Want to get out for a motorcycle road trip? Tired of being ‘cooped up’ in your home? Does your ‘trusty steed’ need a good long ride to clear out the ‘cobwebs’?
We’ve got overnight road trips filled with twisties, sweeping corners, long straight stretches – and that great Australian scenery, country towns, food and excitement.
Not just are the rides exciting, overnight stays will help inject money into the local economies of these small towns as well as helping with you and your friend’s mental health.
Remember you may need to make some bookings before you leave (don’t forget the restaurants too) as there are COVID restrictions on numbers still in place and what with the rest of Sydney travelling!
We asked the committee for their favourite motorcycle road trip. And for those who are more experienced, you may have forgotten about them…
1. Motorcycle Road trip – Windsor to Broke and back to Hornsby.
- Distance 303kms
- Watch for – wildlife and trucks
This ride follows the back way to the Hunter region. As part of the Colo Valley and Wollemi National Park, Putty Road also known as ‘The Putty’, starts at Windsor.
The Putty is an old trucking road, that has seen a lot of changes and upgrades over the years. It is in good condition having been retarred, guard rails fitted, and emergency phones installed.
Most of you know this road like the back of your hand but for novices, the road builds up to tight sections then opens up. At the end is a lovely series of corners but they are tight so take care with your speed and position on the road.
Enjoy the bush scenery along the way. Trucks and caravans are known to use this road (we don’t know why), so don’t overtake until its safe. There are overtaking lanes, so be patient and use them.
To Broke, the Putty Road climbs a steep sandstone escarpment before dropping down to the Colo River bridge and then climbs back up. Stop at the Grey Gum Cafe at the halfway point for a rest and refreshments. This road has a challenging set of tight, wide, fast and slow corners with some long, scenic straights in the middle, as it makes its way to the small tributary of the Hunter River. The roads into Broke are very narrow, so be cautious.
From Broke, take the Wollombi Road, then the Paynes Crossing road, the Great Northern Road, to George Downes Drive, turn right into Peats Ridge Road, into Calga. These long stretches of roads to Calga do have a few trick corners, so for first timers, beware.
From Calga take The Old Road or The Old Pac, nicknames for The Old Pacific Highway. What makes this road so special is that it dips towards sea level with curves that melt into each other. It is wise to do at a steady pace. The road starts to open at Mt White. If you need a reviver, we recommend a coffee at The Old Road Café.
From Mt White through to Mooney Mooney, there are still lots of corners and this older section of the road makes them less smooth, less predictable but also makes for a more exciting ride.
From the river, the road ascends by a series of spectacular corners towards the north of Hornsby. Pie in the Sky has amazing pies, so stop in and buy one for dinner (or now!).
2. Motorcycle Road Trip – Windsor to Lithgow to Tarana/O’Connell to Oberon to Goulburn.
- Distance 301 km
- Watch for: tourist and local resident traffic, trucks and wildlife.
The gullies and spurs along the Bell Line of Road makes for an incredible rollercoaster ride. This road is in good condition and extends from Kurrajong across the mountain to Lithgow out west. The valley is stunning and being so high up you can see the huge sandstone escarpment on both sides of the road.
The road between Kurmond and Kurrajong Heights are where you get the neat hairpin bends of Bluebird Hill but watch for traffic as this is a suburban area.
The steep climb up has several nice tight corners and a speed camera too! On a clear day, the lookout at the top has a dramatic view of the Sydney skyline.
The road from here is more open and sweeping then goes tight and twisty, which you’ve got to keep an eye on. It’s easy to get lulled into the rhythm of the road and let your speed creep up. It’s 80km/h for the most part, until you reach Bilpin, where the speed limits drops back to 60 and 70km/h.
You are now entering apple growing country – think apple pies and cider…and tourists. There is some traffic to watch out when riding through Bilpin.
For riders on the slow motorcycle road trip, we recommend you stop at Mount Tomah Botanic Garden or turn off to Mt Wilson. This sleepy little township is like stepping back in time. But watch the narrow hairpin bend just before you reach the town.
Bilpin signifies the top of the mountain ridge so from here the ride offers everything motorcyclists love. A variety of corners – sharp and wide, quick and slow – with a lovely set of straights in between to give you time to open up after the tight curves.
Before arriving at Lithgow, there’s a terrific series of corners finishing in the steep slope of the last right-hander into town. This road has something for everyone – a wide range of corners, quick & slow, sharp & wide, a few straights in the middle to break up the ride, allowing you to open up after the tight curves.
For the next part of this trip, turn off the Great Western Highway and head to Sodwalls at Old Bowenfels. This will take you to the bottom of Lake Lyell and up to the Rydal-Hampton intersection.
Hazards: Ice and moss may be on roads in cold weather, slow moving farm vehicles, wildlife, narrow roads, railway crossings
Continue along the ridge to Tarana. You can stop here for a pub meal at the Tarana Hotel. The roads surrounding Tarana have it all – nice open sections of road, hills, corners, breath-taking scenery at every turn and a few unexpected twists along the way. Short sections of highway, good secondary and very narrow winding roads.
Follow the signs to O’Connell, then to Oberon.
Take the Black Springs road out of Oberon and head towards Goulburn. This is a stunning stretch of resurveyed and tarred road. As it is part of Tablelands Way, you get the feeling of spaciousness with the sweeping views of wide-open paddocks.
