Phil Hall Column – “The Lap” #1 in a series of articles on my favourite riding roads.
In my nearly 40 years of motorcycling I have spent a lot of my saddle time touring. For reasons that I will later explain, these times have been some of the most enjoyable times I have spent. Mostly in NSW, Victoria and southern Queensland, I’ve been able to explore a lot of what these wonderful eastern states have to offer.
On a regular basis I count myself exceedingly lucky that we decided to move from the ACT back to Wollongong some years ago. Apart from the very close proximity of my daughter and her family and my son, it has allowed me to enjoy some of the best riding roads that the state of NSW has to offer and all within a very small radius of my home.
This is a map of what we locals call, “The Lap.” Around 215kms in distance it covers some of the best roads within reach and embraces them into an exhilarating ride that can be accomplished at any time one has a couple of hours to spare. Beginning at my place, I head out to Albion Park and up Macquarie Pass to Roberston.
Despite the fact that this wonderful piece of road was the scene of the only major motorcycle accident I have had, it is still one of my favourites.
If I have time, I stop at The Famous Roberston Pie Shop for a coffee. TFRPS is the mecca for motorcyclists on the southern highlands and the owners, keen motorcyclists, welcome riders no matter what the weather. You will nearly always find a kindred spirit or two there with whom you can bench race for as long as you wish. Then I head on through the town of Robertson (50km/h speed limit, enforced) and turn left at Pearson’s Lane, just on the western side of the town. From there I wind down through the lavender farms and the dairy farms to Fitzroy Falls.
At the Nowra Road intersection I turn left and head down Barrengarry Mountain to Kangaroo Valley. This mountain pass is twisty, interesting and fun. ADVISORY: It is best to do this ride on a weekday as the weekend usually sees this route locked with slow-moving tourists who do not understand or have any sympathy for what you are trying to achieve on your bike. The single lane Hampden Bridge on the eastern side of Kangaroo Valley can be a trial as can the 50km/h speed limit right through the town and its environs. Kangaroo Valley pub is a favourite stopping place for motorcyclists doing the lap and it serves excellent counter lunches which you can eat at the tables outside if you wish. Once you hit the 80 sign on the eastern side of town it’s a spirited run up through the twisties of Cambewarra Mountain and down the other side to meet the Princes Highway at Bomaderry.
Left at Bomaderry and a short transport stage up the highway, which, if you can get a clear run north of Berry (always a better chance during the week than on the weekend) has its own share of sweeping up and downhill corners.
If it looks like the highway is going to be busy, you can turn right just north of Berry and follow the road east to Seven Mile Beach, turn left at the “T” intersection then blat through Gerroa to Gerringong and rejoin the highway at Omega railway crossing, just south of the Kiama bends.
If you choose to follow the highway and can get a clear run (not many overtaking opportunities, courtesy of the nanny state) you will be rewarded by another fabulous stretch of road. Once you are abreast of Kiama on the highway you can choose to turn left onto the old road west of Kiama and right onto Jamberoo Road. Again, a patchwork of sweeping twisty corners takes you into Jamberoo (50km/h speed limit again) and through till you get just north of town. You then have the choice of heading north and back through the twisties to Yallah where you will pass through Albion Park and end up back on the Princes Highway. If you are heading on to Sydney, you are already on the highway and can just keep heading north.
If you don’t have the time for the Jamberoo diversion, the flattop will take you straight from Kiama through to Sydney without having to leave it again.
If you choose the picturesque route, you can head left at the bottom of the hill just outside Jamberoo and head up Jamberoo Mountain Pass and back to the Pie Shop. This road is narrow and twisty and fun but needs a little more caution than some others on this route as cars often drive down the middle of the road because it is so narrow. Note that there are a large number of blind corners on this road. Once up the Pass, the road opens to a wonderful stretch of long, sweeping corners that finally brings you out at the Pie Shop again. From here you can do Macquarie Pass in reverse and head wherever you want to go once you reach the bottom.
Like I said at the beginning, I’m pretty spoiled aren’t I?