NSW New England

Old Dec 29th, 2004, 11:47 AM
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NSW New England

We are Brits in our 50's driving from Byron Bay to Sydney over about 12 Days in Feb, I am considering stops at Coffs, South West Rocks, Port McQuarrie and Nelson Bay along the coast. Would you recommend a detour inland into New England? What about a loop taking in Tenterfield, Armidale, Bellingen staying 2 nights in the area. Are any of the highways more scenic than others, any gems not to miss ? thanks
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 12:24 PM
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Hi Alicat54,

If all you have is 12 days then I would stick to the coastal route that you have indicated. although there are some nice places in the New England area it is just not worth the detour with your available time.

You will want to spend at least two days in each location mentioned to sample what each has to offer. I would leave at least 3 days for Sydney and its surrounds such as the Blue Mountains.


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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 12:35 PM
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You could however take a small detour from Coffs Harbour to Dorrigo along the Waterfall Way. May I also suggest that you consider staying at Urunga which is just south of Coffs Harbour ( 17 Klms ) at the Urunga Pub as that is about as Aussie as you can get and ask for a verandah room. Lovely spot, great pub and costs about $50 for 2 people for the night - that is unless you are into 5 star accommodation. The Pub at Dorrigo is also a great for an over-nighter as well.
Make sure you do a detour from Byron Bay over through the Nightcap Mountains to Nimbin via Dunnoon and The Channon as that is a beautiful trip and interesting, as is Nimbin which is a time warp from the 60's. Worth the drive though. The New England area will be dry and brown and not at its best this time of year and its a long way.
You might also consider doing the "postal run" on the Hawkesbury River before you get into Sydney. I cannot remember where you get the boat but it takes you to all the stops on the way and its a magnificent river and well worth spending time on. Can any other Fodor member please tell us where you get that boat please??????
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 01:46 PM
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Liz, I think its Brooklyn, I know there's a post office there. alicat, there's also some lovely rural B&B's at Dorrigo and Bellingen - www.bbbook.com.au
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 02:15 PM
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In a lot of ways inland areas are more interesting than the coast, which is more crowded and commercialized. I love the New England area - some good suggestions from LizF there. Girraween and Bald Rock National Parks are must sees, especially if you like walks. The hike to the top of Bald Rock is awesome, a bit steep in the beginning but not not too long. Though you could be backtracking a bit, another scenic road is the Mt Lindsay Hwy, connecting Beaudesert with Tenterfield.

Of course if you are in the Byron region, do not miss some of the other inland attractions such as Mt Warming (if you like to walk), the Numinbah Valley, Natural Arch, and Lamington National Park. It's a magnificant part of Australia.

Ralph R, CT, USA
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Old Dec 29th, 2004, 07:41 PM
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My two bob's worth...
1. Brits is what yanks call poms.
2.the hawkesbury postman boat runs from Brooklyn wharf.If your time is limited and you want to enjoy a break on the Hawkesbury take the Dangar Island ferry from the Brooklyn wharf.Get off at Dangar Island,take a walk and have a coffee at the general store before you catch the next ferry back to Brooklyn.
3. Its Port Macquarie
4.I think the detour to the new england is worth it. Take the waterfall way from south of Coffs to Bellingen,Dorrigo and Armidale. See the rainforest at Dorrigo,check out Ebor falls etc.Come Back on the Oxley highway...Armidale,Uralla,Walcha,Port Macquarie.The Comboyne plateau in the hinterland of port M is one of my secret spots.
5. the casino-tenterfield road is not the greatest-don't do it.
6. the urunga pub is good.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 12:27 AM
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I'd still question whether going over to the New England in mid - summer is a good idea because the last time I drove the New England at that time of year it looked like a desert! Hot and dusty. Whereupon the coastal road will be lovely and green and inviting.
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Old Dec 30th, 2004, 10:21 PM
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"Brits is what yanks call poms."

True enough, but in Australia "Pom" is reserved for English people (as is well known, as a special mark of respect and affection). A "Brit", on the other hand, denotes a resident of the British Isles, some of whom don't take kindly to being confused with the English. As I know to my cost...

Americans do have a habit of referring to a "British accent" when what they mean is an English accent, and more specifically a BBC/Oxbridge accent.
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Old Dec 31st, 2004, 02:47 AM
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alica54, - the advice given is excellent. However, could I say, that a diversion over to the New England Highway, is well worth it. I once lived in Tamworth for 17 years, and travelled the New England Highway, both north & south on many occasions, and even further west, and there are some wonderful places to visit, and people to meet. The coastal path, tends to be very touristy, so why not break away from the norm, and visit some unusual places inland from the well worn coastal highway.
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Old Oct 7th, 2006, 03:05 AM
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I agree that the Dorrigo rain forest is spectacular. As is New England national park. Remember, those are U.N. World Heritige listed parks. Bongil Bongil NP is a nice stop. Coffs Harbour itself is pretty dull unless you like big bannanas and crap like that.
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Old Oct 8th, 2006, 05:47 AM
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Hi, could I chip in and ask for some advice on this route too please? We're planning on driving up to Brisbane from Sydney next August and have a similar length of time to do the drive. What can we expect of the weather inland, is it better to stay on the caost road at that time of year?
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Old Oct 8th, 2006, 01:54 PM
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I find the coastal towns get a bit too much the same. Great if you love water sports but an inland detour would benefit your overall experience. The more times you get off the highway the better as it bypasses just about everything of any interest.

Inland from Port Macquarie you have some rainforest if I recall correctly and a nice little cafe near myrtle scrub. However the highlight was seeing Aspley Gorge in somewhat drier forest. You could hook up then with Waterfall Way and drive back to the coast via Dorrigo. A town that sits in some very lush agricultural land with very many happy cows. You can visit some remnant rainforest near Dorrigo with some nice views. This trip would give a good iew of how the landscapre changes dramatically as you travel furter inland.

My personal favourite part of the World Heritage southern rainforests is Washpool further north west of Grafton. Gibralter is amazing as well, so different to the Waspool park yet standing side by side. Rainforest and forest of balancing rocks! Stunning imho

The Hawkesbury postman is a great idea.

You could also consider leaving Sydney by the Putty Road and visiting the Hunter Valley and taking in Barrington Tops National Park (also part of the WH).

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Old Oct 8th, 2006, 06:01 PM
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I'd also look at staying at either Forster or Myall Lakes - the drive from Forster to buladelah is lovely and that hawks nest, tea gardens myall lakes area is spectacular - you can drive in via bombah point and get the little punt then drive out via hN and Tea Gardens. I haven't stayed but the eco lodge at bombah point looks fantastic. I've camped in this area a lot and it's one of my faves - the sand dunes are amazing.

I would say if you have 12 days, I would definitely detour inland. you might also want to look at the Barrington tops (gloucester area) as well.
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Old Oct 9th, 2006, 08:53 PM
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To add my 2cents. We always go inland on the way up the coast. We love the waterfalls and mountains. Our very favourite place has been Ellenborough Falls inland from Prt Macquarie. In fact a great drive would be to go inland from Taree through Wingahm and up to the falls. Then drive on to Port Macquarie there. Stop at Mrs Fisher's Garden fro a devonshire tea. All easily done as a detaour of a few hours. Also second suggestions of Waterfall way to Dorrigo but make sure you stop in Bellingen. Have also done the Kemsey Armidale road (not as grand as it sounds, rather a dirt mountian road) but ends up at Ebor (more falls) then on to Armidale. Armidale itself is quite a nice town to stay.
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