Bypass Sydney towing Caravan

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 20:48
ThreadID: 130067 Views:11372 Replies:9 FollowUps:9
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Looking for some advice travelling on M1 heading south from New Castle. Will be towing a heavy caravan and would like to bypass Sydney and avoid big hills and windy roads. Looking to travel the coast road towards Melbourne and this would be the first time on this highway.

Van is self sufficient and looking to start Early March 2016.

Any advice and camping spots will be greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: wholehog - Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 21:14

Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 21:14
Travel thru late at night or very early for us and our Bushtracker.
AnswerID: 589530

Follow Up By: garrycol - Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 23:17

Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 23:17
Down the M1 and then the 10km of Pennant Hills rd then on the M7 the the Hume to just past Campbelltown and then across to Appin and Wollongong - to get down the the coast your will have to go down one of the passes - Mt Ousley is the best and then from Wollongong down the coast on the Princess Highway.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 23:56

Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 23:56
The best time to go along Pennant Hills Road is during the week day between the two school peak periods (id travel it between 0930 and 1400 hours.) Stick in the middle lane with the trucks, they may be a bit slow but they will get you through easily. If you go through at the weekends there are too many Richard Craniums on the road .
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Follow Up By: Member - escapesilv - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 00:14

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 00:14
Once off the M1 on Pennant Hills Rd you will first have to take the M2 that turns into the M7 that later turns into/connects onto the Hume Hwy, then take Picton Rd to Wollongong that connects onto the Hume Hwy that will take all the way down the south coast.
It is not as bad as is sounds.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 00:36

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 00:36
One thing to remember is the long stretch without rest stops through Sydney. After leaving Newcastle stop at the rest area just north of the Hawkesbury River. The next chance of a good rest area is the one past Campbelltown just before you turn off the Hume to Wilton and down to the coast. Also if you don't have a toll tag (what ever name you call it) don't forget to arrange for your toll pass.
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Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 07:39

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 07:39
Using the M1 and M7 to get through Sydney is fine but the bit on Pennant Hills Road between the M1 and the M2 is a real pain in the derrier. That part of Pennant Hills Road is the most busiest in Sydney, if not the whole of Australia.

If you really want to bypass Sydney then it's a bloody long way and if you have the time, then head west from Newcastle and completely bypass Sydney by going around the Blue Mountains from Newcastle through Merriwa, Dunnedoo and Lithgow. Then head south through the Abercrombie NP to Goulburn and across to Batemans Bay via the Kings Highway. Just take it easy on the last steep section of the Kings Highway down Clyde Mountain.

This is a LONG way and not one that I would normally recommend.

Personally, and again early in the morning like 2AM, we would go down the M1, then Pennant Hills Rd to the Cumberland Highway which I would follow to Liverpool. Then the Appin Road to the coast and down Mt Oosley to get through Wollongong.

Or down the M1 to Penent Hills Rd and follow the M2, and the M7 to Campelltown at 2AM.

AnswerID: 589538

Reply By: Rangiephil - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 10:02

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 10:02
Welcome to our nightmare, Pennant Hills Rd.
Look, whenever I go along Pennant Hills Rd there are lots of caravans, as well as lots of B doubles and semis, sometimes in rows of 5 or so.
As long as you are aware of your width and stay away from being beside said semis, Pennant Hills Rd is just a busy rd with lots of lights. Sydney drivers are pretty accommodating and will usually let you in if you get in the wrong lane.
I agree that if you can stay out of peak hours say 10AM to 2.30 PM, it is OK, but other times it is just slow with lots of stopping and starting at lights, always before the Pennant Hills shopping centre. After that it is fine, as long as you stay out of the RH lane at it approaches Castle Hill Rd.
I agree with the other posters that M2, M7 then Picton Rd to Wollongong.

There are steep hills on the M1, and MT Ousley into Wollongong but really they cannot be avoided unless you go to Dunedoo, and there are some steep pinches even on the Golden Highway.
Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 589545

Reply By: Erad - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 11:48

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 11:48
Sadly, there is no easy way around Sydney. We often head North or South and by choice, we use the Putty Road. Yes - there are some big hills and it is in places slow and winding, but it is to us far more relaxing and interesting than the multi-lane highways which are full of people rushing to get to their destinations. Putty Road goes from Singleton to Windsor. From Windsor, follow the Northern road to Campbelltown and then you can go down to the coast from there - again hilly, but doable with a caravan.

The only other logiacal way is to use the M2 & M7, then for you to go down the Heathcote road - that is narrow and hilly in places too. As said above, sit in the middle lane behind the trucks and you will have no problems.

The older I get, the less I like driving in Sydney (or any large city for that matter), but Sydney seems intolerable. The lanes are so narrow and they meander around. Every b----stard jumps into my buffer space. Gee I am a cranky old bugger. In Melbourne, for some unexplained reason we seem to hit the city at about peak hour. I simply put the caravan so that it is in the left lane, but the edge of the van is inches away from the line. Melbournians don't know where the L side of their vehicles is s o they stay back and don't crowd me. Adekaide, Perth and Hobart are just large country towns, and Brisbane has a very good network of free flowing roads - if you can get into the correct lane in time
AnswerID: 589554

Follow Up By: Erad - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 11:52

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 11:52
Forgot to add that if you use the Putty Road, there is a free camping site about half way - Grey Gums Cafe. They have showers & toilets there (charge for the showers) and a reasonable fare of food on offer. There would be lots of other sites to puill off along that road as well.

