Posted On 27 Apr 2024
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This entry is part 17 of 29 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#28


The bloke in fluoros at the bar turned around and grinned at me when he heard us talking about the Oxley Highway.

“Don’t worry,” he said, “we keep the gravel off the road. I’ve got a 749 myself,and I don’t wanna go down.” Even the council workers up here ride Ducatis.

There really is something special about Walcha. In fact, there are several somethings special about the place.

Did you know that pioneer bushman, Nat Buchan is buried in Walcha?

Or that the town has carefully preserved the Tiger Moth that sprayed the first phosphate on crops in 1950? Or that John Oxley named the Apsley River?

This region has so much interesting history it’s a crime to ride right through – even though you might want to because the bends will call you.

The ride up from Sydney on Thunderbolt’s Way via Now endoc to Walcha is a bit of a worry with some poor road surface, but the ride from the M1 near Port Macquarie along the long,winding and magnificently scenic Oxley Highway through Wauchope to Walcha, is heaven on a stick. You’ll want to do laps so accommodation is always involved!

Get ready for wonderful accommodation and food.

The places to stay are legendary: try the motel and self-contained cottage at Lyn’s Nowendoc Country Motel.

At the other end going towards Port Macquarie, there’s the Timberland Resort at Wauchope that has covered verandas for your bike, a swimming pool, spas in some rooms and award winning Montana’s restaurant. Call Rob and Jenny who will spoil you rotten. The heritage Travellers Rest Pub at quaint Long Flat is part of biking history as the venue for a wild and wooly rally, or for a quiet “pie and pint” with your group; Gingers Creek offers cabin accommodation and a ramshackle café with a full license and a good cellar.

There’s a smorgasbord menu of rooms from bunks to the honeymoon suite at lovely Mount Seaview Resort where you cross a bridge across a platypus stream to get in.

It’s a great ride – ready for another go?

At Walcha itself, you are spoiled for choice. For 10 years, Toni Heaney at the Royal Café at Walcha has been championing motorcycle riding in the area. Our editor Stuart and Alana have stayed there and rave about it. Enjoy breakfast and lunch and sprawl in Toni’s beautiful garden where old found objects are cemented into the pathways. There’s always a bunch of riders there to talk to.

The historic Commercial Hotel has been fabulously refurnished, and now has a new owner, Kristian Schmidt. The Commercial on Commercial Lane, is a little off the main road – sited where the old stagecoach route use to be. Turn off just past the Information office.

Kristian’s stunning boutique hotel offers accommodation and gourmet food at its best.

Jon Taylor will teach you how to ride an outfit.

Likewise, the sunny yellow, welcoming circa 1880 Apsley Arms can claim some history too. Rooms have been modernised and lovely Lizzie Manns offers 10% weekday discounts and a free drink at the bar.

Big groups will particularly like the 3.5 star Walcha Motel – where again Andy welcomes motorcycle riders and there are room types to suit everyone and their licensed Embers Restaurant makes everything convenient. Rates are good too. And down at the Walcha Caravan Park, owner Neil says you may never leave after you have enjoyed a night relaxing and bending your elbow in his magnificent glassed in camp kitchen that has every possible convenience for cabin dwellers or campers. An open fire makes it wonderful in the winter.

All these places are perfect for motorcycle riders and the business owners rely on us.

The local Walcha Council likes riders too because we ride all year round, we bring our money with us, and we don’t cause any hassles – except, from an accommodation point of view, please don’t book and then not turn up, hey! Instead, make a courtesy phone call so empty rooms can be offered to someone else!

Affordable luxury at Timbertown Resort.

Susie Crawford at the Tourism Bureau sent us some info and we were surprised to see so many interesting events going on in the area all year round that we didn’t know about, including History Tours, a Sculpture Garden, a Vintage Motorcycle Challenge, a Mountain Bike Challenge,a Garden Festival and even Opera in the grounds of a stately homestead!

If you are an adventure rider, the nearby Oxley Wild Rivers National Park with its spectacular gorges, offers camping and some great trails. Visit for more info. If you are interested in learning to ride or perhaps buy a sidecar outfit, Jon Taylor, of Ural Motorcycles fame, offers outfit Adventure Training at his property 24 kays north of Walcha on the Kentucky Road. Call 02 6778 7436 to book. And don’t forget to linger at Long Flat and Wauchope.

The journey to Walcha is wonderful, but it’s good to know that you’ll be welcome when you get to your destination. So get on yer bike and explore the Oxley and beyond! TD

About the Author
Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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