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Fastest driving route from Canberra to Brisbane

By Permanent Visitor 15 December 2009 41

Wanting to hear from anyone who has driven from Canberra to Brisbane, or vice versa, within the last 6 months. I always take the inland route, however haven’t driven the coastal route for a couple of years and am wondering if it is faster than going inland nowadays.

All advice welcome!


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Fastest driving route from Canberra to Brisbane
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bd84 8:14 pm 20 Dec 09

The Pacific Hwy is fine. I’ve driven south from around Brisbane in the past couple of days. The only roadworks are south of Coffs Harbour and it they have you on new highway stretched throughout the roadworks and the only inconvenience is the reduced 80kph speed limit, otherwise traffic is free flowing.

Woody Mann-Caruso 10:44 pm 18 Dec 09

Fly. it seems the roads are full of fatigued, speeding idiots.

Permanent Visitor 5:16 pm 18 Dec 09

Gungahlin Al said :

Bit concerned about the emphasis here on the speed of the trip. We’re talking about Xmas holidays here, and shouldn’t speed take a long second to survival?

This Qlder does the trip often enough, always taking at least two days. It’s more tolerable for the kids (together with twin DVD screens, movies, game controller and earphones!) and you get to actually look around a little on the way.

And lets face it, plenty of what there is to see along the way is as good as or better than what is at either end, whichever way you go…

Air museum at Temora, Japanese gardens at Cowra, Dish at Parkes, zoo at Dubbo (need a whole day), star gazing at Coonabarabran, mountains in Warrumbungles, Kaputar, Giraween (Stanthorpe), wineries at Stanthorpe, gardens at Toowoomba and rainforests just north of it, beaches at Port, Coffs, Yamba and so many other little hidey holes along the coast, Myall Lakes, Stockton Beach (Nelson Bay), Waterfall Way near Armidale, Bunya Mountains near Dalby. Binna Burra, Springbrook and Natural Arch around the back behind the Gold Coast…

It’s a wonder we ever get there. But we have a good time on the way, and we don’t need two days to recover on arrival, making the timing pretty much even.

You can have your stargazing and dishes! I want to get the trip over and done with as quickly as possible as what’s waiting for me at the end is far better than what’s in between! I also do the drive alone, which makes travelling much less fun and much more of a chore. Glad you enjoy yourself though!

youami 2:15 pm 18 Dec 09

btw the views I mentioned in my post at top of Thunderbolts Way climb is Carsons Lookout. Do a maps.google search for it.

youami 1:34 pm 18 Dec 09

Permanent Visitor said :

Other than the logging trucks, is Thunderbolts Way a decent road? What’s the speed limit? The road from Bylong to Denman looks a bit dodgey…?

Thunderbolts Way is certainly a good road for almost entire length. When they sealed the road a few years they took out s lot of curves and flattened a lot of crests. Only heads-up is the original sealed road close to Gloucester where the road dances in and up and around valleys for about 20km so you can usually only get about 80km/h on that part. The climb from the valley to the escarpment is also quite steep (which is where you will meet the logging trucks). But at the top of the climb you have one of the best 180o views of the district you could imagine. The road is pretty much 100+km/h quality all the way with no towns between Gloucester and Uralla other than Walcha (Nowendoc fyi is on a side road). Logging trucks usually only southern part of the road not entire length.

The road Bylong to Denman (Bylong Valley Way) includes dirt, granted, and there are some winding areas but overall it is of a reasonable quality and you could get up to 100km/h in parts. You can take an alternative from Bylong up over the range to Golden Hwy (via Wollara Rd and Ringwood Rd) but I personally haven’t taken that road.

Or go straight up through Mudgee and take Ulan Road to Golden Hwy (Cassilis) and then take the Scone turnoff at Merriwa which is completely sealed.

Grail 1:29 pm 18 Dec 09

1) Fastest route is driving to the airport, leasing a car when you get to Brisbane.
2) Second fastest is via Dubbo/Narrabri – but do it over a couple of days
3) Don’t use caffeine or other stimulants – they keep you awake but not alert!

Gungahlin Al 9:46 am 18 Dec 09

Bit concerned about the emphasis here on the speed of the trip. We’re talking about Xmas holidays here, and shouldn’t speed take a long second to survival?

This Qlder does the trip often enough, always taking at least two days. It’s more tolerable for the kids (together with twin DVD screens, movies, game controller and earphones!) and you get to actually look around a little on the way.

