Friday, March 21, 2008

Australia's best motorcycle roads. Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric


Snowy Mountains region riding


Did you know the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme took 100,000 people from 30 countries 25 years to build? and that it has 145kms of tunnels, 80kms of aqueducts, 16 dams and 7 power stations and has been called one of the modern engineering wonders of the world?

There are 3 main sealed routes that run across Mt Kosciuskzo that are part of the network of original service roads constructed for the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric scheme. I have already spoken about the most well known of these, the Alpine way which runs between Jindabyne and Khancoban. This is the road more often spoken about on forums yet the other two roads are also worth riding and when combined with the under rated Snowy Mtns h-way make an interesting way to traverse the border of NSW and VIC.



Now you may find all three of these roads may not always be so well surfaced and bumpy in parts . The surveying can be quite unpredictable which besides the need to hug the mountain in places also simply reflects that they were made as merely service roads originally thus built simply and cheaply.



The route I took on my last trip was down the Snowy Mtns h-way to Kiandra then on the roads referred to as Link Road/ Elliot Way then at the end of this I turned left towards Tooma on what becomes Ardenside road to Tintaldra then on to the C546 road to Corryong.

This is the longer of the two options your have around this part of Mt Kosciuskzo and from Tumut is about 220km so make sure you have enough fuel as the only bowser is at Cabramurra. Australia's highest town is actually off this road and on the another route however is not far to detour to and worth a look either way. Note the sole pump here works like this you have to pay over at the shop the exact amount of fuel you want then go back other side to pump it.



On this 1st route you will hug the mountain in a number of areas on tight twisty sections of road that snake their way steeply down the mountain. Glimpses of the upper part of Talbingo reservoir are spectacular as you ride up numerous switchbacks climbing out of the valley before you enter a forested section of roller coaster dips and more gentle corners. From the junction of Ardenside rd the surface is improved and the road is faster flowing with superb views as you ride on to Tooma and to Corryong.


The other route over the top I took on my return from the Moto-GP and it runs like this. From Corryong ride towards Khancoban, there are a number of roads saying Cabramurra on the north of Corryong so stay on the Alpine way and then take the second road called Tooma Road. This is another service road however it is the more significant one, wider in many places, more direct and better surface.


This will take you past two dams, and as you cross the ridges of the mountain you will rise and fall a few times. The road like the first above has some steep sections however neither are particularly steeper than any of the popular mountain roads that you will have ridden before regardless of what you may have read elsewhere, eg Northbrook Parkway Mt Glorious descent is still as steep as they come. Tumut Pond is the second dam and its rather interesting. The air is so clear up in these parts that sky takes on a different hue and everything has more contrast than normal.




After this you climb again and come eventually to Cabramurra. This is alot quicker route than the first and when you rejoin the Snowy Mtns highway it is a easy and smooth flowing ride down to Cooma or you can cross over towards Jindabyne/Thredbo and ride the best bit of the Alpine way.

This area has so many good roads to explore by motorcycle you simply cant help but have a good time just take it easy and take plenty of warm clothes.

1 comment:

  1. I rode through this part of the country about a month ago on my way home to Brisbane and it was just stunning, clear blue skies, a little chilly but at the same time quite erie as you ride along the top of the range with the trees bark stripped bare... I'd love to come back to this place and spend a few days exploring.

    ReplyDelete