Officially, the Oxley Highway bends and twists its way 446km west from the NSW coastal town of Port Macquarie through to the inland town of Coonabarabran. For motorcyclists, doing The Oxley refers to the glorious 163km section of the highway that joins Wauchope and Walcha. A long-time favourite of riders who live on the mid-north coast, and those passing through. The Oxley Highway has long been regarded as one of the most spectacular riding roads in NSW, both for its views and riding enjoyment. In the two-hour run from Wauchope and Walcha you will enjoy wide open plains and tight mountain runs. The best thing is you can then turn around and do it all over again - in reverse. This is a genuine bucket list ride.
AT A GLANCE
Total distance: 163km each way
Estimated duration: 3 hours each way (with stops)
The wide variety of corners on offer between Wauchope and Walcha is what keeps riders continuously coming back to this section of the Oxley Highway. From sportsbikes to scooters, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The road is well maintained but there are plenty of corners that can suck in the over-eager, especially on the descents. Also be mindful of the many blind corners, an excursion across the centreline may have you on a course to meet one of the many logging trucks that use the road. The speed limit is 80km/h and often enforced.
The Oxley is all about the riding experience, many choose not to stop for morning tea or lunch there. It can be a full day on the road, just you and your bike doing what you love. That’s not to say you shouldn't stop, and if you're keen to take your time we have listed a few highlights to consider.
In theory, the 163km run from Wauchope to Walcha should take longer than it did a few years ago due to the fun police reducing the speed limit from 100km/h to 80km/h, then enthusiastically enforcing it. We are calling it a two-hour run.
Most organised rides meet up at Port Macquarie, then get warmed up with a quick 20min run to Wauchope. Others choose to start in Wauchope. Either way, it's best to fuel up before you depart then again when you reach Walcha. Other than rain, there's nothing that will dampen a ride quicker than a member of your group pulling alongside and pointing to their tank just as the fun starts. If needed, there are petrol stops along the way.
If you do plan to make regular stops to stretch the legs and grab a bite to eat, the Long Flat Pub/General Store at Long Flat is a must. Located 30km (25 minutes) west of Wauchope, it’s a great place for a quick regroup and break on the way out, or late lunch to relive the adventure on the way back.
The next 27km from Long Flat to the turn-off to Mount Seaview is where the police like to hang out and do their thing. The Mount Seaview turnoff is also where the fun goes up to 11. The following 48km climb to Gingers Creek Roadhouse gets better with every twist and turn, and there are plenty of them. Pulling over for a breather at Gingers Creek to mentally digest the road you have just enjoyed, and wait for your mates, is recommended.
If you're ready for a bite to eat, the Gingers Creek Roadhouse is motorcycle friendly and serves an excellent meal. Don't dilly-dally too long as there's more amazing road on offer.
The next 65km (45min) section winds its way across the top of the range, before commencing the descent into the Yarrowitch Valley. Here the road opens into a series of fast sweepers that stretch to Aspley Falls which is worth a look, before carrying on to Walcha, an easy 12km down the road.
If all that riding has made you hungry, then check out the Royal café in Walcha, it's motorcycle-friendly with great food and coffee. Accommodation options are also available.