via Grassy Head and Stuarts Point.
We mostly took the riverside shared path out of Nambucca (because I knew it took us under the highway and onto a shared path on the western side. Plus there are some really nice riverside sections.) Pros and cons. Shared paths are often a pain the arse with poor transitions across side streets, and this ridiculous penchant councils seem to have for bollards. Not ideal with panniers! But anyway, 3.5k of shared path enables you to stay off the highway down to Florence Wilmont Drive.
With the Nambucca and Macksville bypass not due for completion till next year, there was no way I wanted to share the 100k zone with no shoulder with all the Pac Hwy traffic so I took us on a (2k-ish) detour up Florence Wilmont Drive through the Kingsworth Estate (there is a bit of a climb in a couple of parts, but still better than the highway.) It connects via a short dirt track to Jacks Ridge Rd and then Old Coast Road.
The new bypass is being constructed in this area, so Old Coast Road gets rerouted in parts, but it’s still fine to ride. A bit of dirt but good surface. Sunday was a good day to do it as there was no construction work happening (suspect it could be a bit busy on weekdays).
I think the bypass will open next year, but I reckon I would still ride that way because of the lack of the shoulder for some distance between Nambucca and Macksville.
We got over the bridge at Macksville with no dramas (ie. no impatient idiots up our backsides!)
We knew the section south of Macksville to the Scotts Head turnoff would not be fun, and we so we really weren’t that surprised to get the aggro caravanner passing experience.
Again, I was glad we were riding it on the weekend because there was no construction traffic happening at the same time. When I drove that way the previous week the air was thick with dust from the construction work, so it was a relief. So, till the bypass is completed, my tip is to avoid riding this section on a weekday.
Once the bypass is completed this section should be much more pleasant. (Here’s the proposed route.) There will still be caravanners heading for Scotts Head, so there’ll still be no escaping the dickheads.
Once the bypass is completed you could probably skip Scotts Head/Grassy Head/Stuarts Point detour and suffer 10k of shoulder on the existing dual carriageway Pac Hwy between Warrell Creek and Macleay Valley Way (at the Stuarts Point interchange.) Not sure of the shoulder quality there though – that section was completed many years ago now.
Macleay Valley Way was a pleasure to ride without much traffic at all.
Smithtown Road (through Smithtown and Gladstone), and then Belmore River Rd were easy flat riding with a few ‘bumps’ the last stretch into Crescent Head along Loftus Road.