From Goulburn you can head back to Sydney via the Hume or if you are keen to continue on your motorcycle road trip carry on to Canberra or even Melbourne!
3. Motorcycle Road trip – Raymond Terrace to Gloucester to Walcha to Wauchope
- Distance 407 kms
- Hazards: Recent bushfires along the Oxley Highway
From the Pacific Highway at Raymond Terrace, turn off to the Bucketts Way towards Gloucester. Even though this road follows the Karuah River you can’t see much of it, but you will see open paddocks and State Forests.
You will pass through towns such as Booral and Stroud (excellent hamburgers at The Central Hotel) as the rugged hills emerge on your left. These are The Bucketts, which the road is named after and is Aboriginal for rocks (you’ll understand why when you see them).
From Gloucester cross the Gloucester River to start your roller coaster ride. Thunderbolts Way, aptly named for what you are about to encounter, leads north to the Manning Valley and then up into the range with some impressive sweeping corners. At the top which is not flat there are stunning views to the west across the Barnard River and its tributaries.
Stop at Nowendoc for fuel and food if need be, as these are the only services along this stretch of the trip. The road to Walcha is tarred however it is narrower and the corners are not surveyed quite so generously.
From Walcha turn right (east) into Oxley Highway to make your way to Wauchope. The first few kilometres are on the flat New England plateau. You may be deceived however, this is the most superbly surfaced road with huge, wipe sweeping corners and long, high-speed rollercoaster ride.
The next part of this road is the dense forested scarp of the range much of which was burnt in the bushfires in late November 2019. The signpost says 45km of winding road which brings with it an endless procession of tight, wide, and endless but hardly surprising corners. The view is magic across the valley.
The last leg is fast riding along the flats of the Hastings River where the road leap frogs over the many ridges running down to the water. This section from Walcha to Wauchope will see you do over 300 corners. It is quite an amazing experience with many motorcyclists going back to ride again.
4. Motorcycle road trip – Tumut to Corryong to Albury
- Distance 418kms
- Hazards: Farm traffic, logging trucks, school buses on weekdays.
This ride starts at Tumut, in the Riverina Region of NSW. Follow Batlow Road to Tumbarumba and Batlow. Yes, you’re probably familiar with Batlow apples but you will also find cherry and pear orchards, so it will depend on which season you travel as to what you find.
Next part of the trip is to the town of Tooma, where the road has lots of hills as it runs along the foothills of the Snowy Range.
From Tooma, the road runs south up a wide and slightly eerie valley.
The trip takes you along the lower reaches of the Snowy Range so there are lots of undulations and sweeping corners – this and the lack of traffic make the perfect anecdote for a great ride.
Cross the bridge in Tooma, that crosses the Murray River and continue to Towong. Ride south along the Murray Valley Highway towards Corryong.
Corryong is a good stopover. From Corryong, you have two choices, ride the highway or the River Road – our suggestion is pick one for the outward trip then the other on the return home.
Alternative 1 – Ride the highway
Continue along the Murray Valley Highway from Corryong. This is a farm road, runs through pine plantations, paddocks and State Forests and has magnificent mountain views. Sightlines through corners are clear nevertheless, watch for farm traffic and logging trucks.
You will pass through little country towns like Colac Colac, Shelley, and Bullioh. Most of them are small with very little in each town, but quaint at the same time.
If you need refuelling there isn’t much along this stretch of road, but Tallangatta has fuel stations and supplies but you will need to turn off to get to the centre of town. On the other side of Old Tallangata, the road begins to follow the riverbank.
Alternative 2 – Ride the river road
Head towards Jingellic, on this side of the short bridge in NSW. This town has a service station and store for essentials.
Continue through to Tintaldra, passing through the small towns of Granya, Tholoolong and Burrowye. Walwa is a good place to refuel if need be.
This section of the 140km ride from Corryong is open sweepers, short straights and the occasional sets of tighter corners where the road tackles a spur. You will come to the iron bridge at Bellbridge.
Follow the Murray River Road to Bellbridge. Cross the Murray River where the Riverina Highway heads off into the hills creating a long series of terrific corners as it skirts the spurs between the various creeks and rivers.
Ride through the town of Lake Hume and continue on Trout Farm Road then turning into Bonegilla Road.
This route is very quiet except for local traffic (beware school buses on weekdays). Bonegilla Road passes through the township where you can stop for a refuel and refresher.
What makes a great road trip is what can be dangerous for motorcyclists
Corners is what makes an exciting motorcycle ride but these twisties can also be dangerous if not ridden correctly.
How you come out of a corner will always depend on your preparation leading into it.
This is why it’s crucial for you to consider the following factors on approach to a corner –
Start corners wide, to improve your vision of what is up ahead. Plan to finish in tight to help you get the right speed. Always keep out of the head-on zone. These cornering tips slow you down a little on the approach when vision is reduced and allow you to accelerate out much earlier when your view is clearer.
Adjust your speed in anticipation of the corner, as well as factoring in traffic and road and weather conditions.
Change down to the appropriate gear to get you into and out of the approaching corner.
Do you know of any other long motorcycle roadtrips? We would love to hear them. Send your trip description to firstname.lastname@example.org
More reading –
If you haven’t ridden for a while you may need to check your motorcycle, your gear and rebuild your riding skills and confidence – here’s what you need to do!
Before heading out for a motorcycle road trip do you check the weather? Here are some great weather apps to help you prepare for the trip.