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The end of year holidays are upon us and, as usual, the local tabloids are predicting Carmageddon. Now I know the M1/Pacific Motorway north towards Brisbane will be terri-bi-ba-ble, and I have personal experience of being stuck in endless jams going south towards Wollongong, but this time we're taking the M31/Hume Highway west towards Canberra and Melbourne.

  1. Just how bad is the traffic likely to be on the 23rd? (That is, day before Xmas Eve, which in 2014 is a non-holiday Tuesday.)
  2. Should we get to the Hume via M4/Western or M5/Southwestern? (We live in the inner west, so M4+M7 vs local roads+M5 usually takes about the same time.)
  3. Would getting an early start (how early?) ease the pain?

Pointers to sites that show historical traffic conditions would be awesome, I couldn't find any with a quick search.

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Disclaimer: I don't have actual data, only anecdotal.

  1. The Hume should be relatively straight-forward, barring any car crashes. It'll be busy but the usual choke points north and south bound are the merges (Ourimbah) and traffic lights (Kiama). The Hume has neither of those outside of Sydney.
  2. It really depends on your starting point. I'd err on the side of the M5 because at least that way you're already on the highway in question, while the M4 will also be busy with traffic heading west.
  3. Earlier is always better because it lets you beat the traffic. The only thing to be careful of is peak hour with people still heading to work though you should be going against the traffic.
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So we ended up heading out rather later than we wanted at 9 AM (because kids), but in the event, there was essentially zero traffic — if anything, it felt like there were less cars on the road than usual!

We went via the M5, which as a bonus seems to finally have finished its endless construction, but I doubt the M4/M7 would have been meaningfully slower.

  • Funnily enough I'm going to have a very similar situation this year (driving to Melbourne on the way to Tassie), so thanks for updating with your own experience! :) – dlanod Jul 15 '15 at 7:09

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