18 great bike rides in the Narooma - Tilba - Bermagui area of the New South Wales Far South Coast

Cycling Narooma - 18 great bike rides in the Narooma - Tilba - Bermagui area of the New South Wales Far South Coast

Ride 5

Forsters Bay to Mystery Bay
Return distance 28 kilometres
Grade moderate
Start: Quota Park, Forsters Bay

This is one of those significant rides - the memories of the ride will remain with you long after you get home.

It is rather short compared with many of the rides on this site, but you will be rewarded with a trip around the historic velodrome at Mystery Bay, and some of the best coastal views you would expect anywhere.

You can start this ride from any convenient location in Narooma, but for this exercise we will start it at the marinas at Forsters Bay.

Ride south from the marinas for a few hundred metres, with the inlet on your right, until you come to a small reserve. The road ends there. There is a single track through the reserve for about one hundred metres.

You will come to another road – Gem Crescent.

There is a short hill, and you will take the second road to the right at the top of the hill.

This is a fast downhill for a couple of hundred metres along Gareth Avenue.

At the end of Gareth Avenue, turn left into Dorothy Drive, and another uphill climb for a couple of hundred metres or so.

At the top of Dorothy Drive, turn right into Cole Crescent and go a short distance until you come to the main road - the Old Highway.

The Old Highway

Turn right, and follow the bitumen for another few kilometres. You will pass the turnoff to Mount Dromedary on your right, but keep going past that turnoff.

The bitumen gives way to a dirt road. There is a fast downhill run on the dirt road, but take it easy because there are a couple of sharp bends, usually with heaps of gravel on the corners.

Cross the bridge (Corunna Bridge) over Corunna Lake, and the road is sealed going up the hill.

Turn-off to Mystery Bay

At the end of the bitumen section of road, there is a three-way junction. The road to the right goes to Central Tilba. Take the left road (actually, it goes straight on). After a downhill run for almost a kilometre, you will come to the turn-off to the winery - a nice spot for refreshments on your way back. But for now, go past the entrance to the winery and take the left road at the fork.

The road climbs slowly for a few hundred metres, but the hill is not too bad.

The Princes Highway

After about one kilometre from the winery turn-off, you will reach the Princes Highway. And diagonally opposite you, you will see a dirt road and a sign promoting Bega milk. Head for that road. Just where it meets the highway, there is a single track running parallel to the highway, only  few metres from the traffic. This will take you right off the highway.

Go along the single track for about half a kilometre until you reach the Mystery Bay Road. Where you meet that road, you will see a dirt road only a few metres from the highway, and running parallel to the highway. That's the road you will want for this ride.

Now you will be riding downhill all the way through some farming country, with splendid views of the coast, over Corunna Lake, and out to Montague Island.

Through the Eurobodalla National Park

After almost a couple of kilometres you will come to a gate. That marks the start of the Eurobodalla National Park at this part (the part extends for several kilometres both north and south of where you will be now). It is also the point where you can take a short detour by taking the left track to the mouth of Corunna Lake. Spend a little time there having a look at the beach and the rock formation just around the corner.

Now it's back to the national park. There is a small sign with a history of the old velodrome. This was built by hand in the 1890s, and the area was an important recreational area and the showgrounds for the Tilba area around that time.

The historic velodrome

The old velodrome was carved out by hand, and by using horses. It is now maintained by the National Parks and Wildlife Service who mow the grass and keep the area tiny.

You can ride around the velodrome if you wish, to pick up a feel of the area as it would have been enjoyed by the early settlers in the district over a hundred years ago. Many cyclists prefer to walk around it.

The mowed track continues. There is a lookout on the left where you get views of the coastline to the north, and the Eurobodalla National Park. The Batemans Marine Park that you will be seeing extends further along the coast in both directions, and for five kilometres out to sea.

Although it is possible to ride around the next section, many people prefer to walk the distance so they can enjoy the ambience of the area, and stop and take photographs of their trip, and to just lap up the beauty of this magnificent area of coastline.

The track continues to the point where there are views of spectacular rock formations, The track continues through some of the park until you come to Billy's Beach, with its gravel piled up on the beach. This, according to Professor Ted Bryant of the University of Wollongong, was deposited during a tsunami that hit the area many, many years ago.

At the other end of the beach, you should be able to see some wooden steps. The track continues though the park until you come to another gate - the southern end of the Eurobodalla National Park in this section.

You will now be in the Mystery Bay Camping Ground. If you have time, and if you are interested in rocks, keep close to the coast and look at the rock formations - those spectacular rock formations from the Ordovician Era. They are apparently one of the best examples of folded rocks of their type anywhere in the world.

Go through the camping ground until you reach the bitumen road - the Mystery Bay Road.

If you turn left, you can go to the picnic area at the end. If you turn right, you start returning to where you started this ride.

After a couple of kilometres, you will reach the Princes Highway. Take the single track beside the highway that you took earlier until you come to Watertank Road. Cross the highway for about one kilometre to the next junction. The entrance to the winery is at that point.

Tilba Valley Winery

You will pass the entrance to the Tilba Valley Winery. This is an ideal spot to have a coffee and a cake, take in the views over the vineyards to Corunna Lake, and enjoy some good hospitality, and perhaps even a late lunch. On alternate Sundays, the winery has live music that you will probably enjoy while you enjoy your refreshments. And why not enjoy the wine tasting and take home a bottle of local wine to have with your meal to celebrate your completion of what must be the best ride in the area. Check with the winery (telephone 02 4473 7308 ) to get their opening times and, if you are in a group of riders, to let them know how many of you will be turning up. Or go to their website for more details.

From the winery, turn right and rejoin Watertank Road for another kilometre to the junction. Tilba is to the left, but go on and take the right fork. Retrace you route back to the start of the ride.

Download Map Ride 5