Newcastle and the Central Coast has some wonderful rides that are isolated by busy roads. Newcastle Harbour has a path that runs around the harbour and way out to sea using the breakwater (20km). Stockton on the north of the harbour is great riding to (15 km) and you get there in five minutes by ferry. Fernleigh track is a rail trail that was converted to a smooth bitumen track (15km one way). Warners Bay is really lovely (25 km). Budgewoi is also really lovely lake ride (20km). South end of Tuggerah lake to The Entrance is a terrific lake ride (25 km) and around all the Tuggerah Lake is nearly 50km. Woy Woy is the closest trail to Sydney and it’s a 35 km return journey (Gosford to Ettalong) of coastal riding, it’s probably the one to start with. All the above are good for teenagers. Port Stephens has a good shared path network with some roads.
Newcastle Harbour is one of NSW’s great recreational riding areas. On the south side where the fancy hotels and the shops are located is very bike friendly. You can ride to Nobby’s Lighthouse to the east and to Tighes Hill to the west and then loop around Throsby Creek and come back to the main centre. This is an enjoyable one and a half hours of easy riding with fantastic photo opportunities, about 14 km in total.
Photos from Newcastle Harbour South Side
Once you have conquered Newcastle Harbour, grab a ferry (opal card or purchase ticket on ferry) and head to Stockton on the North Side of the harbour. Here you have the choice of an easy ride to the end of Shipwreck Walk (which you can ride on) to the east or a really good and safe ride all the way to Stockton Bridge and back, a distance of 12 km. See all photos here >>
You can hire bikes easily on the south side of the harbour on Wharf Rd. This includes standard bikes and BYKKO, Australia’first eBike share scheme.
This is a really good 20km flat ride one way that requires about 2km on a back road at the end to get to Ettalong. At the begining from Gosford you wind ypur way along the water which is mostly obscured by mangroves. Its a good wide trail. Then you pass under the railway line and do about five kms on very quiet streets and on a separated pathway. When you get to Woy Woy you still follow the Brisbane Water until the trail takes you to a Blackwall rd. If you want to follow shared path which I did, you go to the right of the big hill to Maitland Bay drive. I have been told you can ride to the East of the big hill along Orange Grove Rd but that is a road and there were a few cars on it when I looked.
At Maitland Bay drive, go round the back of the Baptist church and follow Memorial Avenue all the way to Ettalong Beach. Just ride along the coast when you get there, fun will be had.
Coming back I went up Morris st which is a series of dead ends that has a trail on it suited to a mountain bike. You could ride up Springwood and you will be back on the coastal track to Woy Woy before you know it.
If you are coming in by car, start in Gosford. Leave Sydney before peak hour and you will be there in just over an hour. Later and you will need nearly 2 hours. By train start riding in Woy Woy. I imagine it all gets busy on the weekend, so ride to Ettalong first as this was busy enough mid week.
A super 20km return ride that is probably the closest trail to the M1 Expressway on the Central Coast. You can extend it out a bit by riding south to Norah Heads. Perfect for all bikes though you need nothing more than a modest folding bike. Top it off by stopping at the Budgewoi village for fishnchips or the Anchor coffee shop.
Following are photos from the trail from the Pacific Hwy bridge over the river to Budgewoi Village. What a lovely tree lined trail.
Tuggerah Lake is nearly 50km around. The South end from Chitaway Bay to The Entrance is super. North East of Wyong is roads but most of the them are good to ride. On the eastern side are great bits and the there is the Central Coast Highway. So its a mixed bag.
Starts in Newcastle. 15km one way. Bitumen path. Through forests and trees the whole way.
What stands out about this track is that you never leave the trees and the flora changes as you drop 80 odd metres in elevation from the Fernleigh tunnel to Belmont in the sand dunes. Look out for blue gums, rough-barked eucalypts, banksia trees, tea trees, wattle, twisted scribbly gum and listen for the fantastic bell birds.
