Cycle the NSW South Coast from cosmopolitan Wollongong to charming Kiama, enjoying spectacular views, ancient rock formations, pristine beaches and fascinating heritage along the way. Just a stone’s throw from busy Sydney, the South Coast is an ideal place to ride. From the protected coastal bike path to laidback Thirroul, to the inspiring views atop the Illawarra Escarpment and the largest Buddhist monastery in the Southern Hemisphere, this trip has something for everyone at a pace everyone can enjoy. And there’s plenty to do off the bike as well!

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5 Days / 4 Nights
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Cycling
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DIFFICULTY:3/5
At a glance

Bikes and beaches come together for the perfect coastal ride.

  • 26 November 2021
  • Wollongong, Australia
  • Kiama, Australia
  • Cycling
  • $1495 AUD per person/twin share
  • Australia
Map
Why you’ll love this trip
  • Cycle the stunning NSW South Coast under the expert guidance of a local leader and enjoy the perfect mix of adventure both on and off the bike.
  • Ride the flat, traffic-free cycling path from popular Wollongong to laidback Thirroul alongside some of the South Coast’s most spectacular beaches.
  • Catch incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and sandstone cliff faces from atop the Illawarra Escarpment – a sight that’s well worth the cycle up!
  • Discover both local sites and local life as you explore charming coastal towns and sample some of the finest produce Australia has to offer.
  • Combine biking and hiking with a visit to the impressive Bombo Headland Quarry Geological Site, where hexagonal columns of basalt jut up straight out of the ocean.
Is this trip right for you?
  • This trip is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations and working with new partners can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.
  • Please ensure you consult your local government’s advice regarding domestic travel prior to booking this trip.
  • Unlike most Intrepid Cycling trips this itinerary does not have a full-time support vehicle constantly following the group. Your luggage is always transported for you (by vehicle) between accommodations.
  • Due to the relatively small distances cycled on this trip, we have a single leader that rides with the group. There may be times when the leader asks one of the group to act as a backmarker.
  • To complete this trip, it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.
  • As our riding is done mostly on sealed roads with the occasional gravel path there are no technical cycling skills required. Given there will be hills, we do suggest practicing riding downhill so you are comfortable with this once the trips begins.
  • The coastal weather in this region can vary depending on the season. Be prepared to get sweaty and for the occasional rainstorm, which may require a change of plans.

Inclusions

Meals

3 Breakfasts

Transport

Bicycle (e-bike available, subject to availability)

Accommodation

Hotel/Motel (4 nights)

Itinerary

Day 1: Wollongong

Welcome to Wollongong, the coastal heart of the Illawarra region. Your adventure officially begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. You can arrive at any time before this as there are no daytime activities planned. Just an hour south of Sydney, Wollongong – or “The Gong” as it is known locally – has become one of the premier destinations on the South Coast. If you arrive early, you may want to meander through the Wollongong Botanic Garden or get close to Australian and exotic fauna at Symbio Wildlife Park. Or simply relax in one of the many outdoor saltwater pools. After our meeting, you may choose to go out for an evening meal with the group. If you are driving, take the Grand Pacific Drive through the Royal National Park. You’ll get a true highlight travelling across the breathtaking Sea Cliff Bridge that juts out into the Pacific Ocean as it follows the contours of the sandstone cliff face. It’s a small detour but well worth the effort.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Wollongong Botanic Garden – Free
  • Symbio Wildlife Park – AUD39
  • Illawarra Museum – Free
Meals Included

There are no meals included on this day.

Special Information

There is no included cycling today. It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance and emergency contact details at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. If you are bringing your own bicycle with you on the trip, you will need to assemble it to check for any damage in transit before the welcome meeting. If you have arranged for the hire of a bicycle, your leader will assist you in preparing the bike before your first cycling activity. If you are planning to stay on after the trip and require a bicycle, please discuss this with your tour leader today.

