Could there be a better way to explore Newcastle’s coastline and working harbour than on two wheels? Get out and amongst it – salty breeze on your face, wind in your hair and dolphins cavorting in the rolling waves. No bike? Fear not. Newcastle’s electric bike share, BYKKO, makes it a cinch to explore three of Newcastle’s most scenic e-cycling routes. Lycra optional, helmets not.
On yer e-bike: three of Newcastle's best e-cycling routes
Tug boats, waterside bars and hungry birds
Distance: short, 4.9km, one way
Tug boats, kayaks and hungry pelicans are highlights of this harbourside cycle route. Collect your BYKKO bike at one of several CBD docking stations (including Wheeler Place) and head for the Honeysuckle precinct, home to the Newcastle Museum and a plethora of waterside pubs, bars and eateries.
The pathway skirts Newcastle Harbour, the eastern seaboard’s largest port and home to busy tugs, sail boats, cruise ships and enormous freighters. Just past the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club and fish co-op a wooden boardwalk takes you beneath the Cowper St Bridge where anglers are typically found dangling a line. Beyond, cycle alongside the calm waters of Throsby Creek (which flows into the harbour) where young sailors are often seen going through their paces and water birds fish for lunch.
The route forms part of a cycle route linking the city and Newcastle University’s Callaghan campus. Loop back to your start point or head to the BYKKO docking station at Newcastle Interchange.
The Bathers Way
Distance: medium, 6km one way; 12 km return
Sydney has the Bondi to Bronte Walk; Newcastle has the Bathers Way - minus the crowds. This coast hugging trail stretches from Nobby’s Beach where historic Fort Scratchley proudly stands guard all the way to Merewether, home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest ocean baths.
Join skaters, joggers and striding mums with kids and fur babies in tow. Cycle past the Cowrie Hole and historic Newcastle Baths before circling Newcastle Beach where surfers wait for a wave off Shark Alley.
From there make the climb to Newcastle’s magnificent King Edward Park (you’re on an electric bike so it’ll be easy). At Strzelecki Lookout stop and take a stroll along the magnificent clifftop Anzac Memorial Walk (bikes not permitted) with its 360-degree vistas of Newcastle’s coastline to the Hunter Valley beyond. Loop back and coast down to Bar Beach and up and over to Merewether, home turf of former Silverchair front man Daniel Johns, four-time surfing world champion Mark Richards and Surfest. Reward yourself with a swim or a well-earned cold ale before making the return ride. You can also do a longer ride via Cooks Hill, the Junction and Hamilton.
Seals, shipwrecks and Sunday sessions
Distance: long, 25km
Spot sunbaking seals, Newcastle’s iconic lighthouse and shipwrecks on this coastal ride known as the ‘Breakwall to breakwall’. Coast out along Newcastle Breakwall with Nobby’s Light House looming above, keeping an eye out for seals on the rocks below. Loop back and follow the harbour with its flotilla of boats, winding your way through Honeysuckle, Maryville and on to the gritty inner-city suburb of Carrington. From there return to Queens Wharf and make the short dash across Newcastle Harbour on the Stockton Ferry (bikes travel free; passengers need an Opal Card) which runs every 15-20 minutes.
From Stockton cycle along the Hunter River to Nelson Bay Rd before circling back to Stockton Break Wall. Keep an eye out for the wreck of the Adolphe, which came to grief in 1904. The remains of several shipwrecks were incorporated into the break wall during construction and is now known as Shipwreck Walk. Return your bike to Nobby’s Beach or Queens Wharf, a popular watering hole especially on lazy Sunday afternoons.
If you prefer someone to lead the way, book a guided cycle tour with Pineapple Pedals.