6 best places for cycling in Australia
From Rottnest Island to the Wollemi trail, Australia is a cyclist’s dream. Here are six of the places down under that are best explored on two wheels.
1. Rottnest Island, WA
This sandy island off the coast of Perth is custom made for cycling. There are no cars on Rottnest, so you can pedal along the flat paths at your own pace and in complete safety. You can cycle around the whole island in just a couple of hours, though you’ll need to add in time to swim at any of the 60 beaches. Don’t miss your chance to snap a selfie with a quokka, the adorable and very friendly little marsupial native to the island.
2. Mawson Trail, SA
This is a serious bike ride. Beginning in Adelaide, the Mawson Trail runs for some 900 kilometres north through South Australia and all the way into the Flinders Ranges. It’s a very challenging ride and requires a mountain bike (as opposed to a road bike), but those who take it on will be rewarded with stunning scenery through the state’s most iconic regions including the Barossa, Clare Valley, Mt Remarkable and Wilpena Pound. If you fancy a shorter ride, try the aptly named 22-kilometre Riesling Trail that runs along an old railway line through the Clare Valley.
3. Murray to Mountains Rail Trail, VIC
This 116-kilometre trail through Victoria’s high country is regarded as Australia’s premier rail trail, which means a cycle or walking trail built from a disused rail line. It’s as much a cycle journey as a gourmet adventure, with plenty of wineries, breweries, providors and farm gates along the way. The trail also splinters off at various points for additional excursions further into the region. If you plan to indulge, you might want to spend the night at towns like Beechworth or Myrtleford.
4. Wollemi Cycle Trail, NSW
Not one for the faint hearted, the Wollemi Cycle Trail winds for almost 450 kilometres through the Blue Mountains. The trail runs through the Wollemi National Park, where the prehistoric pine of the same name was discovered, and visits small towns close to Katoomba. It even takes a cut through the Glow Worm Tunnel, a disused rail tunnel that’s lined with bioluminescent worms. The full loop takes at least six days, though many riders take on the shorter three-day version.
5. Maria Island, TAS
When cycling around this mountainous island off the east coast of Tasmania it’s quite likely that the only company you’ll have is wandering wombats or flocks of Cape Barren geese. The entire island is a national park (so there’s no cars) and is criss-crossed with wide trails open only to cyclists and hikers. Visit the convict ruins at Darlington, see the coloured sandstone of the Painted Cliffs and explore deserted white sand beaches. There are limited facilities on the island so you’ll need to bring your own supplies, though there are limited camping spots available if you want to extend your journey.
6. Great Ocean Road, VIC
It’s one of Australia’s most stunning drives and the Great Ocean Road is even more impressive from the saddle of a bicycle. The full journey is around 270 kilometres, though less adventurous cyclers can take on smaller sections. You’ll be cycling right along the edge of the cliffs (sometimes with nothing more than the guardrail between you and a sheer drop) and through incredible coastal scenery, lush rainforest and charming beachside towns.
Where’s your favourite place to cycle in Australia? Let us know in the comments.