Are We There Yet?
The Pillion and I made our way south to Penrith, an outer suburb of Sydney last weekend. We were unsure of what route we were going to take to get down here, all we knew, was that we didn’t want to rush.
We could have taken the Pacific Highway, which is the coastal route and has a 110 km/h (70 mp/h) speed limit for about 2/3 of its length.
Its a great piece of road that’s improved a lot in the past 20 years. It’s well suited to cages with cruise control and air con, but its boring on a bike because it’s of typical freeway construction; Wide, straight and flat.
Plus the point to point and static radars make it a chore if you don’t have cruise control, or a keen eye and steady throttle hand.
Our other option was to take the New England Highway.
We haven’t traveled this route in nearly 10 years. It’s an inland route with a top speed limit of 100 km/h (60 mp/h). There are many small towns along its length where the speed limit drops to 50km/h (30mp/h). Popo patrols the small towns regularly so it pays to slow down.
The New England Highway is not as boring. The road meanders more and passes through towns rather than goes around them like the Pacific does.
Time wasn’t a problem, and we wanted to keep off the long and boring roads. We also wanted to be able to stop and take in some of the sights along the way.
Fortunately for us, the New South Wales (NSW) State Guv’mint launched a motorcycle awareness campaign on November 2nd.
There’s a heavy focus on safety, with accident statistics, safety tips, accommodation advice, fuel, and rest area information.
At least they acknowledge these roads are popular with riders and are proactive enough to offer helpful information to keep you safe.
In the end we took the New England Highway from Brisbane down to Walcha (Pronounced Wall-ka) NSW.
It’s a short run, maybe 7 hours and 550km (340 mi) if you ride straight through. We stopped along the way at Wawrick, Tenterfield, Glenn,Innes, Armidale and a couple of other places of interest before stopping at the Royal in Walcha for the night.
On Sunday we left early and headed down Thunderbolts Way to Gloucester, then Buckets Way to Booral where we took Booral Road to the Pacific Highway and Bulahdelah.
From there we took a detour and dropped into a mates place at North Arm Cove. We spent a few hours having a laugh and catching up on old times before heading out around 15:30 for the last stretch to Penrith.
We had every intention going through Cessnock, Broke and The Putty Road to Penrith, but because we lost track of time at North Arm Cove, we decided we would get to Sydney well after dark, and we really didnt want to be dodging wild life at dusk on the Putty, which has national parks on both sides of it.
So we erred on the side of self preservation and took the shorter, safer route along the Newcastle Expressway and arrived at Penrith at about 19:15, just on dark.
All up the we did about 530 km (330 mi) on Sunday and 1080km (671 mi) give or take a bit in total for the weekend.
The trip home next week will be different, I’ll tell you a little about that in a future post.
By the way, Mum says hi !