This is a very pleasant ride following the cycleway along the northern beaches. In some places the cycleway is tarmac and smooth to ride but, alas, in other areas the council still has this fixation with concrete and nice thick expansion joints so sections of the ride are accompanied by the regular thump of tyres bouncing over these obstructions. There are plenty of areas to picnic, swim, restock the water bottle or even buy food from the various kiosks. The return journey is about 28 km
The ride commences at Wollongong Harbour and all distances are measured from there.
The cycleway is shared with pedestrians, skate boarders, children and dogs the whole way but the first section from the harbour, past the North Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) and into Stewart Park (1.2 km) is usually the most crowded and caution is needed.
From Stewart Park the cycleway follows Squires Way along the edge of the park, past Brandon Park soccer ground and sports centre on the left to Elliott's Rd (3.2 km). Just before this junction on the other side of the road is the Science Centre inside Wollongong University Campus East - if you have kids, well worth a visit.
At Elliott's Rd the cycleway turns right and continues on the northern side of the road toward the Fairy Meadow SLSC where it turns left through Thomas Dalton Park and on to Towradgi SLSC (4.9 km) and Towradgi beach.
Corrimal SLSC (5.8 km) is the next land mark (with Corrimal Coke Works in the left distance toward the escarpment) then past Bellambi Lagoon (6.9 km) with its attendant bird life.
The cycleway now detours around the Bellambi Sewage Pumping station (cunningly labelled - Bellambi SPS 237) (8.1 km) - turn right down the lane then left onto the cycleway as soon as you are past the pumping station fence.
More beach (8.5 km) and yet another surf club - this time Bellambi (8.8 km) followed a few kilometres later by Woonona SLSC (10.7 km) and finally Bulli SLSC (11.9 km). Despite my apparent preoccupation with Surf Clubs the beaches are lovely, the views wonderful. On one side the sea, usually dotted with ships waiting to enter Port Kembla harbour, on the other side the mountains.
Finally Bulli Point (12.9 km) and a short run to southern edge of Thirroul where the cycleway actually ends (14 km). Now just 14 km to return to Wollongong but at least you know the way.Copyright © Bruce Lloyd 2005