Melbourne to Canberra
You can travel from Melbourne to Canberra by train all the way, but unless you have a religious aversion to buses, there are a few convenient co-ordinated train-bus routes that are quicker and more convenient. NSW Trainlink offer a connecting bus service from Cootamundra to Canberra via Yass that connects with the train from Melbourne. Catch NSW Trainlink's Melbourne XPT train that departs Melbourne Southern Cross station early each morning destined for Sydney. At Cootamundra you change to a connecting NSW Trainlink bus that follows the railway to Yass then diverges down to Canberra Jolimont bus terminal arriving late afternoon. The combined train and bus journey from Melbourne to Canberra takes just a little over
eight hours. It is possible to stay on board the train all the way to Yass Junction station then change to this same bus there minimising the amount of bus travel, however NSW Trainlink prefer that you change at Cootamundra. If you prefer train travel, call NSW Trainlink and insist on the Yass Junction connection. The train and the bus are fully reserved so make sure you book your seat in advance. In addition to economy class seats, the train also has first class seats and it also has a cafe car from which you can purchase meals, snacks and drinks.
VLine also offer a co-ordinated train/bus service from Melbourne to Canberra via Albury called Canberra Link. From Melbourne Southern Cross station, you catch Vline's morning Albury train, and travel for a little over three hours before getting off at Albury. Then you board a Vline bus that takes you to Canberra in the mid afternoon. The whole journey takes about eight and a half hours. The train carries first and economy class seats and also has a cafe bar from which you can purchase meals, snacks and drinks. Seats on the train and on the connecting bus are reserved so you should book in advance.
VLine also offer a co-ordinated train/bus service from Melbourne to Canberra via Bairnsdale and Cooma. Called Capital Link, this service takes quite a different route to the above options, is a little longer, contains more bus travel and operates only on certain days of the week so you will need to check the timetable carefully. From Melbourne Southern Cross station, catch the early morning VLine train to Bairnsdale then change to a connecting VLine bus for the remainder of the journey up to Canberra where you will arrive in the evening. This journey will take you about ten and a half hours, of which less than four hours is by train. The train and the bus both offer economy class reserved seating, so you will need to book in advance. There are opportunities to purchase means and snacks at Bairnsdale while changing from train to bus and also at various stopovers during the bus journey.
It is possible to travel the whole way from Melbourne to Canberra by train. Catch the NSW Trainlink Melbourne XPT train that departs Melbourne Southern Cross station each morning destined for Sydney. After travelling through most of the day, you get off at Goulburn station in the late afternoon and after three to four hours (time for an evening meal at a nearby restaurant) catch the NSW Trainlink Canberra Xplorer train from Goulburn to Canberra railway station arriving after 10pm. The whole journey from Melbourne to Canberra takes about thirteen and a half hours. You can aternatively do this trip overnight by leaving Melbourne late evening, and changing in Goulburn in the wee small hours of the morning before arriving in Canberra late morning. This will require a five or six hour wait at Goulburn - from 4am to 9:30am. In addition to economy and first class seats, the trains have cafe cars from which you can purchase meals, snacks and drinks. The trains are fully reserved so make sure you book your seat in advance.