The best bike paths and cycleways in your city are often hidden from view, so it can take some research and exploration to piece together the best routes.
Bike paths and cycleways often follow natural water features like rivers and creeks or hide behind barriers along major traffic routes. Finding your way on and off these paths for the first time can take some planning, but the rewards are there for those who enjoy getting off the road and amongst the trees for their commute to work, ride to school or fitness rides.
The most interesting development of late has been the connections made between established bike paths to link these into extensive networks that criss-cross cities so bike riders can travel off-road in quiet, picturesque safety while the car traffic blocks the roads nearby.
With more people riding bikes than ever before, the hope is we see more of this investment in active transport options - especially given the boom in recreational cycling we are seeing following COVID and lockdown restrictions in most states and territories across Australia.
You will be surprised how far you can now travel on bike paths and cycleways in most Australian cities without even seeing a car. With this in mind, we present the following bike path and cycleway resources for all Australian states and territories to help guide you on this journey of active transport route discovery:
New South Wales
Our favourite Sydney waterside bike ride: Narrabeen Lagoon
There are plenty of commuting bike paths and cycleways in Sydney, but for a weekend recreational ride you can escape to the Narrabeen Lagoon bike trail. This 8.4 km long bike trail follows the lagoon and is a favourite place to view Australian wildlife including black swans, owls and bats.
Our favourite Melbourne bike path: Merri Creek Trail
Boasting a 21 km one way distance, the Merri Creek Trail takes you from the Yarra River in Abbotsford all the way to the Western Ring Road. This mostly flat ride through Brunswick, Coburg and Fawkner then opens up to heaps of other possible routes that link off around Greater Melbourne. Efficient enough for daily commuting, pretty enough for a weekend cruise. Just hop on and see where you can go.
(Visit Vic Roads Bicycles Route Maps)
Our favourite Brisbane bike riding route: Mount Coot-Tha Loop
This one is for the more experienced fitness riders (intermediate). Beginning at the base on Sir Samuel Griffiths Drive, this 9.5km climb with 287 metre elevation gain is a popular ride that will reward your efforts with a killer view over Brisbane city.
Our top tip for Perth bike riders: Victoria Dam and Mason Bird Heritage Trail
This 7km bike trail follows the route of an 1870's tram way from Mason Mill to the Swan River. Pass the oldest wooden bridge in Australia, as well as one of the earliest mill sites in Perth. An easy one for families and recreational weekend riders.
Our favourite scenic SA bike path: Encounter Bike Way
Although outside of Adelaide, this bike way is a real gem and offers a pristine ride along the Fleurieu Peninsula coastline. This 31km one way ride passes through the scenic heritage towns of Goolwa, Port Elliot and Middleton. Although this distance may seem daunting for a family, it is very flat and there are plenty of things to stop at along the way.
(Visit Bicycle Network Tasmania Routes)
Our favourite Hobart city cycleway: Intercity Cycleway
If you’re into Mountain Biking you already know that Tasmania is home to some of the best trails on the planet. We’re talking recreational city routes here though and the 14km Intercity Cycleway linking Hobart to Claremont is a handy bike path for tourists and commuters getting around the city.
(Visit Bicycle Network Tasmania Routes)
Australian Capital Territory
Our favourite Canberra Cycleway: Lake Burley Griffin Loop
The Lake Burley Griffin Loop is divided into 3 waterside bike riding loops that offer a relaxing scenic ride for recreational riders, but also link up some popular parts of the city for cycle commuters.
(Visit Transport Canberra Cycling Guide)
Our favourite Darwin bike path: Mindil Beach
Darwin has an abundance of beautiful bike paths but our pick for families and recreational riders would be the waterfront Mindil Beach, Fannie Bay and East Point ride.
There has been significant investment in cycling infrastructure over the past few years that is transforming our cities into safer, more enjoyable places to ride – whether you’re commuting to work, getting in some fitness miles, or simply exploring with friends on the weekend.
Our advice is to start with the list above and then have a look on Google Maps, Strava or just ask some friends who ride. From there make some time to get on your bike and discover the best routes.
The Reid Cycles Team