Travelling Australia - Journal 2015c




17 July 2015
Holbrook to Canberra
274 kilometres


We drove out of Holbrook on a bright and sunny (but cold) morning and joined the Hume Freeway passing close to the town. Traffic was very light and having more than two other vehicles in sight on our side of the freeway was unusual. Land along the freeway was hilly and very green; cattle and some sheep grazed in paddocks along the road.

The road is moderately hilly with a trend to increased elevation, at least until crossing Kyeamba Gap which is also a point of reference for truckies describing to each other where things are along the freeway. Kyeamba Gap was at an elevation of 481 metres and has an unusual rest area on the left (west). This rest area has two parts with a standard bitumen area for trucks first but with a narrow, two-wheel, track leading down to a smaller, slightly lower area. Heavy transports would not be able to negotiate the narrow track but a caravan could quite easily move onto the lower area which could hold half a dozen vans overnight. There is direct access from the "caravan area" onto the highway.

From Kyeamba Gap the road trends downward for a while before climbing again to cross Conroy Gap at 650 metres elevation shortly before passing the turnoff to Yass. Road elevation was of some interest to us because the current weather forecast were predicting that the outbreak of cold polar air covering much of south-eastern Australia would bring snow down to elevations variously given as 1100 metres, 900 metres or 700 metres. We did not want to get involved with snow or black ice, its far nastier companion, on this trip.

Our interest in the weather was increased by RTA signs that the Hume Highway was closed by snow at Berrima on the Southern Tablelands far ahead of us and well beyond Canberra so not going to affect us today but nevertheless of some concern for our intended drive to Sydney from Canberra in a few days. But the signs' impact was reduced by the stream of trucks we could see going the other way bound for Melbourne and Adelaide originating in Sydney and not mentioning any problems with highway closures in their UHF radio updates on road conditions to each other. Eventually we heard one driver mention snow beside the road near Goulburn but no mention of road closures. Then we passed a third RTA sign which mentioned traffic delays at Berrima due to snow. In fact the Hume Highway had been closed this morning with one lane opened shortly before 10 o'clock and the first two RTA signs had been out of date when we saw them.

Near Yass we left the Hume Freeway on the Barton Highway bound for Canberra. Roadworks were popular along the Barton Highway we stopped several times waiting our turn on single lane sections of the road. Entering the Australian Canberra Territory at Hall we followed GPS instructions to Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) which has a caravan park available when major functions are not in progress there. We checked in for three nights then found a site and disconnected caravan and Pathfinder.


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