Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Ask RiotACT

Quality childcare in a
welcoming & supportive environment

Driving Brisbane to Canberra

By Exploring_The_Blue - 4 January 2015 16

ask-riotact-default

I’m seeking advice from Rioters who have driven the Brisbane-Canberra route recently. I am flying to Brisbane to buy a campervan and will be starting the drive back to Canberra the same day.  I’m a bit nervous about both Cunningham’s Gap and the Toowoomba Range as I am not familiar with the vehicle, but I don’t relish the thought of the Pacific Highway either. I’m planning to take two days with an overnight stop.

Anyone care to share their recent experience of the Newell/New England/Pacific Highways?

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
16 Responses to
Driving Brisbane to Canberra
Exploring_The_Blue 4:29 pm 16 Jan 15

I wanted to let all you helpful Rioters know how I went. I picked up the van on the nothern Gold Coast, drove to family in Brisbane, and by the time I arrived I realised I had been worrying about nothing. As long as I remembered it was over 5m long and heavy in the rear end it was very easy driving and parking. When I woke up the next morning it was clear blue skies, so I worked out how the 12v, gas, water, and 240v worked, borrowed some linen, and headed south along the coast. It was so much fun that one day stretched into four with overnight stops in caravan parks at Sawtell, Lighthouse Beach (Port Macquarie) and Newcastle. I don’t know that I’d enjoy driving the Pacific Highway if I were in a hurry, but it was a great trip at a moderate pace. The four days of sunshine certainly helped. So, Pork Hunt, it seems those self-administered upper cuts were unwarranted after all! I’m heading back up to Brisbane next week, via the Newell this time. And thanks for the tip about the camp book Maya123, I’ve got a hold of it for some weekend reading.

CyberJam 11:31 am 09 Jan 15

Definitely head inland at this time of year. You should go through Toowoomba and stay away from Warwick. Nothing wrong with the place but it’s not the route to take. A good 5 hours drive from BrisVegas will get you Moree and if you’re still fresh and have daylight you could even get to Narrabri for a meal and a kip. Depends on how long you want to drive on the 2nd day. Digital map services claim around 8 1/2 hrs from Moree so it will be a full days drive wherever you overnight. If the campervan doesn’t have a UHF radio you should consider taking a hand held unit. CB trucker talk is still the best source of information on the road and the safest way to overtake big rigs. Drive safe, have fun and please stay in the left hand lane. 10-4! COPY! OVER!

Pork Hunt 7:32 pm 06 Jan 15

AmarooStu said :

Pork Hunt said :

Um AmarooStu, OP is buying a C-A-M-P-E-R-V-A-N, what need do they have for a motel?

That’s a big assumption by you they are taking pillows/sheets/blankets on a plane trip. Do you have insider knowledge that I don’t?

I guess I will have give myself six upper cuts for that one after reading #12…
If I had bought it, I would have slept in it.

Exploring_The_Blue 5:37 pm 06 Jan 15

Thanks everyone for your comments. I can see that my indecision is well justified! To answer a couple of your questions – yes I am driving on my own, and no I won’t be taking any linen or other basic necessities with me so will be stopping in a motel along the way. I’ve decided to overnight with family in Brisbane and then push off early the next morning. I’ll take it easy on roads and use the full two days if needs be. I’ve done several straight-throughts both ways in cars over the years but no need for such haste this time. I am nervous about the Gap and the Range more than anything else so I guess I’ll just see how I feel when I wake up. Wish me luck!

HeighwayQueen 1:23 pm 06 Jan 15

My Husband and I did this drive just the other day with the kids.
The Pacific Highway is pretty good these days. As others have said alot of the small towns are bypassed now and alot of the road is duel carriage way.
We always travel this route at night, especially at this busy holiday time. We find at night that the roads are alot less busy and it is easier to navigate with out the frustration of slow drivers in front of you. We can do the drive in 13hrs, obviously in just a regular car with no caravan
As you are doing it on your own, the half way point between Brisbane and Canberra is around Taree.

AmarooStu 12:49 pm 06 Jan 15

Pork Hunt said :

Um AmarooStu, OP is buying a C-A-M-P-E-R-V-A-N, what need do they have for a motel?

That’s a big assumption by you they are taking pillows/sheets/blankets on a plane trip. Do you have insider knowledge that I don’t?

vulpior 12:02 pm 05 Jan 15

We did it in August in one long (14 hour) day with two of us sharing the driving (not a campervan, though). We’d allowed two days at the end of our trip but on waking refreshed and early decided to push as far as we could so that we had the second day at home to get organised for going back to work.

We took the Pacific Highway all the way, and were pleased with the pace now that there are so many bypasses in; our first trip up was in 2007 and there are so many places we went through then that you no longer see at all.

