Star Rating For Difficulty (out of 5):
3 star because of the distance.
That being said, it’s really a very flat ride (not as flat as Botany Bay), with the only significant climbing of note being in each direction to Strathfield, otherwise all the other rises are simply small little ones. If your kids are fit, and can ride all day long, then this really isn’t a hard ride, as the rises aren’t very taxing.
Notable Sites, Cafés, and Playgrounds Along the Way:
There are a handful of turns that can be easy to miss in Bicentennial Park, Powells Creek, Homebush, and Strathfield. The first couple of times I did this ride I made wrong turns each time. They are not so much “wrong turns”, but different “adventures” 😊, but for the smoothest riding experience, it is worth pre-planning this first section. From here it’s mostly self-explanatory along the Cook’s River trail. The next points where it’s easy to take a detour are around Gough Whitlam Park / Waterworth Park, and then there are a couple of different options around Tempe / Wolli Creek which end up taking you to the same destination either way.
As this is a relatively “simple” ride (in terms of a ‘set and forget’ route for most of it), it means that as a parent there is a slightly less intense focus on where you’re going and frequent road crossings. The benefit of that is a freer mind to chat with your kids about whatever they wish. I love the “just one question Daddy” which constantly comes up on these rides. Priceless!
The bike trail along Powells Creek is more pleasant than you think, and sometimes the kids will stop to read the information boards. It’s a nice little section to soak in an unexpectedly pretty part of Sydney.
There are not as many “great” playgrounds along this route, but there is something about meandering along the Cook’s River at a chilled pace, stopping wherever the kids choose to sit on the grass for a snack, do cartwheels, find a little grass hill to ride up and down yelling out “weeeee” as they roll down the hill, and find the occasional tree along the route to climb. Many of the other rides are somewhat “structured” around playground stops, this is more of a ride until the kids take a detour for whatever reason.
We have stopped at Harry’s Café de Wheels for pies and sausage rolls in the past on this route, but we do find their pies a little peppery / spicy for little mouths. From there we usually alternate one side of the Cook’s River on the way out and the other on the way back for this section in Tempe. When there isn’t a global health crisis, it’s cool to see the planes take off and land relatively close at Sydney Airport (there is also a good view of the planes taking off and landing on the Eastern Suburbs ride from La Perouse, and the Botany Bay ride from Brighton Le Sands (and in particular Bonna Point Reserve Kurnell as they fly over you).
The farmlands along Muddy Creek Kyeemagh are an unexpected surprise. The main playground that we regularly stop off at on this ride is the Kyeemagh Kids’ Playground. It’s not a “cracker” playground, but a good reward for the riding thus far.
After 30km of riding, we all agree that we all “deserve” an ice cream from Brighton Le Sands Ice Creamery, which we then take (carefully walking the bikes in one hand and ice cream in another) to the other side of the road to enjoy overlooking the water. We enjoy watching the planes take off and land while we eat our ice creams. There is a water bottle refill station here too, so it’s worth topping up before retracing your steps back to Sydney Olympic Park.
Parking & Toilets
We park at Bicentennial Park near Café Waterview. If you’re riding with friends, the café here is a good spot to wind down at the end of the ride. Note, some sections are 2 hours and others 4 hours for parking. There is plenty of parking for at least 4 hours.
From my recollection, toilets are less frequently scattered along this ride (but we may well have missed many). The ones below are essentially at the start, halfway point, and end, so, like some other rides, it’s worth everyone taking a loo break at these points whether they think they need to or not.
- Bicentennial Park near Café Waterview
- Adjacent to Kyeemagh Kids Playground