Saturday, 12 September 2015

Cycling in Sydney: The Harbour Bridge, Barangaroo and Blackwattle Bay


Location - Sydney, Australia
Ride - The Harbour Bridge, Barangaroo and Blackwattle Bay
Distance - Approx 25 km round trip
Terrain - Mostly separated bike path with a few short on road connections. Sealed for the full distance.
Difficulty - Flat and easy.
Highlights - The views of Sydney's beautiful harbour.


I live in Sydney so I am probably a bit biased but for city views this has to be one of the world's great cycles.  It is also flat, easy and almost entirely on separated cycle paths.  On a sunny Sydney day, and we get lots of those, there is no better place to be in the world. Now that the new section along the waterfront at Barrangaroo has opened it is just magical.




Note: I have marked the path as accurately as I can on Google maps but with the construction at Barangaroo some of the streets have changed so see this map as a guide rather than turn by turn directions

The Route - We generally start the ride on the north side of the Harbour Bridge. Catch the train to Milsons Point Station. (For route maps and timetables click - here) or park in the streets of Kirribilli. Much of the parking is limited to two hours.  There are a small number of unlimited spaces in High St. Failing that head up toward Neutral Bay and Ben Boyd Rd. You can easily finish the ride in two hours but if you plan to stop for lunch then allow yourself a bit more than that.

Access the Harbour Bridge cycleway via the steps from Burton St (off Alfred St), Milsons Pt. The cycleway is on the western side of the bridge. The eastern path is for foot traffic only.


It is not hard to recognize this landmark!

Once you have crossed the bridge turn right down Upper Fort St toward Argyle St. Follow Argyle St down and around to the right until you come to a path on your left leading to Barangaroo. If you miss the path don't worry just follow Argyle and Dalgety to the bottom of the hill at Walsh Bay and join the beginning of the path there. 


Looking down on the new Barangaroo Path
These must be some of the best city views in the world.
Is this Sydney's answer to Stonehenge? It's at the beginning of the path near Observatory Hill. The tower in the background looks like a recently landed UFO. It is actually the old Port Operations Observation Tower - sadly soon to be demolished.

The path doesn't yet go all the way through on the waterfront. When you come to the barrier turn around and re-trace your route for a couple of hundred metres until you can get through to Hickson Rd, it's not hard to find, then follow Hickson Rd until you are able to turn back towards the waterfront near the KPMG building on Shelley St. You should come out about 100 metres north of Darling Harbour Wharf.


This might be a dead-end but at least it's a pretty one!

Follow the water until the old Pyrmont Bridge; now a footpath and cycleway. Take the escalator (or lift) up to the bridge and re-join the path on the bridge. Turn right as you leave the bridge and join Pirrama Rd just before Pyrmont Bay Park. Follow Pirrama Rd to Giba Park and from there just stick as close as you can to the water. 


Looking toward the old Pyrmont Bridge.


You will wind around under the Western Distributor to the Sydney Fish Markets where you can cut through to Bridge Rd, Glebe.  The path leads off from Bridge, Rd following the water around Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays. Just keep sticking as close as you can to the water and you can't go wrong. 


Does anyone know what this is? It is sitting in the middle of Rozelle Bay. It looks like someone is drilling for oil - lol!

Eventually, you will cross the Anzac Bridge back to Pyrmont. From here you can either re-trace your steps or take a short cut up Miller Street. Once you cross back across the old Pyrmont Bridge you can take another short-cut along the Kent Street cycleway - stay high as you exit the bridge and don't go back down the escalators.


The Anzac Bridge

Cafes - 

There are so many cafes, restaurants and takeaways along this ride you will be spoilt for choice. We often stop for lunch at the Fish Markets or one of the cafes at Darling Harbour near the Darling Harbour Wharf. If you fancy a seafood lunch but don't want to compete with the sea-gulls stop at the Deep Seafood Cafe & Oyster Bar just as you enter the markets from the north. It has good food, and tables which don't get inundated by birds.


Lunch at the Fish Markets!

A Little Bit of History - 

In case you were wondering, Barangaroo is an aboriginal name. Barangaroo was the wife of Bennelong, after whom the land on which Sydney Opera House sits is named. Barangaroo lived in the Sydney area at the time of the first white settlement of Australia in 1788. 

Totally confused? Would a map help?

Click here for an online map from SydneyCycleways or go to the link and request a printed one. We find the printed maps much more useful when we are out on a bike, although David is quite a fan of Google maps. The SydneyCycleways map doesn't mark the entire route I have described because we cut through on the footpath here and there - but shhh don't tell anyone! The Barangaroo path only opened a couple of weeks ago and the map hasn't yet caught up either with it or the path around Blackwattle Bay.

