Macquarie Pass

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Start of Macquarie Pass on Illawarra Highway Macquarie Pass NP NSW Road Entrance 2.jpg
Start of Macquarie Pass on Illawarra Highway

Macquarie Pass is an eight-kilometre-long section of the Illawarra Highway passing through Macquarie Pass National Park. It was opened in 1898, though had been used by the Wodi Wodi tribe. [1]


Macquarie Pass links the Southern Highland town of Robertson to the coastal town of Albion Park, descending the Illawarra Escarpment via a very narrow bitumen roadway, which has several single-lane sections and is mostly two lanes with double "no overtaking" lines. It is in the Shellharbour local government area.

This section of roadway is very steep, and contains many hairpin bends, resulting in buses and trucks needing to reverse on some of the bends. The pass is quite notorious for accidents due to its nature, and drivers and riders are required to be cautious.

After heavy rain, the Macquarie Pass can be closed due to flooding on the top half of the pass. Cars and motorcycle riders may opt to use Jamberoo Mountain Road between Robertson and Jamberoo, while trucks are advised to use Mount Ousley Road (Southern Freeway) and Picton Road as an alternative.

The road is very popular with motorcyclists on weekends and public holidays. The Shellharbour and Wingecarribee Councils and the NSW Roads and Maritime Services have therefore published a safety brochure entitled 'Motorcycling Macquarie Pass.' [2]

Caloola Pass proposal

During the 1980s, construction of an alternative roadway was proposed [3] —ascending the Illawarra Escarpment from Albion Park to Robertson (adjacent to Yellow Rock). The proposal was not proceeded with.

Future of Macquarie Pass

While debate continues as to whether the road should be closed to trucks (diverting all trucks bound for the Highlands and Canberra north to Mount Ousley), many people in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands favour a new multi-lane highway over the escarpment to connect the ever-expanding Shellharbour City to the Highlands and Hume Highway. However, neither state nor federal government has acted on the proposal.

See also

Australia road sign W5-29.svg Australian Roadsportal

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  1. "Robertson". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  2. Motorcycling Macquarie Pass Archived 21 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine (2006) at Shellharbour City Council. Retrieved on 6 May 2013.
  3. Question in NSW Legislative Assembly (17 November 1993). "2238—Caloola Pass Road". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2008.

Coordinates: 34°34′S150°40′E / 34.567°S 150.667°E / -34.567; 150.667