A great place to ride especially in autumn. The Southern Highlands attracts a lot of road riders but the roads are mostly 80kph and above. This page details the rides that don’t involve fast rods. First is Bowral and this should include the Bong Bong track between Bowral and Mossvale. If you extend the ride around Bowral you will do nearly 30km. Bundanoon is further south and riding around town and into the national park is 25 km. Another good ride is Thirlmere downhill to Picton (35 km Inc some road riding)
28km for the whole trail. Best bit is the Bong Bong track.
This cycling trail takes you from Bowral to Moss Vale on the Bong Bong Track. It follows the Wingecarribee River on a double lane shared concrete trail. If you have some energy left after the 16km return trip, you can follow a loop around Bowral on some easy roads and some shared paths through some pretty neat parks.
Lets start with the easy section that you would ride with your kids. At the Buradoo Railway Station, a path starts on the side of Railway road. Head southwest alongside the railway line to the river which is about 1km away. Veer left and you are on the Bong Bong track. Follow that all the way to the bridge near Moss Vale. If you pass under the bridge you can cycle into Cecil Hoskins Reserve where birds and great views can be photographed. If you pass over the bridge,you can ride a good way into Moss Vale. When you get to the railway line, you have to go on the town roads.
If you are arriving by car from Sydney or want to do the 12km Bowral circuit by itself, head to the Bowral pool on the way into Bowral where you can use the parking area. If you miss the turn off, turn left at the start of the town and go around the back to Oxley Drive.
To start riding from the pool, cross under the bridge, ride along the road to the Bowral bricks chimney. Cross the railway line and then follow Station St and down Funston to Railway drive. Hop on the wide shared path at Buradoo Station and you are on the Bong Bong. Ride it all the way to Moss Vale.
On the way back, try and turn at Sullivan Rd and follow to the end to Railway St. Turn up Burradoo Rd and follow that up a good hill and down the otherside till the end of the golf course . At the golf course, cross “Old S Rd” and ride to the end of the Botanical Gardens. Now turn left. If you are following the brochure below, ignore all the other red cycle tracks, they are not as good as this trail. Ride past all the ponds all the way to Warby St. Turn left and follow the trail all the way to the pool. Some how this way avoids all the hills that you will find further to the east, something I experienced first hand when I got lost.
Notes: Strangely there are no shops along all of this trail except in Moss Vale so treat up and top up your water before you go. If coming by car I suggest Mittagong for snacks on the way in where there are plenty of nice places. Maybe even pack a lunch for the picnic places on the Bong Bong trail. There is a toilet in Cecil Hoskins Reserve.
If coming by train, the speed of the train is very ordinary but it could be a lot of fun to do a weekend by train. Get off at Burradoo which is really small and easy or Bowral Station which has lifts or even Moss Vale and ride back.
This ride was based on a pdf brochure download from the Southern Highlands Information website here
Pictures start at the Bowral Pool and head to Mossvale, return to Bowral and then loop around Bowral back to the pool
Pictures of the Bong Bong Track
Turn east and head across town on Burradoo Rd. Starts near the river.
Half an hour drive from Mossvale on bike unfriendly but nice country roads is the lovely township of Bundanoon. There is also a train there every now and again from Sydney and Bowral and you should be able to get your bike on it for free (except peak times).
Bundanoon is a lovely town and it is right next to Morton National Park. I was keen to go find some autumn leaves and ride around the national park so I bundled the mtb eBike into the boot of my big car and headed south from Sydney down the busy freeways. Once you unload the bike in Bundanoon, you can relax. The only really busy road is the main one, all other roads in town are fine to ride on.
Riding around Bundanoon consists of two parts, go around the township and look at all the lovely houses and trees and you will have ridden 10 or 15kms. Once that is done, head down the hill from town into the Morton National Park and soon you will be on pretty reasonable dirt roads. I initially headed to Echo Point and I found that it had the best view. You can walk you bike to the viewing area so you don’t need a bike lock. After that you ride around to Bonnie View lookout where I had a puncture. Take your puncture repair kit and spare tube and know how to use it as its a long walk up the hill to town. I didn’t want to head down to the Grand Canyon Lookout after Bonnie View because I was out of inner tubes and I was hungry.
Back in town there are a large number of old style coffee shops so everyone can recover with the country hospitality at the end of the ride. Great place for casual riding and relaxing. All up, town and park ride will take you past 25km which is good enough for most people.
Riding Around Town
Just stick follow the two triangles on the map here. Its a dirt walking path plus a gate on Blue Gum Rd for a few 100 metres then its back to road riding. The middle of the town is a lovely park which the path takes you through. Quarry Rd is all dirt and if you had a road bike you could try Bromhall Rd instead. Pretty well every road around town is interesting if you like historic towns.
Hiring a Bike
There are lots of maps in the Ye Old Bicycle Shop which would be useful if you are a real mountain biker. You can hire MTB bikes in this shop.
I don’t believe there is much casual country riding in this area as the good off the beaten paths seem to end up on the busy roads. Stick to Bowral and Bundanoon townships and the lovely Bong Bong track for your first visit and enjoy the lovely towns in the area.
Australia doesn’t as a rule do a great autumn as the majority of our native trees are Eucalypts or Banksias which are designed to burn rather than lose their leaves. We do have some deciduous trees like the Flame Tree and the Silky Oak as detailed here
Generally our bush is a dull green with the occasional tree with lovely bark. So when the local residents have planted overseas deciduous trees in locations where there are very cold nights (most of Australia’s inland), the result can be spectacular. This spectacular is what I witnessed on my May day trip to Bundanoon, 2 hrs south of Sydney by car or nearly 3 hours on the slow train.
Echo Point in Morton National Park
Start your ride at Tahmoor have a great gravity fed ride all the way to Picton on country roads. Unfortunately you will then need to find your way back which is a very decent uphill.
The ride starts at Tahmoor Station and heads west to the Thirlmere Railway Museum. Its shared path and a road or two. All fine. Thirlmere has a couple of eating opportunities and the Railway Museum.
If you have a mountain bike head down to Thirlmere lakes and do a lap of the lake. The MTB track on the west side is so easy, I could do it. This detour is probably necessary if you are trying to make a day of the area.
The best cycling though comes from heading down to Picton from Thirlmere . Head down Westbourne to Cedar Creek road where you have an uphill section. Follow Cedar Ck till it ends at Mulhollands Rd and turn right. Watch for Cedar Creek Orchard where you can try some apple juice. Follow Mulhollands Rd all the way downhill to Barkers Lodge Rd. This is a busy enough road with a 6 foot verge. Follow this for 2km and turn left into Abbotsford Rd. Keep going into Fairleys and down to the Picton Showgrounds. All up, this a lovely country ride with little peddling.
You are in Picton, enjoy quite a few kilometres of shared path around Racecourse Creek. And then return and head into town past the fairly lame botanical gardens. These have toilets. In town, there are cafes and the like.
Now cross over Stonequarry Creek on the bridge and head left to Picton Avenue as per my map. At the end (ok there is a hill) there is a small path that crosses the creek way below. To your left you will see the very tall Picton Railway Viaduct. It’s a beauty. Soon after and there is Webster Creek that has a number of historic wooden cottages. The railway station is not far away.
You can use the small train to go back up here which is discussed here and could be tricky in busy times. Riding a more direct way back to Tahmoor is tricky as there are some very busy roads (not my cup a tea).