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Thunderbolts (NSW)

Discussion in 'Australasian Riders' started by Bill, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. Bill

    Bill New Member

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    Dear All
    I noticed some time some discussion about Thunderbolts Way (NSW) which starts at Gloucester and heads north over the Great Dividing Range to Walcha and beyond.

    I rode my R1200RS over there yesterday (from Newcastle) and I can report that, while there are sections of the road that have been improved in recent years, it remains very rough.

    However, not so rough that you cannot sit on a good speed. The only problem we encountered yesterday after passing Carson's Lookout was the torrential storms that hit that part of NSW in the afternoon and drenched us all the way through to Walcha.

    We stopped last night in Walcha (at the Royal Cafe), which is recommended.

    We were going to ride down the Oxley Highway today to the coast but it was too wet and there was a lot of mud on the road from yesterday's storms. Instead, we came back down Thunderbolts (in dry weather), turned off to the west near Nowendoc and did the old Port Stephens Cutting, which was cut through the ranges to allow cattle to be driven from the pastoral districts in the West (Tamworth, Gunnedah etc) to the coast at Port Stephens for export (C19th).

    The cutting is a mixture of long sweeping bends on the tableland, before plunging down this brutal descent - very narrow, tight road with off-camber corners and precipitous - to Ogunbil in the valley below. Not a great 5kms stretch for a big bike like the RS but doable in low gear.

    And the reward is a beautiful road (at fairly good speed) along the valley floor - towards Nundle (past Chaffey Dam) to the New England Highway. No cops between Walcha and the New England Highway (then, as usual, plenty).

    The road condition varies (it is sealed all the way) - rough in places, very narrow in other places but generally a good way to get between Thunderbolts and the New England Highway in either direction. It would be easier doing the steep part of the cutting up the escarpment than it was coming down.

    Not much traffic either, which is another reason it is a good route to cut through in an East-West or West-East direction across the range.

    Stopped for lunch at Willow Tree and then 220kms later back in Newcastle (400 kms today).

    Anyway, all the area is a delight to ride around despite the road condition on Thunderbolts.

    best wishes
    bill
     
    TassieRob, Leon.P. and pasko like this.
  2. BillyPB

    BillyPB Member

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    Sounds ... adventurous, Bill.
    Any pictures from this trip?
    Thanks for sharing your impressions with us. Some of us living very far from the strange and exotic roads you mentioned.

    Greets from Germany,
    Gerald /BillyPB
     
  3. Michael

    Michael Well-Known Member

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    Here are a few photos from the BMW TS Safari in March 2016 that went along some of these roads (and cafes). It was a great ride.
     

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  4. AusTourer

    AusTourer Active Member

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    Nice ride there Bill pity about the rain but that will happen.
     
  5. BillyPB

    BillyPB Member

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    Thanks for the pics, Michael. I can only see/open 3 of them, but they sure look nice.
     
  6. Stan

    Stan Active Member

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    Hi Bill,

    Some snapshots from my GoPro of the 'Cutting' and along the valley.

    My brother and I rode the Oxley and then part of Thunderbolts Way until the turnoff to follow this route through to Tamworth and back to Walcha for the night a week before you (9th Jan).

    We had excellent weather for our 2 days in the area.

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