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Post Info TOPIC: Another newbie to the forum with a question on road conditions!


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Another newbie to the forum with a question on road conditions!


Hi members. We will be towing a 19'6 caravan with a Territory from Canberra to Bega and looking to go the Kings Highway to Batemans Bay then on to Bega. We are thinking this is the easiest route to take compared to the Monaro highway and then over to Bega. We will be doing this in May so any feedback on this road would be appreciated. Thanks in anticipation. 



-- Edited by Meznwaz on Thursday 14th of April 2022 11:36:15 AM

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I do not favour one of those roads over the other. I just use the one that goes closer to my destination. When going to Bega I prefer the straighter run down through Cooma rather than the very twisty coast road with all its slow running through many more small towns. The Snow Mountains Highway also has less steep sections than the Kings Highway. (See the details under the heading Bonzle incline/gradient summary on both maps.)

Both roads require you to use low gears to retard your speed on the steep descents if you wish to travel safely.



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PeterD
Nissan Navara D23 diesel auto, Spaceland pop-top
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NSW Central Coast.

 



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Thanks for that information Peter. So when you say the Snowy Mountain highway do you go the Monaro highway from Canberra to Cooma then down to Bega via Nimmitabel? We have not travelled in this area at all so unfamiliar with the roads there and looking to do the easiest way possible.



-- Edited by Meznwaz on Thursday 14th of April 2022 02:42:25 PM

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Hi Meznwaz, welcome to the forum. I don't profess to be the world's greatest driver and I towed my almost 18 foot and 2.2 tonne van through Canberra and along the Kings Highway to Bateman's Bay and on to Bega a couple of years ago. It is a fairly easy trip if you drive to conditions and as Peter says, use your gears on the steeper sections. When I did it I sat behind a truck and just followed his speed and lines. From memory there was also places to pull over to allow faster traffic to pass.

I think the only time I would avoid is late on Friday afternoon when the locals from Canberra are heading to the coast. When I did the trip I stopped at Braidwood for a couple of days. There is an oval just outside of Braidwood on the Canberra side that has heaps of space and good amenities and run by the local chamber of commerce. I think it cost about $15- $20 for the night. There is also a free camp a few kilometres prior to that but that was pretty full when I was passing through.

Enjoy your trip.



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Meznwaz wrote:

Thanks for that information Peter. So when you say the Snowy Mountain highway do you go the Monaro highway from Canberra to Cooma then down to Bega via Nimmitabel?


 Affirmative to that. The Monaro Hwy travels down a little past Nimmitabel and then turns south and heads for Victoria. The Snowy Mtns Hwy goes from that turn to the coast at Tathra.

 



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PeterD
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NSW Central Coast.

 



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Thanks DMaxer for your welcome to the group and helpful information. Yes I've noted the advice about the local traffic from Canberra heading to the coast on weekends! Good to know there are places to pull over and let the faster traffic through. We have travelled down the Gywdir Highway from Glen Innes to Grafton and the Cunningham Gap from Warwick to Brisbane a few times and they are pretty steep too.   



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Thanks Peter. We have travelled the Gwydir Highway from Grafton to Glen Innes and the Cunningham Gap to Brisbane so wondered how these 2 highways compared to them.  



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I did the road from Nimmitabel to Bega towing my van some time ago Meznwaz and I wouldn't do it again. The other road you mention I have only done in a car and it was okay but that was coming up to Nimmitabel.

I think the Kings Highway route is probably easier than Cunninghams Gap road and about the same, if not easier, than Grafton to Glen Innis. From memory, Grafton to Glen Innis is more about the pull up the mountain than the descent  to Glen Innis. In any event, it did not cause me any concern nor did the Kings Highway through Braidwood. 

The one big plus about the Kings Highway is that they have a fantastic bakery in Braidwood.



-- Edited by DMaxer on Friday 15th of April 2022 03:34:05 PM



-- Edited by DMaxer on Friday 15th of April 2022 03:34:55 PM

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Thanks DMaxer. Yes think we'll try the Kings highway this time and see how we go. Will keep the forum posted on our trip.   



