Crows Nest in South East Queensland is the fourth Australian town to declare itself a motorcycle friendly town with more towns including Armidale soon expected to join their ranks.
And why not! Queensland Tourism estimates riders spend up to $160 a day in local communities on food, fuel, drinks, etc, compared with $40 spent by grey nomads in self-contained caravans.
The first Motorcycle Friendly Town was Bicheno in Tasmania, followed by Texas, SEQ, and last December Wauchope on the Oxley Highway joined the welcoming trend.
There currently is no official process to declare a town motorcycle friendly as there is with becoming RV Friendly.
Instead, it just requires the will of the local people to welcome riders, put up some signs, add some motorcycle parking bays and produce tourist information brochures and maps of suitable regional routes. Anything else is a bonus.
And that’s what the people of Crows Nest have done.
I did the following interview with Channel Seven Toowoomba.
Crows Nest visit
We also visited the tidy town at the weekend to reacquaint ourselves and meet up with local riders Ron Anderson, Paul Pelling, Adrian Allen and Body Dunford who are members of the Crows Nest Motorcycle Friendly Town Committee.
They showed us around a couple of scenic routes before heading to the town.
As we stepped off our loud motorcycles in the centre of Crows Nest, an elderly man genuinely greeted us with, “Welcome to Crows Nest; where are you from?” How friendly is that!
Ron says the idea started when he was approached by Tourist and Progress Association member Grahame Rogers who recognised the tourist potential of riders visiting the town.
“We get up to 100 riders a day on the weekends coming through town,” says Ron who took the photos here.
“There are so many great riding roads around here. Many come up the range on the Hampton Rd past beautiful Ravensborne and when they get to the T intersection with the highway, they turn left towards Toowoomba.
“We want Main Roads to put in a sign encouraging riders to turn right to our motorcycle friendly town.”
Ron says local businesses are “on board and trying hard” and Toowoomba Regional Council is offering support for brochures and local signs.
They also have the support of their local State Member, Deb Frecklington, who grew up riding bikes on her farm.
“I would really like to congratulate the Crows Nest and District Tourist and Progress Association for having the foresight and initiative to establish Crows Nest as a Motorcycle Friendly Town,” she says.
“It’s great not only for the township itself, but also for the surrounding districts with some terrific rides taking in countryside to the north and west including destinations like Kingaroy, the Bunya Mountains and Maidenwell areas.”
Where is Crows Nest?
Crows Nest is about 40km north of Toowoomba on the New England Highway.
“We are in the middle of five crossings of the Great Dividing Range which are all terrific motorcycle routes, but there are so many more,” says Boyd.
The group has already produced one brochure of recommended tarred routes which includes the nearby Bunya Mountains, Blackbutt Range and south to the Murphy’s Creek, Flagstone Creek and Heifer Creek.
It includes detailed route descriptions, links to on-line maps and downloadable GPS waypoints so you can’t get lost.
They are also hoping to produce a second brochure suggesting routes for adventure riders which will include The Bluff ascent from Toogoolawah, Seventeen Mile Rd from Ravensbourne to Helidon, Fifteen Mile Rd, and many others through regional forests.
Crows Nest sits on the top of the Great Dividing Range with breathtaking views of the Brisbane Valley at Ravensbourne, the Cressbrook and Perseverance dams, plenty of fresh-scented forests, picturesque waterfalls and beautiful sweeping views of the Darling Downs.
The town itself features several cafes, restaurants, antique shops, craft shops and a seven-day-a-week service station
Ron says riders can base themselves in Crows Nest overnight and do several of the regional routes with contrasting rides.
“There’s the tar ranges of Cooyar, Blackbutt, Bunyas, Hampton and more for the sports bike riders, some great sweeping roads on the Downs and challenging dirt roads and forestry tracks for the adventure riders,” he says.
Places to stay
Ron points out that there is accommodation available to suit riders’ all budgets including $50 a night for a three-bed room at the Grand Old Crow which is registered a Motorcycle friendly Pub, a caravan park with camping facilities and cabins, a motel and even $200-a-night resort for couples.
He says motorcycle clubs can also arrange for the showgrounds to be opened for camping.
Boyd says they get riders from all over SEQ, but also interstate riders heading north on the New England Highway for winter and North Queensland riders heading south for summer.
Official launch invitation
An official launch for the Motorcycle Friendly Town will be held on March 5 so circle that on your old-fashioned wall calendar or save the date on your smartphone calendar.
Ron and Boyd are helping to organise the event and plan to include a group ride around the area.
They have invited riders from far and wide to attend. More details will be published here closer to the event.
More Motorcycle Friendly Towns
Do you know of any other towns moving toward declaring themselves motorcycle friendly?
What are you doing to help them become motorcycle friendly?
Leave your comments below.