Michael Matheson Journalist
There’s a reason why I choose the back roads, but on my last long drive I didn’t. I took the highway.
Main roads are generally so much better now by any measurable standard, and for this drive I needed good roads. It was an overnight, 1800km round trip to collect a ute-load of things. Time and distance where equally important — I had to eat miles.
I plotted a route on the best roads there were, including a few hundred kilometres of the northern New England Hwy in NSW. There’s a lot of dual carriageway up there now, and the slow, dangerous bits have been replaced by wide, straight and open highway. Easy.
But this is not a driver’s road. It is a commuter’s road. It is a road for travelling efficiently from A to B. Covering long distances is simple and relaxing, though I wouldn’t call it enjoyable.
All too often I could look out my window and see remnants of the old New England Hwy snaking around a hill that had been cleaved by the new dual carriageways. Reminders of the days when the road was fun.
Of course, it was only fun if you were really driving. And only if the road was empty, which it could never be today. So I acknowledge it’s better that the old road is gone and the new one rules.
But if I hadn’t been on a mission I’d have been heading south for Armidale on the road from Grafton via Ebor. That’s a driver’s road.