Festivals by bike
Ride to Australia’s bike-friendliest festivals for preferential treatment on arrival. Simon Vincett suggests six around the country.
Many festival organisers recognise that bike is a great way to get people to the festival with minimal impact on the site.
In 2004, the Woodford Folk Festival introduced the Cycling to Woodford initiative, explaining that “Cars create dust when it’s dry, mud when it’s wet, congestion all of the time, and need parking space which could be better used to provide more camping areas for the growing numbers of patrons, who may number up to 130,000.”
Now riders to Woodford get priority entry, designated camping and professional mechanical support. The Festival has a Brisbane bike-shop partner, Epic Cycles, to assist and encourage would-be riders with riding partners and a luggage carting service, in addition to providing the standard servicing and equipment.
The central location of WOMADelaide doesn’t allow for a lot of car parking, so bike riding is encouraged with secure bike parking inside the festival for more than 500 bikes.
There are also festivals in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania that are accommodating for visitors by bike: check the details below.
8–11 March, Botanic Park, Adelaide
Performances and workshops on seven stages by the world’s best traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and DJs, a KidZone activity area, street theatre and visual artists, the Taste the World cooking program, The Planet Talks environmental discussions program, Artists in Conversation and around 100 amazing food, retail and charity stalls.
WOMADelaide encourages patrons to ride to the event and offers parking for more than 500 bikes, located within the festival site.
Many venues for the Adelaide Festival (1–17 March) are also most easily accessed by bike.
27 Dec – 1 Jan, Woodfordia, 80km north of Brisbane
Camp or visit daily
Much more than a folk festival, Woodford generates an outpouring of creativity across dance, circus, puppetry, comedy, visual arts and many genres of music. There’s a Children’s Festival, a Film Festival, a programme of Indigenous culture and Greenhouse, a venue for discussions and forums on sustainability.
The festival has partnered with Epic Cycles in Brisbane to provide a riding-partners service, secure undercover bicycle parking, mechanical support and a free luggage transport option for riders who have a festival season ticket, but are not set up for bicycle touring. Riders receive priority at the ticket gate also have a designated camping area.
Ride 27km from Beerburrum train station (with a long section of gravel road) or 32km from Caboolture train station.
Other bike-friendly festivals from Brisbane:
AP7, the seventh Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, GOMA, 8 Dec – 14 Apr
Harvest music festival, City Botanic Gardens, November
Byron Bay Bluesfest (train to Casino and ride 82km to Byron), 28 Mar – 1 Apr
15–24 March, towns across Tasmania
Visit daily, touring between towns
For arts-loving, enthusiastic cycle tourists, ride between these northern towns hosting Tasmania’s premier cultural festival. See music, theatre, dance and art spanning the breadth of creativity; engage with master classes and a Supper Club in each town.
All towns are 50–70km apart except St Helens, which is 120km from Swansea and 160km from Launceston.
Other bike-friendly festivals from Hobart:
MONA FOMA, via the Intercity Cycleway, 16–20 Jan
The Falls music festival, Marion Bay (55km east of Hobart), 29 Dec – 1 Jan
Cygnet Folk Fest, 50km south-west of Hobart via Nicholls Rivulet Rd, 11–13 Jan
8–11 March, Port Fairy
Camping or visit daily
With Irish folk roots but now embracing blues, roots and world music, this festival is a fixture of the Victorian Labour Day weekend. Picturesque Port Fairy swells with visitors and buzzes with music, street performance and market stalls
Combine the festival with a scenic bike trip by taking the train to Warrnambool and the Port Fairy – Warrnambool Rail Trail (37km).
Other bike-friendly festivals from Melbourne:
St Kilda Festival, 2–10 Feb
The Falls music festival, Lorne (train to Geelong and ride to 70km to Lorne), 28 Dec – 1 Jan
Bikefest, 15 Feb – 9 March
19–26 Jan, riverside central Parramatta
Check out a new arts hub of Sydney. The opening party takes over the streets with free events and a free concert. The Salon Perdu Spiegeltent is at Prince Alfred Park, Riverside Theatre has Circolombia’s Urban acrobats and Old Kings hosts a family-friendly closing concert featuring Archie Roach.
Arrive by ferry and it’s an easy ride to the festival venues. You could also picnic in adjacent Parramatta Park, linked by bike paths.
Other bike-friendly festivals from Sydney:
Flicker Fest, Bondi Beach, 11–20 Jan
Harvest music festival, Parramatta Park, November
Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba, 15–17 March
4–5 Jan, Busselton
Camping or visit daily
A music, camping and arts festival with a variety of current Australian and international rock and pop artists.
Trans WA road coach Perth to Busselton ($35 per person, one way; bikes cost $10). You book the bikes in by phone to reserve the two spaces available. You’ll have to turn the handlebars. The driver may take more bikes if they are boxed.
Bicycle parking is available at Southbound outside the main gates. Use the bikes after the festival to enjoy the many tourist attractions of Busselton: beaches, diving, snorkelling and bushwalking.
Other bike-friendly festivals from Perth:
West Coast Blues and Roots, Fremantle, April
Perth Festival, central Perth, February
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.