Score: 7.25/10 (8.5/10 if shorter)
What would improve the ride is what would ease the star rating, so see the next section.
Cutting it short to miss out going East from Reid Park (Mosman Bay) would make this an 8.5/10 ride.
Star Rating For Difficulty (out of 5): & 1/2
4&1/2 star because of the back end from Reid Park (Mosman Bay) to Georges Heights is really a lot of glorious dirt track bush walks, with steps and rocks to negotiate. It is ridable, but more of a group bonding exercise than a ride technically. Cutting this to a ride from Kirribilli to Reid Park return would make it an easier 3 star difficulty ride.
Notable Sites, Cafés, and Playgrounds Along the Way:
The first stop along this ride is Milson Park. It’s really pretty and simply being there and sitting on the grass looking through the flowers and palm trees in the foreground to the Harbour in the background is therapeutic. Milson Park Playground is small, but cute. If you’re desperate for an early snack or coffee, The Flying Bear has great food!
But wait, there’s more, just up a little hill and around the corner there is Kesterton Park Playground which I personally think is a cracker! It’s not super busy, it’s not huge but the play equipment is good. There is plenty of shade, yet also sunshine if you are there on a Winter’s day, and even better views over the Harbour than Milson Park. There is also HMAS Platypus just adjacent to it which is worth a roll around, and you can teach your children how to read a large compass in Oberon Park.
Next are some hills up Hipwood St and then Kurraba Rd (which we do on the footpath). The loop around Kurraba Point isn’t entirely necessary, and if you want to avoid some hills you can skip this. But if you are in need of a quick cool drink, we stop via Bakaliko and Co which is a cute little café / convenience store. We stop there for a juice, lemonade or an ice block. A nice reward after a few punchy little hills for the kids.
It’s then a ride down quiet Shellcove Rd to the Cremorne Point foreshore walk. It’s worth noting that there is a no bikes sign there (from this point to Reid Park). I am of the understanding that children under the age of 16 and their supervising adults are allowed on footpaths. However, since there is a ‘no bikes’ sign there, it’s best to walk the bikes along this section of footpath and admire the houses and the stunning views. Just after MacCallum Seawater pool we like to pull up and sit on the grass or rocks where it opens up a little, soak in the Harbour looking towards the Opera House and have some of our snacks and Poppa drinks from the backpack. It’s worth stopping via this pool for a swim on the return trip (so consider packing some swimmers for the kids). You don’t want to do it on the outbound trip, or the saltwater will cause chafing if they ride too far with salt on their legs.
We like to ride out to the point to Robertson’s Point Lighthouse – the spectacular views of Sydney’s amazing Harbour are at their pinnacle here, and the climb down the stairs and along the bridge to the lighthouse is a great adventure for the kids. It’s then a very short roll back to Cremorne Reserve Playground which has a nice, mostly shady and usually quiet playground and some toilets.
This is clearly another ride, to take slowly and soak up the views and playgrounds. The conversations with your kids will naturally unfold during this time.
We then follow Cremorne Reserve Path to Reid Park Mosman Bay, which has another nice little playground.
Reid Park is the fork-in-the-road point on this ride. You either re-trace your steps, or get prepared for hard-yakka riding.
If you choose to continue the onward adventure, it’s up and over the hill to Sirius Cove where there is another nice shaded playground and some grass to relax on.
From here the off-road adventure begins, beware of pedestrians as this is primarily a walking track until you get beyond Clifton Gardens. The dirt track to Taronga Zoo wharf has some stairs up and then down.
The ride then gets more difficult to Bradley’s Head with some large rock stairs up and down to negotiate. It’s worth pausing at Bradley’s Head where there are toilets and great views towards the Opera House.
The path from here to Clifton Gardens is the less trodden path, single track and some decent stairs (I mean large rocks) to get your bikes over. Whilst this was really hard yakka, I must say, for me it was a proud parenting moment as I watched my children work with me as a team to carry the bikes up and over these obstacles. To watch my tiny 6 year old son help his 8 year old sister multiple times lift up and carry her heavy bike (after carrying his) made me proud as punch. The point being, is that through adversity bonds are made. We may not choose to ride that section again (rather walk it), but it was an adventure that forged us stronger. May other families find a similar blessing.
Down to Clifton Gardens – the playground here is awesome with heaps of good quality equipment, good toilets and the jetty to walk out and back along too for a bit of fun. This is another place to stop for quite some time, enjoy more snacks and get your energy levels back up.
From Clifton Gardens it’s across the sand (there’s a nice little café there, but I can’t remember it’s name), up a number of flights of stairs and then the ride around Chowder Bay Rd and up Middle Head Rd, which is a solid hill, but in the easiest gear a good primary aged rider can get up it. We like to stop at Frenchy’s café for an ice block, a drink or some food. The kids quite like riding their bikes around the grass just nearby here and to the concrete pad below. From there it’s through Georges Heights, Rawson Oval and down to Mosman Junction where there are substantive options for food.
The route we have drawn up takes us back to the car via the quickest and least hilly route, however, this was done because it became dark on our ride. If the daylight hours are not limiting you, I’d personally go down Avenue Rd with the kids and then retrace the route back to the start.
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 time limits so be careful about which zone you park in. We like to start here at Kirribilli House and Admiralty House which are both beautiful and historic, and also, with a 24/7 Federal Police stationed there (although they don’t deal with local breakins and petty crime) the car is in quite a safe area.
Milson Park Playground – more of a cottage than a public toilet.
Cremorne Reserve (next to the playground)
Georges Heights, and many other options along whichever route you get back to Kirribilli from Mosman.