Star Rating For Difficulty (out of 5):
2 star because of the mild rise into Surry Hills, and the regular traffic lights encountered on the bike paths (mentally difficult) through the City of Sydney regions.
Notable Sites, Cafés, and Playgrounds Along the Way:
We like to start Kirribilli House (the Sydney residence of the Prime Minister of Australia) and see if we can spot ScoMo (the current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison) if he’s home. Kirribilli and Admiralty Houses are both beautiful and historic.
We then ride over the Harbour Bridge on the West side with great views of the Harbour, Barangaroo and Luna Park. Descending from Sydney Observatory, down to Barangaroo and do a loop of the top and lower gardens. There is a spectacular view of the Harbour Bridge as you descend from the top of Barangaroo.
Ride slowly along the waterfront at Cockle Bay, and at this point divert from the Kirribilli to Cabarita ride route and go over the bridge at Darling Harbour, follow the bike paths and make our way to Glebe Foreshore / Blackwattle Bay Park / Jubilee Park which is a lovely area along Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays. Jubilee Park Playground is a nice moderate sized playground with shade and a good place for our first stop at about 9km into the day.
The next playground is only another 2km into the route, small, but nice, at the end of Taylor St Forest Lodge. From here the bike paths mostly end (until we leave Sydney Park and go back through the Sydney City Council region), and we ride on the footpaths. It is illegal in New South Wales to ride on the footpath unless it is children under the age of 16 and those supervising them (see this article from Transport for NSW).
The route takes us past Camperdown Park and then to Camperdown Memorial Rest Park playground where we stop again to play. It’s a moderate sized playground with soft fall and a sufficient variety of equipment. The route from here to Sydney Park takes us through the Southern part of Newtown, along the footpath of King St. So far as footpaths go, there is a lot of pedestrian dodging, so the kids need to be on their game in terms of their bike handling and manners.
We do love our gelato, and the day we did this ride we got hit by rain at Newtown, so we were looking for cover, rather than for ice cream. But apparently according to Concrete Playground, Newtown has 4 of the best gelato shops / ice creameries in Sydney. So next time we do this ride, we’ll make sure to stop by one of these 4 ice cream joints (all of which were within a couple of hundred metres of our ride):
Another side note, we were contemplating riding through Sydney University and admiring its lovely buildings and gardens. We didn’t on this route. But next time, may pick up a take away tub of gelato, some spoons and serviettes and then ride to a pleasant bench in Sydney University for gelato.
From there we could resume the route on towards Sydney Park, or take a shorter, alternate, route back to Kirribilli, which also would have bike paths.
Sydney Park is a peaceful respite to this busy part of the world. We rode around about 3.5km of bike paths weaving around ponds, up hills and other parts of this diverse park, we could have weaved further too. It’s a slightly lumpy park in terms of some hills, and from the higher points has views towards the city skyline. It’s worth keeping an eye out for off-leash dogs that may dart in front of the bikes. The playground is really good. It’s large, has good slippery dips, climbing ropes, music “instruments” to make tunes, and other things to explore. This understandably is our main break for the day and location for or snacks.
The return route (as we do this anti-clockwise) is along the City of Sydney bike paths. These bike paths are different to those in most of the other suburbs we’ve been on. They are mostly ‘re-claimed’ road, whereby the bitumen is a grippy green colour and it has a concrete barrier to the traffic. These are good for local commuters and appear well interconnected to get into the city. As a kids’ riding route, there are a lot of cross streets, which meant a lot of stopping at traffic lights and a lot of focus on safety, so emotionally it changes a bit from a lovely meander to a get from point A to point B ride at this stage. This safety focus, obviously means that general chit chat gets interrupted frequently. The playgrounds also essentially ended on this return section. It is this return section which is why this ride is a 6.25/10, when most of the other rides are > 7/10 score. This isn’t to be a criticism of the cycling paths through this part of the world. The Sydney City Council has done a great job in retro-fitting bike paths to large areas of their territory, along somewhat narrow and congested roads. There are simply easier parts of this great city to take kids on other bike paths.
Parking & Toilets
We usually park on Carabella St or Kirribilli Ave in Kirribilli. If you are doing this on a weekday, note that there are parking limits. We like to start here as Kirribilli House and Admiralty House are both interesting to start at, and also, with a 24/7 Federal Police station there (although they don’t deal with local breakins and petty crime) the car is in quite a safe area.
There are good public toilets at:
“The Cutaway” Barangaroo
Tumbalong Park Playground Darling Harbour (if you go south underneath the bridge at Darling Harbour to the southernmost part)
Sydney Park playground