Hi everyone - I'm planning a small group charity ride with friends from Melbourne to Sydney in October 2015. I'm thinking the trip will be over 9 straight days and circa 150km/day. The group is likely to contain cyclists of all levels, ages and sizes and we'll be fully supported by a van or two so my questions for you all are:

Has anyone else ever done this trip, or knows anyone that has?
What is the best and safest route that doesn't involve going over the mountains? Coastal or in land, and does anyone know a good 'cycle safe' route planning tool?
Do you have any advice, tips or suggestions on how to go about planning this?
What would be your single, must have item with you at all times whilst on the bike?

Thanks heaps in advance for all your help and advice.
Mark (aka Tubs)

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interestingly a google map bike directions of Sydney to Melbourne shows this Sydney - Lithgow - Blayney - Wagga Wagga - Albury - Melbourne as the shortest route with the least vertical climbing. (which surprised me seeing as you head straight for the mountains)

Four guys from my club rode Melbourne to Sydney and went via Thredbo and Jindabyne a couple of years ago. In January  I crossed paths with them on my way to Goulburn on an Audax ride somewhere near Bundanoon and they were looking a little ragged.  

The climb up from Khancoban to Thredbo is "rather hard" - no water and a serious climb.  Now they are in our NRS team and found it a difficult route.  So maybe don't take that route.

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