Enjoy Cycling in South Australia

Travel News Asia Wednesday, 24 January 2007

If you like travelling on two wheels more than four, South Australia is a perfect holiday destination. From the 800-kilometre Mawson Trail, to short cycling paths along city beaches, there's a track to meet every mood and motivation level.

Setting the scene is the annual Tour Down Under, one of Australia's premier international cycling events, held every January. The event continues to grow in size and stature and the imagery of the event is broadcast around the world, making it one of the highest ranked cycling events outside of Europe. First held in 1999, the race features stage starts and finishes in key locations throughout Adelaide and regional South Australia. The event includes the Mutual Community Challenge tour, in which recreational cyclists ride one of the stages before the official teams hit the road.

Mawson Trail: The most famous cycle route in South Australia is the Mawson Trail, an epic trail traversing the Mount Lofty and Flinders Ranges, from the Adelaide Festival Centre in the heart of the city to the Flinders Ranges town of Blinman. You'll ride over country roads, fire trails, station access tracks, and be rewarded with spectacular views, abundant wildlife and extensive vistas over the ranges and surrounding plains. The trail can be ridden in sections or in its entirety.

Clare Valley Riesling Trail: Visit beautiful country towns and up to 30 local wineries on the Clare Valley's famed Riesling Trail, a walking and cycling route following a disused railway line through the heart of the valley from Clare to Auburn. You can traverse the 25km trail in either direction and start your journey from a number of clearly signposted side roads in each town (and even between towns). The entire trail can be cycled one way in about two hours. The trail starts in Auburn, around 90 minutes drive north of Adelaide, while bikes are available for hire in Clare.

Adelaide's River Torrens Linear Trail: At more than 35 kilometres in length, this is the longest hills-to-coast park in Australia. You can either head east to the hills from Torrens Lake near the city centre, or west to the coast at Henley Beach, and along the way you'll pass the Adelaide Festival Centre, Elder Park and Adelaide Zoo. Extensive plantings of trees and shrubs create a sense of being hidden away from civilisation.

Bike hire in Adelaide is available in Elder Park, while the Adelaide City Council has free two hour bike hire for visitors to use within city limits. Full day hire is also available with charges applying after two hours or more. Bikes travel free on Adelaide trains between 9am and 3pm weekdays (and after 6pm) and all day on weekends and public holidays.

Flinders Ranges by Bike: This new trail follows a 200-kilometre circuit from Rawnsley Park Station in the south to Gum Creek at Blinman in the north. Linking up with parts of the existing Mawson Trail, this new adventure cycling trail provides off-road enthusiasts with a real adventure.

McLaren Vale: For a great cycling day trip out of Adelaide (and with some great wine tasting) catch the train south from Adelaide to Noarlunga Station. Ride south to the old railway line that's been converted into a bike path, and head east into the heart of McLaren Vale. En route you'll find the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre. Stop here for maps and directions to some of the best wineries in Australia. If you don't have your own wheels, hire a bike from Blessed Cheese in McLaren Vale. And while you're there, grab some cheese to match with top wines as you cycle your way around the region.

Cycle Tours: If you would like to join a cycle tour, several tour operators visit some of South Australias most spectacular cycle destinations. They offer on and off road tours to suit all levels of fitness and adventure, and are usually fully catered and supported.  Barking Gecko Tours are Flinders Ranges specialists, and offer a range of tours through this specular area, as well as the Clare Valley. Ecotrek, offer tours all over South Australia and visit areas such as Kangaroo Island and the Barossa and Adelaide Hills wine regions. Barossa Classic Cycle Tours specialise in gourmet cycling trips around the Barossa and extended tours around South Australia.

See other recent news regarding: South Australia, Australia

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