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Winter driving from Melbourne to Canberra?

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.


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26 Responses to Winter driving from Melbourne to Canberra?
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Mysteryman Mysteryman 12:17 pm 23 May 11

With a decent car you won’t even need to stop for fuel. It does get boring though, so stop as often as is necessary to stay alert.

Captain RAAF Captain RAAF 11:03 am 23 May 11

astrojax said :

a sto at the holbrook bakery for pies is also de rigeur which you can then take up to the park with the submarine and scoff. they’re brilliant. or take a side trip off the highway before the border and swing into rutherglen for even better pies; and if you’ve time, a tipple, too…

Enjoy the pies while you can guys, once Holbrook is by-passed, that pie shop is as dead as a dodo!

If they were smart, they’d be pushing for a shop on the freeway in a rest area.

damien haas damien haas 10:09 am 23 May 11

Watson said :

qbngeek said :

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.

I used to drive a 20+ yo Subaru and never, ever used anti-freeze or even coolant. Just filled up the radiator with water and never had a problem in winter.

If your car engine has alloy, aluminim and cast iron parts, then use coolant not straight water. If you are going to be parking outside in Canberra over winter, also use cooolant and not straight water. Topping up with water from time to time probably wont harm the engine, but very few modern engines are designed to be cooled by straight water.

Watson Watson 9:58 am 23 May 11

qbngeek said :

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.

I used to drive a 20+ yo Subaru and never, ever used anti-freeze or even coolant. Just filled up the radiator with water and never had a problem in winter.

JC JC 9:16 am 21 May 11

damien haas said :

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

Melbourne is about 640km from Canberra, so sitting at 110km/h it would take about 6 hours of actual driving. Of course time needs to be added for breaks and more than likley 1 refuel.

JC JC 9:13 am 21 May 11

bd84 said :

Do you think Switzerland is situated somewhere between Melbourne and Canberra or something? The only place it really snows in this country is on very high mountains, none of which are at all close to the road from Melbourne…

All you need to do is to get in the car, join the Hume Freeway/Highway and drive. Stopping at one of the half dozen maccas/fuel stops or somewhere like Albury (about half way) would be a good idea to prevent yourself falling asleep.

Was thinking the same, Canberra sure the shit ain’t in Scandinavia or Switzerland where one would have to really worry about winter driving conditions.

bd84 bd84 10:02 pm 20 May 11

Do you think Switzerland is situated somewhere between Melbourne and Canberra or something? The only place it really snows in this country is on very high mountains, none of which are at all close to the road from Melbourne…

All you need to do is to get in the car, join the Hume Freeway/Highway and drive. Stopping at one of the half dozen maccas/fuel stops or somewhere like Albury (about half way) would be a good idea to prevent yourself falling asleep.

Deref Deref 6:09 pm 20 May 11

astrojax said :

a sto at the holbrook bakery for pies is also de rigeur which you can then take up to the park with the submarine and scoff. they’re brilliant. or take a side trip off the highway before the border and swing into rutherglen for even better pies; and if you’ve time, a tipple, too…

+1

Whatever you do don’t pay any attention to the place on the left (coming into Holbrook from Melbourne) advertising “the best coffee on the Hume” – it’s horrible. Really. Avoid at all costs. The coffee at the Bakery’s good, as is the food.

Yes, make sure you’ve got antifreeze. You won’t need it on the trip, but you’ll need it when you get here.

It really is a mind-numbingly boring trip, but watch the speed. You’ll definitely run into radar.

astrojax astrojax 4:22 pm 20 May 11

a sto at the holbrook bakery for pies is also de rigeur which you can then take up to the park with the submarine and scoff. they’re brilliant. or take a side trip off the highway before the border and swing into rutherglen for even better pies; and if you’ve time, a tipple, too…

eily eily 3:15 pm 20 May 11

Keijidosha said :

Here’s some advice from the Canberra urban drivers handbook for travelling outside of the safety zone (aka the ACT border):*

