When you can find a national park that has smooth roads, or great gravel. That's where the magic happens!
We're lucky enough to live near the Kuringai National Park with the beautiful West Head and Akuna Bay rides. The West Head ride takes you on beautifully smooth but undulating roads (until you get to the wall and it's as tough as it sounds) all the way out to the West Head Lookout where to can look over to the Central Coast and Palm Beach. The view at the end is spectacular but the quiet roads and national park on the way out is also worth the ride.
Akuna Bay is right next to it, and you can do both at the same time if you're looking for distance and elevation. The Akuna Bay ride drops you down to sea level where you often see beautiful mist over the perfectly still waters.
On both these rides you regularly see lots of birdlife, including black cockatoos, and wallabies or echindnas if you're lucky. The flora is spectacular with Salmon Gums lining the road, flowering bursting in spring and at the right time of year bright red waratahs.
Bicycling Australia describes the route like this:
With access via Church Point or Terrey Hills, much of the cycling in this area is over smooth, well maintained and relatively traffic-free roads. Take the West Head challenge during the week and your likely to see far more bikes than cars!
A popular option is to ride from Church Point (near Bayview) then follow McCarrs Creek Rd towards Terrey Hills before turning right at the well-sign posted Akuna Bay turnoff.
From here you’ll be predominantly descending General San Martin Drive toward the calm and quiet Akuna Bay marina. Note the turn off the Cottage Point half way down the hill on the left hand side – for those up for a serious challenge the 8km return trip features one of the steepest climbs in Sydney … at 20 + percent gradient. It’s definitely not for the faint hearted but a good one for the bucket list.
Set amidst a picture-perfect marina filled with multi-million dollar boats, Akuna Bay has a laid back, remote area feel about it. There’s an award-winning restaurant and fantastic cafe onsite. The coffee and cakes are wonderful but remember when it comes time to leave the only way out is up!
Continuing the clockwise Akuna loop, the road follows Coal and Candle Creek before climbing toward West Head Road. With a number of challenging Strava segments along the way and distance to go information painted on the roadway, you’re in for a 3km climb with gradients ranging from 6 to 8 percent.