Love your bike? Love the great outdoors? Pretty sure your kid(s) will dig these things too? We’re here to help get you all out amongst it. So, switch up screens for the satisfying crunch of dried leaves under rubber – From the smooth urban, to the downright dusty, these top 9 awesome bike trails in NSW national parks will have you hi-fiving the weekend. Parent win!
Perimeter trail, Ku-ring-gai Chase National ParkView this post on Instagram
Terrey Hills is a lush green area just north of Sydney. It offers the two-wheel-loving family an easy, 7km trail; the Perimeter trail and a great lookout. Kids as young as 7 have reported loving this track! This trail caters for walkers, horse riders and cyclists, so expect to encounter all three on this green adventure! It’s Aussie bush of the finest order up here – full of beautiful grass trees and Sydney red gums; red limbs soaring to the blue skies above. Plenty of places to pause and ‘look out’ – all your senses bathed in native Australian wonder.
The Perimeter trail is in the West Head precinct of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Get there via the A3 to Terrey Hills or Mona Vale Road. Parking is available there.
Burramoko Ridge (Hanging Rock) trail, Blue Mountains National ParkView this post on Instagram
Just up the road from Blackheath, you’ll find Burramoko Ridge (Hanging Rock) trail, sublime 10km, 2hr return-trip ride hungry for your tread. Pedal your group along the ridge, deep-breathing the freshest-of-fresh Blue Mountain air. The track is graded medium, so best suited to older kids 12+ with good fitness! Expect to puff and sweat some.
The ride culminates at Baltzers lookout, also known as Hanging Rock – and for good reason. The rewards are served up generously here; golden cliffs, heavy drops, huge vistas. Be dwarfed by nature’s epic beauty.
Ranger Tip: Please take extreme care there are no barriers at the end of the trail, as you’re up very high and exposed, stay well away from the cliff edges. Especially when taking photos.
Just over 2hrs drive up the M4 from Sydney (parking near the gate), or why not take a train? Get off at Blackheath. You can’t go past Opal Card Sundays to save some coin!
If you’ve got time left over, check out Govetts Leap – another impressive neighbour of Blackheath – and one of the most famous lookouts in Australia.
Thredbo Valley track, Kosciuszko National Park
Thredbo serves up more than just great skiing – it’s quickly becoming equally known for mountain biking. At 16.7km one-way, the Thredbo village to Bullocks Flat section is a shared-use track, serving up lush Alpine scenery, huge rock formations, water features, twists, turns and bridges (5 of them!). The scenery is nothing short of spectacular. The trail is graded for the beginner through to intermediate, but kids will need bike-confidence and stamina to tackle the whole trail; we suggest fit kids aged 12 and up. Younger kids can take on the lower-end of the trail; starting from Thredbo Diggings campground to Bullocks Flat (5.4km return).
You’ll find the Thredbo Valley track 5 ½ hrs drive down the M321 from Sydney, or just 2 ½ hrs drive on the B23 from Canberra. An awesome weekender.
Pennant Hills West Pymble fire trail, Lane Cove National ParkView this post on Instagram
So close, but oh-so-far from Sydney! You’ll find the Pennant Hills West Pymble fire trail at the top-end of Lane Cove National Park. It’s a picturesque 3km, medium-grade trail through peaceful eucalypt forest with lashings of impressive eye candy – both of the natural and man-made variety – the Sydney skyline performs for parts of the trail. This one’s for kids 14+ although short, there’s some tricky (technical) parts and steep areas. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of scenic spots (which includes Devlins Creek and Whale rock) where you can catch your breath and picnic.
The park is a dial-a-day-out for families; loads of other trails for walking and over 35 picnic areas – there’s even rowboats for hire! Pack up the kids and make a day of it. If you can’t be bothered to BYO, there’s the bonus onsite cafe which has a range of freshly prepared meals, drinks and ice-cream.
Reminder: bikes can only be ridden on fire trails and are not permitted on walking tracks.
Warrah Trig cycling loop, Brisbane Water National ParkView this post on Instagram
Brisbane Water National Park is loved by Central Coasters for its variety of walking tracks, lookouts and picnic spots. The 10km mid-grade, Warrah Trig cycling loop follows the ridge between Patonga and Pearl beach covering the best parts of the national park.
Park your four wheels at Warrah Trig carpark and settle into the saddle for the 10km loop. You’ll be starting out at Warrah Trig. Fly like a (native sea) eagle… They’ll keep a wise watch over you in these parts.
Along the way (about ½ way) the Warrah lookout makes the perfect pit stop with views in the distance of Barrenjoey headland, across the Hawkesbury river to Brisk Bay and Patonga, take a minute to take it in.
Tip: the Waratah is known to make its dazzlingly fiery red appearance at the lookout in late-winter.
This cycling loop is a good challenge for older kids (14+) as it requires a bit of cycling along main roads. Caution: Pearl Beach Drive is narrow, steep and windy. Take extreme care on this section of the road and make sure you are highly visible to other road users.
A hearty breakfast prior: essential! There are cafes in Patonga Beach for eat-out treats.
