Destinations

Top 5 Aussie Cycling Routes

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Whether you’re a diehard Lycra wearer or have rediscovered cycling as a healthy way to get out and about, put these well-known cycling routes on your where-to-bike-next list. These cycling routes will take you through some of the country’s most beautiful scenery and allow you to step up from your local cycleways to a more ambitious bike ride further afield.

Great Ocean Road

This iconic coastal road is spectacular by car but by bike you can really take in all its glory. Your senses will come alive in the saddle as you feel the wind on your face, breathe in the salty air, gaze at the spectacular vistas and hear the crashing waves below you. The most popular route begins at Torquay and ends at Warrnambool, 243km down the road, but you can tackle a stretch of road as short or long as you like. Be prepared for some steep inclines and descents, and that you’ll be sharing the road with cars (set off at dawn for more peaceful roads and cooler temps). The scenery you soak up at the 12 Apostles, Apollo Bay and Great Otway National Park are sure to make this ride one of your all-time faves.

 

Rottnest Island

If sharing the road with traffic gives you the willies, car-free Rottnest Island is the place for you. Take your own bike over on the ferry from Perth or hire one when you get there. The 22km of roads around Rotto are as suitable for novice riders as they are for regular cyclists and can take anywhere from an hour to five hours, depending on whether you stop to swim, snorkel or snooze at one of the 60 beaches you’ll admire along the way. You’ll pass by grassy headlands, incredible ocean vistas, colourful salt lakes and, more than likely, a quokka or two.

 

Murray to Mountains Rail Trail

Cycling enthusiasts who haven’t yet tackled this scenic bike trail through the Alpine region of North East Victoria are in for a treat. The sealed, off-road trail from Wangaratta meanders by rivers and vineyards, valleys, mountains, bushland and farmland for 116km. If you love food as much as you love bike riding, allow extra time – you’ll want to enjoy the cellar doors, farm gates, cafes and craft breweries you encounter along the way. Break up your journey with overnight stays at Beechworth or Myrtleford.

 

Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin

With its dedicated bike lanes on main roads and network of bike routes throughout the city, Canberra is a brilliant place to get around on two wheels. The popular 20km Lake Burley Griffin route offers stunning views not just of the lake, but also the landmarks calling our nation’s capital home – Parliament House, the National Gallery and the War Memorial to name a few. The lake route is an easy ride on paved pathways but if your bike is up to the challenge, get your heart pumping on some of the mountain bike trails at the nearby Stromlo Forest Park or Majura Pines Trails – there are options for all skill levels.

 

Tasmania’s East Coast

Uncrowded roads and gobsmacking scenery have given Tassie a global reputation as a top cycling destination, and it probably doesn’t hurt that the people are friendly, too. But where to start? The most popular route kicks off in Launceston and lands you in Hobart a week or two later (depending on how many rest days and detours you take along the way). The east coast is not as hilly as the west coast, and the weather is milder and more predictable. Once you make your way from Launceston to the coast at St Helens, the route follows the remote coastline past little towns and beautiful beaches to Hobart. A detour well worth taking for the views alone is to Freycinet Peninsula.


Author

I grew up in the US, Germany and Australia, so it feels more foreign for me to stay in one place than to move around. Since then, I’ve called Boston, London, Seattle, Brisbane, Madison and Sydney home for study and work as a journalist, travel writer and photographer. I specialize in adventure travel, social issues and interiors/architecture. Home is now an 1890s cottage in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I traveled to my seventh continent last year – an action-packed expedition to Antarctica – and have memories galore of my travels. Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, galloping with gauchos in Chilean Patagonia, trekking through Japan, and camel riding in Jordan are among the most memorable. My least favourite travel hiccup was being stranded in Cameroon when I should have been winging my way to Paris for a little me-time. You win some, you lose some.

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