The Oxley Highway
Updated and reposted 8 Nov 2007
I now have some new photos of the Oxley after my recent tour so I shall kick off my posts of the best bike roads in Australia with a refresh of this previous posting. This is now a post I can look back at and see photos of the last three motorbikes I owned.
From Brisbane it is a very big two day ride but not that difficult and can be done on any fine weekend without too much trouble. Alternatively going on a 3 day long weekend will allow more time to ride the many nearby excellent roads. This area holds alot of good motorcycle riding.
How you get there is half the fun, there are alot of good roads in between there and Brisbane or Sydney. My suggestions is avoid the Pacific h-way at all costs - boring and heavy police action. The New England is not a bad highway but still rather boring on a motorcycle. Try riding over Mt Lindsey and down the Summerland way to Grafton. From Grafton you have the excellent Gwydir h-way but via Nymbodia/Ebor is even better again to Armidale. Then back across the Oxley to Port or almost to Ebor then down Waterfall way is another option.
If riding from the west then you will wonder what the fuss is about at first. Very open country side that while beautiful doesnt have alot of curves. You can see for miles and the temptation is to open it up a bit but watch out for farmers. Then after awhile you will hit the forest then the curves will begin to tighten. And they continue to do so until you arrive at Gingers Creek general store and the only shop between Walcha and Long Flat.
Dont count on being able to get fuel there despite the pumps. Riders keep saying you can however a mate and I have both been told 'we have no fuel'. (the horse riding holiday retreat half way down the mountain has fuel in an emergency)
Leaving Gingers riding east the road is a seemingly never ending series of 30-40k posted corners that goes for 40km. That equals 100's and 100's of corners. Much more than any other road in the country and in fact more than famed motorcycle roads like the USA's tail of the dragon. After this you drop down into the valley, the sharp corners continue, followed then by more open faster road as you follow the creek in the valley to Long Flat.
Fuel is available at Long Flat. The road then still has alot more curves for you all the way to Wauhope, lovely sweepers and a few more tighter bits in places. All up you have ridden about 170 km of some of the best riding you will experience anywhere. The surface is good, the surveying mostly predictable and its so twisty that cars avoid it. Its well sign posted and void of any silly low speed limits that seem to be getting slapped on any non straight bit of road.
The road actually rides better in the opposite direction to above and I have always ridden it from east to west the next day on the return. I wanted to explain the road in the above way as many people do approach from the west first due to the lead in roads of the Thunderbolts way from the south or going via Ebor or the Gwydir range from the north.
Is it the best? I dont think there is exists an exact number one road as different bikes suit different roads and we all like different things. It is however unrivaled as the road having the most tight corners in Australia. I personally think its forms one of our top 3 rides along with The Great Alpine Road and The Great Ocean Road. The style of each road is very different so each is great in its own way. For Brisbane people this is the only one of those three within reasonably easy reach so that and the fact that the nearby Thunderbolts way and Nymbodia and Waterfall way are also wonderful riding add up to make this a must do riding experience. Seriously, do make the effort to go and ride these roads, they are special and becoming rare as increased traffic and safety concerns requires authorities to straighten out all our roads.
Twisty rating: 3.
Surface quality: A.