Howdy all and a happy Tuesday too you indeed! Today, as the title may suggest, I will be sharing my experience bussing it from Sydney back to Melbourne in August of this very year, 2022. It’s a fair distance – Sydney Central Station to Melbourne Southern Cross Station – 878km in fact.
And you see the word ‘station’ right and think ‘train’ – as well you might! Indeed the train does ply this route. However – not on the day I travelled! As it would happen I DID book the train, and this SHOULD be a review of the train journey, alas it is not. What happened?
Well, for starters a little while before I was due to leave Melbourne, like two weeks, I got an text message to let me know the last 40% of the journey would be by bus, that’s from Albury to Melbourne. Albury is just on the New South Wales side of the border between the two states – New South Wales where Sydney is the capital and Victoria.
I was a bit bummed out by this because that was a fair share of the journey and frankly, buses are not my favourite forms of transport, considering that trains are so much more comfortable and that I had to spend over twelve hours in a big box I couldn’t really move about it.
The original arrival time, (with a departure time of 740am which was the same as for the train) was 630pm. In the end it was pushed out to 815pm which made it nearly 13 hours. So what to do? Well, I sucked it up and decided to go with the bus – I don’t think I was entitled to a refund anyway and the ticket was just under a hundred (Aussie) bucks. It was $93.79 to be exact so around $60USD for reference.
Speed forward to the departure date and I was up and showered and walking towards Sydney’s distinctive Central Station well in time for departure – around 7am I arrived. The checking in sequence was along Platform One, a little table set up where you showed your ticket and then got directed to a bus which was waiting just outside the station through a short passage.
Although there was assigned seating on the train, there was not with the bus. Luckily there didn’t seem to be many on my bus, less than half full. I’m not sure how they divided up the train passengers for the buses, but I guess it depended on destination.
I sat down and waited. It was 25 minutes at least before we left, but it was on time. We had an interesting bus driver with a South African accent and pride about the appearance of his bus – he warned a passenger with coffee to be careful and to dispose of the cup when finished.
The space wasn’t super comfortable, but with no-one next to me for the majority of the trip, it wasn’t too bad all said. We did pick up and drop of people along the way and one point we were almost full and I had someone in the seat next to me. Then it was pretty tight and less comfortable. Thankfully that was only for an hour or so.
As we moved along, we had two breaks on the way. The first was at the New South Wales Town of Yass at around 12pm or perhaps slightly before. It was at a large service station area outside the centre of town with a mini mart and a few eating options, including of course, McDonald’s. The weather was clear when we departed Sydney, but prior to getting in to Yass the bus drove through some decent fog, which started to clear as the bus hit Yass.
After a half hour break it was full steam ahead. We hit the border at around 4pm of New South Wales and Victoria, crossing the Murray river just after Albury which makes up the majority of the border. Just over the border we made our second stop, about the same amount of time. This time there was a main shop/mart connected to a bit of a restaurant/café and a shop called ‘Pie Face’ which is a chain selling, you guessed it, pies!
By now the lower back was letting me know it didn’t really think much of the seat, but we continued along the Hume Highway, the highway we were on for probably 90% of the journey, towards Melbourne.
The sun went down, and actually it was a pretty nice sunset in the west (as is the usual place for the sunset). I even braved the on board toilet which was surprisingly clean and spacious. Look out for a loo review when the video comes out!
It was at around 815pm that the bus pulled into Southern Cross station, where the train would have finished too. And I was pretty happy to get off the bus. It’s fine for a bit, even for a number of hours, but it had been over twelve and a half hours since the bus pulled out of Sydney Central Station. I still had to get home from there, but the long journey was at an end. Perhaps twenty-five passengers left on the bus at the end.
The bus was run by a company called Sunshine Tours, I presume the train company has to contract different bus companies to run the buses when the trains are not able to run. Personally, if I wasn’t doing a blog or vlog, I would never choose this way between the two cities. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to take the train again – I know I have before but we are talking more than 25 years ago and I don’t really remember it. Flying is definitely the quickest and most convenient way to do the trip. There has been talk of high speed rail, but until something solid emerges and they start building it I won’t believe it’s actually happening.
Thanks for popping in today! Take care wherever in the world you are – and May the Journey Never End!