Cycling in Sydney Australia
For those of you who want to do some touring but are a bit pushed for time, an overnight camping trip may be just what you need. I recently did an overnighter to the Killalea State Park near Kiama on the South Coast. I used it as a chance to test out some new gear including replacing my sleeping bag with a sleeping quilt. Overnighters give you a chance to experiment with your gear and if something goes wrong it's not a big deal as you are home the next day. And you don't need to carry as much kit as you'd need for a longer tour.
Killalea State Park has 53 unpowered camping sites of which only 4 were occupied when I was there in mid-July. Facilities include a covered camp kitchen/eating area with power supply, and a toilet and shower block. The park includes a couple of surf beaches and has a number of walks through coastal bushland and around a lagoon.
Note: You need to book and pay for a site which can be done online.
The route starts at Thirroul railway station so is readily accessible by train if you are coming from Sydney. The route mainly uses cycle-paths, both shared user paths and on-road, with a small amount of travel on quiet suburban back streets. Make sure your bike has a bell as you will be ringing it a lot on the cycle-paths. The distance is about 45km. The route is poorly sign-posted in parts so I've made these notes.
You need to leave from the eastern (ocean) side of Thirroul railway station. Ride along Station Street then McCauley Street - Surfers Parade - Craig St and then left onto Hamilton Rd. The cycle-path starts at the bottom of the street at the bridge over the creek.
Follow the cycle-path for about 14km to North Beach in Wollongong. There are a couple of cafes at North Beach if you want a coffee. This is a very popular area with lots of pedestrian and bicycle traffic. At the time of writing the foreshore is undergoing massive renovations so the cycle-path is current closed here and you will have to detour for a few hundred metres on Cliff Rd. Continue on the cycle-path past WIN Stadium. The path then veers left onto the footpath and you head south past the golf course.
Beyond this point the cycle-path runs alongside the heavy industry area of Wollongong and eventually the path (and the main road) goes through the middle of the steelworks. This is quite something the first time you see it. Be careful as there are lots of trucks turning across the path into the industrial areas.
Eventually you will come to Port Kembla North Railway Station. At this point you have 2 options. Firstly you can stay on the cycle-path, which takes a 7.5 km loop to Port Kembla and back again, coming in about 1 km south of where you now are. The other option is to get onto the main road (6 lanes, 80km, industrial traffic) and ride for 200 metres. Just past the Five Islands Road traffic lights you will see a set of steps on your left. Get off the road and take your bike up the slope here. At the top is the start of Shellharbour Rd.
Ride along Shellharbour Rd. The cycle-path comes in again on your left when you cross Parkes St. This area is light industrial so you have trucks turning into businesses across the path.
The path then runs parallel to Windang Rd through to Windang. When you reach the outskirts of Windang you will need to turn left onto Wattle St, then onto Kurrajong St and when you reach the water turn right onto Fern St. DO NOT ride under the bridge but take the ramp up onto Windang Bridge. Immediately after the bridge the path runs down left to the foreshore which you ride long for a couple of kilometres. Eventually you go over a little bridge and turn left. The cycle-path signposting disappears here so I usually ride on the roads – Headland Parade – Cliff Ave – Shell Cove Rd and left onto Junction Road. The cycle-path seems to appear again a little along Junction Rd. Just before the Shellharbour Surf Club the cycle-path crosses the road and takes a circuitous route to Shellharbour Village. I usually stay on Junction Rd/Wollongong St to get to Shellharbour Village instead.
I find the Village quite pretty. There’s a pub and quite a few cafes. It’s a good spot to stop for a meal or a coffee. There is a convenience store there if you need basic supplies.
To leave, ride up the main street (Addison St) to the Shellharbour Rd lights where you turn left. This brings you onto a wide on-street cycle-path. You turn left into Cove Blvd which puts you on suburban streets. The route is then Cove Blvd – Southern Cross Blvd – Killalea Dr. This gets you to the entrance of the Killalea State Park. The camping area is about 2km further on off to the right. You need to report in to the office there when you arrive. The camping spots are quite spacious.
The next day you have 2 options to return home. Firstly you can retrace your steps to Thirroul. Alternatively you can ride a further 15km south to Kiama where you can pick up the train to Sydney. The cycle-path to Kiama starts at the old Dunmore railway station. To get there from Killalea you need to get back onto Southern Cross Blvd and follow it to the end. There is a large roundabout which you go through. Dunmore Rd is just over the rise and you tun left to reach Dunmore Station.
The cycle-path from Dunmore to Kiama goes through wetlands and over the headlands. It is quite scenic but does have some very short sharp climbs. The signposting is not always the best.
Nice post. It's funny reading about my commute as a day tour :)
I do think the detour through Port Kembla is a worthwhile one. That section between Port Kembla North and Shellharbour Road can be very sketchy with heavy vehicles and speeds mostly in excess of the posted limit.
And of course from Killalea you can head out to Jamberoo and the Minnamurra Rainforest, then to Kiama or Albion Park for the train.
> It's funny reading about my commute as a day tour :)
Yep you're right there Andrew.
Americans, as is their want, seemed to have renamed an overnight bike trip a S24O (sub-24 hour overnight). One of the key points of an overnighter is that unlike touring it’s really a chance to get away from it all for one night. Distance, per se, doesn’t matter.
An overnighter like this could be done after work in daylight savings time.