Kings Highway (Australia)

The Kings Highway is a State highway located within the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales, Australia. The highway connects Canberra with Batemans Bay on the South Coast.

Kings Highway

New South Wales
General information
Length141 km (88 mi)
Route number(s) B52
route number
National Route 52 (1974 - 2013)
Major junctions
West end Monaro Highway (B23),
Fyshwick, Australian Capital Territory
 for full list see major intersections
East end Princes Highway (A1),
Batemans Bay, New South Wales
Major settlementsBungendore, Braidwood, Nelligen
Highway system


West to east, it starts at the junction with the Monaro Highway on Canberra Avenue in the Australian Capital Territory, crosses over the border into New South Wales near Queanbeyan, passes through Queanbeyan itself, Carwoola, briefly crosses back into the Kowen district of ACT and then back into NSW heading south-east to Batemans Bay via Bungendore, Braidwood and Nelligen.

It is signed as route B52. NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has come to an informal agreement with councils along the route to signpost the entire route as Kings Highway, despite it having no single declared name along its route. The National Route 52 was established in 1974.[1]

The Kings Highway links Highway 1 (known as the Princes Highway) to Canberra, and provides access for residents of Canberra to the NSW South Coast and its beaches. The highway is often busy on weekends, especially during summer. The highway also experiences a high number of car crashes, on occasions averaging around one every three days, costing the local community around the highway several million dollars a year.[2]

The landscape is generally sheep country. The highway travels from the Southern Tablelands to the South Coast via Clyde Mountain.

Notable features and landmarksEdit

A small rock cave at "Pooh Bear's Corner" can be found near the top of the Clyde Mountain Pass. This was the location of a munitions store during the Second World War, that could be detonated to stop passage from the coast to the national capital inland.[3]

Dozens of soft toys are placed in the eucalyptus trees along the stretch of road that connects Queanbeyan and Bungendore.[4]


The road through the Clyde Mountain area was surveyed by Thomas Mitchell in 1855.[5]

A punt service across the Clyde River began at Nelligen in 1895 linking Batemans Bay to Braidwood. The service continued until 1964 when the Nelligen bridge was completed .[6]

In 2006 construction commenced on Headquarters Joint Operations Command in the Kowen district of the ACT between Bungendore and Queanbeyan. The facility opened in December 2008, and sections of the highway between the HQJOC turnoff and Queanbeyan have progressively been upgraded to cater for the increased traffic.[7]

Road usageEdit

In 2013 it was reported that the highway carries an average of 4,500 vehicles a day. There is an increase in traffic in the summer months.[8] In 2003, approximately 3,000 vehicles a day were using the highway at Nelligen. From Braidwood (at the Shoalhaven River Bridge) there were about 4,200 cars travelling on the road. Out of Bungendore near Burbong, 5,600 cars were counted each day.[9]

Casualty crash rates on the Kings Highway are 85% higher than the NSW average and road fatalities are 8% higher. A 2005 NRMA Motoring and Services road survey found:[2][10]

  • The rate of people hospitalised after crashes on the Kings Highway is well over the national average. 877 crashes were recorded on Kings Highway over a 10-year period, an average of about one crash every four days. Over this time there have been 24 fatal crashes, 355 crashes resulting in injury and 488 crashes resulting in property damage. The rate was worse than this in 2004, when there were 103 crashes resulting in six fatalities and 53 injuries.
  • Crashes on the Kings Highway have cost A$42.65 million over the past three years – that’s equivalent to nearly A$39,000 every day.
  • Safety: particular concerns over Clyde Mountain, and only 5% of road deemed to provide "safe" overtaking opportunities. Two blackspots (one in Eurobodalla and one in Palerang) and 16 blacklengths (nine in Eurobodalla, six in Palerang and one in Queanbeyan City) were identified. The 40 kilometres (25 mi) section of road over the Great Dividing Range – which includes Clyde Mountain – recorded the highest number of crashes, with 22% of all incidents occurring in this area.
  • The most common type of crash – 18% of all incidents – was when a vehicle leaves the road to the left on a right hand bend and crashes into a stationary object. Head-on collisions made up one in 10 of all crashes. Crashes occurred most frequently on Sundays (20%) and least frequently on Tuesdays (9%). Recent drought conditions and an explosion in the kangaroo population in the area, has seen a marked increase in the number of crashes between vehicles and these macropods - particularly at night. This is evidenced by the increasing levels of 'road kill' carcasses on the sides of the Highway.

