We were on our way home today, coming back to the coast after a few days away out west. Last night we stayed with family in Canberra and learnt that a landslide had closed the road we needed to travel.
You can see by the netting used to cover the rock face that these slips are common, and the netting catches smaller rocks, preventing them from rolling onto the road. It seems the King’s Highway is always being upgraded, but being a narrow heavily-used highway that winds precipitously down from the tableland to the coast it is often closed for short periods due to accidents or landslides.
People on the coast go to Canberra, the nation’s capitol city, for all sorts of work, family, medical, cultural and business reasons, while Canberrans escape to the coast as often as they can. However for this weekend and a few days next week the link is broken, businesses who depend on the traffic are closing early and putting off staff, holiday makers are not arriving on the Nature Coast, and travelers have to find a long way around.
The usual trip for us from Canberra takes 2 hours 15 minutes, and covers 168 km. Our first option was to travel through the Araluen Valley, on another notorious road, known for long-lived blockages. Our son in Moruya phoned to say the Araluen Road was also blocked after heavy rain, closed in both directions. Then he used Google maps ‘directions’ function to check our alternatives. To go south and take our chances on Brown Mountain (which is reduced to one lane in a section that has also suffered from a road slip) would get us home in about 4 hours 10 minutes and cover 334 kms.
Driving north on the Turpentine Road would take us 4 hours 40 minutes and cover 306 kms. This was our choice, not knowing how long we might be held up on the one-lane section of the Brown Mountain road into Bega. The road crossed the Great Dividing range by following ridges, gradually dropping down to the coast. There was a spectacular crossing of the Shoalhaven River where the old timber bridge was almost underwater, and the river ran strongly across the concrete culvert ford.
After a longer than expected trip are glad be safely home from our wonderful week away!