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Batemans Bay Road Trip Survival Guide

Ever jumped in the car to head down to Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast only to realise you don’t know what the best way to get there, what to expect or where to stop along the way to refuel yourself and your car? This is a step by step guide to help you on your first or tenth trip to the bay.

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Step 1: Plan the route you want to take.

There are four main ways to get there from Canberra:

1) Through Queanbeyan and straight up the Kings highway (146km)

2) Up the Federal Highway and onto Mac’s Reef Road getting onto the Kings Highway at Bungendore (152km)

3) Along the Federal Highway and across at Bungendore road (157km)

4) Going to Goulburn and down Braidwood Road getting onto the Kings Highway just after Bungendore (234km).

It would depend slightly what side of Canberra you lived on if you took route 1 or 2 as for the other options that would depend on your personal driving preferences.

Personally route 2 is the better way to go as you get to go through the lovely villages of Bungendore and Braidwood and it is still relatively short. However between Canberra and Bungendore there are many hills and not many overtaking lanes or opportunities on top of increased roadworks due to the recent bush fires. So if you hate being stuck behind caravans, slow drivers or being stopped at roadworks, route 1 would be best for you.

Step 2: Plan your music.

Make a new play list on your iPod or burn a CD, whichever you prefer but make it prior to the trip especially if you are traveling alone.  This will avoid you having to take your eyes off the road while driving which is important all the time but even more so when traveling down the Clyde Mountain.

When selecting your music make sure you like all the tracks that you put on there and none of them make you annoyed or frustrated – there is nothing worse than being stuck behind a caravan doing 60km in a 100km zone when you can’t overtake and an annoying song comes on!


Caravan on Mac's reef Road
Caravan on Mac’s reef Road


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3: Time of day when Travelling.

This is a very important factor to consider when traveling to Batemans Bay as many Canberrans enjoy going there for long weekends as well as many regular weekends. Leaving shortly before lunch time is a good time to travel but you will need to eat along the way.

The service station in Braidwood, right on the major corner may look a little dodgy but it has really good food. It’s a good idea to stop in Braidwood as you can have a quick rest before tackling the Clyde, having a break before it is quite important especially when the weather is bad.

Travelling back, Sunday afternoon tends to be a bad idea. You will be in traffic which seems to go on forever. If you want to avoid the traffic early in the morning or later in the evening it’s best but with the lack of light at those times of day the chance of a kangaroo strike increases greatly. Some weekends you may be in traffic no matter what time of day you leave, but with the alternate routes listed at the beginning you can always turn off and go a different way even if it means a few extra kilometres.

Step 4: Don’t feel the pressure.

Some drivers will tailgate badly along the Clyde Mountain but do not feel pressured to drive any faster than you feel comfortable or is legally signposted; however you should use every opportunity possible to pull into the slow vehicle lane or pull over where ever there is room to let people pass. On the other hand if you have been driving that road for years and hate it when slow drivers get in the way try to be patient and not tailgate.

If you follow these simple steps you’re next trip to the Bay will be a lot safer and more relaxing.

Happy travels.


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