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CENTRAL COAST AND LAKE MACQUARIE CYCLE TOUR

Descent to Frazer Beach
Descent to Frazer Beach

Brief Description: This tour is ideal for those new to cycling. The scenery is very always pleasant, with water views for more than half the trip. In comparison to other tours, there are very few hills. The comforts of civilization are always close but the high proportion of cycle ways make riding peaceful and relaxing. On top of this, the endpoints of the trip are easily accessible from Sydney rail network. Ever thought of trying out a cycling holiday without the expense of a guided tour? Or introducing a friend to the joys of cycle touring? This route would be a great place to start.

Route: Tuggerah, The Entrance, Budgewoi, Swansea, Belmont, Warners Bay, Toronto, Fassifern.

Online Maps: My original Google map of the tour includes track notes, side tracks and route variations. My newer GPSies map, while only covering the main route, gives more accurate distance measurements and also has an altitude profile. For more information on using GPSies maps, click here.

Distance: 104km with total vertical climb of 652 metres.

Altitude variation: Minimal. Most of the trip is close to sea level and does not rise above 100m above seal level. For a detailed altitude profile of the main route, see my GPSies map.

Time: A very leisurely six days for beginners to cycle touring.

Traffic conditions: Much of the route utilises existing cycle ways or shared pedestrian/cycle paths. There are a few stretches along busy roads but most of these are equipped with reasonable shoulders.

Road Surface: Most of the route is sealed and in good condition. Those who are willing to cycle across short sections of parkland or along fire trails will be rewarded with shortcuts and/or quieter alternatives to major roads. A mountain bike or hybrid would be suitable for such sections.

Climate: The Central Coast has a mild climate. Winter has the lower rainfall, while summer temperatures make swimming enjoyable. For specific climate information, check relevant pages at the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fitness Required: This is a tour for beginners. If you can cycle 15km within 90 minutes over flat or gently undulating terrain then you will not find this tour difficult. There are a couple of short but steep hills which can be walked if necessary.

Access: Tuggerah and Fassifern (the endpoints of the tour) are easily accessed by train either from Sydney or Newcastle by CityRail. Bicycles are free on off-peak services.

Maps: Several useful sources of maps are indicated below:

Accommodation: There are plenty of accommodation options in the area. This guide assumes that cyclists will be carrying tents. Cyclists without tents will have no difficulties modify the tour to meet their accommodation needs. It should be noted that accommodation may not be easy to find during peak holiday periods, especially over Christmas/New Year and Easter. During these periods, caravan parks and other accommodation providers may not accept bookings for only one night. Some accommodation directories (which also host tourist information about the region) are listed below:

When to Travel: It is advised that cyclists avoid the Christmas/New Year holiday period (busy roads and caravan parks). Ideally one would travel outside the NSW public school holiday periods if travelling in the warmer months.

Bicycle Shops: There are several bicycle shops close to the route. A list (not exhaustive) of contact details that were accurate in December 2007 are given below:

These and other business in the area may be found using the Yellow Pages.

Extending the tour: There is a cycle path between Woy Woy and Gosford (both accessible by rail). However, I know of no cycling infrastructure that links this path with that at Tuggerah Lake. The major roads linking these two cycle paths tend to be very busy and, at the time of writing, some had little or no shoulder. Those willing to navigate through traffic or across hills will find ways to connect them, but there appear to be no attractive options for those new to cycle touring. For further information about cycling between Lake Tuggerah, Gosford and Sydney, see my Negotiating Sydney (North) webpage. For some other bicycle tours in the region surrounding Lake Macquarie region, see Darrell Stone's cycle touring site.

Date Travelled: I cycled the route in mid December 2007.

© 2008-2009 Robert Taggart. Last updated 3 November 2009.