This is a ride of about 86 km through some of the finest of Sydney's cycleways. It first passes along the Parramatta Valley Cycleway whcih goes from Parramatta to Ryde. Then it joins the Cooks River Cycleway which passes near Bicentennial Park and then along the valley of the Cooks River to Tempe and then to Botany Bay. Another cycleway goes along the beach to Capatain Cook Bridge. The last section involves a combination of cycleways and on road cycle lanes to Kurnell - and then doubling back to Cronulla. Bikes can be taken by train to the start and from the end point. There are plenty of options for shortening the ride and plenty of shops along the way in order to refuel.
Any sort of bike can manage this ride.
From Parramatta Station - ride north to near the Parramatta River. Look out for bike route signs. The route initially goes along Phillip Street - just south of the River and later goes along maquarie Street. It is marked - but care needs to be taken to stay on the right route for the first section.
The route then crosses a James Ruse Drive at Traffic lights and over a bridge just north of Rosehill Race Course. It then passes through an interesting industrial area (including an oil refinery - the first of two on the ride). During weekends - the roads along this section are very quiet.
All of a sudden (at 4.5 km from Parramatta), the route seems to come to an abrupt end. Here, it crosses a steep bridge over the river - and you will need to walk your bike over it. On the north side - the route follows mainly along an off road cycleway past parks and mangroves. Several ferry terminals are passed.
Above - Bridge over the Parramatta River
For one part of the ride - the route goes along streets for a kilometre or so and then it goes through parks along a cycleway.
In the past - the route used to go to the Ryde Bridge (a road bridge). There is now a new bicycle way over the old railway bridge near Meadowbank. As you approach the railway bridge - look for a sign pointing to Meadowbank Station. Follow this way and cross the railway at the station. You can then pick up the route that goes over the old bridge.
Once over the bridge, on the south side, you imediately turn left and then north for a short distance to pick up the old route as it goes under the railway line ata raod underpass. This new route would save a couple of kilometres.
This section of the route is well described, with maps in the RTA leaflet - reproduced here.
It is worth stoping off at Bicentennial Park (17 km from the start) for a look and a ride. There are plenty of bike routes within the park. It is best to ride north to a lookout tower for fine views of Homebush bay and then riding carefully along boardwalks through mangroves. Binoculars are handy for looking at the abundant waterbirds. In late summer and autumn - there are thousands of Orb spiders and their webs above the cycle routes - an amazing sight! There is also a nice (bike friendly) kiosk in the park - and it worth stoping for a cappacino with scones and cream (22 km from start).
You will need to do a bit of careful navigation and back tracking to get back onto the cycleway and then proceeed to Homebush and down the Cooks River. Once off the road sections - the going is much more pleasant and the cycleway winds its way through parks and under most of the major roads via tunnels.
It is 38 km from the start to Wardell Road at Dulwich Hill (and from there a short ride to Dulwich Hill Station if you want to bail out).
Above - Bike rider on the Cooks River Cycleway between Wardell Rd and Illawarra Rd.
From Illawarra Road - the cycleway continues along both sides of the river. The north side is perhaps the best route since the south side involves dismounting and carrying your bike down a short set of steps. But - on the other hand - the southern route passes through Gough Whitlam Park.
At Tempe - the route passes through the station car park and under the railway bridge near the river. This section can be under water during high tides.
When you get to the Princess Highway - the route goes south over the bridge. You can ride on footpaths on either side - but the eastern side is best to pick up the next part of the route.
After crossing the river - don't be tempted to turn off and go along a cycleway through a park towards the Hilton Hotel - but continue on the footpath along the Princess Highway and then along West Botany Street. Take the second street on the left (Valda Street - note this section is not well marked) and follow along Valda Street to the bottom of the hill and then turn to the right and pick up the cycleway that passes through a tunnel under the road that goes to the airport.
Now the cycleway winds back and forth - partly on dedicated cycleway, partly on roads and partly - on poorly marked grass. It is worth (at 44.5 km) visiting some nice scenic wetlands - go out to an observation deck and admire the view. You then go aloing a potholed road past sports grounds and follow a rougher dirt road to Bestic Street. Cross a small bridge and follow a good section of cycleway north past the Fisherman's Club back to the Cooks River. Some interesting vegetable farms are passed on the way. Cross though carparks and then under the a tunnel to Botany Bay.
The route now goes south along the bay - mostly off road. In summer you will need to be careful to avoid pedestrians visiting the beaches.
Above - Riding along the cycleway along the side of Botany Bay
At Captain Cook Bridge - cross on the footpath on the eastern side and then continue along a cyclerout marked on back roads to near Cronulla. Along Captain Cook drive - there is a dedicated cycleway along the south side. At the turn off to Cronulla (about 64 km from the start, at Cronulla High School) - you may want to go south to the station or continue on bike lanes on the side of the road out to Kurnell and back. This is well recommended - and it is worth going all the way to the end to Bonna Point for scenic views back to the city. Then ride back to Cronulla - 86 km from the start - a good days ride!
Return to Sydney Rides Page
This web page was made by David Noble. All text is copyright.