And lets face it, plenty of what there is to see along the way is as good as or better than what is at either end, whichever way you go…

Air museum at Temora, Japanese gardens at Cowra, Dish at Parkes, zoo at Dubbo (need a whole day), star gazing at Coonabarabran, mountains in Warrumbungles, Kaputar, Giraween (Stanthorpe), wineries at Stanthorpe, gardens at Toowoomba and rainforests just north of it, beaches at Port, Coffs, Yamba and so many other little hidey holes along the coast, Myall Lakes, Stockton Beach (Nelson Bay), Waterfall Way near Armidale, Bunya Mountains near Dalby. Binna Burra, Springbrook and Natural Arch around the back behind the Gold Coast…

It’s a wonder we ever get there. But we have a good time on the way, and we don’t need two days to recover on arrival, making the timing pretty much even.

Permanent Visitor 8:35 pm 17 Dec 09

youami said :

james270 said :

Newell Hwy has just had its speed limit dropped from 110 to 100K/h. The conspiracy theorist in me suggests that there may well be more than the usual ammount of police patrolling the Newell at the moment:)

OH NO! They didn’t did they? How disappointing. Another attempt to blame speed. I so hope that there are more accidents (no injuries of coure) on that road to prove that the RTA is a bunch of public service beauracratic morons.

To answer the post, the fastest way isn’t necessarily the shortest.

I personally would go inland personally (although 100km/h? eerk to the RTA). It is probably longer but faster given limited towns and speed changes.

For the coastal route, the M7 doesn’t completely bypass Sydney, there is still 8km of Pennant Hills Road to traverse and during off-peak it takes the same time to take the old Cumberland Hwy. You also have a significant amount of roadworks and during holiday season the RTA temporarily close overtaking lanes on single-carriageway parts of the Pacific Hwy.

If you were to use the New England Hwy route, I would go through Goulburn, Taralga, Bathurst (Kelso), Ilford, Bylong, Denman, Scone. Some dirt (about 60km I think) but basically straight up through the ranges with about 30km of winding roads here and there. Thunderbolts Way if you decide to go coastal to Karuah is 80km shorter than the New England to Uralla but logging trucks a plenty. Putty Road has more than 50km of nasty winding road south of Singleton. Need to plan for that if you go that way.

Other than the logging trucks, is Thunderbolts Way a decent road? What’s the speed limit? The road from Bylong to Denman looks a bit dodgey…?

Permanent Visitor 8:16 pm 17 Dec 09

neanderthalsis said :

Permanent Visitor said :

Do you go via Newcastle and then Singletone, or the Putty Rd, or otherwise? I guess I’ll try the New England Hwy, but wondering what is the quickest way to get onto it…?

Via Newcastle and Singo, although they had some roadworks on the F3 in October, don’t know if they’re finished yet.

I take it Peats Ridge Rd / George Downes Dr / Great North Rd / Paynes Crossing Rd / etc to Singleton is no good?

caf 5:16 pm 17 Dec 09

You don’t need to take dirt roads to avoid Dubbo that way Ponkygirl – from Wellington take the road east to Gulgong – then from there go north through Coolah and Tambar Springs, joining the Oxley Hwy at Mullaley (that’s blacktop all the way, or at least it was the last time I went that way).

Ponkygirl 2:17 pm 17 Dec 09

Coast road is fine to Coffs, but sucks from there to Brisbane – at least up until you hit the Gold Coast. My favourite is the New England (starting up through Cowra, Wellington) but avoid Dubbo which can get a bit clogged by slicing off just after Wellington on dirt roads through to Dunedoo – it’s signposted (kind of).

neanderthalsis 2:03 pm 17 Dec 09

Permanent Visitor said :

Do you go via Newcastle and then Singletone, or the Putty Rd, or otherwise? I guess I’ll try the New England Hwy, but wondering what is the quickest way to get onto it…?

Via Newcastle and Singo, although they had some roadworks on the F3 in October, don’t know if they’re finished yet.

youami 2:01 pm 17 Dec 09

james270 said :

Newell Hwy has just had its speed limit dropped from 110 to 100K/h. The conspiracy theorist in me suggests that there may well be more than the usual ammount of police patrolling the Newell at the moment:)

OH NO! They didn’t did they? How disappointing. Another attempt to blame speed. I so hope that there are more accidents (no injuries of coure) on that road to prove that the RTA is a bunch of public service beauracratic morons.

To answer the post, the fastest way isn’t necessarily the shortest.

I personally would go inland personally (although 100km/h? eerk to the RTA). It is probably longer but faster given limited towns and speed changes.

