Escape the concrete jungle, bring some wheeled, human-powered transport and immerse yourself in classic Southern Highlands farmland. Only 90 mins out of Sydney, Bowral is becoming increasingly known as a cycling mecca for young and old.
Cycling In Bowral
With easy access to kilometres of mostly flat, fun and twisty cycleways, you can leave the 9-5 behind and get lost on your bike for a day or two around Bowral. Then, if a day exploring on two wheels doesn’t satisfy your country air cravings, why not spend a night in a teepee complete with a mini indoor fireplace, outdoor fire pit, rolling farmland and some resident alpacas?
- Explore endless kilometres of Southern Highlands farmland on two wheels
- Get up close to the locals — i.e. alpacas, cows, horses and sheep
- Rest those cycle-weary legs with a night in a teepee on Rockaway Farm toasting marshmallows on the fire pit
- Enjoy Bowral’s local vineyards, posh country bakeries, premium brewed coffees and boutique shops
Southern Highlands Country
Bowral is the largest town in the Southern Highlands and is only 90 minutes from Sydney. This stunning historical location has enough charm to give a smiling Sean Connery a run for his money. The name’s Bowral. James Bowral.
It’s a great escape either for a day trip or an entire weekend if you want to take things slower. My last visit was over a June weekend with my 6-year-old son. My wife and 8-year-old daughter were in the UK visiting family so it was an ideal excuse for a boys’ cycling weekend. It was cold, sunny and absolutely sublime.
Before you start exploring on two wheels, fuel up on some top shelf caffeine to prepare those legs for action. Or even some brekkie if you arrive early morning. The Mill Cafe is a great spot — amazing coffee, an open log fire to keep you warm in the cooler months and plenty of room for the kids to play.
The Bong Bong Track
Weaving through farmlands, bush and lush tree-lined waterways, the Bong Bong Track is the perfect place to spend some time in the fresh air soaking up this historic heritage countryside on bikes. It’s great for all ages and has about 8km of fun little hills to ride up and down as well as plenty of relaxing flats. A good starting point is the entrance just past Oxley College, 8 mins south west of Bowral town.
Chasing The Wingecarribee River
Heading south past the surrounds of Burradoo, you’ll pass through some amazing scenery as the track weaves in and out of bush and farmland, eventually running alongside the Wingecarribee River.
Making Friends With The Locals
Along the way, you’ll pass by several friendly animals who will love coming up close to say hi. We found the horses to be especially friendly/hungry. Apparently it’s also a great location for birdwatching.
A Snack And Ride Back
We found that cycling from Bowral as far as Argyle Street was enough time to soak up the fresh air, burn off some energy and stop for a snack. On Sundays, the Southern Highlands Aero Club fly their model planes around here so if you like watching that sort of thing, there’s a bench right in front. The bike ride back was just as much fun with a fresh perspective riding the other way.
Getting Toasty In A Teepee
One of the most memorable parts of the weekend was an overnight stay on Rockaway Farm in nearby Sutton Forest, an easy 18 min drive from Bowral town. Set on 41 acres, there is plenty of farmland to explore, resident alpacas and a 5m teepee nestled in pine trees on a private campsite. Marcello and Caroline are great hosts and have everything geared for couples and families alike. The inside of the teepee is amazing, comfortably sleeping up to 4 with an indoor fireplace and plenty of welcoming touches.
Fire Pit. Marshmallows. Stories.
My favourite feature of the campsite was the outdoor fire pit. There is nothing better after a big day of cycling than to put your feet up next to an outdoor fire surrounded by nature. Before hitting the farm, we made sure we stocked up in Bowral on some freshly baked bread, giant pork sausages, smokey bacon and a massive bag of marshmallows — basically anything capable of being mounted on a stick and cooked on the fire. Firewood is stored in a nearby shed so I sent Jakey up with a cart while I put a few bottles of 4 Pines on ice and got the food and camp chairs ready.
If you want to cook something more substantial, there is an adjustable circular grill over the fire pit, a larger sized grill and an iron skillet provided as well as full undercover cooking facilities in the shed if required. Once you’ve made the perfect campfire, it’s best to allow a good hour for the fire to get going so the coals are nice and hot.
While it’s burning, keep yourself amused with a few board games or some epic rounds of ring toss. When the fire’s ready, sit down, relax, turn those marshmallows and soak up the atmosphere in a truly breathtaking part of NSW.
For the Bong Bong Track
- Bikes and helmets
- Spare tubes and a bike pump
- Snacks and water for a picnic
- Camera gear
If Staying On Rockaway Farm
- Camping chairs
- An esky for food and beers
- Head torches
- Outdoor footwear
- Warm clothes if staying during the winter – jackets, gloves, beanies
How To Get There
The Bong Bong Track Entrance
- Marshmallow toasting
The cycling we did around Bowral was beginner level and family friendly. The Bong Bong Track is a relatively flat smooth concrete path. There are some uphills/downhills, so get ready to do some chasing if you have younger kids on their own bikes.
Distance And Duration
It’s about 7.5km return from the Bong Bong Track entrance to Argyle Street. It takes about 2-3 hours depending on your cycling pace.
Get those little tykes on the trail!