new england highway

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new england highway

Postby bumblebea » Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:35 am

Hi,
I am shortly to begin a trip down the east coast and am planning to head inland from caloundra through kilcoy, esk and to toowoomba, then along the new england highway into nsw and down to singleton. Has anyone cycled parts of this route or has any advice or suggestions? I have never been on the new england highway (hence one of the reasons for going that way) so have no idea what it will be like. Is it a horrible road and should I plan an alternate route or is it a joy to cycle? All advice and suggestions would be very much appreciated :)

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by BNA » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:26 am

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Re: new england highway

Postby RonK » Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:26 am

Trucks, trucks, trucks. To be avoided.

I'll post alternative inland route suggestions after work.
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Re: new england highway

Postby Uncle Just » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:22 pm

Add hilly and very cold if I recall correctly from a motorcyle trip through there many years ago. That was in March, winter would be frigid. Follow the coast... far more enjoyable.
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Re: new england highway

Postby RonK » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:27 pm

Yes, it is quite hilly, but any route along the Great Dividing Range will be. And cold too in winter.

Since your aim is to avoid the cities, here's my route suggestion to get around them. Click on the Google icon for the full-size map.

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Re: new england highway

Postby bumblebea » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:14 pm

Ok I am easily persuaded and happy to defer to the more experienced! That route looks like a good one Ron, I think I will go with that. Thank you for the advice... :)
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Re: new england highway

Postby TCAT » Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:52 pm

It has been a couple of years since I was last on the New England Highway (Armidale and south) but from what I remember it was quite wide in most places with ample shoulders for bikes to travel on. Also I don’t remember trucks being a big problem (as in numbers). Both the Pacific and Newell highways have a higher number of trucks.

I would tend to agree with RonK’s suggested route but with a slightly different path around Brisbane and a different route over the border. Travelling south from Brisbane I would take The Ipswich-Boonah Road (from Yamanto) and then onto Rathdowney to join the Mt Lindesay Highway rather than travelling the Mt Lindesay Highway all the way from Brisbane. That road is extremely busy from Brisbane to Beaudesert. From Rathdowney you can go via the Lions Road as RonK has shown or go over Mt Lindesay via the highway to Woodenbong from where you can join the Summerland Way.

One other thing, the road between Grafton and Armidale has some significant hilly sections that are both long and steep. I was thinking of riding that road but after travelling it via car have decided against it. However it is quite scenic and in that respect it has something to recommend it.
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Re: new england highway

Postby iacl » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:21 am

The Armidale road is a great ride, scenery is as good as it gets. Just be aware that it is quite narrow and twisting in places, not a problem in itself, but in places it is also used by logging trucks. Thunderbolts way (Walcha to Gloucester) is also well worth the bumps.
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Re: new england highway

Postby queequeg » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:57 pm

iacl wrote:The Armidale road is a great ride, scenery is as good as it gets. Just be aware that it is quite narrow and twisting in places, not a problem in itself, but in places it is also used by logging trucks. Thunderbolts way (Walcha to Gloucester) is also well worth the bumps.


Last time I went that way, half the road had been washed away. Lots of dirt/gravel sections to deal with. Is it all surfaced now?
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Re: new england highway

Postby simonn » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:19 pm

RonK wrote:Yes, it is quite hilly, but any route along the Great Dividing Range will be. And cold too in winter.

Since your aim is to avoid the cities, here's my route suggestion to get around them. Click on the Google icon for the full-size map.




Personally, I'd go Singleton -> Broke (couple of pick-a-plank bridges before Wollombi) -> Wollombi -> (big climb to) Kulnura -> Right onto Blood Tree Rd and on to Wisemans Ferry -> River Road -> Portland Car Ferry -> West Portland Rd and then join the above route.
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Re: new england highway

Postby RonK » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:50 pm

simonn wrote:Personally, I'd go Singleton -> Broke (couple of pick-a-plank bridges before Wollombi) -> Wollombi -> (big climb to) Kulnura -> Right onto Blood Tree Rd and on to Wisemans Ferry -> River Road -> Portland Car Ferry -> West Portland Rd and then join the above route.

I loved the Putty Road back in my motorbiking days - but your suggestion looks like an interesting alternative. Would probably be a good ride on a moto too...
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Re: new england highway

Postby RonK » Thu Jul 11, 2013 3:31 pm

TCAT wrote:I would tend to agree with RonK’s suggested route but with a slightly different path around Brisbane and a different route over the border. Travelling south from Brisbane I would take The Ipswich-Boonah Road (from Yamanto) and then onto Rathdowney to join the Mt Lindesay Highway rather than travelling the Mt Lindesay Highway all the way from Brisbane. That road is extremely busy from Brisbane to Beaudesert.