For the coastal route, the M7 doesn’t completely bypass Sydney, there is still 8km of Pennant Hills Road to traverse and during off-peak it takes the same time to take the old Cumberland Hwy. You also have a significant amount of roadworks and during holiday season the RTA temporarily close overtaking lanes on single-carriageway parts of the Pacific Hwy.

If you were to use the New England Hwy route, I would go through Goulburn, Taralga, Bathurst (Kelso), Ilford, Bylong, Denman, Scone. Some dirt (about 60km I think) but basically straight up through the ranges with about 30km of winding roads here and there. Thunderbolts Way if you decide to go coastal to Karuah is 80km shorter than the New England to Uralla but logging trucks a plenty. Putty Road has more than 50km of nasty winding road south of Singleton. Need to plan for that if you go that way.

Permanent Visitor 8:43 am 17 Dec 09

MrPC said :

Consider Metroad 9 through Sydney (or the M7) and go via Windsor straight up the back route to Singelton, then the New England Highway from there.

Is that using Putty Rd? And which Hwy is quickest to use to get to the Putty? The M2, or 61 from Colebee, or the M9 at Campbelltown?

Permanent Visitor 8:37 am 17 Dec 09

neanderthalsis said :

I do the Canberra to Bris run 3 or 4 times a year, the latest being in October. The New England Hwy is fastest and has the least traffic (once you clear sydney). It averages out at a 14 hr run. I have done the coast road often enough, too much traffic, poor road conditions on parts of the pacific and I have done the western inland route through Dubbo, lots of heavy vehicles carting cattle, wheat etc. They’re all around the 1250km mark and easy enough to do in one day if you share the driving (or are a long distance driving machine with pure caffeine pulsing through your veins)

Do you go via Newcastle and then Singletone, or the Putty Rd, or otherwise? I guess I’ll try the New England Hwy, but wondering what is the quickest way to get onto it…?

MrPC 10:42 pm 16 Dec 09

Consider Metroad 9 through Sydney (or the M7) and go via Windsor straight up the back route to Singelton, then the New England Highway from there.

Funky1 6:10 pm 16 Dec 09

We go to visit rels at Ballina once every year or two. If you want to take your time and stay over on the way, there are some great bits of driving roads along the way.

Earlier this year we decided to take the New England but wanted to avoid Sydney, so turned left at Campbelltown, through Penrith, up to Windsor then along the best bit of twisty, mountain road I have had the pleasure to drive on, the Putty Road up to Singleton.
Then again at Armidale, turned left and headed towards Dorrigo and Belligen but kept on that road (another twisty route with great mountain range views) all the way to Grafton.

Definitely not boring and you get to see some parts of our great country the masses don’t see.

sloppery 5:03 pm 16 Dec 09

fnaah said :

Not bad sloppery! Ex-wifey and I did it in 13 in our 200SX. Had some issues with enormous swarms of grass parrots near Cowra, after that it was a pretty smooth cruise.

Cheers. We had one of those trips where everything seems to go right. Nice new large car, bugger all traffic, clear day, no cops to be seen. It’s surprising how you can eat up the distance with the cruise set on 120.

In Exile 4:08 pm 16 Dec 09

Since moving to Brisbane ~4 years ago I have done either the Pacific Highway route, or inland via Wellington, Tamworth, Stanthorpe etc… Done the drive more times than I care to remember. Latest trip was in November, 14 hours on the dot from Central Brisbane to Kambah, my spiritual home, in one day. One the way hone it was the inland route, and closer to 16 thanks to a heap of roadworks. As a guide, during school holidays, avoid the Pacific highay like the plague (one year they closed all the overtaking lanes for the summer holidays) and take one of the inland routes. Any other time the Pacific is fine, as long as you don’t hid Sydney in peak hour.

Permanent Visitor 3:42 pm 16 Dec 09

I have always taken the Newell Hwy through Cowra, Dubbo, Moree, then the Cunningham Hwy from Goondiwindi to Warwick and on to Brissy. I’ve found this the fastest inland route, managing it in around 14.5 hrs (I drive straight through, without any overnighters – thank God for Red Bull!). I’ve driven this route about a dozen times from 2005, but haven’t taken the coastal route as I’ve always wanted to avoid Sydney.

I note that Google Maps says that my route takes 16 hrs 21 mins, which makes me wonder how accurate their times are. They state the Pacific Hwy route takes about 15 hrs 39 mins.

If anyone has an approximate time for the Pacific Hwy route I would to hear from you. If there are no or only minimal roadworks then it may well be faster than the inland route nowadays…?

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