The Oxley Highway is an Australian motorcycling treasure – and now’s the time to enjoy it
With recent reduced speed limits along the length of the Oxley Highway and potentially more to come, we figured this might be a good opportunity to encourage those riders who haven’t yet sampled this glorious motorcycling wonderland to get out there and do it asap. For those who have, take this as a friendly nudge to get out and do it again before some of the magic is stolen from us. We already have our ride up there planned for next month.
The Oxley Highway is always high on rider lists of favourite roads due to the variety of corners and great scenery on offer. Heading inland from Port Macquarie the ride starts at Wauchope and continues due west for around 160km, to the town of Walcha. While there are a couple of petrol bowsers along this route, it is best to fill up at the service centre at Port Macquarie or in town as you pass through Wauchope. The road meanders west to Long Flat where the Long Flat Hotel and general store/cafe opposite are the main features in town. The ride continues as open sweepers and straights through Ellenborough on the way to Mt Seaview. Take care as this section is frequently policed with hidden radars.
As you start to climb the range the road tightens up into a glorious series of corners that hug the side of the valley and provide panoramic views across the Werrikimbe wilderness areas. But this is just the very start of the twisty stuff that weaves its way up and across the tops until, by the time you get to Gingers Creek, you might well need to stop for a breather. This is the halfway point, so check your fuel level as this is the last petrol stop for 80km. The café at Gingers Creek is a great place for refreshments before you get straight back into the corners that continue to make you work from left to right and back again as you wind across the top of the range, before eventually dipping into the Yarrowitch Valley. Here the road opens up again with a series of fast sweepers and a great road surface all the way through the valley as you head towards Walcha. Aspley Falls Road is on your right about 12km before Walcha and the campground and lookout is not far off the road.
The Oxley Highway is regarded as one of the most spectacular riding roads in NSW, and with good reason. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the speed limits will not be set at ridiculously low levels, but it might well be worth getting yourself out there now, just in case.
Halfway across Mt Seaview there is a dirt road that runs south through several areas of state forest and national park. Doyles River Road, otherwise known as Knodingbul Road, is a great feeder road into the spectacular landscape of the upper Barrington Tops. While the main forest roads are an easy ride for any bike with basic off-road ability, there is a network of fire trails that lead off into more endure-suitable areas such as the Cells River and Tapin Tops. Knodingbul Road is a great ride through to the country towns further south like Gloucester and Taree, but we like the idea of setting up at Gingers Creek for a few days to explore the place properly on dirtbikes.
Things to do
Camping is available in many places, including Long Flat, the Mt Seaview Retreat, and at Aspley Falls. There is a great waterfall lookout at Aspley Falls which is at its best after heavy rain. There are also many fantastic scenic lookouts along the route if you take the time to stop and enjoy the view.
The service centre on the highway at the Port Macquarie turn-off has fuel and a number of fast food options. Fuel is readily available in Wauchope and Walcha, while the Long Flat Store and Gingers Creek also offer PULP.
Long Flat and Gingers Creek make good overnight stops along this route as both offer sit-down meals and good value places to stay.
There are numerous options for food and accommodation at the Walcha end of this ride. We found the Royal café to be bike friendly with great coffee, food, and several sleeping options.
Mud & Tar Motorcycles at 183 High Street, Wauchope has a range of general bike supplies, a good selections of tyres, and a workshop. It’s only open Saturday mornings on the weekend though: (02) 6585 1746.
Caltex 24-hour Fuel Station, High St, Wauchope
Caltex 50E Fitzroy Street, Walcha
Gingers Creek General Store, Oxley Hwy, Mt Seaview: (02) 6777 7511
The Gingers Creek General Store has a range of food and drinks and is a great halfway point to stop and regroup before blasting back out on the road.
The Bago Tavern is on the main street of Wauchope directly opposite Timbertown. They do great upmarket pub lunches and dinners, seven days a week.
The Walcha Royal Café is open seven days a week for food and can be found on Fitzroy St, Walcha.
The Walcha Royal Café & Accommodation has a range of overnight options as well as food seven days a week. This motorcycle friendly business can be found at 26e Fitzroy St, Walcha, (02) 6777 1117.