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Macquarie Pass

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Matchstick01, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. Hey guys,

    Just a quick question. I've done Macquarie Pass a number of times now and was just wondering if anyone new what the best time to do it is in terms of traffic. I've done it twice in the wee hours of the morning and its been great. When I've done it in the day i've generally spent most of my time stuck behind cars. So is there a time that is particularly good for Macquarie Pass in daylight hours?



  2. heh heh, the age-old question; we have riders come down from Sydney on weekends with stop-watches, trying to answer that question.

    The short answer is that there is not 'good time' on the Pass. A lot of us can ride up and back very quickly because we know it well; I've been driving it since 1968 and riding it since 1974, and I know a couple of guys who ride it many times a week who blow my doors off. But the REAL answer is that in order to do a good time on the Pass you have to be prepared to pass those cars, wherever you find them, especially over double-unbroken lines, which many of us do. Some of us also overtake on corners where many others of us woudn't......

    The trick to riding the Pass is to ride it quickly and smoothly AND STAY IN YOUR LANE; two of the four riders who've been killed in the last two years have been on the wrong side of the road in corners and been taken out by trucks. And the other two were killed in the space of a couple of months at the railway overpass just before the big hairpin this side of Robertson.....

    Here endeth the lesson :).
  3. There really is no 'good' time toride the pass at all never mind quickly.

    Yes, generally early morning, late afternoon or lunchtime weekdays can see less traffic but the road is still a highway used by holiday and professional traffic. It is also a road that due to it's nature often means that vehicles must cut some corrners in order to take the bends (ie. trucks) or even do a 3 point turn to complete the turn. Never mind the lazy amongst people who will either straightline a crner or cut because there is no centreline to help them align themselves.

    As Hornet600 says the idea is not to ride the pass quickly but smoothly as the risks for error are to excessive. Yes there are some who will ride it fast and these people often take ridiculously unnecessary risks. The 4 riders mentioned by Hornet is actually 5 fatalities in the last few years and in all cases the rider was on the wrong side of the road (refer police reports and persnal witness statements) although some argument may remain in one case.

    It must be remembered with McPass that the road does not have sand traps or flag marshalls despite many treating it as if it does. If you do want to 'test' youself on a public road (why?) then I would suggest that you find a far better road to do it on and yes, there are many better roads than MacPass.

    And just for the record, I reide the pass on average of once a week and as many as 3 time per week of late as I head up to the highlands to play on other roads and in the forests.

  4. Thanks for the advice guys. I don't mind over taking on the double whites, but i am very selective about where i will. Being on a 250 it seems to take forever to get round some cars, and i'm nbot one to leave it up to chance whether a car will come round the next corner at me or not. Last time i did it I was stuck most of the way behind a long line of cars, and took me both overtaking lanes to eventually get past them all. I don't use it as a racetrack, but a good fun road to do, that has been made less fun the last couple of times due to traffic.
    Thanks again for the advice guys,


  5. Without wanting to sound wrong with this but what is it you are looking for on MacPass? What is so special about it?

    The reason I ask is that I am sure Hornet, myself and many other illawarra locals could advise you of other local alternatives that may very well provide the same thrills, excitement and test that you may be after without the inherent danger of this particular 10 kays of tarmac.

  6. I love it because it is 10kays, most other mountain passes are much shorter, the road surface is pretty good, so i'm not gonna come off because of bad road with the exception odf roadkill which i always watch out for. And as Paul (Hornet 600) once said to me before i'd done the pass, every corner is different, no corner prepares you for the next. If you do know some other better road that are in the area I would love to try them. The ones I've done so far in that area are Mount Keira, and the roads in and out of Kangaroo Valley. i haven't done Jambaroo Pass yet but would love to give it a go. Are there any other suggestions?


  7. Don't do it before 7am on a Sunday morning during May. :)

    Back when I lived in NSW, I used to visit a friend who lived near the base of the pass, and would use it in a spirited fashion to reach Kiama for breakfast.

    In an attempt to beat the traffic we tried getting up around 7 on a sunday, and ended up getting fairly sideways in my MR2 due to oil from the trees and dew coating most of the road, especially the tighter hairpins. The road was dry, but extremely slippery.

    Even got a fun in-cabin video of the ordeal, complete with policecar coming the other way around the corner immediately after I caught the tail coming around and returned to normal driving. :angel:

    So, the moral of the story: Don't do Macquarie Pass before the road's warmed up, during winter. :)
  8. Paul, lots of locals like Jamberoo Pass, but lots of us hate it too; it's twisty, but it's very tight. If you never get to ride it, I wouldn't cry over that.

    Spots, you are spot-on {groan}, but I'd extend that warning to not just the winter time (although I DO remember driving the Pass in thick snow in July '96.) Because of the heavy tree cover, even in summer and warmer months, there can be parts of the road which don't dry out will nearly the middle of the day.

    Locals like me who like to get one of the coveted 'clear runs' at the Pass, do do it early in the morning, however; once the road starts getting traffic it seldom abates during the day. Sadly, however, one of the Pass' biggest hazards is motorcyclists :shock:.
  9. Will second the Jamberoo Mountain Road comments, if you never get to do it then no need to worry but IMO on of the best pieces of road in the area that is readily accessible is Jamberoo Road between Jamberro and Kiama.

    Before I name other places what is your riding preference and style?

    Basically, are you looking at a place to get your jollies by going damn fast without concern for a less than racetrack smooth road surface or do you want experiences?

  10. um, you may recall that hornet had an off due to tree debris on the pass.
  11. Any chance you guys could mention some of the good roads to ride on and the conditions/style of riding that will suit the roads. I would love nothing more than to jump on the bike and ride over some new roads and im sure a lot of others will feel the same, any roads you can share will be much appreciated.


