Coasting the Coast set to hit the highway this month

Taking inspiring from the famous Crawlin’ the Hume, newcomer event Coasting the Coast is set to see trucks and cars hit the highway between Berowra and Swansea.

In its third edition, and set for its biggest attendance yet, organiser Guy Ellis says he wants to see it grow even bigger, with more trucks than ever.

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The scenic drive is inviting vehicles 25 years or older; trucks, cars, buses, and even the odd motorcycle to make the drive up from the Cowan Rest Area north of Sydney, along the old Pacific Highway and up to the Worker’s Club in Swansea, just out of Newcastle.

It’s set to be held on May 25th, with trucks leaving from 9am.

It’s a drive which emulates the old freight route trucks would take from Sydney up the coast, and an event which combines Ellis’ love for vintage vehicles and the history of the Central Coast.

“The idea for the event started over a beer, like most things!” he laughs.

“My good friend Andrew and I started talking. We’re into cars and trucks, and he was telling me about Haulin’ the Hume from Sydney down to Yass and Crawlin’ the Hume from Melbourne to Albury.

“We thought there was a missing link between Sydney and Newcastle.

“The first year we had 55 trucks and cars, and last year we had 117. It’s just getting bigger. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doubled this year. Everyone who came last year, the feedback was they absolutely loved it and they’ll definitely be back.”

Image: Coasting the Coast/Facebook

It’s a comparatively shorter drive than those other similar events, or the Bay to Birdwood in South Australia, but it holds plenty of meaning for Ellis and his fellow organisers.

He first moved to the coast in 1989, and worked as a firefighter for 35 years. The gradual changes and developments on the road from Sydney to Newcastle was an area of interest for him.

The famous Berowra Tollgates closed in 1988, and even since then Ellis said he’s witnessed continual change along the Pacific Highway – some for the better, some for the worse.

“It’s interesting to see how much work there was to get a road north, and the different steps along the way,” he reflects.

“The general person just hops in the car and goes to Newcastle, sitting on cruise control going 110. You think these bridges and roads are engineering feats. So much has changed between that link which would have been a two-day drive, and now it can be done in a few hours.

“It’s such a beautiful drive along the old Pacific Highway going down through Hawkesbury River and up the old bridge, up Mount White and through the towns of Gosford and Wyong and Charmhaven. It brings back so many memories.”

Image: Coasting the Coast/Facebook

Ellis has envisioned Coasting the Coast as a primarily truck-focused event, though he says last year was made up of around 25 per cent trucks, and a majority of other vehicles – mostly cars.

If you’re in the Sydney or Central Coast area, he encourages you to get down for the drive on the day, but doesn’t want to discourage cars from getting down either.

“Originally we wanted to be trucks, but we thought we’d invite cars and make it 25 years and over,” he says.

“While we had more cars last year, it’s also kind of representative of the old road. Having cars makes it more accessible to people and family-friendly. We’ve got cars, trucks, buses and a couple of motorbikes.

“When we did the critique on it when we finished it all, we found out most vehicles were from the 70s. It was probably the age group of people there. We had cars as old as from the 1920s all the way up to 25 years old.”

Driving on the day

The day itself takes a fair bit of organising to get together – Ellis has help to collect information from drivers, giving out numbers for each vehicles.

Trucks are encouraging to roll in early, from 7am onwards, with a departure time of 9am from the Cowan Rest Area. Cars will follow, from 9:30, though Ellis says they’ll likely be on the move from quarter past.

“It’s important to get them up first before the cars. Trucks know how to park up, cars don’t!” he laughs.

Image: Coasting the Coast/Facebook

There will then be a chance for a halfway stop at Heatherbrae’s Pies in Ourimbah before going off again to start arriving in Swansea around 11:30.

More importantly than anything, Ellis wants to stress that Coasting the Coast is a free, community event. Drivers only have to worry about feeding themselves and keeping their vehicles running.

“We want to keep it a free event. These guys are paying enough just in their fuel, and we appreciate that,” he says.

“For the families viewing the event, it just makes everyone happy, they’ve all got smiles on their faces watching the old trucks and cars.

“There’s not enough truck events for the family. You can sit on the side of the road and watch cars and trucks going by for an hour. The people and the drivers both get a thrill from it.

“I maybe take it for granted. I’ve been in a lot of parades in the fire engines but a lot of people haven’t. When you’re in one, you feel kind of special when you’re waving to everyone.”

Image: Coasting the Coast/Facebook

If you’re interested in watching the procession of vehicles but not driving, Ellis recommends looking out for spots on the side of the road along Gosford, Wyong, Charmhaven, or anywhere between Berowra to Somersby.

“The photographers get some lovely shots there. Nothing like a big old Mack coming up the cutting with both stacks going like black coal.”

For any further information, you can visit the Coasting the Coast Facebook page or contact Guy Ellis at 0414 182 010 or on firieguy@yahoo.co.uk

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