For other cycle paths in Sydney click - here

63 comments:

  1. I visited Perth last June but haven't made it to Sydney yet. It is on my list for 2016. Love the idea of cycling around, will have to be sure to remember this when I make it there. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You can't miss it. Just look for the Harbour Bridge. It's a great cycle.

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  2. Hi! Nice captures. I remonded of our trip in Sydney. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks. I was a bit disappointed at the quality of the photos. I took them with my phone because I didn't have the camera with me and I was surprised at how noticeably poorer the quality was. Next time I'll take the camera.

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  3. Cycling is probably the best way to enjoy a city, but is also dangerous. I don't think I'd dare to bike in a busy place like Sydney. Beautiful photos! Thanks for joining #TheWeeklyPostcard this week, Lyn.

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    1. The path is almost completely off-road. Sydney has some wonderful and very safe cycle paths.

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  4. What an excellent way to explore the stunning city of Sydney. Barangaroo is looking to be world class and lunch at the Fish Markets is a must, which reminds me we haven't eaten there for a while. Must do soon

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    1. The great thing about calling in for lunch at the Fish Markets while you're out cycling is you don't have to find a parking spot.

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  5. Now I'm getting super-excited for our trip to Sydney in November. I imagine this ride would be really tough in the summer heat though... #TheWeeklyPostcard

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    1. It shouldn't be too hot in November. The heat doesn't really start to get bad until late December. You'll be fine just don't forget the sunscreen and plenty of water. If you cut the distance down it also makes a great walk.

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  6. This sounds like a beautiful way to spend an afternoon! I'm not big on biking myself, but with so many gorgeous bike tours popping up around the world, I'm trying to add stationary bikes to my workouts. These are some beautiful views, and I love the thought of stopping for a fresh lunch before turning around.

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    1. We took up cycling to stay fit and because walking is so slow but this path is a shared cycleway/footpath so you can just as easily walk it. The only part of the route you'll need to adjust is the Harbour Bridge. The walkway is on the east side and the cycleway is on the west.

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  7. Fab route Lyn, thanks for this! And thanks for the link to the printable map - it's probably necessary for someone as shocking as navigation as myself :D!! Cycling is a fabulous way to spend time in Sydney, especialy on a beautiful day. We love walking along the waters edge when we head up to Sydney from Canberra for a trip, though I might try and source a bike rack for the car on our next trip :)

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    1. I can recommend one that doesn't need a towbar. In Sydney we have a towbar but when we travel overseas we use an Allens. You can get them through 99Bikes. If you decide to buy one let me know and I'll have a look at the exact model. Once thing to be careful of though - if you want to carry two bikes get a three bike carrier. It just makes putting them on a bit easier.

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  8. Looking forward to giving this a try next year. I think such a great idea to see a city. How fabulous to have so much of it with bike paths.

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    1. Sydney's bike paths have improved enormously over the last five or so years.

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  9. Love this post :) we visited Sydney in 2007 and loved the city. We can't wait to take the little adventurers and cut long around the city looks a great way to make the most of it! Will definitely give it a try when we are in the are :)

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    1. If you have children with you I can also highly recommend Bicentennial park for cycling. It is a great place for kids.

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  10. Well this would beat sitting on a tour bus round the city wouldn't it! thanks for the great itinerary. visiting from #wkendtravelinspiration.

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    1. Much better than a tour bus, especially on a sunny day.

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  11. I always just imagined that we have the best cycle trails around the city in Perth, but I've changed my mind after your descriptions and trail today. Yes, what some amazing city views. What a beautiful country we live in :)

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    1. Yes, we do live in a beautiful country. We cycled from Perth to Fremantle many years ago with our boys. It was a lovely cycle; one I have always wanted to do again.

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  12. I can't ride a bike which is very embarrassing but i've done a similar walk to this and it's so beautiful. Definitely one of the best views in the world.

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    1. I am not sure if you live in Australia, but if you ever want to learn I'm pretty sure that there are courses for novice cyclists which don't cost much. If you ever wanted to do one you could contact Gear-up Girl (http://www.gearupgirl.com.au/) which is an organisation for women cyclists.

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  13. Bikes are our favorite way to see a city. Glad to learn about another great ride. Thanks!

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    1. We travel with, hire or buy bikes almost everywhere we go. You see so much more than in a car and it's a lot quicker than walking.