I’m certainly not suggesting that you should try it in one day, of course. In fact, given that you are going to be driving (1) on your own(?), (2) an unfamiliar vehicle, (3) a campervan, (4) on the same day you’ve flown up to collect it, you might find two days to be pushing it.

watto23 3:51 pm 04 Jan 15

I’d be coming inland via Toowoomba, Goondiwindi,Moree, Dubbo, Cowra, Yass. You can go that way via Warwick, but thats on the Cunningham Hwy as well. Its the same distance both ways.
Travel time on the coastal route is apparently shorter, probably due to more 110km roads, but it can take longer if there are road works or traffic jams getting through Sydney.

Pork Hunt 3:28 pm 04 Jan 15

AmarooStu said :

This time of year, the Pacific Highway will be busy with Hoilday traffic. But in the last few years, the Pacific Hwy is my preferred route as the dual carriageway highways bypass most of the old bottlenecks.

I’ve driven Cumminghams Gap (CG) a few times. To be honest, going up the Clyde Mountain from Batemans Bay is steeper. CG is frequented by trucks so you will have to patient and in a campervan, they may be faster than you heading up onto the range.

Overnight stops? Kempsey/Port Macquarie on the Pacific or Armidale/Tamworth on the New England. Just call ahead to motels when you are ready to rest as your progress in a Campervan will be slower than a sedan.

Safe travels and enjoy the new Campervan!

Um AmarooStu, OP is buying a C-A-M-P-E-R-V-A-N, what need do they have for a motel?

Maya123 1:06 pm 04 Jan 15

When you pick up your campervan, a useful book for finding places to camp on your drive is the camps book. It mostly lists free places to stay. Most useful if your van is self-contained, but the book lists whether the camp-site has toilets and/or showers. I use it, even though I only sleep in my car and don’t have a toilet and shower, as do some vans. Generally then there is no worry whether somewhere is booked out, and accommodation might be busy this time of year.
http://www.campsaustraliawide.com/?gclid=CJfKvNGe-cICFQJ9vQod0isAcg

La_Tour_Maubourg 11:27 am 04 Jan 15

Pleasantly surprised with the Pacific Highway. Left Canberra 0600 arrived at Gold Coast 2000 with an hour stop at Tuggerah. Most of the towns bypassed and road is dual carriageway up until about Kempsey then there are bursts of carriageway/2 way. Wouldn’t fault it

MrPC 11:06 am 04 Jan 15

MrPC said :

If taking the New England Highway, my father insists there’s a back route that is worth using to avoid Cunningham’s Gap again. I’m pretty sure if you google the route from Mount Alford, QLD to Liston, NSW, you’ll get the idea.

Correction, Mount Alford QLD to Morgan Park QLD. There’s still some dirt on the road via Liston.

MrPC 10:57 am 04 Jan 15

If taking the Newell Highway route (highly recommended – it’s mostly straight flat terrain), forget Cunningham’s Gap, and go via Toowoomba. The road is newer, better quality, 10km shorter, doesn’t have the perpetual roadworks at Cunningham’s Gap, and gets you to Goondiwindi quicker. This is a good easy drive overall, though you will very much want to take a printed map of the route if you’re unfamiliar with it – especially the turns within Molong and then onto Canowindra. You’d also do well to pronounce Canowindra correctly if you ever have to use that word – the i is silent.

If taking the New England Highway, my father insists there’s a back route that is worth using to avoid Cunningham’s Gap again. I’m pretty sure if you google the route from Mount Alford, QLD to Liston, NSW, you’ll get the idea. However, you’ll find there are a lot of hills and 50km/h towns along the NSW section of the New England Highway that just make this a tedious route. Given a choice between New England and Pacific, I’d lean towards Pacific, except on a holiday weekend, as from an engineering perspective, its worst bits are comparable to the majority of the New England Highway.

Rawhide Kid Part3 10:43 am 04 Jan 15

Trucks. Trucks and more Trucks. This was my experience last time I traveled on the Newell/New England Highways. But if you take it easy and take your time then shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.. Just watch your speed. Lots of mobile speed cameras on those roads.

AmarooStu 9:09 am 04 Jan 15

This time of year, the Pacific Highway will be busy with Hoilday traffic. But in the last few years, the Pacific Hwy is my preferred route as the dual carriageway highways bypass most of the old bottlenecks.

I’ve driven Cumminghams Gap (CG) a few times. To be honest, going up the Clyde Mountain from Batemans Bay is steeper. CG is frequented by trucks so you will have to patient and in a campervan, they may be faster than you heading up onto the range.

Overnight stops? Kempsey/Port Macquarie on the Pacific or Armidale/Tamworth on the New England. Just call ahead to motels when you are ready to rest as your progress in a Campervan will be slower than a sedan.

Safe travels and enjoy the new Campervan!

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au | www.thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site