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Across Sydney - north to south avoiding the city centre

By Graeme Lee

For many people the prospect of crossing Australia's largest city, Sydney, by car is not going to be the highlight of their trip along the east coast of Australia.

Sydney has many great attractions and should be seen but if the challenge is too great or you have been there before and are heading elsewhere, here is a route that we used through Sydney in a north/south direction in October 2003, which we found very successful. That is, no accidents, not too much traffic and no arguments between driver and navigator!

We left the beautiful Upper Hunter Valley town of Murrurundi (approximately 77km south of Tamworth) at 7.35am and headed towards Sydney along the New England Highway heading for the Sydney to Newcastle Freeway passing through Scone, Muswellbrook and Singleton before turning off at Branxton for Cessnock.

We reached the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway via West Wallsend and Freemans Waterhole at 10.20am. (Travel time Murrurundi to Freeway entrance of 2 hours 45 minutes including stops totalling 20 minutes)

We purposely chose this time to travel to get though Sydney in the middle of the day as opposed to peak hours.

The trip down the Freeway to Sydney's northern suburbs is very straightforward, make no turns, take no exits. Along the way there are some great views, particularly near the Hawkesbury River and through towering cuttings in solid sandstone with bridges built at seemingly precarious heights.

Let the fun begin

We arrived at the end of the Freeway at Wahroonga at 11.20am, 1 hour after joining it to the north. At this point you can either take the exit to the Pacific Highway and travel into the city centre over the Sydney Harbour Bridge or under the harbour in the Sydney Harbour Tunnel.

The route described here avoids the city centre and travels in nearly a north-south direction using major arterial roads about 16km to the west.

We continued on straight ahead ignoring the Pacific Highway exit and travelled to the very end of the Freeway at the first set of traffic lights you should encounter and about 500m after the Pacific Highway exit.

Route 7

At the traffic lights turn left into Pennant Hills (Cumberland Highway) and follow Route 7 markers crossing over the M2 Motorway. About another 2.5km after the M2, turn left into Marsden Road at Carlingford (Route 6).

Route 6 - It changes its name but always remains Route 6

The balance of the trip is along Route 6 with its many changes of road names.

This first section of the trip is the only really tricky bit but with careful observation should present no problems.

Travel down:

Marsden Road for about 2.5km and turn right at Brush Farm Park into Stewart Road.

Stewart Road for just under 1.0km and veer left into Silverwater Road.

Follow Silverwater Road which crosses the Parramatta River and the Western Freeway before changing its name to St. Hilliers Road.

St. Hilliers Road ends at a "T" intersection. Turn left into Boorea Street.

Boorea Street then becomes Olympic Drive, then Joseph Street and then Rookwood Road, all the while remaining Route 6.

At a slight left hand deviation at the end of Rookwood Road, the name changes to Stacey Street before becoming Fairfield Road near the South West Freeway interchange.

Stacey Street changes to Davies Road before crossing the Georges River and becoming Alfords Point Road.

Alfords Point Road becomes Old Illawarra Road at Menai and then New Illawarra Road.

Follow New Illawarra Road to its end at Heathcote Road passing the Lucas Heights Atomic Research facility, turn left into Heathcote Road, still Route 6.

Heathcote Road winds around through military reserves and National Parks and ends at the Princes Highway (Route 1).

Turn left into Princes Highway and head south towards Wollongong and the South Coast region.

Congratulations, you have just passed through Sydney north to south avoiding the city centre.

The total travelling time from the Wahroonga end of Sydney-Newcastle Freeway to the Princes Highway is about 1 hour and 10 minutes and is a distance of about 38km. Traffic on the day in question was steady but moving quite well, given that it was in the middle of the day.

About the author:
Graeme Lee is a tourism professional specialising in tourism marketing and strategic planning for tourism regions and attractions. His site provides information for people seeking authentic Australian tourism experiences.