  12. No probs, but remember what I see as good, many others will not.

    For starters as your location says Campbelltown I will start from a few up that way with which you are likely familiar and will go through to Robertson.

    Good fun roads around Douglas Park, wehether it be the old Hume (Razorback area), Douglas Park Drive or Moreton Park Drive, all have the fun factor and vary in length etc. Of course there is also the run out to Burragorang lookout and return to Picton as well.

    Then we have the old boring Hume or turn off just out of Picton (heading south) and go the backroad to Thirlmere, nothing flash but has some nice corners, although quite bumpy when I last did them.

    Get back to the old Hume and you end up at Yanderra/Yerrinbool which has a few nice corners (around 1.5kms) just before rehittig the Freeway but the best thing is to do teh bends, then u-turn and return to Old South Road (first on right heading north after these bends, very easy to miss).

    Nothing flash on Old South Road, just a different road in a quiet area where you learn that Mittagong has an airfield (never knew till I first did the road). Eventually you come to a crossroad, turn left and you are on my eprsonal favourite for sheer fun factor. This is Range Road and whilst it starts fast and flowing, the end is anything but. It ends up as a little country lane complete with humps that well, can cause rubber to separate from road if not taken with care. As mentioned, this is narrow and very tight in places with some dirt, but if you like old style roads, this is it.

    At the end is T-juntion (Tourist Road). Turn either way, left brings you out at the top of Macquarie Pass and is bumpy but I like it, although I would recommend turning right and heading to Sheepwash road which is the next T-Junction.

    Turn left and then left again into Kangaloon Road. This rivals Range Road (for me) in fun factor and starts remarkably similar as a wide sweeping road, but done be fooled. It then goes into a narrow road, bumpy in places with corners that will catch out the unwary so if you cant see through the corner, expect a minimum of 90 degree bend. After the tight stuff it opens into an 80kmh zone but this is still a lot of fun and the final climb feels like it will never end. Eventually you crest the hill to end with a nice sweeper right (off the hill) followed by another right and left into teh Robertson 50kmh zone. This road ends in teh middle of Robertson near the traffic lights.

    Honestly, these are old style roads. That means tight, narrow, bumpy and absolutely no margin for error. You are also in prime farm/rural country so there are hidden driveways and cattle crap on the roads. The roads are driven my many people who do not expect another vehicle so be very careful.

    I have tried to cover some of them but the instructions are fairly brief but if you need more just PM me (or PM to abuse for putting you on these roads as they are a taste and as mentioned, not for everyone).

  13. I rode Macquarie pass for the first time last week (actually, first time I've ever been down there).
    To say the day I did it was daunting would be an understatement. Thick cloud till about half way down, road damp, very dark, light rain....seems to be a pattern for me, was the same my first ride down Clyde mountain!

    I have to disagree about the road surface too, many of teh tighter corners are quite chopped up in the apex, and particularly near the inner kerbs. Lots of light debris too, certainly enough to make a 270kg tourer shift line.....
    I also found the lack of guardrails disturbing, and the many car drivers who think they have to swing wide on the APPROACH of a corner to get around was even more disturbing, particularly as you are starting to wind on some throttle coming out of a corner, thinking you are way over to the kerb side of teh road already!

    Frankly, with teh traffic on it, I'd only ever treat it as a fun scenic road that got me where I had to go. I could never ride that road truly fast unless I KNEW there was nothing else on it, or as others here have, lots of experience with it.
    For those who are relatively inexperienced, I would treat the road with respect, and make your first ride or two a survey run.
    It is a truly amazing piece of engineering though, imagine when it was cut through the hills, would have been hard work.
    Coming back towards the pass from Hornet's place, I kept looking at the escarpment and thinking "sure there's a road up there!" even though I'd been down it that morning.
    As with the Clyde mountain further south, I think the better part of the road is not the actual pass, but the roads approaching it, however, I do prefer slightly more open corners and particularly switchbacks to hairpins, might be my bike or just me getting older and more conservative.

    Regards, Andrew.

  14. I could take you to a little known spot (easy to get to) that sits above the road itself (yep, up on one of those rocks) and it gives a whole different perspective on the engineering required to build the road. Truly amazing.

  15. Do I get dinner and a movie first? :shock:
    Seriously, tell me where it is.

    Regards, Andrew.
  16. I believe some years ago a group of surveyors were commissioned to map out a better route up the southern escarpment, but concluded that the Pass represented the best possible solution, even give today's superior earthmoving and engineering skills.

    With regards to the less-than-ideal surface in some places, much of the Pass has been re-surfaced in the recent years, and there's every reason to expect that this will continue and these sections will be eliminated. Where the new hot-mix is, the surface and grip is fantastic.... (Of course, that's also where most of the double unbroken line is, too!)

    Google Earthers can get a fabulous view of the Pass in the 2007 version, right down to an empty car park at the famous Robertson Pie Shop!

  17. Nah, no dinner and movie first, I am way to cheap for that.

    But if you like the idea of the views and getting a real perspective on the engineering turn right at the top of Macquarie Pass (end of double lane section after last hairpin). This is a dirt road but has a good surface (Mt Murray Road from memory) and just follow it for a few hundred metres until you come to the guardrail on the right.

    Stop, climb the guardrail and walk onto any of the rock ledges as these are located above the overtake lane section and face all directions. From here you get a a good perspective on the actual cliff face challenges faced and also the work required for the section at the top hairpins.

    Mind you, if you don't like standing on the edge of 200 foot drops it may not be for you but in all honesty, the views are amazing.