Breaking the Sydney-Melbourne Train Journey: Why Albury Is a Perfect Pit Stop

The 11-hour Sydney-Melbourne train ride often induces groans. Cramped seats, even with the recommended aisle strolls and coffee escapes, the journey can feel like an eternity. But there’s a magic spell to break this monotony – a mid-point pit stop in the city of Albury.

Right across from the station, you’ll find the convenient, clean, safe and comfortable Winsor Park Motor Inn. I speak from personal experience – its clean rooms and welcoming atmosphere have made it my preferred refuge for breaking up the journey.

Albury’s vibrant main street awaits just a short stroll away, packed with cafes, shops, and local character. If you haven’t graced this city with your presence, prepare to be pleasantly surprised!

Now, let’s tailor your break. Depart Sydney on the Sydney to Melbourne 7:40 AM XPT and arrive in Albury at 3:10 PM – the perfect time to check into your motel and explore downtown.

Need to be in Melbourne early the next morning? The 4:08 AM XPT from Albury takes you straight to Southern Cross by 7:30 AM. Find the full Sydney-Melbourne XPT timetable here:

But maybe you’re on a leisurely holiday or making that epic, once-in-a-lifetime journey. Victoria’s Vline offers a range of Albury-Melbourne options for a more relaxed pace. The first train departs at 6:54 AM, reaching Southern Cross by 10:27 AM, while the 12:51 PM service arrives at 2:33 PM. Explore the complete timetable and more Vline details here: (Click on “Melbourne to Albury/Wodonga via Seymour, Benalla and Wangaratta”).

And if you’d like to continue to Melbourne on the XPT, the 3:10 PM service from Albury whisks you into Southern Cross by 6:30 PM.

So, ditch the seat-time blues and embrace the Albury advantage. Break up your journey, recharge your spirit, and discover a delightful detour on your Sydney-Melbourne rail adventure. While numerous motels line Albury station, the Winsor Park Motor Inn has earned my personal recommendation for a comfortable and convenient stay.

To book (online) the Sydney to Albury leg of the journey go to or call NSWTrainklink 13 22 32

More info about VLine booking info, timetables an contact go to:

Or call VLine on 1800 800 007

Happy travels.

Explore Melbourne – Around Port Phillip Bay by public transport

I often hear people talk about the Great Ocean Road. It’s a trip on everyone’s must do list. But rarely do I hear people talk about visiting Port Phillip Bay. The Great Ocean Road gets all the limelight. But just as beautiful and interesting are the shoreline, towns and villages of Port Phillip Bay. The good thing about a Port Phillip Bay trip is that you can easily and economically do it by public transport.

The trip starts with a ferry or train from Melbourne to Geelong. Then catch a local bus from Geelong to Queenscliff and a ferry across the sea entrance of Port Phillip Bay from Queenscliff to Sorrento. Then travel up along the Mornington Peninsula by bus to Frankston and finally take a train from Frankston back into Melbourne. All in a day.

Depending on your connections you could do the whole trip in six to eight hours.

When my partner and I first did the trip we thought we’d do it all in a day. But the towns and areas we passed through were so interesting we ended up staying the night in both Queenscliff and Sorrento.

Melbourne to Geelong

Brighton Beach on Port Phillip Bay. Image by Titus Aparici.
Brighton Beach on Port Phillip Bay. Image by Titus Aparici.
  • By train

The most convenient way of getting to Geelong from Melbourne is to use the train. It’s a journey of a little over an hour and trains leave Southern Cross station approximately every 40 minutes and bookings ain’t required. You just roll up with your Myki card, find yourself a seat and sit back and enjoy the journey. There are restrooms and refreshments available onboard. When you arrive in Geelong the buses for the next leg of your journey to Queenscliff leave from the entrance to the station. Here’s the timetable Southern Cross Station to Geelong :

  • By ferry

The ferry service by Port Phillip Ferries is new, having only started back in December 2019. There are two services a day from Docklands to Geelong – a morning and afternoon service. The ferry is a fast catamaran and known as the Geelong Flyer. The trip from Docklands to Geelong is one hour and thirty minutes. Refreshments and restrooms are available on board. It’s important to remember that you need to book and pay ahead. Only passengers with pre-booked tickets will be allowed to board the ferry. For the timetable and online bookings, click on the link below.

The ferry arrives at the Geelong Waterfront beside the Carousel but the bus to Queenscliff, your next destination, leaves from Geelong Railway station, which is about a ten minute walk (about four blocks away) or a quick trip in a taxi. Here’s a map of Geelong.

Geelong to Queenscliff

This part of the trip takes you by bus through the Bellarine Peninsular to Queenscliff

If you arrive on the train, you’ll find the bus stop for buses to Queenscliff in front of Geelong Railway Station. The bus route number you’re looking for is number 56 to Queenscliff via Ocean Grove. During the day buses depart the Geelong Railway Station for Queenscliff approximately every hour. Use your Myki card to pay your fare. Here’s the timetable for Geelong Station to Queenscliff:

Queenscliff to Sorrento

This section of the trip takes you by ferry across the entrance to Port Phillip Bay.

The ferry service from Queenscliff to Sorrento is run by Searoad Ferries. Ferries depart the Queenscliff Wharf every hour from 7 am till 6 pm, seven days a week. The ferry timetable is at:

One way Foot Passenger Fares start from Adult $13.00 and Concession at $11.00. You can buy tickets online or at the wharf. More information and fares at:

Sorrento to Frankston

The bus to Frankston is route number 788 which leaves from the corner of Melbourne Road and Ocean Beach Road. The bus stop is a five to ten minute walk from the ferry terminal into Sorrento shopping centre. Buses leave for Frankston about every forty to fifty minutes. So find the bus stop, check the timetable, then have a look around the shops or get some lunch before the next bus departs. Here’s the timetable.

The bus trip from Sorrento to Frankston will take around one and one half hours. Pay using your Myki card.

Frankston to Melbourne

The 788 bus from Sorrento will terminate at Frankston Railway Station. Trains to Melbourne depart from here every ten minutes. Here’s the timetable.

Accommodation suggestions in Queenscliff and Sorrento – just in case you fall in love with one of the towns and want to stay the night.

Day Trip: Melbourne to Ararat via Geelong, return to Melbourne via Ballarat

Melbourne to Ararat aboard the Overlander

This day trip from Melbourne starts out aboard the Overlander that leaves Southern Cross station every Monday and Friday. The train departs Melbourne at 8:05 and arrives Ararat at 11:33.

Since this train runs via Geelong, people from Geelong can also join the train at the North Shore Geelong railway station.

The timetable, Melbourne to Ararat for 2021 can be found at

The timetable for the VLine services Ararat to Melbourne. Reservations are not required aboard the 14:28 service which arrives at Southern Cross at 16:51.

To make a booking and pay for the return journey, go to

When booking, take care to choose either a Monday or Friday to travel and choose the 08:05, Overlander, departure from Southern Cross.

Both the forward and return journeys are off-peak. The return concession fare on the VLine, Let’s Plan Your Journey page came up as $30:80.

The Overlander arrives at Ararat at 11:33 and the next train back to Melbourne from Ararat departs at 14:28, so you’ll have plenty of time for lunch and a walk around town.

Enjoy your day visiting the Victorian countryside and don’t forget to check the timetables and look for any changes and updates before you depart.