Olive hasn’t been for many long runs so we decided to put her through her paces. We covered 1800 kilometres of mostly back roads in five days and she passed the test with flying colours. We didn’t do any sightseeing as this trip was all about the driving. The roads were all well surfaced except for one notable exception, the Bylong Valley Way, which was rougher for one ten kilometre stretch than some graded roads we have driven on in the past.
If you want to experience a bit more of rural/ regional Australia make sure that you spend a few more days taking it a bit slower and stopping at some of the towns along the way. If you have a car or bike that can manage a bit of dirt and off road, head over to the TWO WHEELS page and check out a similar route that takes you more off road.
As we were taking Olive on a long journey for the first time there was a bit of prep involved. The boot had more packing space devoted to Olive than to us. A couple of tools, water just in case of overheating, some Flashlube for adding to the fuel, some oil. Be a good boy scout- be prepared! As it was we didn’t need any of this emergency packing but I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a backroad for hours waiting for someone to wander past.
Driving through Sydney is always a bit of a pain and it was a relief to get to the turn-off for the Royal National Park. Being eager to just get away we hadn’t really thought of the date we left, it was January 1st and everyone in Sydney had decided to go to the Royal National Park to relax at the beaches and reserves- more traffic. It is still a nice drive through the bushland setting.
At Stanwell Tops you can stop and watch the hang gliders that are often taking off from Stanwell Park. Continuing on to Coalcliff we took the Seacliff Bridge to Clifton. This amazing off-shore bridge runs parallel to the coast for approximatley 500m. In the mini it was a bit hard to see over the guard rail but you can always park and walk along the bridge to check out the amazing view. It is supposed to be a good viewing platform for whale watching in the whale watching season. Take your binoculars.
The highlight of the day was definetly the drive through the Macquarie Pass. Nice and twisty this road takes in the eight kilometre stretch from Albion Park to Robertson. The road is quite steep, often has no centre line and has a number of hair pin bends. Make sure that you drive to your ability and be aware of other drivers, especially buses, trucks and campers coming down towards you. They sometimes can’t take the corners in one go and you might need to give them a bit more room to get around. When you get to the top the Robertson Pie Shop is the place to stop for a coffee and a sweet or savoury pie.
We then headed straight to the Hume Highway for the final leg into Goulburn as it was getting a bit late in the day. If you want to continue on the backroads you can turn off at Sally’s Corner Rd to Exeter then onto Tallong. Rejoin the Hume at Marulan and then continue onto Goulburn. We did go for a bit of an explore down Canyonleigh Rd but found it went to gravel after a few kilometres and turned back. Olive isn’t ready for gravel yet. We arrived in Goulburn just in time to get a shot of Olive with the Big Merino.
Gosford to Goulburn -Driving Route
Gosford to Royal National Park – there are a few ways to achieve this. Getting through Sydney is always a killer so pick a route and just grit your teeth. We took:
M1 freeway to Wahroonga
Wahroongah to Ryde Rd at Pymble
Pymble to Strathfield South via Ryde Rd (A3) continue to Blakehust
Blakehurst join the Princess Hway (A1) continue to Kirrawee
Turn at Loftus onto Farnell Avenue which takes you into the Royal National Park at Audley Rd.
Follow Audley Rd and Lady Wakehurst Drive to Stanwell Tops.
Continue to Stanwell Park through Lawrence Hargrave Drive to Seacliff Bridge.
Continue through to Albion Park
Albion Park to Robertson on Illawarra Highway through the Macquarie Pass
Robertson via Sutton Forest Rd to Hume Highway continue to Goulburn.