There’s a trail, track, road or pathway for every kind of cyclist on the Gold Coast – from toddler-terror on training wheels to lycra-clad long-distance athlete. With over 2400 kilometres of bikeways and shared pathways, the Gold Coast isn’t just a surfer’s paradise, it’s a cyclist’s utopia. Whether you’re after a sedate cruise along coastal pathways or a 70km slog up into the Hinterland, we’ve got the insider’s guide to Gold Coast cycling for every kind of rider.
THE SOCIAL CYCLIST
You’re the kind of rider who likes a challenge, as long as there’s something to see at the end of it… and you probably won’t wear lycra. Try these rides.
THE DARREN SMITH MEMORIAL ROUTE
This is one of Australia’s best coastal bike rides – a 48km ride from the bottom of the Gold Coast, almost to the top. Don’t let long distance part put you off – it’s mostly flat, and you don’t have to the whole thing. Start at Coolangatta then ride a along the beachside pathway passing by some of the world’s top surf breaks. Stop for lunch in Burleigh Heads, then pedal on to the cafés at trendy Miami and Nobby Beach. The route continues beyond Surfers Paradise to Paradise Point, beside the Broadwater (a stunning Gold Coast waterway).
Currumbin Valley is one of the Gold Coast cycling’s best kept secrets. It’s not far from the beach, but you’re surrounded by rolling hills, lush greenery, hobby farms and honesty boxes where you can pick up homegrown fruit and veg. Start your ride beside the beach at Currumbin after a coffee at The Salt Mill. You’ll soon start seeing kangaroos in paddocks, beside cows and horses. Stop for lunch at Pasture & Co, beside one of the world’s most innovative eco-residential estates, The Eco-Village. Ride to the end of the valley, then on your way back stop at Balter Brewing in Currumbin Waters for refreshing craft beer. This ride is around 40km return.
THE SERIOUS CYCLIST
You’re the type who loves a challenge, rides multiple times a week and believe rewards come to those who put in the most effort.
O’REILLY’S RAINFOREST RETREAT
How are those quads? This 70km return route takes you up a kilometre of gradient into the depths of a World Heritage-listed national park, which home to some of the largest tracts of Gondwana rainforest on Earth (Lamington National Park). This is probably the most challenging of all the Gold Coast Hinterland cycling trails. Expect to do it in around 2.5 hours. You’ll start from the village of Canungra (fuel up on coffee at The Outpost along the way), before taking on hair-pin corners as you climb your way deep into the rainforest, before arriving at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. The good news is it’s all downhill coming back.
THE HINZE DAMN
The Hinze Dam route takes you on a scenic 60km ride from the Hinterland to the art-deco streetscape of Murwillumbah (across the border in New South Wales) where you can lunch at a choice of funky venues. You’ll be blown away by the scenery as you climb, from waterfalls beside the road to green cathedrals of ancient trees, descending almost a kilometre in gradient (maybe you could consider an E-bike?). You’ll start your ride outside Nerang beside picturesque Little Nerang Dam.
THE MOUNTAIN BIKER
Straight, paved roads aren’t your thing – you prefer dirt trails, rough terrain and forest all around. The Gold Coast has some treasure in store for you.
BOOMERANG FARM BIKE PARK
Boomerang Farm Bike Park is where you go to meet other mountain bike riders, especially during shuttle rides to the top of the rides, or at jam days organised for riders to compete against each other. Located in beautiful bushland at Mudgeeraba, this gravity mountain bike park has 14 trails for every kind of rider – and it’s growing. As a non-profit club, most of the admission price goes back into maintaining the park and building new rides. There’s a cool café/ bar at the bottom – another great place to socialise. There’s everything here from easy green runs to intermediate and advanced runs with rollers and table-tops, while experts can test their mettle on extreme gap jumps.
NERANG MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS
There are 1700 hectares of mountain bike terrain in the forests just west of Nerang – and they’re so good the world’s best mountain bikers rode them in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. There’s over 20km of tracks to choose between – with some, like the Casuarina Grove Circuit – easy enough for beginners. But there’s plenty of challenging single-track trails through rock glades, drop-offs and creek beds to test experienced riders. You can really explore your way through rainforest and open eucalypt forest by following fire trails but deviating off into tight single tracks.
THE FAMILY BIKER
Maybe you’ve got a little one riding tandem with you in a bike seat, or a toddler on training wheels. You want to cruise flat, smooth paths away from busy roads.
BURLEIGH HEADS ESPLANADE PATH
Forget the O’Reilly’s uphill ‘slog of the quads’, as far as Gold Coast cycling goes, this is as leisurely as it gets. This shared pathway accommodates pedestrians and cyclists on a nice, wide, flat walking track runs parallel to the beach from Burleigh Point to Miami and beyond (it’s part of the Darren Smith Memorial Route). This ride is a meander through beachside parkland and pandanus trees, where you’ll have stunning views of the ocean as you ride along. There’s some great stops along the way for coffee and ice-creams or a play on the numerous playgrounds dotted along the foreshore. Aim for lunch in Miami or Nobby Beach where there’s plenty of family-friendly cafes and restaurants.
MAIN BEACH TO THE SPIT
Another good one for those on training wheels, but bigger kids will love it too. You’ll start just north of Surfers Paradise at Southport Surf Club and make your way along foreshore parks and past iconic hotels along The Spit, like Palazzo Versace. Stop for a coffee there. Sea World is on your left next, listen out for the sound of roller coasters and kids screaming with delight in the water park. You can deviate left into stunning bays along the way for a swim, and stop off at Southport Yacht Club on the way back for a cold drink or a lunch stop.
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