The Great Thunderbolts Way

  • Exploring Thunderbolts Way

    Exploring Thunderbolts Way

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    Thunderbolt’s Way is a picturesque road trip that runs from Gloucester in the Mid-North Coast hinterland to Inverell on the western plains of New England, covering a distance of 290 km. Named after Captain Thunderbolt, a notorious bushranger who roamed the area in the early 1800s, the drive takes you through several national parks, quaint country towns, and beautiful landscapes.

    Starting from Gloucester, the road meanders through rolling farmland, clear flowing rivers, and streams, providing breathtaking scenery around every bend. As you head north towards Walcha, you will experience tight hairpin bends and open sweeping corners, and climb over 1000m in altitude to cross the Great Dividing Range. Look out for the iconic call of the native bellbird and enjoy the pristine wilderness.

    After crossing the Great Dividing Range, you will reach Walcha, a small farming community known for its close proximity to the dramatic gorges and winding rivers of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. There, you can explore waterfalls, hike, camp, bushwalk and more. In the town itself, you can enjoy an abundance of outdoor sculpture in the famed Open Air Gallery, boutique shops, quality coffee and a wonderful community spirit.

    Half an hour’s drive north of Walcha, you will find Uralla, a charming historic village that seamlessly blends country charm with foodie culture. Its streets are dotted with heritage buildings, museums, artisan bakeries, microbreweries, and wholefood stores. If you’re considering moving to the countryside, Uralla is a great place to start. You can experience the relaxed lifestyle of a small rural community without sacrificing the convenience of modern amenities. Uralla is perfect for a leisurely country bike ride, as it’s within close proximity to Dangars Falls and a number of walks in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

    Just a short detour up the road from Uralla is Armidale, the New England region’s capital, which offers a variety of dining options, stylish accommodation, and breathtaking national parks and waterfalls to explore.

    The drive ends in picturesque Inverell, nestled along the banks of the Macintyre River. The town is steeped in history, and its stunning streetscape of historic buildings is filled with fabulous boutiques, art galleries, gift and homeware shops, as well as great cafes and pubs. The National Transport Museum is a must-see, and visitors can also try their hand at sapphire fossicking. Thunderbolt’s Way is best enjoyed slowly over three or four days to take in the scenery and the many attractions along the way.

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  • The Spectacular Thundersboltway

    The Spectacular Thundersboltway

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    Thunderbolts Way is a scenic drive located in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia. It runs for approximately 290 km, connecting the towns of Gloucester and Inverell. The route passes through some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the region, including the Barrington Tops National Park and the Mount Royal National Park.

    History of Thunderbolts Way

    The name of the road comes from the infamous bushranger, Captain Thunderbolt. He was born Frederick Ward in 1835 in Windsor, New South Wales, and became one of Australia’s most notorious outlaws in the mid-1800s. Thunderbolt, who was known for his skill on horseback, used the rugged terrain of the New England region to evade capture for several years. Thunderbolts Way was named in his honor because it follows a similar route to the one he used to escape the authorities.

    Route of Thunderbolts Way

    The road is sealed for the most part, but there are some unsealed sections that require a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The route passes through several small towns and villages, including Gloucester, Walcha, and Bundarra, each with their own unique attractions and features.

    One of the highlights of Thunderbolts Way is the Barrington Tops National Park. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to several rare and endangered species of plants and animals. Visitors to the park can explore the ancient rainforest, go bushwalking or bird watching, and even go camping.

    Another popular stop on the route is the town of Walcha. Walcha is famous for its historic buildings and its thriving arts community. Visitors can explore the Walcha Art Gallery, which features works by local artists, or visit the historic Walcha Road Railway Station.

    Things to do on Thunderbolts Way

    In addition to exploring the natural beauty of the region, there are several other activities to do along Thunderbolts Way. Some of the most popular include:

    1. Horse riding – There are several horse riding trails in the area, including the Barrington Wilderness Cedar Trail and the Moonbi Horses Trail Rides.
    2. Fishing – There are several fishing spots along the way, including the Macdonald River and the Lake Glenbawn Recreation Area.
    3. Mountain biking – The rugged terrain of the region makes it an excellent destination for mountain biking enthusiasts. There are several mountain biking trails, including the Oxley Wild Rivers Mountain Bike Trail.
    4. Photography – With its stunning natural landscapes, Thunderbolts Way is a popular destination for photographers. The Barrington Tops National Park and the Mount Royal National Park offer some of the best photography opportunities.

    Thunderbolts Way is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of the New England region of New South Wales. The route offers stunning scenery, historic landmarks, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Thunderbolts Way has something to offer.

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