The Oxley Highway is a rural highway in New South Wales, between the inland Nevertire and Port Macquarie on the coast of the Tasman Sea.
The Oxley Highway starts at Nevertire where it joins the Mitchell Highway. It links Warren, Gilgandra, Coonabarabran, Gunnedah, Carroll, Tamworth, Bendemeer, Walcha, Yarrowitch, Ellenborough, Long Flat, Wauchope and ends at Port Macquarie on the coast of the Tasman Sea.
See also: Tips for road trips and Driving in Australia.
You can start from either end of the road, or from many points along its length.
- 1 Port Macquarie.
The Wauchope to Walcha section and southwards along Thunderbolts Way is a very popular motorcycle ride in Australia as these roads wind their way up and down the scenic mountains of the Great Dividing Range. The road is a "Mecca" for recreational motorcyclists who often travel long distances just to enjoy the road's many curves. Keep an eye out, as some of them can be travelling relatively fast for the conditions.
A major attraction at Wauchope is the Timbertown Pioneer Village which is a very good old timber town of the 1880s set on 87 acres. West of Timbertown the highway passes along the northern boundary of the Bago Bluff National Park. After leaving Ellenborough the highway traverses through the Cottan-Bimbang National Park and the northern edge of the Mummel Gulf National Park. The Apsley Falls are easily accessible on a 1 km sealed side road and the Tia Falls are quite spectacular, too, with good facilities available at each. Walcha has the unique Open Air Gallery, fossicking opportunities, Amaroo Museum & Cultural Centre, Pioneer Cottage museum and the local history archives.
The Gunnedah Rural Museum, containing farm machinery, equipment, a gun collection, photography and other artefacts is located on the Oxley Highway, 1 km west of the post office.
Near Coonabarabran, 2 km west of the town centre, on the National Park Road, is the Skywatch Observatory. Its attractions include hands-on usage of powerful telescopes. Hickey's Falls are located at the end of a short walking track which departs from a roadside stop, 42 km south-west of Coonabarabran on the Oxley Highway, en route to Gilgandra. Picnic and barbecue facilities are available.
Most of the route is single carriageway with a 110 km/h speed limit. Do not be tempted to speed - the police have the route well-covered and there are plenty of static cameras. When passing through towns en route, it is necessary to slow down to as little as 50 km/h.
Overtaking opportunities in the form of an extra lane are plentiful along the route - be patient when stuck behind traffic as an overtaking lane is never more than a few kilometres away!
There are lots of kangaroos here and they may jump on to the road at any time so watch out.