Heading South – Day 1 – Sydney to Braidwood

With another public holiday close to a weekend, Gary and I have decided to make the most of it and embark on another awesome motorbike trip – this time we are heading south.

The plan is to stay the first night at Braidwood (east of Canberra), the second at Bombala (near the Victorian border) and work out later where we’ll stay on Monday night. Gary’s been madly planning the route (he’s very good at it) and the weather looks good so off we went!

The first stretch was about efficiency, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge (known as the ‘coathanger’ by locals – this always makes Gary giggle because we’ve never heard anyone call it that), and down towards Wollongong.

Just after Wollongong, at Albion Park, we took a west turn towards Robertson. This route took us up the motorbike Mecca that is the Macquarie Pass – a winding mountain road, relatively easy at first but producing a few 15kph hairpins as we got higher. Fortunately, the road is generally wide at these points, forgiving a motorbiker who may go a little wide. This is mostly for the trucks I suspect, good they weren’t there on a Saturday.

At the top of the pass is the equally legendary Robertson Pie Shop; a mandatory stop, even if just for a stretch although the pies are very good.

And so we did stop, just as 50 members of the Sydney Social Riders were arriving from the other direction.

We had considered joining this group for today’s ride but, being honest, we’re not the earliest of risers and the thought of meeting the group 45 minutes’ ride from our home, at 7.30am, was not too appealing when we planned to ride for 4 days straight. Anyway, we said hello to those we knew, some of our new found friends from our previous Hill End trip (hello Alex, Toni, David, Luke and Mikool) and others from another ride we took part in late last year (hello Chris and Keryn). So we were sociable, kind of.

And then we were on our way, through Robertson and across to the top of Kangaroo Valley. We then descended into the valley, another magnificent collection of corners, Gary ‘carved them up’, I took a little more time; we both had a lot of fun.

Through beautiful Kangaroo Valley (still no kangaroos, never actually seen one here, I think renaming might be required!) and up over a hill (possibly Nowra Hill), and down into Nowra.

The trick with finding our way through Nowra is to find the turning for HMAS Albatross – not a ship but a naval base, actually an airbase and nowhere near the sea – and then heading west again.

This road is quite incredible, it has everything from beautiful wide, smooth Tarmac, to potholes and narrow wooden bridges, areas flanked with termite mounds and, for those not paying attention (like us on a previous occasion) a rather exciting stretch of gravel road. This time, however we knew the secret and turned off towards Tarago when the occasion arose, a longer way but a much happier way for this gravel averse ladyonmotorbike.

As we enjoyed this eclectic selection of road surfaces, we were also treated to threatening clouds, thick with rain that, thankfully, stayed away.

We arrived in Braidwood around 4pm and were surprised by the apparent transformation this tiny town has gone through in the two odd years since we had driven through here. Gary and I had observed, previously, that the town seemed to have substance but lacked life. Turns out that this town had prospered in the gold rush of the mid 1800s and had since declined leaving remnants of the time with large two and three storey buildings looking out of place against single storey houses.

This time, however, we discovered a section of interesting shops (including a gourmet, organic deli!) and enthusiastic chefs at various restaurants willing to feed a recent increase in visitor numbers. Brilliant, I love it when rural towns rediscover themselves.

Even better than that, we were treated to a stunning sunset through the heavy cloud. Photos can never do justice to such spectacles but I did my best. Here you go:

Tomorrow will be the furthest south either of us has ever ventured by motorcycle. So excited about roads and places we have only read about: Mt Imlay, Brown Mountain, Bombala. Clear weather forecast, it’s gonna be amazing.

7 thoughts on “Heading South – Day 1 – Sydney to Braidwood

  1. Toni 22/04/2017 / 11:16 am

    Enjoy the ride, great catching up with you today,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. zed14 22/04/2017 / 12:58 pm

    Nice looking bikes. The road up through Nerriga is always fun. The other road to consider sometime is the Mt Darragh rd (north of Mt Imlay rd heading west from Pambula). I’ll be interested to hear how the Mt Imlay road is as it’s been a few years since I’ve been over it and it was a bit cut up then.
    Have a great ride

    Liked by 1 person

      • zed14 24/04/2017 / 11:00 am

        It looks like you are having a great ride. And clearly they have done a lot of work on that road over the years.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Experimental Ghost 25/04/2017 / 12:24 am

    The Pillion and I rode Mac Pass two up last year just before Easter, mid week on a Wednesday, Except we did it down hill fully loaded (panniers, top box and tank bag) and two up on a Bandit, it was hard work.

    Twice we had vehicles coming out of hair pins on our side of the road and there was one down hill left hand sweeper about 2/3 the way down where we hugged the rock face because we could hear someone giving it the berries coming the other way, Sure enough the rider was on our side of the road overtaking another vehicle.

    It’s a challenging road and would be great on a sports bike, not so much on the Bandit though.


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