Cyclists are spoilt for choice in Wollongong, where flat coastal routes meet rough mountain terrain ensuring there is something for every kind of cyclist from learner riders right through to old pros. Currently Wollongong offers more than 42km of cycle tracks on shared pathways covering the area between Sandon Point and Lake Illawarra, making Wollongong one of the most cycle friendly cities in Australia.

Whether you’re planning to bike with the kids to a different beach for a change of scene or aiming to tackle a full day of pedalling, there are local bike routes to suit. Grab your wheels, pop on your helmet and hit the road for some fresh air and exercise with our guide to some of the best bike rides in the Wollongong area.

Wollongong to Thirroul cycle track
According to TripAdvisor this is the second most popular of all 58 things to do in Wollongong! And with good reason. The 16km route is mostly on broad, two-lane shared pathways and crosses only a handful of roads as it hugs the coastline passing plenty of lovely beaches perfect for a break. There are refreshments available from various cafes and restaurants along the route, but the star of the show has to be the scenery, which makes up for the fact that the going can be slow on sunny days when the popular route is often busy.

Cringila Hills Mountain Bike Park

Entry is off Lackawanna Street, Cringila. It has an exciting mix of almost 12 kilometres of trails for riders from beginners to advanced, giving you more ways to enjoy our Bike City. The tracks have a mix of gradients, surfaces and obstacles to make your ride fun or challenge your skills. For beginners and intermediate riders, it has a jumps park too. It also has an asphalt pump track and bike skills playground.

MTB trails
If you are a fan of rugged biking with plenty of undulations and thrills, the Illawarra has a great selection of trails to offer. Entry level MTB-ers will love the Lady Carrington Drive trail which is located inside the Royal National Park and runs 12km one way alongside the Hacking River. A few lumps and bumps mark this scenic route out as unsuitable for road bikes, but the going is simple until the last steep section. Helensburgh MTB Park is another great destination and offers trails suitable for all the family with different challenges, from jumps and bridges to boardwalks and woodland. There are also plenty of informal mountain bike routes on the escarpment – use at your own risk!

Greenvalley Mountain Bike Path

Australia’s Boutique Mountain Bike Park located in the foothills of the Macquarie Pass National Park, Tongarra, NSW. Greenvalleys Mountain Bike Park is a must go destination for mountain bikers offering: Progressive Trail Structure, Clinics and Coaching, Competitive Race Days, Airbag, Skills Park, Private Hire and Downhill / Freeride / Slopestyle / All-Mountain Trails. They also run (for more advanced-riders only) Skills Clinics and Development Days as well as Gravity Days (open days for the public/non members to check out their trails and bike paths). This park is typically for more confident and adventurous riders – under 16s are welcome but best you give the park a call first as they can give you some tips how to best navigate the park for your younger rider.

10B Bike Trail In Dharawal National Park

10B cycling trail in Dharawal National Park offers excellent easy cycling for enthusiastic bike riders, with a picturesque picnic spot along the way. At 15km long, it starts near the Appin Road entrance of Dharawal National Park and follows an unsealed road through open forest and woodlands along a sandstone ridge. This is a great bike ride for small groups and families with older children.

The last three kilometres present more of a challenge, when the trail descends into Stokes Creek Gorge, leading to a good slog back up to the park’s northern entrance at Wedderburn.

Pack a picnic and your binoculars because at the creek crossing, there’s a broad rock platform where you can stop for a break. Birds, including the raucous yellow-tailed black cockatoo, inhabit the area.

Grand Pacific Walk
Following the route of the Grand Pacific Drive, the proposed share path will link existing sections of coastal trails into one 60km stretch allowing walkers and cyclists to roam the coast from Royal National Park to Lake Illawarra. The work will span many years and tackles some complex terrain but when it is finished it will surely become one of the best things to do in Wollongong and an asset for residents of the area. The Coalcliff to Stanwell Park section is already finished and open for use, watch this space for news of the next completed sections of the route.

North Lake Illawarra
For the best family friendly cycling on the shores of Lake Illawarra, the north of the lake is best. Setting off from the Illawarra Sports stadium you can ride through beautiful scenery in Hooka Point Park and onwards through Holborn Park right on the lakeshore. There are refreshment stops along the way, and if a swim in the lake doesn’t appeal, carry on into Port Kembla where the beach stretches miles to the south with loads of space for everyone. There is also a pool at the northern end of the beach and lots of lunch places in the town itself.

For older and more advanced riders – Join the MS Sydney to Gong ride
In November every year, the charity fundraiser MS Sydney to Gong ride raises funds for multiple sclerosis. This spectacular community ride through 90km of wonderful scenery includes stretches that run through the Royal National Park, along the Grand Pacific Drive and over the Sea Cliff Bridge. The event will accept young riders between the ages of 12 and 17, as long as they are accompanied by a guardian or parent during the ride. A great ride for a fantastic cause, what’s not to love? 

Author: Martha Hales

*Above image courtesy of the Illawarra Mercury.

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