It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Bingara. It’s a town which absolutely reeks of civic pride in both its present and its past. At 550km from Sydney and a bit under 500km from Brisbane via the most direct routes, it’s perfectly suited for an overnight stay if you are commuting between the two capitals and don’t want to endure the crap of the Pac H.
But it deserves more than a simple sleepover: Bingara warrants being a destination in its own right as some of the riding around here varies from the enjoyable to the memorable.
Then at the end of the day you’ll relax in a sweet town with friendly locals…..is there more to wish for??
Before you get going on either of these routes, a quick word: A quirky local characteristic on every one of these roads is steep sided floodways and causeways, many of them not signposted. Some are white concrete based and easier to spot but others are indistinguishable from the road surface and harder to see. They take a bit of getting used to and you don’t want to be entering them, even when dry, with your right hand squeezing hard.
Most of the roads here leave much of the work to you. There are few curve speed or direction advisories, hardly any side markings and long distances of no centre lining. Only some of the serious bends have safety barriers but many of these are wire mesh and the ARMCO never has any underskirting.
Western Loop (Anti-Clockwise)
Total Distance: 363kms
Head west out of Bingara along Cunningham St with the Roxy on your left. Take the right at the racecourse on West St, signposted Gravesend and then follow this as it swings left and becomes Elcombe Rd for sweet trip up to Gravesend on the Gwyder Hwy.
Not much at Gravesend anymore as you swing west on the Gwyder for a tick over 23km until you’ll see the right turn for Pallamallawa. From the turn it’s just on 2km to the township with its pub and quality general store with takeaway meals.
For a quieter ride into Moree don’t return to the highway but rather continue north along the road you’ve come in on until you get to the T at the north end of town. Take the left onto Camurra-Warialda Rd for a 23km run along a quiet country backroads strip of good tar. Then take the left on the Newell Hwy for the 10kms into Moree.
This is a good time to refresh (see town notes) and maybe to work out your schedule for the rest of the day. If time is a bit tight, head south out of town and stay on the Newell and keep going. But if you have a spare half hour, head over the bridge and then take a left at the first roundabout onto the Gwyder Hwy signposted Warialda. Continue for a bit over 6km and then take the right for Terry Hie Hie which is 40km of beautiful scenic riding before you go through the town and then follow the road as it winds south and then west and rejoins the Newell at Bellata with its BP servo right in front of you.
Turn south here for the run down to Narrabri where you can get all fuels and feeds.
Around 4km short of Narrabri you’ll see the turn east on Killarney Gap Rd which is the road you want for the sweetest part of this loop.
If you don’t need to stop in Narrabri turn left here or if you do drop into the town, retrace your tracks and then take the right (east) and get set for 100km of some of the nicest road you are EVER going to ride.
This is a real jewel of a road with the tightest section at the western end followed by some great valley riding before you head into more hills just to the west of Bingara and some more sweeping mountain curves. You. Will. Love. It.
This leads you right back into the middle of town and you’ll see the racecourse on your left just before you get back to Bingara. AAAAH!
Bingara to Moree: 108 kms
Moree to Narrabri via Terry Hie Hie: 148 kms
Narrabri to Bingara: 107 kms
Eastern Loop (Anti-Clockwise)
Total Distance: 270kms
Have a leisurely breakfast as you don’t want to be doing this with the morning sun too low. Once you’re sated, head east from the Roxy Café on Cunningham St and take the second on the left (Link St) and then turn right around the park signposted Copeton Dam and Bundarra. This thoroughly enjoyable ride initially dances with the Gwyder River on your left as you head out.
After 20km you leave the river and head into the hills as you enter the Munro State Forest area and these twisties continue after you pass the Copeton State Dam and head north through Gum Flat and then take the right at the Gwyder Hwy for the run into Inverell.
The school at Gum Flat is tiny but obviously services the kids from a wide surrounding area. Take it easy at school drop off/pick up times as the traffic is surprisingly thick and mostly oblivious to bikes steaming through the town!
All services for bike and rider are available here but if you aren’t stopping continue straight through the town on Byron St which becomes the Inverell-Bonshaw Rd as it heads north for the 60km stretch to Ashford.
The General Store is on Duff St and once you’ve passed it take a left on Inverell St and then the first on the right at Frazer St signposted Coolatai.
You’ll pass the sign showing you’ll be likely to meet up with the full coat of arms along this stretch and the sides haven’t been widely shaven so be prepared for faunal surprises!
There’s obviously been some sort of community competition for the best letter box along this stretch of the road so take it easy enough to appreciate the artwork!
After 15km you’ll be directed right onto Yetman Rd and then 3km later left for Coolatai where you turn south for Warialda. There are no services at Coolatai.
This road has even more road kill and not so much traffic meaning the hit rates must be very high. Take it easy! (and read the note about roo behaviour!)
Warialda’s got a nice feel to it and again, once you’re done here, continue south until you meet the Gwyder Hwy. Take it west for 2.5km until you see Bingara signposted to the left.
This is quite simply more great rural backroads riding on a good, predictable surface.
Bingara to Inverell via Copeton Dam: 92kms
Inverell to Coolatai via Ashford: 97kms
Coolatai to Bingara: 81kms