On yer bike: The best cycling routes on the Sunshine Coast
Velothon comes to the Sunshine Coast this July, signalling the start of the Australian leg of the global mass-participation cycling series. But whatever time of the year you choose to visit the coast, there are myriad options for getting out and about on two wheels…
As you explore the rolling hills of the Hinterland and the lush coastal plains fringed by some of Queensland’s best beaches, flocks of multicoloured parakeets aren’t the only splashes of vivid colour you’ll notice powering across the landscape.
Groups of bike-riding enthusiasts, resplendent in coloured Lycra, are an equally common sight. And why not? The Sunshine Coast’s year-round temperate weather certainly lends itself to any activity that gets you out into the great outdoors.
Even if you’re an occasional social rider there’s a cycling route here for you, and seeing the coast from your bike saddle is one of the best ways to get to know this amazing part of the world.
You could certainly just head out and see where the wind takes you, but if you prefer a little more structure in life, here are some suggested rides for beginners, families, intermediates and would-be professionals.
Not all these rides are round trips, so make sure you have enough puff for the return leg. Without further ado, let’s hit the road!
Sunshine Beach/Noosa circuit
Nearest bike hire: Bike On
A visit to the holiday hot spot that is Noosa is high on the list of must-dos for many visitors to the region. If you can drag yourself away from the beach and boutiques, this circuit ride starting at pretty Sunshine Beach is perfect for social riders.
Make your way down David Low Way (past the Noosa National Park on your right) and along famous Hastings Street. Stop for a coffee at one of the many cafes that line the strip. Head back up Hastings and onto Noosa Parade, following the picturesque Noosa River on your left (be careful on the narrow bridges that cross some of the canals).
Rickys River Bar is a great spot to stop for lunch. Choose a selection of tasting plates and small bites.
Finally, follow Noosa Parade in a semi-circle pretty much all the way back to where you started. Okay, so there are a few hills in this part of the coast, but if you travel in this anti-clockwise direction, a lot of them are downhill!
Mooloolaba to Picnic Point
Nearest bike hire: Hire Hut
For family groups, this leisurely ride offers a good network of bike paths and lanes, and is largely downhill. It’s part of the Sunshine Coast Council’s Coastal Pathway.
Head down Alexandra Parade past the Alex Surf Club towards Maroochydore. Take a right-hand turn onto Sixth Avenue then double back onto the extension of Alexandra Parade and continue past the Maroochydore Surf Club towards Cotton Tree.
Grab fresh fish ‘n’ chips from Cotton Tree Seafoods and make your way to Cotton Tree Park for lunch by the river.
If everyone has had enough you can turn back here; if not, cross the bridge and continue along Duporth Avenue through the Maroochydore Town Centre. Keep heading north on Duporth until you get to the right-hand turn onto Picnic Point Esplanade. This is one of the coast’s best-kept secrets, complete with resident pelicans and lots of great spots for a paddle.
Sunshine Beach to Coolum Beach
Nearest bike hire: Bike On
The coastal route between Sunshine Beach and Coolum Beach is one of the Sunshine Coast’s prettiest drives – and it’s also a great ride! There are dedicated bike paths and tracks for much of the way, and while there are a few hills to contend with, a proportion of the ride is reasonably flat.
Peregian is a great spot to stop for lunch. Try Raw Energy with its emphasis on healthy eating, or Le Bon Delice for awesome coffee and fresh baguettes.
Nambour to Eumundi Markets (held Wednesday and Saturday)
48 km round-trip
Nearest bike hire: You’ll need to BYO
Nambour isn’t generally renowned as a tourist centre, but this road-ride to the iconic Eumundi Markets and back will challenge serious riders and take you through some of the coast’s most beautiful rural scenery.
Start with an early breakfast at the fabulous Nambour Social. Head north on the Nambour Connection Road towards Yandina – a great spot to stop for a restorative latte. Keep heading north on Bunya Road and cross under the Bruce Highway. From there it’s a short ride into the historic Eumundi township – home to the Sunshine Coast’s most popular market (no parking hassles for you!).
Once you’ve had your fill of the eclectic stalls, head for home but take a left-hand detour onto picturesque Fairhill Road. This will bring you back out at Yandina, having ridden past the famous Spirit House Restaurant and Cooking School. Take some time out for a cooling stroll through the restaurant’s tropical garden, occupied by difficulty water dragons.