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Winter driving from Melbourne to Canberra?

By Tray - 20 May 2011 26

Hi everyone, I’ll be driving up to Canberra for the first time and was hoping to receive some general advice for safety.

It appears that the weather is unusually cold this winter with snow. Would the drive up (through Hume) involved snow or ice sleet?

Also, should I be particularly concerned with antifreeze considering it’s sub-zero?

Thanks as I’m completely new to long-distance cold weather driving.

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Winter driving from Melbourne to Canberra?
BimboGeek 2:42 pm 20 May 11

Jugiong hill is really nasty. You need to get your car really well serviced if you intend to make it over this monster. But don’t worry, the friendly folks at the Jugiong pub are happy to welcome random city girls whose cars break down and show up limping in to town, crying on the phone to daddy and waiting for their man to come rescue them from Canberra in his Commodore. They can probably get your car going again by the time he arrives, too.

KTB 2:19 pm 20 May 11

Enjoy the Hume, wait til you get to enjoy the fun of the Barton Highway…saw another distressed, just-winged roo struggling off into a paddock this morning, have never seen quite so many roadkill victims as during the last month or so. A wombat will do wonders for the radiator.

Rawhide Kid Part3 10:57 am 20 May 11

Did a round trip last weekend…Smooth sailing both ways…. Just watch your speed. Its very easy to creep over the 110 kmh mark.

Captain RAAF 10:55 am 20 May 11

Thumper said :

Gundagai with its dog on the tuckerbox, although the said dog is rather underwhelming.

You aint seen underwhelming until you visit the statue of Godzilla in Tokyo!

gospeedygo 10:09 am 20 May 11

Thumper said :

The only thing dangerous about the drive is the sheer and utter mind numbing boredom.

Based on evidence last time I made the trip, other drivers are something else. Could have ended horribly a couple of times.

Captain RAAF 10:03 am 20 May 11

johnboy said :

Chop71 said :

oh yes, very dangerous. You should put chains on from Tarcutta to Yass and drive at no more than 60km per hour

This may well be a windup 😉

Anti-freeze! Where is this person from?

Personally, i’d pack lots of blankets as the winter snow’s can often close the highway at Gundagai and you could find yourself stuck for weeks! And lets not even mention the avalanches, otherwise they’ll never even leave Melbourne!

qbngeek 10:01 am 20 May 11

Most good radiator coolants include an antifreeze in them, but you cna add it if you are not sure. It won’t be needed on the highway but may be required if your car will be in Canberra overnight. I have had to rescue two friends now who moved down here and never put antifreeze in the car. Their water pumps then crapped themselves because the water in them was frozen and the car will also overheat.

Thumper 9:57 am 20 May 11

The only thing dangerous about the drive is the sheer and utter mind numbing boredom. The road is very good with the exception of the Tarcutta bypass so you’ll have no problems.

A stopover to see the Oberon class submarine at Holbrook is always worth it, as is Gundagai with its dog on the tuckerbox, although the said dog is rather underwhelming.

Jclarke 9:56 am 20 May 11

LOL I am due to drive the opposite way next week
All you need is a full tank of fuel.

Holden Caulfield 9:49 am 20 May 11

If you stick to the Hume you should have no problems at all due to snow, barring a freak weather event.

Ice would also be unlikely, unless you stopped overnight somewhere and started early in the morning.

It’s only if you start to go through the mountains (via Tumut, then Cooma as one example) that you’d be more likely to encounter snow/ice. It’s lovely scenery that way though, so it might be worth considering if you’re not in any hurry.

My mum drove that way last year in June on her way from Adelaide to Canberra and had no problems, but you would need to check conditions prior to travelling just to be sure.

johnboy 9:49 am 20 May 11

Chop71 said :

oh yes, very dangerous. You should put chains on from Tarcutta to Yass and drive at no more than 60km per hour

This may well be a windup 😉

damien haas 9:42 am 20 May 11

I drive to Melbourne and back to Canberra many times a year. The trip is much safer now than it used to be, with dual carriageway on the Hume Highway for 99% of the journey. Make sure that your car is in good condition and you check all the fluids and tyre pressures before beginning your journey. You do have a spare tyre, which is inflated and you do know how to change it I hope.

You will be sitting on 110KMH for about 8 hours, if your car cant do it – dont attempt the journey.

Snow is not something I have experienced but extreme fog is certainly something you can expect, at this time of the year especially early in the day. Vison can be very limited, and you need to drive accordingly. I have also driven the entire way in rain. Usually I find that because of the distance, it can be sunny at one end and rainy at the other!

Depending on your bladder and fuel usage variables, plan your stops accordingly. I stop three or four times, taking a good 20 to 30 minute break each time, not just to refuel but also to walk around and just stretch a bit. As most of the trip is now dual carriageway, your mind can wander. You dont want this, you do need to pay attention as the volume of heavy vehicles on this road is high.

The worst part of this trip is now the Barton Highway, which is being upgraded in a piecemeal fashion, but when you compare it to the Federal Hghway i think it will be many years until its at that standard.

Have a safe journey and dont be daunted, as road trips go the trip up the Hume is a pretty easy one.

Chop71 9:42 am 20 May 11

oh yes, very dangerous. You should put chains on from Tarcutta to Yass and drive at no more than 60km per hour

jsm2090 9:38 am 20 May 11

hmmm I think it’s unlikely that you’ll have a problem with snow travelling on the Hume. It will depend on your car, but the vast majority of vehicles built in the last 10-15 years can cope with sub-zero temperatures no problems. As always, if the conditions look hazardous, slow down, put your lights on, and drive to the conditions. It also helps to have water, a warm jacket, and a charged mobile phone just in case anything happens!

Slashor 9:35 am 20 May 11

I have done it many times at all times of the year. Never seen any issues even with super heavy rain. I seriously doubt you would ever get a problem with snow and pretty unlikely to get ice on the roads too. Not sure about the anti-freeze but I don’t think that would be troublesome.

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