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The high country has some excellent roads, great scenery and more cheese than you can dream of

The road across Brown Mountain is a vital link between New South Wales’ far south coast and the Monaro region for residents, tourists, and essential services. It also represents a great ride for motorcyclists looking to get a bit of coastal action to go with their alpine experience, which is how we saw it on a recent tour through the area. There are great views from the top of the range across to the Bega Valley on the coast, and some great sections of bitumen to get your heart pumping.

The ride from Cooma to Bega is approximately 110km and starts with an easy cruise on the Monaro Highway through the rolling hills and plains that gradually move you away from the alpine region. This stretch is heavily policed, so we weren’t surprised to find a Highway Patrol car coming towards us with a mobile radar. Enjoy the scenery and keep it on the limit until you get to the small town of Nimmitabel. There are a few good places to stop in town if you are looking for breakfast or just a drink – the bakery was one of the late Woose’s favourites!

As you continue to head east from Nimmitabel across the Bombala River, the road gets more interesting as it takes you towards the pine forests that mark the start of the Great Dividing Range. Along the way you will notice a right turn towards Bombala, another great road on a motorcycle that we will cover here in a future issue.

The climate on Brown Mountain can often be very different than the surrounding plains, with heavy mists and a wet road surface often appearing unexpectedly in front of your helmet visor. The road becomes much more exciting as the corners tighten up on a good bitumen surface and starts to descend past the Fred Piper Memorial Lookout.

The series of corners from here down to the valley floor are the main game on this route with lots of switchbacks and several tight bends as the road guides you down the mountain. You have to be lucky to find no slow moving traffic in front of you, and there has been ongoing road work through this section since January when part of the road was impacted by a land slide after big weather, but if you time it right the ride through here is great fun and definitely memorable.

At the bottom of the hill it is a short run into the village of Bemboka, where you can stop for a pie or a drink. The scenery changes a bit from here as the gently undulating pastures stretch across to more rugged mountainous peaks that form part of the Great Dividing Range, which are the backdrop for the coastal towns a little further to the east.

When you reach the intersection of the Princes Highway in the Bega Valley you have a choice; turn right and ride a few kilometres into Bega, or turn left and head north over the Warrigal Range towards the quaint village of Cobargo. Whichever you choose you can’t go wrong, as it a fantastic part of the country to be out and about on your bike.