Yes, that would be a quieter route.

TCAT wrote:From Rathdowney you can go via the Lions Road as RonK has shown or go over Mt Lindesay via the highway to Woodenbong from where you can join the Summerland Way.

I didn't notice that Google Maps had routed along the Lions Road. It's probably an easier ride to take the Mt Lindsey Hwy. The Summerland Way turnoff is a little before Woodenbong.

TCAT wrote:One other thing, the road between Grafton and Armidale has some significant hilly sections that are both long and steep. I was thinking of riding that road but after travelling it via car have decided against it. However it is quite scenic and in that respect it has something to recommend it.

Yep, it's hilly around Nymboida. There was a small section of gravel too last time I went that way, but that was quite a few years ago. It may all be sealed by now.
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Re: new england highway

Postby TCAT » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:16 pm

RonK wrote:
TCAT wrote:From Rathdowney you can go via the Lions Road as RonK has shown or go over Mt Lindesay via the highway to Woodenbong from where you can join the Summerland Way.

I didn't notice that Google Maps had routed along the Lions Road. It's probably an easier ride to take the Mt Lindsey Hwy. The Summerland Way turnoff is a little before Woodenbong.

Yes the Summerland Way starts at a "T" junction a kilometre or 2 before Woodenbong.
Travelling via the Lions Road would be more scenic and would have no trucks but the last 500 to 700 metres up to the border fence (on the QLD side) would more than likely require the rider to push the bike. It may also require pushing in a couple of others sections where the road is literally like a roller coaster. When I travel this road I put down the windows and listen to the Bellbirds that populate the NSW side of the range. Another interesting feature that can be seen if taking this route is the 'spiral train loop' where the Sydney to Brisbane rail line spirals around a hill and back over itself to gain/drop height.
RonK wrote:
TCAT wrote:One other thing, the road between Grafton and Armidale has some significant hilly sections that are both long and steep. I was thinking of riding that road but after travelling it via car have decided against it. However it is quite scenic and in that respect it has something to recommend it.

Yep, it's hilly around Nymboida. There was a small section of gravel too last time I went that way, but that was quite a few years ago. It may all be sealed by now.

I don't recall there being any gravel when I travelled this road 2 years ago.
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Re: new england highway

Postby iacl » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:49 am

I did this route in Apr, there was some road works happening on the thunderbolt way, the rest was surfaced but narrow with soft shoulders.

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Re: new england highway

Postby RonK » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:13 am

iacl wrote:I did this route in Apr, there was some road works happening on the thunderbolt way, the rest was surfaced but narrow with soft shoulders.

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Did you happen to post a journal? It would have been a great ride to share. :wink:
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Re: new england highway

Postby iacl » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:20 am

RonK wrote:
iacl wrote:I did this route in Apr, there was some road works happening on the thunderbolt way, the rest was surfaced but narrow with soft shoulders.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

Did you happen to post a journal? It would have been a great ride to share. :wink:


Just to clarify, I only from Newcastle to Grafton stretch. Train from W'gong to Newcastle, bike to Grafton via Gloucester, Walcha and Armidale. So not so epic. But we'll worth it.
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Re: new england highway

Postby RonK » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:13 am

iacl wrote:
RonK wrote:
iacl wrote:I did this route in Apr, there was some road works happening on the thunderbolt way, the rest was surfaced but narrow with soft shoulders.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

Did you happen to post a journal? It would have been a great ride to share. :wink:


Just to clarify, I only from Newcastle to Grafton stretch. Train from W'gong to Newcastle, bike to Grafton via Gloucester, Walcha and Armidale. So not so epic. But we'll worth it.

Absolutely! Roads such as the Lions Road, Summerland Way, Orara Way, Oxley Hwy, Waterfall Way, Thundersbolts Way and many others in northern NSW along and across the Great Dividing Range hold legendary status amongst the motorcycling community, but seem to be virtually unknown to touring cyclists. Which is a shame because they are far more pleasant to ride and scenic than the coastal route.
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Re: new england highway

Postby bumblebea » Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:33 am

Wow... a lot of information there. Thank you for all your advice and help - I will have plenty of time to digest the suggestions on the way down!
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