Major intersectionsEdit

Australian Capital TerritoryCanberra Central – Jerrabomberra boundaryFyshwick – Narrabundah – Symonston tripoint0.00.0   Monaro Highway (B52 / Tourist Drive 5) south – Tuggeranong, Cooma

   Canberra Avenue (B52 / Tourist Drive 5) north-west – Canberra City Centre, Belconnen, Yass

  Ipswich Street north-east – Canberra Airport
Western terminus: continues as Canberra Avenue; only northbound exit from and southbound entrance to Monaro Highway
Fyshwick – Symonston boundary1.50.93  Newcastle Street north-east / Hindmarsh Drive south-west – Fyshwick, Woden, Tuggeranong, Canberra AirportTraffic lights
Jerrabomberra4.32.7Norse Road – Oaks EstateEastbound exit and westbound entrance
New South WalesQueanbeyanCrestwood – Queanbeyan West boundary6.03.7Lanyon Drive – CoomaRoundabout
Queanbeyan East8.95.5  Yass Road north / Ellerton Drive south – North Canberra, Goulburn, Canberra AirportRoundabout
PalerangCarwoola11.77.3Captains Flat Road – Captains FlatRoundabout
Bungendore32.420.1Tarago Road north – Tarago, GoulburnT junction: Eastbound traffic turns east, westbound traffic turns south
Manar53.833.4Braidwood Road – Tarago, Goulburn
Braidwood79.649.5Nerriga Road – Nerriga, Nowra
EurobodallaNorth Batemans Bay13986  Princes Highway (A1) / Peninsula Drive east – Nowra, Sydney, Batemans Bay, BegaEastern terminus at roundabout


The Kings Highway road bridge (right) at the location of the former punt service across the Clyde River at Nelligen, NSW.

See alsoEdit

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata


  1. ^ "National Route 52". NSW National Routes. Retrieved 14 January 2008.[self-published source]
  2. ^ a b "Research highlights costly Kings Highway crashes". ABC News. Australia. 20 October 2005. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  4. ^ Harden, Fred (25 March 2004). "Bear Spotting". Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  5. ^ Cumpston, J.H.L. (2007) [1954]. Thomas Mitchell: Surveyor General and Explorer. Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook. eBook No.: 0700531h.html. The final evidence--lamentably too final--of his tendency to do everything himself was his personal presence, in his sixty-fourth year, at the survey of a road through that rugged Clyde Mountain region: work which might well have been entrusted to his surveyors. ... Having contracted a chill when supervising the survey of a road from Braidwood to Nelligen, he developed broncho-pneumonia and died at his home, "Carthona" at Darling Point on 5 October 1855, in his sixty-fourth year.
  6. ^ "Brief history of Nelligen, Batemans Bay and the Clyde River on the Eurobodalla South Coast, NSW Australia". Clyde River Houseboats. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  7. ^ "Inquiry into the Provision of Facilities for Headquarters Joint Operations Command, NSW (Chapter 3)" (PDF). Joint Standing Committee on Public Works. Parliament of Australia. 2004. Archived from the original (pdf) on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2008.
  8. ^ "Kings Highway Route Safety Review" (PDF). New South Wales Government. March 2013.
  9. ^ "Traffic Volume Data for Southern Region 2003: Annual Average Daily Traffic for MAIN ROAD NO.51 - BATEMANS BAY-QUEANBEYAN" (PDF). Traffic Management Branch. New South Wales Road Traffic Authority. 2004. pp. 14–15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  10. ^ "Report on Southern NSW and ACT Roads" (PDF). NRMA Motoring and Services. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2008.
  11. ^ Google (31 January 2016). "Kings Highway (Australia)" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 31 January 2016.