New Run Benchmark on Putty Road

23 January 2018 / Michael Soulos

A new benchmark has been set for the best run on the best route out of Sydney on an early waypoint breakfast run from McGraths Hill at 7.00 am on Sunday 21 January 2018 to challenge all before it.

The Road Gods kept the Putty Road free of the fires that had left scented pockets of burnt eucalyptus along the road and graced 17 MX-5s with a drive up to Milbrodale and down to Laguna through Wollombi without once having to execute an overtaking manoeuvre.  A miracle run truly blessed by not once having to worry about north bound traffic for 180km.

The Weather Gods did their thing by rewarding us with clear blue skies, a light breeze and a pleasant temperature all the way to the quirky GNTP Cafe at Laguna before switching over natures reverse air conditioner to turn the heat up after brekkie at around 11.00am for the one hour drive back to Hornsby and home for lunch.

The new road works, red and fluro signage and hazard warnings for motor cyclists served to lift the anticipation and anxiety in negotiating the five star run through the awesome gorges in a MX-5.  The gorges remain a tight twisting 16km ribbon of asphalt laid down in the gorge carved by Darkey Creek when it was a raging river many millennia ago for the enjoyment of people who love a great drive in their five.

The great company both on the road and at the breakfast tables all helped elevate the run to the top rung ladder.  A mix of old hands, regulars and new driving enthusiasts were rewarded for getting up at sparrows to be at Maccas at 6.30 am for a pre-run coffee expressing their gratitude to the Gods of the road and weather at the conclusion of the run with a grin from ear to ear as they walked up from the car parking area to the quirky Great Northern Trading Post cafe to visit is an event on its own right.


The GNTP is built from what appears to have been a homestead with outbuildings and extensions that are either very old or constructed without a consistent design concept, set of building plans or the use of a builder’s level from second hand building material.  All in all, a very interesting destination venue that promotes local artists, producers and musicians. 

The interior of the main building houses a rustic licenced bar, a basic general store, a hidden kitchen and adjoining dining area under a naked corrugated iron roof and missing the period touch of a dirt floor.  The eating area is fitted out with what appears to be a collection of motely and mismatched windows, doors, tables and chairs acquired from items left by the roadside on council clean ups with a BBQ facility and old service counter.  The only consistency about the buildings is their quirky ambience and the quality of the coffee.



Our coffee guru and run leader, Robert Forsyth, who selected the destination, rated the coffee as quite drinkable which to us less qualified members means its good.  I can report that I had no trouble downing a double macchiato without any sweetener that for me deserved a well done to the bush barista and worth a return visit.  I almost forgot to say that the food was OK but on the day inferior to the standard of the coffee.

I have been driving past this venue for more than I care to admit though mostly on a Sunday morning.  I had always assumed from the cars parked on the grass leading up to the buildings that it was some evangelical church.  Make a point of dropping in and don't make the same mistake as me. 

The drive on this waypoint run lived up to everyone’s reasonable expectation.  Everyone enjoyed the drive, at the pace at which they felt most comfortable between waypoints, as they negotiated the rise and fall of the Putty Road as it weaved its way over and along the ridges; through the valleys before the truck stop; the gentle run down to Howes Valley that heralds the start of the gorges that lead out to the Lower Hunter Valley for the scenic run past the vineyards and farms on Milbrodale Road and lazy twists and sweeping turns of the narrow Wollombi Road from Broke.

I finish with a comment in an email from Lester Langford “Ingrid and I had a wonderful time.  I want to go on every BreakFast Club run I can!!!


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