For those of us who get to enjoy Sydney traffic for any deal of time there can be an urge, simmering underneath every traffic jam, blocked lane and set of lights. The urge to flick the throttle, get up to speed and just move. Luckily just south of Sydney the winding roads through the Royal National Park give the opportunity to do just that.
Filtering your way down to Sydney’s southernmost suburbs, a fork in the road lets you choose your own adventure to get to Thirroul. Straight ahead and you get a fast freeway fang down to the Bulli Pass. To the left down Farrell St and you get the carving corners of the RNP.
The chance to put our Mutt RS13 through its paces with some carvy turns, steep drops and drawn out traffic-free stretches is simply too good for us to pass up. Winding through the park to Stanwell Tops lets you lean your way through some of the funnest touring country around, while the throaty, low-down rumble from the fuel injected 250 engine provides plenty of grunt for everything the road has to throw at you.
From charred out remnants of old bushfires, to rainforest and dramatic cliffs, we love that this route gives you a bit of everything in an easily doable distance. Popping out above the cliffs at Stanwell you get to see the whole South Coast ahead of you. It’s the perfect panorama for a bike pic and a pretty epic bike watching spot too as other riders pull in after battling the bends.
Riding down onto the final stretch and over the Seacliff Bridge lets you can put your newfound riding flow to good use with a series of tight wrapping turns below craggy cliffs. Out the other end you’ve got your first taste of the post industrial, coal mining towns of the Illawarra, with Coalcliff, Clifton and Coledale clinging to the mountain side on one side of you and the huge scale of the Pacific stretching out on the other.
Thirroul though is what you’ve come to see and it doesn’t disappoint. One of our favourite first stops is Finbox Cafe which both serves up some pretty tasty blends of the black stuff, plus has one of the best selections of classic boardies and handcrafted surfboards right next door.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit harder, Frank’s Wild Years delivers cocktails, craft beers and a seriously good vinyl collection. The bar staff are a bit surly, but for a dive bar named after a Tom Waits song you probably wouldn’t want it any other way.
Food-wise, South Sailor is epic for burgers and super-fresh salads, the Beaches is your classic RSL cheap schnitty and a schooner stop, and Thirroul beach itself is great for a surf and a packed lunch.
After you’re done with your refuel in Thirroul your biggest decision is whether to shoot up the freeway home or take on those super fun bends again. Anywhere you’d like to go, your Mutt is there to take you.
Words by Jamie Rynd