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  14. Such a fun way to see the city as up close as you might by walking, but you're able to cover greater distances. Bonus that it's flat and paved! :)

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  15. Bicycling around Sydney would be so much more fun than seeing it by auto. Nice article and photos.

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    1. Thank you. Sydney is a great place to cycle. I just have to get my act into gear and write up a few more of our favourite paths.

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  16. I SOOOOo want to visit Australia, just not in Cricket season.

    Sydney Harbour is one place I just want to take lots of photographs of.

    Thanks for sharing.

    John

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    1. Haha - cricket is big here but not that big. I don't think it would impact on your visit. I hope you make it one day.

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  17. What a great place to visit - I'm ready o buy my ticket!
    Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/09/nighttime-paddle-on-jordan-lake.html

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    1. Haha! Let me know when you do and I'll take you cycling.

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  18. I live in Sydney though I'm not a cyclist. Am yet to check out Barangaroo yet, so thanks for the preview!

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    1. It is also a great walk. Just cut down the distance a bit.

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  19. Those are awesome pictures, I hope I get to visit one day!

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  20. This looks like a great bike ride to bookmark for next time I'm in Sydney! Does Sydney have a short-term bike rental scheme like Melbourne does? Or are there convenient bike rental places in or near the city? One of the best things we did on our last trip to NYC was renting bikes in centre Midtown to then ride around Central Park. Getting from the rental place to the park was a bit hair-raising! (We ended up walking them the few blocks on the sidewalk, rather than risk the Manhattan traffic!)

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    1. Until very recently we didn't have a short term rental scheme and I have still not seen one in Sydney but I do recall a fellow travel blogger putting a photo up of one in Sydney, somewhere so maybe there will be a roll-out.
      We have places where it is possible to rent bikes out in the suburbs and probably in the city because we have our own bikes I have never looked into it. However, I have some cyclist friends visiting early next year and I promised to look into rental bikes for them. If I find any good ones I will share them either on my blog or Facebook.

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    2. Try Bondi Junction, there's a bike shop that hires out bikes.

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  21. Thanks for showing us what they've done at Barangaroo. It's a long time since I've been to that area - last time I was there, it was basically a wasteland of shut-down factories. Definitely a great improvement to the beautiful city of Sydney.

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    1. The bike path and walkway are just lovely. D and I were there again yesterday and there were people everywhere out enjoying the sunshine. Unfortunately, the downside seems to be that a new casino is part of the package. I think everyone in Sydney has their fingers crossed that it won't be as awful as we expect.

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  22. Well that looks like a lovely bike ride to do! If it's flat and easy maybe even an unfit me could do it? I had never heard of Barangaroo!! My sister lives in Sydney at Balgowlah near Manly! :-)

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    1. The headland at Barangaroo was only named 'Barangaroo' a few years ago which probably explains why you have not heard of it. It used to be inaccessible but is in the process of being re-developed and opened up.

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  23. So many sights! I would love to follow this bike path / itinerary. I love to cycle next to the water.

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    1. We love to cycle next to the water too. It is always so interesting.

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  24. Fantastic, I'd love to do this. Adding to my social media feed queue.

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  25. This looks like a fabulous bike ride with the most stunning harbour views. I was recently in Sydney for a long weekend and we walked from the city over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Kirribilli. We enjoyed this walk immensely, but I would love to do that cycle ride. Mmm food for thought!

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  26. This path looks gorgeous! Definitely going to save this route for when I finally get over to Australia! (Hopefully sooner rather than later!!) :D X Lauren

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    1. We have lots of other lovely walking/cycling paths but for a tourist who wants to see some Harbour views this is one of the best.

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  27. Hi! I stayed in Rose Bay area 7 or 8 years ago. So This time is my second visit in Sydney. I used to get on the water boat from Rose By to Circular Quay almost every day.I enjoyed the first trip too. Thanks for sharing.

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  28. Is there ever a bad view in Sydney? I will have to check these out (on foot) next time I go for a visit.

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    1. Is there ever a bad view in Sydney - No I don't think so!

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  29. Lovely post! I lived in Sydney for 2 years and I miss the harbour runs and bike-rides so much (from rainy Ireland!) . More things to do next time I visit people :)

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    1. You will be amazed how many new bike/walking paths have sprung up in the last few years.

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  30. What a gorgeous bike ride this is. And how fun is it to say Barangaroo!! :)
    Thanks for joining in #wednesdaywanderlust this week

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    1. Haha - lots of aboriginal words are like that.

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  31. This post is very useful for us. Because we have a lot of
    tips and tricks from this post. Thank you for this amazing post share. Thank you very much.

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