Star Rating For Difficulty (out of 5):
1 star because it’s flat, not very long, and the vast majority is on quiet bike paths.
Notable Sites, Cafés, and Playgrounds Along the Way:
This route is almost entirely on really quiet bike paths, with plenty of playgrounds to stop at. It makes for particularly good conversation. Compared with any other ride we’ve done, there is less weaving around pedestrians and other cyclists and road crossings are infrequent. That being said, the times I’ve ridden this there has occasionally been broken glass on these paths, perhaps more than other bike paths so teach the kids to be careful.
Starting from Fairfield, we meander down the bike paths and quiet streets to Johnston Park playground, Canley Vale. It’s not an expansive playground, but it’s simple, nice, and shaded. There are two more playgrounds between Prospect Creek and Henry Lawson Drive (before Seven Peacekeeper’s Monument). Each small and simple, but peaceful and infrequently played in. Then a 4th playground just after Lake Gillawarna, followed by a 5th small but nice playground at Garrison Point.
About 13km in, where the bike path meets Milperra Rd / Newbridge Rd, there is a brief section where we need to ride on the footpath, and then we follow a dead end road, followed by a disused road to get to Riverside Rd. Riverside Rd is an industrial area, so busy during the week and mostly quiet on the weekend. We like to get back into the bush and there is a cool little path, which initially is a little rocky / gravelly and then more dirt for about 400m just before Benedict Recycling that then pulls us back onto the bike path next to Georges River Dhurawal Bay. This bike path takes us to Black Muscat Park playground, which is probably the playground of the day (with Bigge Park Liverpool). Both of these playgrounds (Muscat Park and Bigge Park) are probably the best places to stop for a substantive snack, rest, and play.
Following the bike path clockwise, the next playground just near Grand Flaneur Beach is just over 1km away. It’s small to moderate size, shaded and there is an exercise equipment section next to it (rather extensive) which the kids always have just as much fun on as the play equipment.
Another 5km of riding along the bike path (with a little on footpath) takes us to Haigh Park Liverpool, which has some swings and climbing equipment over soft fall and some shaded seating area.
From here the ride is trickly for a little while, but compared to most other rides, overall it is substantially a bike path route. There is about 2-2.5km of riding on footpaths through Liverpool. It is worth noting that 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), since we’re riding as a family with kids under 16, we ride this section on the footpath, cautiously giving way to pedestrians. We generally try to find a bakery, pies, sushi or other food in Liverpool. We generally have success on either George St, Macquarie St or in Westfield Liverpool. We take our food to Bigge Park Liverpool where there is both a good selection of traditional play equipment and also water play, which is great on a hot days’ ride. As mentioned before, this is one of our two main playground stops for the day, so we spend about ¾ an hour playing, relaxing, and eating here.
After a little bit of back street riding around Liverpool Hospital Emergency Department we get back onto the bike path along the railway line and it is an easy 8km ride back to the car at Fairfield station (repeating at Johnston Park playground Canley Vale, should the kids like an extra play).
Again, this is generally one of the more quiet bike path routes we’ve done around Sydney, and without the constant distractions of weaving around other people or frequent road crossings, and noting the many playground stops (about 10 in less than 35km), this is a ride where good chats can be had while riding as a family.
Parking & Toilets
We usually park in non-timed parking near Fairfield train station.
The next time we do this ride we will pre-plan the toilet stops around café’s / restaurants to eat at. Basically Westfield Liverpool (about 25km if it’s ridden clockwise) is the safest bet for a toilet.
There was a café we rode past near Coleman Park at Rabaul Rd Boat Ramp (11km in), perhaps they have a toilet for customers.
There is also a small set of local shops on Epsom Rd Chipping Norton (about 21km in), perhaps they may have a toilet too.
There are public toilets along this route (at least half a dozen), but every one we stopped at we chose to hold our bladders as they generally were not in a very good state of hygiene.