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Cyclist's Guide to Bondi

City to Surf by Bike
When you think of Sydney you may not automatically think of bicycles, but you can get around safely and easily if you know how. Travel by bicycle, possibly combined with public transport (bikes are carried free on ferries and at non peak hours on trains), will get you to many places you might not otherwise see if you are restricted to public transport alone. You will not have the parking problems that often make car travel exasperating in the eastern suburbs.

Here is a suggested bike route, with alternatives, from the City to Bondi, taking in some of the attractions in between. A street directory or RTA bike route map (available from the Roads and Traffic Authority offices or by post) will be useful.

Sydney motorists will generally respect a cyclist who is confident, signals clearly, changes lanes correctly and keeps a good line. A certain amount of traffic experience and skill is needed, and the eastern suburbs are quite hilly, so be warned! Remember, if in doubt, you can always walk your bike across busy roads or along the footpath to get to a quieter section of the route.

Circular Quay to Bondi via Kings Cross and Double Bay: Take the road around the eastern side of the Quay to the Opera House. From there continue on the path through the Botanical Gardens around Farm Cove to Mrs Macquarie Point looking out over the Harbour for some lovely views.

Note that by regulation bicycles should be walked on the paths through the Gardens.

Remounting, take the path or the road onwards from Mrs Maquaries Point to the Boy Charlton Pool. Just past the pool, leave the road and carry your bike down a steep set of stairs to Lincoln Crescent and follow it to Cowper Wharf Road in Woolloomooloo, avoiding construction work for the new eastern Distributor Road. Follow Cowper around the Naval Wharves to a right turn on Wylde Street and go up the hill to Potts Point and Macleay Street, Kings Cross. After a rest or a look around this night life centre, take a left turn at Greenknowe Avenue and go down to Rushcutters Bay Park via Rosslyn Gardens Road and Evans Road. Go along the path around the waterfront to New Beach Road on the other side of the park and follow it along to a steepish climb up Yarranabee Rd to Darling Point Road. McKell Park at the end of Darling Point Road has a pretty garden and another great vantage point over the harbour. There is a ferry wharf too, if you want to catch the ferry to Rose Bay or back to the City (weekdays only).

Then take Darling Point Road back to Greenoaks Avenue and follow it down to Ocean Avenue, Double Bay. Turn right at Cooper Street and take in the shops and cafes in this exclusive area. Cross over busy New South Head Road to Manning Road and follow it some distance to Coopers Park. Now comes a longish climb up Sutie Road, Northland Road and Coopers Park Road to a right turn onto Bellevue Road, and on to the top of Bellevue Hill at the intersection with Victoria Road. (To avoid this climb, see the alternative given below).

Not far away is Bellevue Park. Lookout where you will see the Pacific Ocean, stretching away magnificently before you. Bondi is not far away down a fairly steep hill. There is a choice of routes but by winding around a bit down Birriga Road you come out at a large and slightly confusing intersection where O'Sullivan Road meets Old South Head Road, Curlewis and Blair Streets. Watching for traffic, cross over to Blair Street on the green light and follow Blair along to North Bondi and Ben Buckler, where there are more views overlooking the beach and the ocean, before finally going down to Bondi Park and the beach itself.

Alternatively, to avoid the climb up to Bellevue Park, from Double Bay turn left onto often busy New South Head Road and follow it over an moderate climb past Cranbrook School and Point Piper to Rose Bay, where there are marinas, restaurants and parks. Turn right at O'Sullivan Road and follow it along past the golf course on the left to Old South Head Road. Cross over to Blair Street as before.

Return to the City: At the south end of Bondi Beach, climb up Campbell Parade to the start of Bondi Road. If sufficiently confident in Sydney traffic and wanting the most direct route back, follow Bondi Road up to the top of the hill at Bondi Junction. Do not take the By-Pass Road, but at Council Street go straight ahead (not right) onto Waverley Street, down the hill, and go through the Oxford Street Mall. You can take the train from the station here back to the City, or follow Oxford Street on a long mostly flat then down hill run through Woollahra, Paddington, Taylor Square and emerge in the City at the south end of Hyde Park (Liverpool Street).

For an alternative way back to the City from the southern end of Bondi, turn off to the left at Sandridge Road just where Bondi Road turns right up the hill from the end of Campbell Parade. Sandridge Road turns into Gaerloch Avenue and Tamarama Marine Drive, and follows the cliffs past Tamarama Bay to Bronte Beach, a small beach with a lovely picnic park stretching back into the valley behind. You can take a path down to Bronte Beach or, to head for the City, turn right into Bayview Street then left into Hewlett Street. Follow Hewlett to a right turn at Alfred Street and go along to Birrell Street. Turn left, and follow Birrell all the way (about 2 kilometres, and downhill towards the end) to York Road. Turn left and shortly before the next bend turn right with care into an entrance to Centennial Park.

Centennial Park. This large park has a one way clockwise road system, which if followed about 2 kilometres around to the left will bring you to a main entrance at Robertson Road. Cross carefully to Grand Drive, a car-free boulevarde paralleling Lang Road that leads to Anzac Parade. Cross Anzac Parade to a cycle path along Cleveland Street to South Dowling Street. Cross South Dowling Street on foot and, depending on traffic, which can be heavy on this narrow road, walk along the footpath or ride along Cleveland Street to Crown Street. Use the pedestrian lights to make a right turn off Cleveland into Crown Street. Turn left at Devonshire Street. Then turn right into Riley Street and follow a marked bicycle lane (a rarity in Sydney!) all the way to Oxford Street, where a left turn will bring you shortly to Hyde Park and the City.

Take care, and enjoy the ride. Remember to take some water and use a sunscreen. To make the ride easier you could take the ferry to Rose Bay from Circular Quay (weekdays) or take the train to Bondi Junction from Town Hall or Martin Place. The bike route from Circular Quay to Bondi is about 13 km. Bondi to Hyde park via Centennial park is about 12 km. Round trip 25 km.

More rides around the beaches and other parts of Sydney and New South Wales can be found in Cycling Around Sydney and other publications, available from Bicycle New South Wales Phone 02 9704-0800 or info [at] bicyclensw [dot] org [dot] au is the spot for an email.

This route guide was originally prepared by Bob Moore, from the Leichhardt Bicycle Users Group (LBUG). This group is one of several BUGS that hold regular recreational rides around Sydney for keen cyclists. Details of these rides can be obtained from Bicycle New South Wales. New and casual members are welcome. The local eastern suburbs group is called Bike East and their web site has some great pictures of the eastern suburbs.

Last Updated - 19th June 2016
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