Star Rating For Difficulty (out of 5):
3 star because of the hills from Queenscliff to Freshwater and from North Curl Curl to Dee Why, each way.
Alterations to this ride to make it a little easier: don’t follow us taking bikes on the bush track from North Curl Curl surf club to Dee Why headland, it’s hard yakka with a lot of walking bikes over rocks. Next time we’ll take the local roads, albeit hilly.
Notable Sites, Cafés, and Playgrounds Along the Way:
There are easier short rides to do with kids, but if you’re after different rides with the kids each time, this is worth adding to the itinerary. These beaches are beautiful. This ride is a combination of bike paths, quiet back streets and footpaths. Under current legislation in New South Wales it’s legal for kids under the age of 16 and their supervising adults to ride on footpaths.
We ride straight to Manly Lagoon Reserve Playground which is a nice, relatively quiet and shaded playground. From here it’s up and over the headland between Queenscliff and Freshwater, these back streets are quiet, but they are steep, and drop down to Freshwater beach which is a good place to watch the waves and have a little treat each after the last hill. We then ride up to Freshwater Lookout, take the bikes down the ramp, and then explore the rocks and rock pools (on foot 😊) around the headland. For us, the ride isn’t about the destination or the distance, it’s about the journey, and this little detour is unexpectedly fun.
When we’ve had enough of exploring rock pools, we get back on our bikes and ride around the footpath, towards Curly soaking up the awesome ocean views. When we get to North Curl Curl we’ll do it differently next time, we took the coastal bush track towards Dee Why Headland, however, it became rockier and steeper. It’s a lovely walk, but not somewhere for kids to carry bikes up. They did a great job though and helped each other (proud parenting moment). Instead, our plan is to take Pitt Rd and then meet up with where our original route went. Up and over Dee Why Headland is steep. We reach our turn-around point at Michaela Howie Playground Dee Why Beach which is a nice shaded playground with seats for adults and the opportunity to eat food and enjoy the view North over Dee Why beach or lagoon towards Long Reef Headland. Of course, should the family prefer something more sophisticated to eat at Dee Why, there are a plethora of places for food.
We retrace our steps back towards the car with some detours:
- We take a side adventure Westwards along the bike paths that straddle Harbord / Curl Curl Lagoon and Greendale Creek. The bike paths here are a nice meander. We do have two stop off spots. Firstly the playground at the South Eastern corner of the netball courts. Secondly while taking the bike path back towards Griffin Road, keep your eyes peeled to the left (North) for some little tracks through the bush with some cute little tree-swings.
- After 3 solid hills in a relatively short ride, we like to stop off at Freshwater shops and either get something solid at Freshie chickens and/ or Mr Gelato by Matteo, which we personally think is a cracker gelato shop! (no nothing on this blog is commercialised or paid advertising). Nearly finishing the ride with gelato is such a good way to wrap it up!
- I give the kids the option of going back to Manly Lagoon Reserve Playground or more directly down the hill to the car. The route taken depends on their fatigue levels.
Parking & Toilets
Parking can usually be found anywhere around Manly Lagoon.
- Manly Lagoon Reserve Playground.
- Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC)
- South Curl Curl SLSC
- North Curl Curl SLSC
- Dee Why Beach