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I think the major issue is the trepidation felt before the journey Meznwaz more than the actual journey. There have been roads that I have travelled on that caused me grief before the trip only to find out that the actual trip was quite good.

Everyone on the road realises you are towing a van and that you will be travelling slower than them and unless they are total imbeciles, don't really care.  It is only the few that toodle along below the speed limit only to open it up when others try to overtake raises the ire in others.

It is the first time I do a particular road that I am a bit concerned. After that, I know the parts that will be slow and where extra care is needed so just travel accordingly.

I think my biggest concern about the Kings Highway now is whether the bakery is open and whether they have any pies left. It is on the left hand side so just follow the main road around the left handed corner and plenty of parking.  Walk back and pig out.

There is no concern before Braidwood and after there are a couple of descents with a turn at the bottom.  Drive to the conditions and you will enjoy it no end.



-- Edited by DMaxer on Saturday 16th of April 2022 11:31:47 AM

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I don't know why DMaxer feels the way he does about the Brown Mountain descent (the Snowy Mtns Hwy.) There are many who think it is less of a challenge than the Clyde Mountain descent (the Kings Hwy.) Maybe that was his first experience and he gained his hill decent skills on that one.



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PeterD
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NSW Central Coast.

 



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Being in Canberra like Meznwaz I have travelled to the coast many times, first towing a Swan camper, then a Jayco Freedom and last couple of times a Jayco Stirling. Towed first with a Ford Falcon wagon and these days a Ford Ranger.

So have travelled down all two highways to the coast many times.

The Clyde Mountain is reasonable, with turnouts to allow other vehicles to overtake. While steep it is quite wide and, as others have already said, use low gears. There are a couple of bends going down where I have got down to 2nd gear but almost the whole trip down is done in 3rd gear.

The descent is almost exactly five kilometres long. A tip is when you start going down check the odometer and count off the kilometres, otherwise it seems to take forever.

Once at the bottom the highway has a lot of hills and winding sections, although not as bad as coming down and there are overtaking lanes.

The Brown Mountain road is narrower, steeper, with sharper bends. Again, 3rd and 2nd gear is the go. Being almost exactly ten kilometres long, again check the odometer and count off the kilometres. There is a lookout about two kilometres from the top but there doesn't seem to be anywhere to park a van.

At the bottom the road is almost flat to the small town of Bemboka where it is a good place to have a steadying cup of coffee. The road from there is mostly undulating and winding, few passing places but it is only about 20 or so kms.

PeterD mentions the Princes Highway goes through a lot of small towns with speed restrictions, whereas the Brown comes out just north of Bega. Buses and semis use the Brown - note the uncoupling/coupling bay at the top and bottom where B doubles leave the second trailer and come/go back a second time.

I might add that the first time we went down the Brown I said to my wife "I wouldn't like to go down this mountain when it is raining." Just as I said that there was a crack of thunder and it began pouring rain! The rest of the way down was very slow.

Murray

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The reasons I did not like the Brown Mountain trip PeterD were many.  In front of me I had a bloke that was riding his brakes. I spent most of the descent trying to keep well back from him as I felt that at any time he would probably lose control and I would go straight through him. Added to that, I had this galah right up my clacker seemingly oblivious to what I had in front of me. If that wasn't enough it was pouring rain, cold and blowing a gale.

That was the first time I had ever taken that route. Prior to that I had travelled the Grafton to Glen Innis and the Casino to Tenterfield roads as well as Mt Ousley and Cunningham Gap roads with no issues. I think Long Weekend explained the terrain on this particular route very well. Just add to that the dramas mentioned above and I am sure you will start to get a feel why I did not enjoy this particular period of my trip.

I am sure there are many people who enjoy that particular route, however I am not one of them.



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From your previous

I did the road from Nimmitabel to Bega towing my van some time ago Meznwaz and I wouldn't do it again. The other road you mention I have only done in a car and it was okay but that was coming up to Nimmitabel.

