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. And so it was for this delightful road trip, the back road driving from Sydney to the Upper Hunter Valley via Bucketty and Wollombi.
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.
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.
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: The Convict Trail. You can download terrific brochures with photographs of places that you will be able to find on this drive.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
Read how to drive from Sydney to Adelaide or vice versa here.
Road Trip: Sydney to Canberra might also be handy for you.
Tell us about your favourite drive? Was it short or long?
And where will your next long drive take you to?
Near or far?