Take The Slow Road – From Sydney To Broke In The Upper Hunter


This is a sponsored post for Shell Australi and Digital Parents Collective

Ah, the lure of the open road, I used to love long drives to unknown places, miles and miles and miles of tarmac slipping below the wheels.

Having children cured me of that for a few years. But the kids are older now and we’re off on a road trip these school holidays – the joy!

Our driving trip will be from Sydney to Dubbo, and I’ll be researching the drive using a new online community dedicated to the love of driving, LoVe Drives. Have you visited?

I’ve been exploring the site and I’ve logged the best drive I’ve done so far this year, the back road driving from Sydney to the Upper Hunter Valley via Bucketty and Wollombi.  You can find this drive over on LoVe Drives by clicking here.

I’d have done the drive for those names alone. But come along with me for the ride and I’ll show you some other fantastic reasons for avoiding the F3.


Head North Out Of Sydney

Take the freeway at Wahroonga, this used to be known as the F3 but it’s now called the M1 Pacific Motorway.

Whizz along past Asquith, Hornsby Heights, Mt Kuring-gah and Berowra Heights and then head down past Brooklyn on the right and over the Brooklyn Bridge.

pic koala-blog

Get Off The M1 at the Calga Interchange

At the Calga interchange, leave the M1 to the left and follow route 33, the Peats Ridge Road.

If you have time, you can stop just after the turn off and visit the very lovely Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, click the name for all the info.

And if you have even more time, you might like to stop and explore Glenworth Valley Outdoor Adventures.

After any animal explorations, just continue along Peats Ridge Road. Here you’ll find many farms and lots of opportunities to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from the farm gate. Great chance to stock up for your weekend in the Hunter Valley.

Great North Road

The Convict Trail and The Great North Road

Driving along this road, you are right in the midst of living history. The road follows along the route of the Great North Road, one of the most extraordinary engineering successes of the 19th century.

Built by convicts in leg irons, this 240km road was laid from Sydney to the Hunter valley in only ten years from 1826 – 1836.

You can still see convict-built retaining walls, culverts, bridges and buttresses. Before you take this drive take a good look at this excellent website:  http://greatnorthroad.com.au.  You can download terrific brochures with photographs of places that you will be able to find on this drive.

Convict Trail



I do love the old pub at Wollombi, where you can find and even drink Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice. You can also sit at the rustic tables and examine the countless carvings on the tables. The garden areas are great for kids to run around too.


There’s the old Court House to explore, delightful old buildings and shops, a sculpture park, and don’t forget the Wollombi Valley Wine Trail.

Check out all that Wollombi offers on this website.

Wollombi 5 shot

On this drive,  I loved passing over old wooden bridges, and  stopping to look at cows and horses in the fields and to sniff the fresh country air.

Mount Broke

Arriving at Broke

Broke is the very historic little town which sees the start of the Broke Fordwich area which I’ve blogged about here.

Check out the gorgeous wineries in the area and enjoy all the eating, walking and shopping choices here in ‘the tranquil side of the Hunter Valley.’


Win With LoVe Drives

To celebrate the launch of LoVe Drives, Shell Australia is giving away 18 x $100 fuel vouchers – the best 3 drives each week will each win a $100 fuel voucher. At the end of the promotion on April 28th, four lucky winners will each win $2,000 worth of travel vouchers so they can recreate their LoVe Drives again.

To enter, just join up to LoVe Drives and upload and share the details of a drive you love.

For full terms and conditions visit http://www.lovedrives.com.au/


The best thing about a long drive is that you never quite know what random adventures might unfold, what forks in the road you might come too.

What IS your favourite drive in Australia?

I’d say mine was the looooong journey Paul and I took overland from Darwin to Perth when we were expecting son number one. The Gibb River Road was probably my very favourite section of that drive, or perhaps the road that led us into Monkey Mia in WA.

Anyway, do pop over to LoVe Drives whenever you feel that urge to get out on the open road.

There are easy-to-follow instructions on how to log your drive on the site

Have you checked out LoVe Drives yet, or even logged one of your own favourite drives?

Tell us about your favourite drive? Was it short or long?

And where will your next long drive take you to?

Near or far?

Happy travelling,




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Posted on: April 13, 2014


  • Reply April 15, 2014

    The Hungry Mum

    ahhhh, long drives with young kids! Fun! Mine are OK for a few hours as long as they are loaded up with snacks, books, colouring-in etc. I haven’t been to the Hunter Valley in forever but now I wanna do your road trip.

    • Reply April 15, 2014

      Seana Smith

      I fancy doing it again too and taking loads of photos of the fantastic rural mailboxes as I missed those shots last time. My teen17 just told me the Stones will be playing in the Hunter Valley when they tour. Tempting!!

  • Reply April 18, 2014

    Desire Empire

    I’ve got a soft spot for the convict trail and Wollombi. My son was Christened there. The pub is fab on a freezing cold winters day and there are some very interesting little things to look at, particularly the museum and the lovely old churches. You have inspired me to return.

    • Reply April 18, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Oh how lovely to have a christening there. Was that through the Broke connection? We should take a spin up there one day by ourselves.

  • Reply April 21, 2014


    We just went to Wollombi for the first time and really liked it. We’re trying to get km up for one of our children who is a Learner Driver. The Museum was fantastic. Many shops and the sculpture park closed too early for us to manage to see them. The bistro at the Tavern was disappointing,would not recommend it.

    • Reply April 21, 2014

      Seana Smith

      Good to hear from you Joni. I have a learner driver here too, he’s only done 35 hours so far but has additional needs so we are taking it VERY slow and steady. That is a great drive for learners though, bendy so a bit challenging but not busy.

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