Location - Sydney, Australia
Ride - The Cooks River Cycle Way
Distance - 63 km (return) approx
Terrain - Mostly separated bike path with a few on road connections. Sealed for the full distance.
Difficulty - Flat and easy.
Highlights - Sitting watching the planes take off and land on the Botany Bay runway.
Canterbury Council info - Click - here.
Another beautiful Sydney cycle path! With much of the trail running along the Cooks River, the scenery is magical. At the mouth of the river, the path runs past the airport until it joins the Grand Parade at Botany Bay. This is a great place to have lunch. There are great views across to Sydney Airport where you can watch the planes land and take off from the Botany Bay runway. David likes to get his smartphone out here, log in to FlightRadar, and give me a running commentary on flight paths and destinations. Have I mentioned before that I am married to one of the world's great talkers?
|One of the prettiest stretches of the Cook's River|
The Route - We generally begin at Chain of Ponds Nature Reserve. The path is well marked with clear signs and maps every few kilometres. At Tempe Station it briefly disappears into the station car park, reappearing again at the southern end of the car park where it leads into an underpass just before the Princes Highway. After crossing the river, turn left into Cahill Park and right at Marsh Street. Connect again with the path just before it ducks under the M5 east, or better yet come armed with a street directory and work your way, as we do, through the back streets via Robert Lane and Valda Avenue. This way avoids the very busy Marsh St. You need to ride along the Pacific Highway for a couple of hundred metres but we take the footpath for this bit. It is technically illegal to do so but I'd rather be fined than flattened by semi-trailer.
|Just past Tempe Station|
Once you emerge from the tunnel under the M5 it's a final easy run to The Grand Parade and Botany Bay.
Just before reaching Botany Bay the path runs for a few kilometres adjacent to several acres of Chinese market gardens. A throwback to the past, in the middle of what is otherwise an ordinary inner suburb, we often wonder how these gardens have defied the attentions of property developers. For a local blogger's description of the gardens and their history click - here.
|Chinese market gardens not far from Sydney Airport.|
For some reason this ride is always longer on the way home but there is no shortage of landmarks to give a mental checklist of how far you have to go. An underpass just a few centimetres too narrow to ride through, acres of football fields and the spot where the tidal nature of the river ends and it quite abruptly becomes just a trickle.
Cafes - There are surprisingly few cafes along the route. The Adora Handmade Chocolate Shop, Marrickville does tea/coffee and chocolates if you are desperate for a sugar hit and the C Side Seafood Cafe at Brighton-Le-Sands does a pretty good fish and chips meal.
|Looking across to the runway at Botany Bay - you can just see a Qantas plane landing.|
Extending the ride - It is possible with a few on road connections to start this ride at Parramatta by connecting with the Parramatta River path. - Click here for a description. While we always turn around at Brighton-Le-Sands the path continues along next to The Grand Parade until it crosses the Captain Cook Bridge at Taren Point. A few streets past the bridge a new path begins which takes you all the way either to Kurnell or Cronulla.
Have you cycled, walked or run this path? Do you have a favourite cycling/walking/jogging path?