Sydney is Australia's biggest city.
South towards Melbourne
There are two options.
- The Princes Highway is more scenic and mostly not a freeway, but it's 200 km longer. Take a train on the illawarra line to "Heathcote". Cross the railway bridge and walk to the highway. There is a large petrol station on your left, Caltex I think. This is the last petrol station for quite a way so lots of cars heading south stop here. If you get tired of waiting at the petrol station then walk up the highway for 5 minutes heading south - past the caravan park there is a good spot with a stopping lane, and the cars are only just coming out of 50km speed limit here. Louisa and Liam caught a train to Dapto on the Woolongong line (about $5 concession). It's about a 2 hour train ride and you end up an easy 200m walk from the highway. There's a shopping centre ("Dapto Mall") on the highway near the train station, if you walk about 600m south from here you'll find a bus stop with a long line of sight for drivers to see you, and room for them to pull over. Louisa and Liam waited here for 15 minutes until they got a ride to Nowra.
- Take the Hume Highway if you're in a hurry (which you shouldn't be). It takes 10 hours to get to Melbourne if you are lucky enough to get a truck going all the way. It's less easy to get out than on the Princes Highway. Joy caught the train to Casula and hitched from the service station 10 min walk away (waited 10 mins). Check out multimap.com.au to see where to go, or just ask someone.
- Alternatively, catch a train to the end of the Campbelltown line to Macarthur Station, walk north to Narellan road and try to find a car there. If you want to increase traffic, follow Narellan Road to the intersection of Hume Hwy. Note: don't try to cut through the university from the train station directly to the intersection of Hume and Narellan - unless you are happy to climb a fence.
North towards Byron Bay
The two main roadways out of Sydney come to a junction around Hornsby.
- The Pacific Highway is the name shared by a number of roads which form a chain going up the East coast of Australia. Between Sydney and Hornsby, it is the main arterial road, but between Hornsby and Gosford it has been, for the most part, superceded by The "F3" Freeway (logically marked "National 1" on street signs), and is only one lane in each direction for good stretches, twisty, turny and doesn't get much traffic (unless the F3 is closed, in which case, you start seeing massive trucks trundling down tiny roadways). Due to the low traffic volumes, unless you are wanting to stop between Hornsby and Gosford (and you can get a lift all the way), it is recommended that you look at the F3.
- The "F3" Freeway ("National 1") is the main roadway running North from Sydney, catering for nearly all traffic. Being a Freeway, it is not open to pedestrian traffic, and trying to walk along it is likely to attract unwanted attention from the cops. Options for trying to get a lift up the F3:
- Try and meet drivers at the gas stations ("service/petrol stations") around Thornleigh on Pennant Hills Road ("The Cumberland Highway"). This road services the majority of interstate and heavy traffic, and as these are the last fuel stops for anyone headed North, so most people will stop in, plus a 24 hour McDonald's also draws in traffic.
- If coming up The Pacific Highway from Sydney, the last fuel stop is at Turramurra.
- Failing all that, there is a truck rest bay at the end of the F3, under the roadbridge intersection with the Pacific Highway. Trucks tend to hold up here when they need to take their legislated rest breaks, or when traffic is so heavy that they'd rather let it all pass by. The rest bay is not well lit, and access to it is a bit sketchy (walking down active roadways), so this is a last resort option.
Or, you can avoid the confusion caused by the exit from Sydney (and the fact that alot of drivers tend to have their blinkers on and aren't on the lookout for hitchers), and catch the train out of town and a bit further up the road.
- Gosford is one of the first major towns north of Sydney. It is located a way off the Freeway, which may affect your chances.
- Catch the train going to Newcastle and change at Hamilton station (just before Newcastle) for a train to Hexham ($8.30). Cross the foot bridge and stand near the bus stop. The traffic is fast moving but there is room for people to pull off. Peacehead got a ride from a truckie all the way to Byron from here. Blink0 (CET) got offered several rides from here, and finally accepted going with a German backpacker all the way to Byron Bay on a 2 day roadtrip!