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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Melbourne to Sydney by Bus vs by flight: Which is better?

I went from Melbourne to Sydney by bus and came back via flight. This post lists pros and cons of both options if you are planning a commute between two cities. Booking a flight is easily the cheaper and convenient option, but I intentionally tried road transport one way, because I felt that I can save one night stay expense, get to explore another city (Canberra) on the way. Greyhound had free on-board WiFi and USB charging, which made the travel a lot more convenient. Instead of booking direct, I booked two separate tickets- Melbourne to Canberra and then Canberra to Sydney. I kept a 5 hour gap in Canberra so that I can go into town and visit key attractions. Canberra attractions will be covered in separate posts.



Flight (TigerAir Australia)
Bus (Greyhound Australia)
Remarks
Travel Time
90 min flight + 2 hours for airport formalities + 30 min for airport to city commute= Total 4 hours approx
About 12 hours
Overnight bus means loss of time may not be much as you can sleep in bus instead of hotel and save on hotel rent

Bus can go faster, but there is 110 kmph max speed limit.
Cost
AUD 60 onwards (tiger air Australia cheapest fare as I have seen) + AUD 35 for airport transfer in Sydney and Melbourne, total about 100 AUD onwards (luggage extra, fare is higher if not booked early enough)
About AUD 110 onwards, city centre to city centre, baggage included
One night hotel rent can be saved

USB charging and free WiFi provided- so can work during travel
Key benefits/advantages
Quick and cheap
  1. Can explore Canberra during transit
  2. Save one night hotel rent
  3. USB charging, WiFi and baggage allowance
  4. See a bit of Australia country side
  5. City centre to city centre coverage
  6. 2 pieces of luggage allowed free

Key disadvantages
Airport transfer can cost as much as a cheap flight ticket.
Flights are more prone to delays than a bus
No night flights
3 times more time
Bus is convenient if you don’t want to fly during day time or don’t want to rush to airport early in the morning. Or when you have lots of luggage
For locker facilities in Canberra bus terminal, check this post.
Greyhound buses (referred to as coaches in Australia) are well equipped with enough leg room, seat belt, a spare plastic bag (may be for use in case of vomit like situation) etc. Recline is pretty good (much more compared to economy seats in flights). For my Melbourne-Canberra leg a seat was assigned to me as the bus was full, but Canberra-Sydney leg was free seating as there were just a few passengers.

Saturday night Melbourne to Sydney bus was filled up for all seats. Tuesday evening Sydney-Melbourne flight was 75% full. So there are patrons for both modes of transport. You can pick one based on your convenience and pros and cons listed above.

So, happy journey. Read all my Australia posts under this label. Tiger Air ticket booking experience covered in this post.

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