This is a better ride than you’d expect.
Star Rating For Difficulty (out of 5): & 1/2
1&1/2 star because of Mona Vale hill from the golf course past the hospital.
Notable Sites, Cafés, and Playgrounds Along the Way:
This is a relatively flat ride with a number of good playgrounds, large sections of bike paths, and a cool dog beach.
The first adventure we get to is Warriewood wetlands. There is an awesome track through there which is a combination of dirt paths and timber bridges through the bushland and wetlands. We often do a couple of loops. There are some signs stating no bikes, 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 Bicycle NSW). However, as there is a ‘no bikes’ sign there it’s best to walk the bikes along this section and enjoy nature.
The first playground we usually come across is on the corner of Garden St and Jackson’s Rd Warriewood. It’s usually as we are beginning a second pass through the wetlands. Initially, my kids played here, but they often skip this one nowadays as they know there are better playgrounds to come. The next and the first we always stop at is Shearwater Reserve Playground as we head North West out of the wetlands. It isn’t a game changer playground. But it is shaded, there is soft fall, good climbing, spinning equipment, and slippery dips. Also, it’s rarely got many people here. If I were a local I’d be stoked to have this one across the road from my home. Don’t linger too long here though, as the playground of the day is just over ½ a kilometre away.
Warriewood Valley Playground Rocket Park is the playground of the day. It’s well known by locals, so there are always other people here, but I’ve never seen it too crowded. There’s a great rocket to climb with a cool enclosed spiral slippery dip. Just behind that, and under shade, there are more good slippery dips. There’s also a great 360 degrees (“family”) swing and much more on offer. The shade cloth and trees all provide great sun protection. I don’t think we’ve ever “escaped” here in less than ¾ of an hour. By the time we leave here we’ve only ridden 3-5km (depending how many loops through the wetlands we’ve done) and 2 hours has easily passed us by!
From here, there are some more bike paths through the back of Warriewood (in fact Warriewood is really well planned with bike paths interconnecting most of it), and the route takes us past Hungry Jacks. It can be hard to go past here without being conned into some form of “nutrition” by the kids 😉 (they do give cold water in cups for free and have toilets).
Crossing Mona Vale Rd is awkward. We feel it’s best to ride up the footpath Eastwards along Mona Vale Rd to Foley St, cross at the pedestrian crossing, and then ride Westwards on the other side of the road (the North side) to get back to Samuel St to continue the ride. From here it is footpath riding, followed by some quiet streets on the South side of Bayview Golf Club. There is one steep 50m pinch at the dead end section of Darley St West.
We ride past Winnererremy Bay playground to protests each time (“don’t worry, we’re coming back!”), the next stop is Bayview Dog Park and we usually park our bikes by the chairs next to the most Northern jetty. Whether you’re a dog family or not, this is a cracker! Get prepared for the kids to take the shoes off, run through the sand and meet heaps of friendly dogs (mostly wet) of all sizes. My youngest (6 years old when there the first time, 7 at time of writing) has a book of dogs he’s writing and gets new inspiration each time he’s there. We apparently are going to get very many new dogs, and extra breeds are added to the list by the kids each time we’re there 😉. If you’re adamant that you don’t want your kids asking you for a dog – keep a very wide berth from here 😊! After dusting off the sand and drying the feet, we roll out along the footpath / walking track to Church Point for a hot chocolate / ice cream / chocolate brownie or other nice little reward. The Waterfront café and General Store has all options from snacks to a substantive meal. It’s very serene here, and the opportunity to discuss with the kids about what it would be like to live on an island with no cars or other “facilities” like Scotland Island.
Riding back past Bayview Dog Park we now stop at Winnererremy Bay (Flying Fox) playground. This is the 2nd best playground on this route. There is a decent café (Flying Fox café) next door, but after either being coerced into Hungry Jacks or having had a feed at Church Point, perhaps this is the opportunity to pull out the snacks from the backpack. There are swings, spinning equipment, rope climb, and other equipment to play on. All on soft fall and enclosed. We allow a minimum of ½ an hour here. This is not “escapable” in less time without some protests.
Sometimes we do “The Esplanade steep hill challenge”, otherwise we make our way the quicker and flatter way to Basin Beach (the northern beach at Mona Vale Beach). The kids love looking at the different houses that have evolved here over the decades, and there is one on Surfview Rd that looks a little like the Opera House. We usually bypass the Bronze Kiosk, which on another day (noting we’ve had plenty of feed stops already) is a great place for a quality feed by the beach (perhaps on a “big person ride”).
The bike path resumes from the Southern end of Mona Vale Beach, past the golf course and the only significant hill of the day is here. Considering all the other hills on these rides, this isn’t too tough, but they’re puffed at the top. However, take time to take stock at the top of the hill, look around, and suck in the view back up the Northern Beaches. It’s glorious!
Sadly, this great bike path ends, so we resume footpath riding down to just before Narrabeen Lagoon Bridge and chuck a right just after the caravan park. The kids usually drop the bikes and run around on South Creek Beach. It’s then only a couple of hundred metres before our next pit stop at Abbot Playground, the kids just love climbing the rope structure. It also makes for a great photo with the kids in the foreground and lake in the background. From here it’s a short ride back to the car after a great day out as a family!
Parking & Toilets
We usually park around Warraba Rd or Garden St Warriewood.
- Warriewood Valley Playground, Rocket Park.
- Hungry Jacks Warriewood, should you stop in there.
- Winnererremy Bay (Flying Fox) playground
- Mona Vale Beach
- North West corner of Lake Park Narrabeen.