You can possibly drive it in 10 to 11 hours. It is not a scenic route, just a quick one.

An ideal stopover on the Melbourne to Sydney drive is Albury, on the banks of the Murray River (one of the biggest in Australia).

You could even think to spend a day in Albury and visit the Snowy Mountains.

You can also plan a de-route to Canberra, the capital of Australia, turning on the A25 from Yass. This would add 1-2 hours to your drive.

Melbourne to Sydney coastal drive 2 days or more 

Having more time, I would personally prefer the Melbourne to Sydney coastal drive in 2 days or even more.

Hosier Lane in Melbourne
Hosier Lane in Melbourne

After leaving Melbourne, head on the M1 till Yarragon. This is a good place to grab a meal before continuing with your trip.

You can spend your first night in Bairnsdale.

You can check the very nice and affordable Riversleigh hotel that overlooks the Mitchell River.

The next morning, you can have a detour to Gippsland lake and just enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Eden is the perfect place to spend your second night. Don’t forget to visit the famous Eden Museum.

For accommodation, I would recommend the Whale Cove Circuit.

On the third day, tour the town of Merimbula and grab a meal at Dulcie’s Cottage before proceeding.

If you wish to spend the third night on the road, Batemans Bay would be a good place to get accommodation.

While on your road trip to Sydney, you can visit a few fun places such as the renown Royal National Park, just a few km from the destination.

Take your time to interact with nature at its best.

Scenic route Melbourne to Sydney
Scenic route Melbourne to Sydney (check Google Map here)

The cheapest way of getting from Melbourne to Sydney?

So which is the cheapest means of transport to get from Melbourne to Sydney?

In a few cases, the flights come up cheaper and faster once compared to both the train and the bus.

If you are looking for the most economical means, I would recommend a Tigerair flight.

Just make sure you carry as little luggage as possible to avoid extra costs.

Great view before lending at the Sydney Airport
Great view before lending at the Sydney Airport

Summary on the Melbourne to Sydney trip

  • The train is unfortunately quite expensive, however, it’s also the most eco-friendly mean of transportation
  • The flight can be the cheapest way to move from Melbourne to Sydney if you can find a special price or you are flexible on the departure day and time.
  • The bus seats somewhere in the middle. However, both Greyhound and Firefly have, from time to time, incredible specials, down to single digit. Have a look to their websites before booking your flight.
Street Photography at the station
Street Photography at the station
Photo credits on a few photos in this post
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

2 thoughts on “How To Get from Melbourne to Sydney [with photos – train, flight and on the road]”

  1. very satisfying post, really Enjoyed reading. good job and good luck for the upcoming articles

    Reply

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