Nothing much on the Heathcote road to pull off, and that is where you will need it!
FollowupID: 857458

Reply By: Con_Qld - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 15:04

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 15:04
I would like to thank all who have made time to give me the good advice in travelling through Sydney.

It seems like "fun times" just going through Pennant Hills.

Am not a city driver so city traffic lights scares me especially when towing 3 tons behind me.

So will now make the challenging decision in our plans for the trip next year. I am glad I ask now and not on the day on the

AnswerID: 589562

Follow Up By: Gronk - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 18:23

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 18:23
I would respectfully suggest you not tow your van at all if you are scared by traffic lights.

All they do is make you stop.....and then you take off again......I can't work out where you are coming from ???

I know some people are not comfortable towing a big rig, and if that is you, please do other road users a favor and keep off them !!

FollowupID: 857468

Reply By: Con_Qld - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 19:21

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 19:21
I would respectfully suggest you keep those comments to yourself first without getting all the facts. And in addition, you have provided nothing to the question.
AnswerID: 589572

Follow Up By: Gronk - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 21:33

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 21:33
I didn't think my comment would be popular, and yes you are right, I didn't provide anything to the question because I have driven that route many times with the van and couldn't see a need for a response about a non issue.

Please let us know the facts......and I may retract my statement !!
FollowupID: 857472

Reply By: Rob J8 - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 21:53

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 21:53
Don't be put off by some comments Con but stick to the main highways and Toll roads and you'll be right.
The main roads etc don't have big hills except the decent into.
We are from rural WA and negotiated the major roads in the Sydney area for about 6 weeks early this year as my wife broke her wrist and we were twice at Glossodia and had to visit Royal North Shore Hospital.
Put up with the traffic; that's Sydney; traffic everywhere you go, even out round Richmond and Windsor.
I go through Perth sometimes from Busselton and the traffic in Perth has nothing on Sydney. By the way Melbourne is just as bad, but get on the and end up in Geelong.
Safe travels
AnswerID: 589584

Reply By: Robyn R4 - Monday, Aug 24, 2015 at 20:23

Monday, Aug 24, 2015 at 20:23
Hi Con.
Well, you can tell the people who live in the city and aren't fazed by it, eh?!
Not all of us live in the city or drive in the city!
I grew up in Newcastle and visited Sydney often as a kid.
As an adult, hubby and I lived for 8 years on the Murray River. We'd usually choose to drive back to Newcastle via Dubbo (150km further) because on the rare occasion that we'd go through Sydney we'd religiously miss our turn-off and would have to do a U-turn at the next intersection...or perhaps the one after that...augh!
We hated Sydney traffic and because we only did it maybe once a year we were very intimidated by it. I always felt that the drivers were aggressive and reluctant to give an inch or let you change lanes when you were stuck, but maybe it was the stress of not knowing which lane to be in or where we were...! Just my humble opinion, though. My apologies to any Sydney drivers reading this who are courteous. Bless you and your driving manners.
We now live a stone's-throw from Brissie and its traffic can be quite full-on but because we do it about 15 times per year we are reasonably familiar with it. We have driven through at peak hour with our trailer on behind and think nothing of it.
Just because you aren't keen on driving through Sydney doesn't mean you aren't a competent driver. There are many competent drivers on country roads who don't like city driving.
All you did was ask a reasonable question as someone who doesn't do Sydney regularly...Personally, I go for the 2am trip!!!

AnswerID: 589610

Follow Up By: Gronk - Monday, Aug 24, 2015 at 20:54

Monday, Aug 24, 2015 at 20:54
I don't live in Sydney, I hate cities !!

Competent I would have thought meant you could drive in any circumstance ??
FollowupID: 857505

Follow Up By: garrycol - Monday, Aug 24, 2015 at 22:15

Monday, Aug 24, 2015 at 22:15
Yes but they didn't have the M2/M7 back in the good old days - now you have a 100kph expressway (tollway) to bypass 90% of the city.

The 7.9km of Pennant Hills road that has to be driven on to take you from the end of the M1 to the start of the M2 is not hard if you take it easy - as mentioned best out of peak times.

Easy Peasy
FollowupID: 857510

Reply By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Aug 25, 2015 at 07:40

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2015 at 07:40
Pennant Hills Rd is a piece of cake if you are patient. You won't even have to change lanes if I remember correctly. Hop into the middle (not the centre or the kerbside) of the 3 lanes when you get off the M1, then after you pass the Castle Hill turn off, that lane becomes the centre lane to turn right from, stay in it. If I'm remembering wrong then get into the right hand lane then. A good trick is to spot someone next to you turning right and as he edges into the right turn lane, take his spot. About a kilometre down from there you turn right onto the M2. All you have to be able to do is keep your van inside the lane.
Sydney drivers are ok if you act like you know what you are doing. They don't want you in the way if you are going to hold them up by being indecisive. That's why massive trucks or buses have no problem changing lanes in busy traffic. The other driver will give them a metre and they will take it and turn it into 20 metres, while the inexperienced driver slows up a whole lane waiting for a 20 metre gap and a personal written invitation into the lane. By being indecisive and appearing unsure, you will have 2 lanes of traffic blasting their horns at you. Just remember, if the other guy is not actively blocking you out, then he is letting you in. Unfair? Sure, but if you had to put up with an hour of Sydney traffic either side of a long work day, every day, then it's amazing there aren't more murders in my opinion.
AnswerID: 589619

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