Ranger Tip: Help us look after our tracks. If you’re using a walking track at any point, please dismount and walk your bike. As some of the Warrah Trig cycling loop requires cycling along a main road please exercise caution.
Plateau Circuit Loop, Bindarri National ParkView this post on Instagram
Waterfalls and two-wheeled ‘wows’ just a short drive from Coffs Harbour, anyone?
The 26km, Plateau Circuit loop trail is graded medium – but the remote, lush subtropical rainforest is anything but! It’s a 3 hr investment, so kids and parents will need fitness and stamina – we suggest ages 14+ tackle this loop.
Know the dappled light that winks through the trees as you cruise along the trail? You’ll get it in spades here, along with fresh air and quality of presence only found in nature. The beautiful Bangalore Falls and Urumbilum picnic areas offer great de-mount-and-lunch moments. Bring your phone/camera – the natural amphitheatre and deep pool at Urumbilum Creek gorge begs to be snapped, filtered, tagged and posted. If not now – later.
The Plateau Circuit loop trail is found in the Western precinct of Bindarri National Park. Parking available at the start of the loop.
Reminder: there is no mobile phone signal available along the loop. Don’t forget to carry a first aid kit and a repair kit.
Bundanoon Cycling Route, Morton National Park
On the Western side of the renowned Kangaroo Valley lies Morton National Park– home to the Bundanoon Cycling Route. 14km of easy and undulating track winds through open forest, teeming with banksias. It’s a great family day out – but kids will need to go the distance… We suggest it’s best for kids aged 9+.
Did you know? The Aboriginal people, at home in this area for over 20,000 years, gave Bundanoon its name, meaning; ‘place of deep gullies’.
Count the satin bowerbirds, green catbirds, lyrebirds, eagles, falcons. Actually don’t – keep your eyes on the trail. You’ll need to push your bikes along the short walking paths to Tooths, Sunrise Point and Grand Canyon lookouts. It’s in your best interest though… best to have two feet firmly planted for these epic views!
Morton is less than a 2hr drive from Sydney on the M31, 1½ hours from Wollongong on the Illawarra Highway. Parking is available at Gambells Rest picnic area, as well as on the streets of Bundanoon.
If you haven’t brought your own wheels, why not rent a bike – or four – from Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe Cafe near the railway station? As with most things – best to call first.
Five Mile Mountain Bike Trail, Murray Valley National ParkView this post on Instagram
Five Mile mountain bike trail at Murray Valley serves up a five-star experience for mountain bikers and families – it’s arguably the best place for mountain biking in the Riverina region. AND there’s an awesome picnic area; the Five Mile Picnic area. AND because the trail is in a regional park within the broader national park, you can bring your dog on a lead – a rarity, for the good reason of protecting native wildlife.
The track itself spoons a bend in the grand Murray River, on the NSW side. The 7km trail is suitable for all skill levels, kids 7 and up – or even younger mountain-bike pros! It’ll have you bombing it in no time (mountain biking speak for killing it!).
8 hours on the M31 from Sydney. If you’re heading up from Melbourne, the M39, M79 or B75 will have you there in under 3 hours. Plenty to do nearby, including awesome camping at Benarca. Stop and stay a while – make a holiday of it! Parking is available at the track.
Livingstone Multi-Use Track, Livingstone National Park
Livingstone National Park is just down the road from Wagga Wagga (a 5 hr drive down the M31 from Sydney). The 4.3km looping Livingstone multi-use track is enjoyed by walkers, horse riders and cyclists especially in spring, when it’s known to be blanketed in stunning wildflowers. Seen a Rusty Spider Flower recently? You will here!… Along with cypress pines, scribbly gums and over 185 species of winged friends – the park is a birdwatcher’s delight.
The track is graded easy and estimated to take only an hour for cyclists – do-able for young kids. We suggest ages 6 and up.
Did you know? Many plants in the region were once used by the local Aboriginal community to make shields, medicine and boomerangs. So when here, take a moment to reflect on the natural wisdom of the native Wiradjuri people – the largest Aboriginal group in NSW. Respect.
Though spontaneity has its upside, the great outdoors doesn’t always agree! It pays to do some prep before you go. Here are some of our favourite tips.
- Check the NPWS site ahead of your planned visit, or call the Park visitor centre: in the cooler months, there may be planned controlled burning to reduce fire hazard over summer. In the warmer months, total fire bans can close tracks and parks. Best to check for all alerts before you go.
- Know your weather, with BOM’s handy tips.
- Download the NPWS App, for offline park maps, guides and important info when you’re in a national park and may not have internet access or mobile reception.
- Pack lots of water (at least 2L per person) and snacks.
- Pack a helmet for all riders.
- Pack a puncture repair kit and don’t forget your pump!
- Bring tissues, wipes, a basic first aid kit and your own rubbish bags.
- Charge your phone ahead of time – for happy snaps – or bring your SLR.
- Tell someone where you’re going ahead of your trip, fill in a trip intention form.
- Consider whether you may need a PLB (personal location beacon)
- Download the Emergency+ App.
- Leave no trace, stay on track.
Finally, here’s to you for getting you and yours out there! You’re making your kids’ lives; one bike ride at a time.