Family Friendly Bike Rides In The Southern Highlands
From mountain-biking adventures to gravel rides and smooth cycling tracks.
Cycling is an awesome activity for the family to do together. The fresh air, the health benefits of getting the heart pumping with some exercise, watching the kids grow in confidence as they master new skills on the bike, and the ice cream at the end (which we say is for the kids, but is TOTALLY for the grown-ups!).
If you’ve been doing the same old route and you’re keen to change it up, here’s four family-friendly, recommended rides from the fab team at The Fixed Wheel. And don’t forget to pop in to see the guys at The Fixed Wheel in Bowral if you need to upgrade kids bikes (man, they grow so quickly!), get yourself some new helmets or other accessories, or to give your own bike some maintenance lovin’ .
Okay, let’s get in the saddle!!
1 // Bong Bong Track
Where is it :: Bong Bong Common, Moss Vale to Burradoo
How do you access it :: You can access the bike track from Moss Vale in the south or Burradoo in the north. If you’re coming from Moss Vale, turn right (and then a quick right again) into the Cecil Hoskins Access Road. You’ll see the car park from the main road. The track runs from the southern end of the car park. If you’re going to start at Burradoo, head down Railway Road past Oxley College and turn left into a small car park just before the bridge.
How long is it :: 5 kilometres from one end to the other.
What ages does it suit :: All ages! It’s a smooth and wide track with grass on either side (in case any of the kids need to make a quick, soft landing).
What to look out for :: It’s a busy track with lots of cyclists and walkers, so word the kids up on being pedestrian aware and how to use their bells to let people know they’re approaching from behind.
Why we love it :: The views! We love meandering along the Wingecarribee River on a beautiful sunny day.
2 // Penrose State Forest
Where is it :: On the outskirts of the southern village of Penrose
How do you access it :: Head into the village of Penrose from the north, then take a right turn over the railway bridge (you'll go over the railway line) about 500 metres after the train station. Turn right into Kareela Road. At the next fork you come to, veer left into Penrose Forestry Road and follow this into the forest. Take the next left at Penrose Forest Way (it’s the next fork in the road you’ll hit) and drive another couple of hundred metres where you’ll see a parking / camping area on your left. Park there if you’ve got the car, and off you go!
How long is it :: As long or as short as you like – there’s loads of fire trails! Bring Penrose State Forest up on Google Maps and take a screen shot of it before you get there. Reception can be a bit hit and miss in the forest, so it’s good to have a photo of the fire trail map handy on your phone to refer to.
What ages does it suit :: You’ll be gravel riding on bumpy old fire trails (some super bumpy, some fairly smooth), so we’d recommend it for primary school aged kids and up.
What to look out for :: It’s an operational State Forest, so there will be some cars and trucks to keep an eye out for on weekdays. On weekends, you’ll probably be sharing the forest trails with walkers, joggers, mountain bikers, dirt bike riders and people on horseback! The good news, it’s super big (stretches right across west to the Hume Highway) so there’s plenty of space for everyone to share.
Why we love it :: We love feeling like we’re in the middle of nowhere.
IMAGE CREDIT :: Amy Burch
3 // Cherry Tree Walk
Where is it :: Mittagong Road, Bowral
How do you access it :: Park in the car park next to Bowral Swimming Centre (accessed from Oxley Drive).
How long is it :: As long or as short as you would like! The pathway stretches from the Bowral Pool, passing through Venables Park on Merrigang Street, winding its way alongside Mittagong Creek until you hit Old South Road in East Bowral. You can then choose to continue along the eastern side of Old South Road on the East Bowral Bike Path towards the Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens and head into the network of paths in and around East Bowral. Or just turn around and head back anywhere along the track when you’ve had enough.
What ages does it suit :: It’s a flat and paved pathway, shared with pedestrians, so is ideal for little ones or young primary school aged kids just finding their feet on bikes.
What to look out for :: You share the path with pedestrians and people walking their dogs, so kids need to have an understanding of how to do that safely.
Why we love it :: It’s flat and easy for little ones - a great spot for them to build their confidence up. And in spring, it is crazy beautiful thanks to the cherry trees lining the path, planted to commemorate the Australian soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
4 // Welby Mountain Biking Track
Where is it :: Meranie Street, Welby
How do you access it :: There is easy access from parking at the western end of Meranie Street (opposite the cemetery). The Green Loop is good for the kids so head into the trails via the Trail Head (right near where you park) and look for the green sign posts (you’ll need to cross the Black Loop and the Blue Loop to get the Green Loop).
How long is it :: The Green Loop is just over 3 kilometres.
What ages does it suit :: The Green Loop, a mix of fire trails and single track, is ideal for primary school aged kids who are competent riders. This loop is fairly flat with some bumps and hills. While you can’t see over the bumps and hills, they’re pretty tame once you roll over them.
What to look out for :: There are some tree roots, and downhills and uphills, but they’re challenging not dangerous.
Why we love it :: If you have older and more confident riders in the family, you can hit the Blue or Black Loops. Maybe some of the family can hit the Green Loop while others challenge themselves on the harder trails and you all meet up together at the end! You know....for that ice cream.
The Fixed Wheel is a full-service bicycle shop in Bowral and is under new ownership. The guys and girls in-store are all cyclists themselves with quite a collection of championships, race wins and real experience under their belts. They definitely know their stuff! If you're keen to start cycling, you want to try a different type of cycling or perhaps you're ready to go next level, start at The Fixed Wheel.