Sydney - Brisbane via the Pacific (Hwy 1) and
New England (Hwy 15) Highways
Total Distance 996km
All distances measured from Sydney
The first part of this alternate route takes us along the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway (Hwy 1) and this is covered in the route notes for Sydney-Brisbane via the Pacific Highway.
As we approach Newcastle (157km) we take the New England Highway (Hwy 15) exit and turn towards Singleton (220km). As this stage we are in the beautiful Hunter Valley - home of so many well known and respected wineries so if time isnít a problem, and you are interested in the results of crushing and fermenting grapes, then a visit to some of the many historic vineyards near here would be a good way to fill a few hours - or even days.
Muswellbrook (267km) comes next as we pass through wide sweeping pastoral country to this quiet country town with its wide streets and interesting shops. The next town, Scone (292km) is famous for thoroughbred horses and there is a statue of a mare and foal in the main street to emphasize the importance of horse breeding to the area. Just after Willow Tree, Highway 37 to Gunnedah branches off to the left while we continue on to the country music capital of Australia - Tamworth (424km) - home of the Golden Guitar Awards. Tamworth is the largest city in Northern NSW and is the centre of a rich agricultural district. It is a thriving industrial and commercial centre and has every facility needed by the traveller for an enjoyable stay. The Oxley Highway (Hwy 34) leading inland to Coonabarabran and westwards to the coast at Port Macquarie joins us for about 40km here.
We are in high country now and in the winter this can mean really, really cold weather so be prepared and bring your winter woolies! Snow often falls around Armidale (535km) in the winter months and at Guyra (573km) where the caravan parks claims to be the highest park in Australia. Armidale is an important centre of learning with the University of New England and many schools and colleges situated in the city. It is also the hub of a thriving pastoral area famous for its high quality wool.
Still in the high country, we come to Glen Innes (632km) with its rich Scottish ancestry - a past that owes much to the Scottish settlers who came to the district in pioneering days. A monument commemorates the part they played. The Gwydir Highway (Hwy 38) crosses our path here and goes westwards to Inverell and east over the Dividing Range to Grafton and the coast.
Just before we cross the Queensland border we reach Tenterfield (723km) - hometown of the late Peter Allen whoís song ëTenterfield Saddlerí is known to countless people throughout the world and who gave us the evocative, ëI still call Australia Homeí.
Bald Rock - a huge granite monolith is found in the Bald Rock National Park off to the east of the highway. A climb to the summit far above the surrounding countryside, give unsurpassed views and on a clear day you can see for ever - just like the song says!
We are now entering Queenslandís Granite Belt, famous for its fine wines and fruit orchards and there are plenty of vineyards for winelovers to visit in the area around Stanthorpe (773km). There is a large camping area in the nearby Girraween National Park and plenty of bush walking trails - some including fairly strenuous climbs up some of the granite mountains found in the park.
Just 60km further we come to Warwick (836km) - a major city set in rolling hills on the banks of the Condamine River where we join the Cunningham Highway (Hwy 15) for our run through Cunninghams Gap to Brisbane (993km). This section is covered in the Sydney-Brisbane via the Newell Highway section