1) Fill the car with fuel prior to your trip. This is very important to ensure you can get a long way into your trip without taking a break. Tyre pressure, clean windows and fluid levels are not important, so don’t waste your time checking. If your headlights are properly aligned, kick one of them so it points into oncoming traffic.
2) Relax! Leave at least an hour later than you really need to. You can always make up time on the freeway.
3) Before you leave remember that safety comes first, so be sure to turn on your fog lights regardless of the weather conditions. If you’re poor and don’t have foglights then just flick the high beam on.
4) When you get onto the open road, set the cruise control around 130kph and settle back for the journey. Again, if you’re poor and don’t have cruise control, think of the accelerator as a leg press and push hard. Release and repeat. If one leg goes to sleep, swap for the other.
4) Animals are scared of cars and won’t venture onto the road – no need to have both hands on the wheel. Keep one free for sending important text messages or adjusting your genitals (for the guys).
5) On a freeway, both lanes belong to you. Assert your ownership by sitting in the fast lane and dominate cars that are attempting to pass.
6) When preparing to overtake other vehicles, approach them as closely as possible before swinging out into the other lane. Slipstreaming is what racing drivers use, and you’re just as good as Craig Lowndes. Be careful though, the slingshot effect may cause you to gather excessive speed, so once your overtaking manouver is completed, give the brake pedal a good mash.
7) To save fuel, tailgate behind trucks. Truck drivers are alert and aware of your presence at all times.
8) If you encounter a two-way stretch of road, you may be confused at first. Worry not, these roads are designed as a challenge, with the goal being to overtake EVERYONE. Bonus points for ignoring those odd double centre lines and signs indicating “overtaking lane ahead” – go for the high score.
9) Never take a break, except for a coffee/redbull cocktail. This will give you the energy to power towards victory.
10) If you make it to your destination on time without being overtaken, and taking the least amount of breaks possible then congratulations, you have proven your worth as the driver’s champion.

*This handbook is fictional, any resemblance to Canberra drivers living or dead is unintentional. For the unfamiliar, the above is sarcasm and should not be considered rational advice.

But not surprisingly, much of it is true.

Keijidosha Keijidosha 2:51 pm 20 May 11

Here’s some advice from the Canberra urban drivers handbook for travelling outside of the safety zone (aka the ACT border):*

1) Fill the car with fuel prior to your trip. This is very important to ensure you can get a long way into your trip without taking a break. Tyre pressure, clean windows and fluid levels are not important, so don’t waste your time checking. If your headlights are properly aligned, kick one of them so it points into oncoming traffic.
2) Relax! Leave at least an hour later than you really need to. You can always make up time on the freeway.
3) Before you leave remember that safety comes first, so be sure to turn on your fog lights regardless of the weather conditions. If you’re poor and don’t have foglights then just flick the high beam on.
4) When you get onto the open road, set the cruise control around 130kph and settle back for the journey. Again, if you’re poor and don’t have cruise control, think of the accelerator as a leg press and push hard. Release and repeat. If one leg goes to sleep, swap for the other.
4) Animals are scared of cars and won’t venture onto the road – no need to have both hands on the wheel. Keep one free for sending important text messages or adjusting your genitals (for the guys).
5) On a freeway, both lanes belong to you. Assert your ownership by sitting in the fast lane and dominate cars that are attempting to pass.
6) When preparing to overtake other vehicles, approach them as closely as possible before swinging out into the other lane. Slipstreaming is what racing drivers use, and you’re just as good as Craig Lowndes. Be careful though, the slingshot effect may cause you to gather excessive speed, so once your overtaking manouver is completed, give the brake pedal a good mash.
7) To save fuel, tailgate behind trucks. Truck drivers are alert and aware of your presence at all times.
8) If you encounter a two-way stretch of road, you may be confused at first. Worry not, these roads are designed as a challenge, with the goal being to overtake EVERYONE. Bonus points for ignoring those odd double centre lines and signs indicating “overtaking lane ahead” – go for the high score.
9) Never take a break, except for a coffee/redbull cocktail. This will give you the energy to power towards victory.
10) If you make it to your destination on time without being overtaken, and taking the least amount of breaks possible then congratulations, you have proven your worth as the driver’s champion.

*This handbook is fictional, any resemblance to Canberra drivers living or dead is unintentional. For the unfamiliar, the above is sarcasm and should not be considered rational advice.

BimboGeek 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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