Roads We Ride - The Old Pacific Highway

If you ride anywhere within a 200-kilometre radius of Sydney or Newcastle, you’ve most certainly heard of the Old Pacific Highway, a hugely popular coastal road for riders and motorists alike, sitting between Sydney and Newcastle. Rodney Champness, or “Champo”, as he is known in the close-knit riding community, was the perfect choice to showcase our latest ROADS WE RIDE feature on the Old Pacific Highway.

From Newcastle, he regularly travels the road on weekends to visit or ride with friends. Even as a boy, his first out of saddle riding experience happened on the Old Pacific Highway when he used to join his Dad on school holiday courier runs to Sydney, and discovered then that this road would become a regular fixture in his life.

This historic two lane road has been the lifeblood of transport between Sydney and Newcastle since the 1930s when the road was carved as the first direct coastal route between the cities. Even then it was a rough road and not sealed until 1958. Yet for many, it was the heavily trafficked conduit which drew the two cities ever closer and then closer still when the much faster, and safer, parallel M1 freeway was completed in the mid-sixties.

With the freeway a faster option, the Pacific Highway was renamed the “Old Pacific Highway” and because a popular tourist drive for its winding stretches through lush bush and running over the wide Hawkesbury River. For motorcyclists, it became an essential weekend run for riders from both Sydney and Newcastle. Interestingly, riders would often be able to pick where the other was from on how they referred to the road. Riders from Sydney would simply call it the “Old Pac”, however those from Newcastle took to the reworking of an old proverb, “All roads lead to Rome”, in this case Rome being Sydney, and called it the “Old Road”.

Yet no matter where you are from, we are sure that you’ll always feel a strong lure to thrills and scenery on offer. Something that we certainly wanted to highlight in our second episode in the ROADS WE RIDE series. Again, we’ve teamed up with and Transport for NSW to explore what it is that makes this road great and the best way to ensure you can safely keep coming back to it.

Enjoy the ride.