A superb bike friendly region and a nirvana for all kinds of riding
The route from Braidwood to Moruya via Araluen has something for everyone. From a well-surfaced series of downhill twisties for sportsbike jockeys to a grin-inducing set of flowing dirt corners suited to dual-sports, you won’t be disappointed. Add in one of the most motorcycle friendly overnight stops in NSW and you have the makings for a great weekend away.
From Braidwood you head south on the Captains Flat Road towards Majors Creek and Araluen. The roads are all well signposted so no difficult navigation is involved. The bitumen stretches out in long ribbons through rural properties, with a few fast sweeping corners as you close in on Araluen Mountain. You can detour to the right here and drop in on the Majors Creek Hotel for a drink, but you’ll have to either retrace your steps, or ride down the unsealed narrow road through the old mountain pass to Araluen.
The best option for sportsbikes is to stay left and ride down into the Araluen Valley through a fabulous series of twisting corners that really get the juices flowing. It is not a long section of tar down the mountain, but it is a near perfect riders’ road. More than once we have turned around at the bottom to do it all again. The road passes through some open grassy areas where you can often see numerous kangaroos feeding, particularly around dawn and dusk. At the bottom of the hill the small community of Araluen sits in a scenic valley with the pub a few kilometres up the road. It has good views across to the surrounding hills, which are often shrouded by mist after a cool night.
Beyond the pub, the road is a largely unsealed but is a reasonably well maintained access route across to the coastal town of Moruya. The surface offers good all-weather passage for dual-sport bikes with suitable tyres, and is not too much of a problem for sports-tourers in dry weather. The road passes through the upper reaches of Deua National Park, and there are several convenient places where you can pull up to either camp for a night or just take a break. It’s a good ride through the multiple switchback corners with the biggest danger coming from oncoming traffic and wildlife.
It can get a bit bumpy in places and also fairly slippery after heavy rain, but in general it is easy going. Several marked fire trails branch off the road to the north and south, which can be worth exploring if you have a bit more off-road capability. The terrific detour up Gollarribee Mountain Trail can take you all the way through to Nelligen on dirt tracks with some awesome south coast scenery along the way. The road becomes sealed again for a while before crossing the Moruya River and intersecting with the Princes Highway in the town of Moruya.
Araluen sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by some stunning areas of a national park and state forest. It is a great destination for an overnight stay, popular with motorcycle riders, and the hospitality at the hotel is second to none.
There are fuel options at Braidwood and Moruya. The Araluen Valley Hotel does have an old ULP bowser that can sometimes be used in an emergency, but it should not be relied upon.
There is accommodation at Araluen and Moruya, as well as camping options close to the road in the Deua National Park. The best places to pick up supplies if you are camping is either Braidwood or Moruya.
There are no workshops between Braidwood and Moruya so carry a few spares and tools that you might need, although the distances are not great and there is regular traffic.
The Elrington Hotel (Majors Creek Hotel) is a great old historic building, which is worth the detour if you feel like having a look around. It offers food and some accommodation Ph: (02) 4846 1145
Moruya is a good spot for a lunch break on the coast with options for meals, coffee, and drinks.
Mobil Braidwood – 71 Wallace St, Braidwood (on the corner at the bottom of town). It also has food and drink options as well as some outdoor seating. Ph: (02) 4842 1172
Caltex Moruya – 95 Campbell St, Moruya. Ph: (02) 4474 2811
The Araluen Valley Hotel is the stand-out accommodation option, and is very motorcycle friendly. It has plenty of rooms with bike parking close by. A package is available that includes breakfast, and you can order a good country cooked meal in the bistro seven nights a week Ph: 02 4846 4023
Things to do
There are several walks available into the Deua National Park along the Araluen Road. There is also the option of camping at a couple of established camp ground on the Deua River, which are on your right as you ride east out of Araluen. There is some nice scenery and historic buildings throughout the area from Majors Creek to Araluen if you take your time and look around.
There is a plethora of off-road riding options available on both sides of the Araluen Road. The Deua National Park can be accessed at the Dry Creek Camping Area, but is better to suited to enduro riders or those looking for a bit of a challenge on a dual-sport bike. At the eastern end on Araluen as you get close to Larry’s Mountain, look for Knowles Road on your left. A fire trail starts with a slightly rocky uphill climb and opens out to a great ride through the Mogo State Forest, which can lead you through to Batemans Bay or Nelligen.
Story & Photography Tim Munro