Easy riding, all bike types. Lots of information and a good brochure on the council page. There are also details on more easy road and track riding near Belmont.
Notes: Trail starts from the Adamstown station so you might like to catch the train. If coming by car, I enjoyed the trip from Sydney with the turnofff down the Princess Hwy through Doyalson. Going this way you can start at Belmont and save some city driving. You can also join the trail at Redhead this way.
A great lakeside trail on a really good shared cycleway that follows the bay for 20kms and can be extended out to Cockle Bay Railway station if you need another 4 kms on a less busy trail. These distances including a return journey.
We arrived to ride this path on a wet day which meant there was hardly anyone on the trail. We still enjoyed it. Its flat and the scenery and bird life is really good. We saw herons, swans and pelicans to name a few. The only bike riding obstacles are about 12 unnecessary bollards that extend halfway across the path and are not always that easy to see on a wet day.
At the eastern end of the path is a very elaborate extension to the path that takes it five meters into the bay. Its called the Red Bluff Boardwalk. The trail ends soon after that.
At the western end of the path, the trail crosses the bridge in a protected lane next to the freeway. If you look at the maps, you will find out how to go to the township of Teralba which has two large bric-a-brac stores and a very cute coffee shop.
This trail is about 15mins from the M1 Freeway, why not give yourself a break and head on over if the bikes are in the car.
External Links: Speers Point to Glendale Cycle Path In this council brochure it hints that you can travel to Belmont from Edebana . I am not sure how this occurs as it says trail ends and the road looks busy with no help to cyclists.
On the south east corner of the large Lake Macquarie lies the township of Gwandalan. Its not that busy and has a park with a trail in the middle. Worth a ride around if the bikes are in the back of the car.
First lets start in Corlette in Port Stephens where you can join the wonderful 6km long Bartlett Cycleway and ride along the coast from Corlette to Nelson Bay Lighthouse. This is a great ride and you certainly can take your teenagers along with you. To complete the first part of this ride you can grit your teeth and head up to the Nelson Bay Lighthouse.
Great scenery, take your time, be friendly to the walkers and when you are finished, you are still in beautiful Port Stephens and there will be lots to do. Take a bike lock if you want to go exploring off bike.
The full recreational ride is 26km including return journeys (see below).
Heading to Fingal Bay
Just after the Ferry terminal and the boat harbour, you come to Fly Point where you have two choices, head to the lighthouse along the coast or head up the hill to the on the wiggly path through the park and back to the edge of Shoal Bay Rd. Thats the way I went., up Shoal Bay Rd. When you see a forest on the right, you will cross the road and ride along the northern end. Follow the path next to the forest until you get to Government Rd. Cross that and head down Horace St. This turns back into a cycle way and you follow that till you get to Fingal Bay. The cafe at the surf lifesaving club is good. When the shared path ended, I headed up to Barry’s Park where there is a whale watching platform. I saw a lot of splashes, they were on the move mid August.
A walk from Barry’s Park is recommended as the views are spectacular and the fauna is pretty good too.
A must on any visit to Port Stephens is to climb Tomarree Mt. You can check this out on your bike. From Fingal Bay, head back down the track and Horace St and continue to the coast. You can either ride on the road or the path if no one is around down to Mt Tomaree. When you get there, head to the left on the closed of roads down a great path. Take a bunch of photos and now you can ride back towards Corlette. When you come to the Diggers Club, take a right down Dixon Drive and head for the Lighthouse. Walk or ride to the top for your High Tea and great views. Now you can ride around the coast back to Corlette. Its a totally super ride.
There are a lot of fire trails in the area. If you look at my map here, this will show you how to get to them. One of the bike groups I follow went down Anna Bay Boreline to the end and then rode off somewhere else. A guy on a fat wheeled bike said the roads can get sandy. Just don’t go in if its a fire risk day and go with a friend.