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Sights from the saddle

27 November, 2012

The must-do bike rides in six Australian cities, by Matthew Hurst.

St Kilda foreshore

Image by Walter Rummel

Whether you’re in town on holiday, for business or to visit family, there are bike rides you can do in any of Australia’s capital cities to discover the side of the city that only local riders know. Even cities that may not necessarily be considered friendly for day-to-day cycle commuting on the whole still have great riding routes to be found, and of course, these are often likely to be along riverbanks, around bays and towards beaches. So borrow or hire a bike on your next trip and make a bike ride part of your experience of the place.

Sydney’s Circular Quay to Balmain

Cartography by Wayne Murphy

Thanks to some major new infrastructure and a proactive local council, bike riding in Sydney has never been better.  Take in some great harbour-front riding en route to the charming inner-western enclave of Balmain, just 7km away by bike.

  • At Circular Quay, follow Hickson Road as it loops around The Rocks and into Darling Harbour
  •  Cycle over the Pyrmont Bridge, through Pyrmont and follow the shared path over the striking Anzac Bridge
  • Turn right at Victoria Road and again onto Robert Street, which runs straight into Balmain East
  •  Use Balmain’s main street, Darling Street, to create a loop back to the Anzac Bridge. While it is a busy shopping strip, its speed limit is only 40km/h.

Hobart’s Salamanca Place to MONA

Cartography by Wayne Murphy

From a quintessential Hobart attraction of old to its newest and most talked about destination, the historic facades of Salamanca Place and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) are a 12km ride apart.

  • Hire a Dutch designed VANMOOF bike for free from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery as part of Hobart’s ARTBIKE initiative
  •  Ride around the Royal Botanic Gardens and then follow the Intercity Cycleway for a simple and virtually traffic-free ride.

Brisbane river loop

Cartography by Wayne Murphy

Soak up the atmosphere in Brisbane’s renowned cultural precinct, take in the impressive Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) or Queensland Art Gallery before or after enjoying some leisurely riverside bike riding.

  • A short and relaxing 3km loop can be created using Victoria Bridge and Goodwill Bridge.
  • From GOMA, ride west along Riverside Drive for another 4km of riverfront riding.
  • Wrap around to Alberto’s Shot Espresso Bar at 462 Montague Street for a caffeine hit before heading back the way you came.

Adelaide centre to Glenelg

Cartography by Wayne Murphy

Adelaide’s prime coastal strip is an easy 11km ride from the CBD on the Mike Turtur Bikeway. For the visitor with half a day up their sleeve, it’s a perfect Adelaide destination.

  • Starting at Whitemore Square, ride south through Lundie Gardens, down Goodwood Road, right at Leader Street, left at Ethel Street and right at Norman Terrace.
  • From here, a straight line alongside the tram tracks will lead along Glengyle Terrace, Wattle Terrace, Maxwell Terrace and through to Glenelg, via Jetty Road.
  • When you arrive at the foreshore, head south along South Esplanade to enjoy a lovely beach ride.

Melbourne’s Federation Square to Abbotsford Convent & Collingwood Children’s Farm

Cartography by Wayne Murphy

Hugging the Yarra River as you go, this is a great day out on the bike for any visitor to Melbourne and is enjoyed equally by locals.

  • Start on the riverfront around Birrarung Marr, and follow all signs for the Capital City Trail – it’s about 10km to the Abbotsford Convent and adjacent Collingwood Children’s Farm.
  • Try to catch the lively farmers’ markets, 8am – 1pm on 4th Saturday of the month at the Convent and 2nd Saturday of the month at the Children’s Farm.

Perth to Fremantle

Cartography by Wayne Murphy

Recognised as the best preserved 19th Century seaport in the world, if you have a free day in Perth you definitely want to check out Fremantle.

  • Utilising the city’s principal shared path, which is signposted (PSP), it’s a 20km ride to the Fremantle coast.
  • Commencing around City West station, the path follows Railway Road, Gugeri Street and Claremont Crescent before reaching the coastline along Curtin Avenue into North Fremantle.

Matthew Hurst is the operator of The Humble Vintage bike hire in Sydney and Melbourne and author of The Casual Cyclist’s Guide – Melbourne

Ride On content is editorially independent, but is supported financially by members of Bicycle Network Victoria. If you enjoy our articles and want to support the future publication of high-quality content, please consider helping out by becoming a member.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Gold Coast bike rider permalink
    27 November, 2012 10:57 pm

    What about Australia’s 6th largest city, the Gold Coast with it’s 36km (each way) Oceanway (Cycleway maps 10, 12, 14, 16 & 18). There’s also the 22km Broadwaterway (maps 6, 8 & 10) which connects to the Oceanway at Main Beach. They are flat, mostly off-road shared path routes overlooking the beaches & Broadwater. Suitable for slower speed riders and families. Remember that in Queensland, all ages of cyclists can legally ride on any footpath so you can do the whole lot off-road with the kids. (Except in a few rare exceptions where it’s sign posted that bikes must dismount.)

    For the road racers there’s the fast & mostly flat 59km Darren Smith Memorial Route from Paradise Point to Point Danger. (Maps 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 & 18)

    The Gold Coast isn’t just schoolies and resorts. For cyclists of any ability there are good wide roads and shared paths through all sorts of terrain from the beaches & parks to the rainforest covered volcanic hinterland.

    Score points with the wife and kids –
    06:00-09:00 join a shop ride in the early morning to do a 550m elevation trip up Mt Tamborine or 450m to Lower Beechmont.
    10:00-16:00 Take the kids to Seaworld or something world for the day.
    17:00-20:00 Take the wife shopping and/or dinner.

  2. 1 December, 2012 12:51 am

    Thanks for the post. As a Fremantle resident it is nice to see a Perth to Fremantle ride, however I would have suggested that the ride on the southern side of the river would have been a better suggestion as you can follow the river itself for most of the ride. Much more scenic.

    • 3 December, 2012 9:57 am

      Good feedback Andrew, thanks.

      • 8 December, 2012 11:38 pm

        I would concur with Andrew’s recommendation. The beach route past Scarborough (Hillaries to ~City Beach) was also a worthy investment of my time when I lived in Perth during the summertime – dunk your head under the showers at every stop, go for a swim, AND you get to ride past a lot of bikini clad ladies.

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