Since last week was drives week, I figured I would stray away from the normal Modified Mag content I post and show you a great drive I took last week while I was in Australia covering the World Time Attack Challenge.
Mazda of Australia was gracious enough to throw me the keys to one of their brand new 2010 Mazda MPS hatchbacks. These cars are called MazdaSpeed3’s in North America but I heard because Australia doesn’t allow the word Speed to be used in a car’s name Mazda had to settle with MPS, a suitable compromise.
I actually tagged along with Rod and Dino in their R35 GTR (Yes, I was very jealous despite the MPS packing decent turbocharged power) to Bathurst since it was one of the must visits for me when in Australia. The scenery and track itself proved incredibly worthwhile and provided an incredible back drop for some photos.
Although, Bathurst was truly an epic drive, the Royal National Park road that I did the following day was great in its own manner. As you can see on the map, it is over 10km long with a good variety of roads and scenery to take in.
It was a cloudy and gloomy afternoon with on and off spouts of rain but it actually made the drive a bit more enjoyable since I was the only one on the road.
This was the beginning of the route where the road crossed a decent sized river, I stopped and used the restroom here before embarking on the long drive. I’m one of those people that once I start driving I don’t want to stop unless its absolutely necessary so taking care of business before the trip commenced was a necessity.
As you make your way through the first part of the road it doesn’t provide any crazy bends which allows you to take in the wonderful greenery that surrounds you.
Inside the park I passed by many side-road trails that looked like they would be great to explore and do a day hike through. The gate and size of trail got me thinking that some off-road trucks could venture out through there but I didn't see any tire tracks. Can any locals confirm that these are for pedestrians only?
Once in the middle of the park the road begins to narrow, bend and twist. This is by far the most enjoyable section of the route. Because the MPS was FWD with lots of torque it made it difficult to drive even remotely fast. Too much throttle and the front tires would light up with ease.
As the shrubbery got denser a fog began to settle on the road making visibility poor. At this point I noticed that the MPS had auto-adjusting headlights that would point into a corner the same direction the steering wheel was turned. A nifty feature that we don’t get here in the US.
Once I exited the forest, it was a short jaunt until I was driving ocean side. I clenched a bit when I saw the rather steep fall off into the cold south pacific ocean. It was time for me to slow down a bit as I didn’t want to end up going for a dunk.
At this point the road splits off and you can either head back to the highway or keep driving along the coast line.
With the rain coming down even harder and light going away quickly I decided to head back home.
Before I made it back to the highway I made a stop off at a small fruit store where I stocked up on locally grown apples and bananas. I always have a habit of eating and stopping at places most people wouldn't think twice about, sometimes you can find the best food at these spots.
After about a 40 minute drive I was back in downtown Sydney. Dealing with the chaotic navigation system trying to find my hotel. At that point, I regretted not continuing along the coastline, it would have prolonged the driving bliss that only a windy, empty, road can provide.