Since 2010, there has been a big increase in the number of people in Sydney using a bicycle as a means of transportation. Exploring Sydney on a bike is a great way to indulge in the spectacular beach side of this city.
I have come up with an exciting bicycle route to experience Australia’s famed beach lifestyle. This tour that takes you to Sydney’s most beautiful harborside bays and best kept secret beaches. You’ll be riding up hilly headlands and back down to sandy shores, spotting sea life up close and from afar, and tasting ocean delicacies at the city’s oldest seafood restaurant.
Best time to go
Start this tour early, it’s a great full day out and you’ll want at least six hours to make the most of it. Factor in the ferry journeys each way, these are half an hour and you could have to wait at the wharf for up to 30 minutes too. Summertime is great for the swimming, and winter is the best time for whale watching!
What to bring
Pack your board shorts or bikini, along with a towel and sunscreen; you’ll be visiting a lot of beaches. Snorkeling gear or a pair of goggles will come in handy too, along with some cash for ferry tickets, fish and chips, and beer, because finding an ATM on the way isn’t easy.
Stop: 01 – Rose Bay Wharf – Get ready, your ride starts here!
Getting to Rose Bay Wharf is simple, just hop aboard the ferry from Circular Quay at Wharf No.4. Soak up the views from up on deck, plus it will save you a 6 kilometer ride from the CBD. If you’re already at Rose Bay that’s great! Time to get those legs warmed up for some riding, the park is a great place to do some stretches.
Stop: 02 – Milk Beach Vaucluse – A really small beach
Don’t blink as you approach Milk Bay, you might just end up cycling right past it! This tiny stretch of sand is your first chance to get wet, so take a refreshing dip if you need to cool down. Otherwise, perch yourself on a bench for five minutes and soak up the breathtaking city skyline view.
Stop: 03 – Shark Bay – Swim in the sun or snooze in the shade
Despite its intimidating name, Shark Bay has one of the calmest and safest beaches in Sydney. The large net keeps any wandering big fish away from the shoreline, so dive straight in! If you need a quick rest escape from the sun for a moment in Nielsen Park, a shady spot under a fig tree awaits you.
Stop: 04 – Parsley Bay Bridge – 100 years old and still going strong
You might want to hop off your bike and walk along Parsley Bay Bridge, not just because it’s hardly wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side. Take the opportunity to peer over the side of this cable suspension bridge and look out for a fisherman pulling in a catch.
Stop: 05 – Watsons Bay Baths – Dive into the city’s finest sea pool
Most people who visit Watsons Bay never wander down to the tidal baths, so make sure that you do! Leap from the pontoons into the Olympic-sized pool, swim a few lengths in the sun and soak up some rays next to the glistening water. Oh, and all this with Sydney Harbour as the backdrop.
Stop: 06 – Doyles Fish and Chips – Tuck into some of Sydney’s best seafood
You should have worked up an appetite by know, and what better beachside tucker is there than fish and chips! Stop by Doyles on the Wharf Take Away to grab your lunch then head round the back of Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel for some take-out beers from the bottle shop. Dine on the beach or in the park, it’s up to you…
Stop: 07 – Camp Cove – Feast your eyes on life under the sea
Cycle past whitewashed weatherboard houses to Camp Cove, a favorite spot for snorkelers and sun seekers. Either end of the beach around the rocks is the best place to spot marine wildlife, so goggle up and gaze into the underwater world just beneath the water, where cuttlefish, pygmy leatherjackets, seahorses, hermit crabs and even octopus can be spotted.
Stop: 08 – Hornby Lighthouse – Saving souls since 1858
Lock up your bike once you reach the end of the path and follow the cobblestone track through the bush, swiftly past Lady Bay nudist beach unless you want to strip off and bare all. Once you reach the iconic red and white Hornby Lighthouse take a seat and peer out over Sydney Heads, where the Pacific Ocean meets the city’s famed harbor.
Stop: 09 – The Gap – No better place for whale watching
Stroll back to your bike and cycle up to The Gap; just don’t get too close to the cliffs! If you’re here between May and November you’re in luck, this is prime whale watching season, and it just so happens that The Gap is Sydney’s best spot for spotting humpbacks migrating up along the east coast.
Stop: 10 – Dudley Page Reserve – All of Sydney’s icons in a snapshot
It’s a tough uphill pedal through Dover Heights to Dudley Page Reserve, but it’s definitely worth it. No other Sydney park can compete with the panoramic vistas to enjoy here, and all of Sydney’s icons are in sight, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Tower. If there’s a cricket match being played watch out for flying balls!
Stop: 11 – Rose Bay Wharf
Cruise back downhill to the Rose Bay Wharf and kick back with a drink at Catalina’s veranda bar while you wait for the next ferry to arrive. If you’re not ready to call it a day yet why not go back to Circular quay? There are plenty of other places to explore…
If you liked this route you’ll love our article on Exploring Melbourne by bike