Couldn't agree more Laurie. The New England Highway is a great choice for
birders faced with that or the Pacific Highway as a route. The Glen Innes
Visitor Centre stock a terrific brochure 'Bird Watching in the Celtic
Country' which is just super and provides details of a number of productive
birding sites in the area. There is also a Wetland trail that begins at
Little Llangothlin Lagoon (a high elevation Ramsar site) down to Uralla and
Dangars Lagoon Wildlife Reserve with its hide.
The New England region has always been a highlight of any trip I've made
from Brisbane to NSW.
Kobble Creek, SEQ
On 4 January 2015 at 15:11, Laurie Knight <> wrote:
> And now for something completely different.
> If you are driving between Brisbane and Sydney, you have the fundamental
> choice between going along the Pacific Highway or the New England Highway.
> While you can of course bypass particular sections (e.g. passing through
> Gloucester, Casino or Boonah), you are likely to spend time on one of the
> The Pacific Highway is progressively becoming more and more of a motorway
> as 100-200 metre wide corridors of forest are razed. It is heavily policed
> (with numerous speed and speed averaging cameras - including some in
> revenue raising situations) and quite congested in parts.
> The New England Highway is a bit longer, has far fewer overtaking lane
> kilometres and no ocean views. It is however a much more enjoyable drive
> and quite scenic - particularly along the northern half where you pass
> through Cunninghams Gap, the Granite Belt and the New England Tableland.
> At the southern end, you have the option of taking the Putty Road - a
> brilliant driving road with great scenery and little traffic during the
> week (the bikers are out on weekends) - from Singleton to Windsor (where
> you have traffic bypassing options to get to the southern and western
> I did a family trip down to Sydney over the year end. We spent a few
> hours doing the wine/foodie thing around the Granite Belt. It is like the
> Hunter Valley without the coal mines and traffic. There is a nice balance
> between horticulture and bushland and lots of land for wildlife properties.
> I noticed lots of birdlife at each place we visited. We had nice views
> of a female koel in a fruit tree by the carpark at Suttons Farm - a
> compulsory stop for people who like apple pie with spiced apple cider ice
> cream. We were serenaded by whistlers, drongos and cuckoos at the Brass
> Monkey Brewhouse while sampling Euro style craft beers - the brewer was
> familiar with both Red rumped and Turquoise Parrots. There were plenty of
> thornbills hopping around the garden beds at the Bramble Patch (where you
> can try a large range of unusual jams, relishes, sauces etc). Finally,
> there was a multitude of birds at Kelsie’s Cottage - a colonial
> self-contained house in a bushland block (you won’t find it in the
> accommodation guides - Kelsie is a word of mouth operator), including a WT
> Treecreeper investigating a wheel barrow close to the back verandah.
> We spent a few hours at Girraween National Park the next morning - there
> is always time for a stroll up the Pyramid. The birds were a bit thin on
> the ground in the recently burnt sections (the fire was started by someone
> mowing grass on a distant property).
> We then motored on to the campground at Wollomombi Falls east of Armidale
> on the Waterfall Way. It’s a good place to see choughs and lyrebirds -
> these are tame and often walk through the camping area. This time I got
> nice photographs of a male lyrebird with a short lens. The views of the
> falls and associated gorges from the nearby were also excellent.
> I didn’t notice any swifts along the highway this time, but I regularly
> noticed dollarbirds perched on the power lines most of the way between
> Brisbane and Sydney. I also think I heard some black cockatoos calling at
> the Grey Gums cafe (near the halfway mark on the Putty Rd).
> All up, the drive down to Sydney via the New England was far more pleasant
> that the return blast home via the Pacific.
> Regards, Laurie.
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Kobble Creek, Qld
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