Day 2: Wollongong to Thirroul

Your first morning is a relaxed one. After breakfast and getting acquainted with your bike you’ll have the chance to further explore this beautiful area on a guided ride from Wollongong Harbour to the laidback coastal town of Thirroul. This route follows a dedicated bike path, hugging the coastline past a chain of sandy bays, including Wollongong North Beach (the city’s favourite place to swim or surf), as well as Brighton, Bulli and Sandon Point beaches. The trail is paved the whole way and with almost no roads to deal with, making it the perfect introduction to riding. We’ll take our time enjoying the coast and views of the towering Illawarra Escarpment. In Thirroul there is ample time to explore, feel the sand between your toes on the pristine beach, swim in a saltwater pool or grab a bite to eat at a local café. After lunch cycle your way back to Wollongong, then perhaps enjoy dinner as the sun goes down over the South Pacific Ocean.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Wollongong to Thirroul bike path
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information

Today’s riding distance is approximately 35 kms/22 miles, flat with around 100m /330ft of elevation gain.

Day 3: Lake Illawarra

Today’s ride is a little longer and includes a lot more climbing – but is well worth it! Your first stop of the day is Wollongong Harbour and a quick visit to the Flagstaff Point Lighthouse before turning inland and engaging your easiest gears as you spin up the Illawarra Escarpment and the Kembla Heights viewpoint. Catch your breath and enjoy stunning views over Wollongong and the ocean before a well-earned freewheeling descent to visit Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere. Relax in the peaceful surroundings then head to the north shore of Lake Illawarra, following a flat bike path all the way to peaceful Windang. After a long but rewarding day in the saddle, put your feet up or just kick back and relax by the lake. If you are still feeling active there are plenty of short walks nearby. Wander the beach or cross the bridge and hike to Windang Island at the mouth of the lake to view the famous Windang Island Wheels that have been sitting on the beach for over 100 years.
Accommodation
  • Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nan Tien Temple
  • Kembla Heights viewpoint
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information

Today’s riding distance is approximately 50 kms/31 miles, with one significant climb and descent but otherwise mostly flat, with 750m/2450ft of elevation gain.

Day 4: Kiama

After breakfast leave Lake Illawarra behind and head towards the coast on a winding, fascinating ride. Cruise through lovely Shellharbour, then detour down to the famed Mystics Beach (Minnamurra Beach), a local surfing haven. After pausing to enjoy the view, continue south to the small town of Bombo and the stunning Bombo Headland. Stop for a quick photo op at the impressive Cathedral Rocks, then park your bike and hike the circular walking trail along the headland. Admire the unique heritage-listed Bombo Headland Quarry Geological Site, where hexagonal columns of basalt jut up out of the ocean, and the sheltered Boneyard Beach. Continue to the gorgeous seaside town of Kiama. Ride past the picturesque sea baths along the harbour and the awesome Kiama Blowhole and lighthouse. The views over the ocean and back over Kiama town are truly spectacular. Tonight, perhaps visit one of the many excellent restaurants in town or enjoy the freshest of fish and chips overlooking the harbour – the choice is yours.
Accommodation
  • Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mystics Beach
  • Cathedral Rocks
  • Bombo Headland Quarry Geological Site
  • Kiama Blowhole & Lighthouse
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information

Today’s riding distance is approximately 40 kms/25 miles, undulating, with 450 m/1500ft of elevation gain.

Day 5: Kiama

Today is your final day in Kiama and while there is no cycling there are plenty of options to enjoy prior to checking out. Opt to hit the waves at Kiama Surf Beach or nearby Kendalls Beach, chill out in the peaceful Bonaira Native Gardens, check out the vibrant arts scene or – for a deep dive into local Indigenous culture, as well as the history of European settlement – take the Kiama Historical Walk. For those staying on, the nearby Kiama Coast Walk, considered one of the best walking trails in Australia, is well worth the effort. Between May and November, you may even be lucky enough to witness whales migrating along the coast.
Optional Activities
  • Kiama Historical Walk – Free
  • Kiama Coast Walk – Free
  • Bonaira Native Gardens – Free
Meals Included

There are no meals included on this day.

Important notes

1. Bicycles are included on this trip but you are welcome to bring your own bike should you choose. A discount of $AUD100 will apply to those people bringing their own bike – please ask your travel consultant for more details.
2. To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.
3. On this trip, we have a single leader that rides with the group.
4. Your luggage is transported for you from accommodation to accommodation each day.
5. Our riding is done mostly on a well-graded and maintained roads and cycle path, so there are no technical cycling skills required.
6. As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same gender. This trip is a great opportunity to get to know other like-minded people, so embrace it while you can. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details.
7. An e-bike option (at additional cost) may be available on this trip. We have limited numbers of these bikes available and they are an ‘on request’ basis only. A request does not guarantee an e-bike, only a confirmed booking. Please ask your agent for more details at the time of booking