You could have had the same experience on any of the other roads you mentioned in your last reply to this thread. If you had the same experience descending one those you probably would have come away with the same feelings. If you go down the Brown Mountain road in good weather you will probably will have a similar experience to your descent of the Clyde Mountain.

Why can the road like you did after only one unpleasant experience in trying weather? You are doing a disservice to the OP.



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PeterD is right. While the Brown is steep and long, provided you take it steady and use low gears it is perfectly safe. After all, it is a main highway to the coast. If you are lucky you can go down behind a bus, semi or caravan, maybe wait at the top in the coupling bay until one goes past and tuck in behind. Just don't forget to count off the distance on the odometer!

The one that I won't do again is the Macquarie Pass from Moss Vale - I wouldn't take anything down that road larger than a box trailer! And yes, I know semis and buses use it - but I won't. To get to that part of the coast I always go the extra distance via Mt Ousley.

Anyway, once you have conquered the Brown you will be able to take on anything on your travels.

Murray

Edit: added 'or caravan'



-- Edited by Long Weekend on Sunday 17th of April 2022 06:57:05 PM

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I had the impression from his post that he wanted people's views, not orders. I gave him my view, you gave him your view.

I think he will make up his own mind as to what he wants to do. It seems quite obvious that if it is not cold, blowing a gale and not heavy rain his anticipated experience will not align with what I experienced.



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Thanks everyone for your interesting comments. I probably should have clarified that we weren't new to caravanning just new to this forum. We have been caravanning for many years and as we lived on the New England Tablelands and have been down the Glen Innes to Grafton which is about 18 ks of quite steep descent and like everyone has said you just need to drive to conditions. Also done Tenterfield to Casino many times but it is about 38 ks of more gentle descent. The Cunningham Gap is quite steep but have had no problems with it either as long as you use your gears as mentioned in the comments. Not having done any caravanning at all in the snowy mountains areas it has been very informative to get different points of view on both roads so appreciate everyone's comments! A road I had heard not to ever take with a caravan was the Kangaroo Valley one! Thanks once again to everybody.

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Just to add one final comment: there is a caravan park in Kangaroo Valley so the roads into it must be doable for caravans.

I have to admit that I towed our Swan down from Moss Vale then up the other side and down to the Princes Hwy. Then returned the same way. From Moss Vale the road is about the same as the Clyde but much shorter, while the up and down on the south side is rather narrow but still shorter than the Clyde.

Murray

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Meznwaz wrote:

 A road I had heard not to ever take with a caravan was the Kangaroo Valley one!


 That is another one that I reckon you could handle quite well after all the experience you have had. The big problem with that one is people making the wrong turning decision. As you are heading for the coast, the last high point is the Cambewarra ridge. The main road takes a sharp curve to the right as you cross the ridge, this takes you down to Bomaderry. Many make the mistake of driving straight ahead and taking the Tourist Road down to Berry. They then relate their experience without realising their mistake. The Tourist road is certainly a road to give a miss when towing. I find the main road a delightful drive. My aged mother used to take that route when going down to St Georges Basin each month to mow the lawn.



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NSW Central Coast.

 



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I posted this in February this year regarding the Moss Vale to Kangaroo Valley Road:

I did the exact same route on the 7th of this month towing a 19.5 foot van.  It was pouring rain but the road is good, though winding a bit.  A couple of 15 kph hairpins which were easily navigated.  Just use low gears and you will be ok.  Even in the rain with low visibility, I felt comfortable.  Coming up the mountain a week later, I followed a semi which also handled the road with ease.  The secret is LOW GEARS, LIMITED USE OF BRAKES.  As Nike says, "Just Do It".



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Thanks PeterD and KevinJ for the information on the Kangaroo valley road. If we ever get to do that trip I will remember your helpful comments. Thanks also to LongWeekend for your helpful comments.



-- Edited by Meznwaz on Wednesday 20th of April 2022 05:06:42 PM

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