Two-Wheeled Wonders – the Best Cycle Trails in Australia

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Australia’s got it all – natural beauty, good weather and an abundance of great cycling routes out of our major cities.

Australia’s moderate weather, natural beauty and abundance of wide, open spaces make it a cyclist’s playground. Beachfront roads, rugged ranges and wine country trails exist just outside our major cities, making it easy to head out of town for two-wheeled daytrips. Here are some of our favourites.

Melbourne

The cycling enthusiasts app of choice, Strava, recommends heading out of Melbourne to Portsea. Start in St Kilda and head south on Beach Road alongside Port Phillip Bay. This stretch has become a favourite cycle spot with beginners and hard core riders alike – in fact, bikes often outnumber cars. Beach Road is almost entirely flat, meaning the 185 kilometres to Portsea and back isn’t too taxing and there are plenty of excellent cafes and pubs to stop at along the way for some nourishment.

Distance: 185 kilometres return
Time: One day for experienced riders

SEE ALSO: The Best Walks Around Australia

Sydney

The Royal National Park south of Sydney is the world’s second-oldest national park, a place where Sydneysiders go to swim, fish, camp, bushwalk and whale-watch. A pedal through the “Nasho” reveals a landscape of towering gums and deserted beaches. Head out from Surry Hills along the Eastern Distributor south past Kingsford Smith Airport and continue south to Stanwell Tops, where the whole park spreads out below Bald Hill lookout. Riders can stop to rest and watch hang-gliders soar, view the amazing Sea Cliff Bridge and sometimes, on a clear day, see all the way to Wollongong. Strava recommends riding back out of the park along Sir Bertram Stevens Drive.

Distance: 122 kilometres return
Time: One day for experienced riders

Two Wheel Wonders – the Best Cycle Trails in Australia

Canberra

Canberra is a city of lakes, and the Ginninderra Lake Loop provides relaxed cycling in a beautiful setting. The bike path takes in playgrounds, barbecues, picnic areas and woodlands and it’s an easy ride – perfect for families with kids. There’s a car park, but it’s an easy cycle from Civic to Belconnen, where the ride begins on the western foreshore of the lake.

Distance: 7.2 kilometres
Time: One hour

Brisbane

The Moreton Bay Cycleway stretches 26 kilometres from the Ted Smout Bridge at Redcliffe to Deception Bay, passing through Scarborough and Rothwell. It’s a flat ride with plenty of places to pause – if you’re lucky you might even see dolphins frolicking. There are views out to Moreton Island, opportunities to swim, places to stop for coffee, free public barbecues and, on weekends, markets to browse.

Distance: 26 kilometres
Time: One day

Adelaide

The Coast to Vines trail runs through Adelaide’s south from Marino Rocks to Willunga, following the old Willunga rail line. The ride, which is also open to walkers and horse-riders, takes in the historical towns of Reynella, Noarlunga, McLaren Vale and Willunga. Along the path the old steam train used to take – it’s been out of commission for almost 40 years – cyclists can take in the Onkaparinga River, Victorian houses in Reynella and the cute cafes of Willunga.

Distance: 34 kilometres
Time: Take a day – there are plenty of places to stop 

Find out more about the Coast to Vines Trail in Marion...

Perth

Perth is a cycle-friendly city, with a number of bike paths running along the oceanfront. The trail from Marmion to Burns Beach is known as the Ride the Sunset Coast trail and it’s an easy pedal. There are swimming beaches, fishing spots, cafes, pubs and plenty of signs along the way with information on the native flora and fauna you’re seeing. Undertake the trail in the latter half of the day – that way, you can watch the sun dip into the Indian Ocean as you finish the ride.

Distance: 28 kilometres return
Time: An easy half-day 

Darwin

Disused rail trails make excellent cycle paths, and Darwin is home to two repurposed railroad tracks. The can begins in the Darwin CBD and follows the route of the historic former North Australian Railway to Howard Springs. There are plenty of reminders of the old railway in the form of preserved bridges, original railway embankments and at Yarrawonga, a shelter displaying the railway’s history. It first opened in 1888 and closed in 1976 when improved roads rendered it outmoded.

Distance: 50 kilometres return
Time: One day

SEE ALSO: 7 Water-based Wonders of Australia

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