18 great bike rides in the Narooma - Tilba - Bermagui area of the New South Wales Far South Coast
Harold Buckeridge Lookout and Scenic Road to Central Tilba
Return distance 55 kilometres
Start: Apex Park
This is one of the most delightful rides in the Narooma area. Shortly after the start, there is a lookout with views over Narooma and Wagonga Inlet. There’s a walk through the rainforest, and a ride out to the National Trust village of Central Tilba. The return route is through the Bodalla State Forest and around Forsters Bay to the start of your ride.
Although this ride involves only four hours of cycling, if you allow a full day for this ride, you can be sure of having plenty of time to look at the views along the way, and to spend sufficient time in Central Tilba.
This ride can be started anywhere in Narooma, but Apex Park near the northern breakwater is a convenient starting point.
Start from Apex Park
Ride north along Centenary Drive from Apex Park until you come to Dalmeny Drive. Turn left and cycle to the Princes Highway, a distance of about one kilometre.
Turn right into Princes Highway. Although this ride involves riding on the Princes Highway for about one and a half kilometres, there is a shoulder, and it should be possible to keep out of the way of vehicles. Keep in mind though that the highway can be very busy during the main holiday seasons.
After one and a half kilometres from the junction with Dalmeny Drive, turn left into Kianga Forest Road. You will be greeted by a long hill. Persevere for about ten minutes—the road levels out.
There are a couple of forest roads on your right—the first is Bell Ridge Road, the second is Red Knob Road. Ignore both of those.
To the lookout
About half a kilometre from Red Knob Road, there is a junction. Box Cutting Road is on the right, but for now go straight ahead to the Harold Buckeridge Lookout—there’s a sign to the lookout. It’s a bit over one kilometre along this road. The lookout is at the end of the road at the TV mast. There is a viewing platform, and this provides excellent views of Narooma below, with its waterways, and views of Montague Island.
Retrace your route back to Box Cutting Road and turn left.
A walk in the rainforest
About one kilometre from the road to the lookout, there is a rainforest walk. This is a credit to Forests NSW and to the Green Corp who constructed the track through this forest. By taking this track, you will be able to appreciate the typical rainforest of the south coast.
Keep a good lookout for the beginning of the rainforest track. There is a sign on the left marking the beginning of the walk, but the start is not well defined. Although the track is under one kilometre in length, allow at least half an hour to enjoy it.
The track can be wet, and is very fragile. Please don't ride along this track, but keep it in good condition so others after you can enjoy it too.
The Scenic Drive
Back on Box Cutting Road again, and after about another kilometre, there’s an intersection. The road ahead is Tobacco Pinch Road, but turn left into Scenic Drive.
The Wagonga wharf
You now have a fast three and a half kilometre downhill run before the next hill—which is nothing too big, just a gentle climb for another two kilometres until you come to the turnoff to the Wagonga wharf on the bank of the Wagonga Inlet. This makes an ideal spot for refreshments.
There is a barbecue there, benches and tables. This wharf replaces the old wharf about a kilometre further north of here, but that area is now closed. The remains of the old jetty are still there, but that area no longer accommodates the large 400-ton steamers it did during the latter part of the 1800s.
Okay ... that's enough rest.
To Central Tilba
Back on the Scenic Drive again. After nearly five kilometres you will come to a relatively open area, the occasional farm, and then a large wooden bridge and road junction. The road ahead returns to Narooma along the Scenic Road. Don’t take that one but turn right into Punkalla Road. This will take you to Central Tilba.
After about another five kilometres you will come to the Mount Dromedary turnoff. The ride to Mount Dromedary is described under Ride 11 starting from Central Tilba.
Continue on for another three kilometres to the next junction. To the left is Ridge Road, and that’s the one that will take you back to Narooma. For now, turn right.
Central Tilba is five kilometres from this point. Although there are some hills, they are not very severe.
The Tilba area
On your approach to Central Tilba, take in everything this area has to offer—the green fields, small farms, distant views of the ocean, and the colours of Central Tilba. The colours are provided by the weatherboard shops and houses, the Jacaranda trees in bloom during September, and other exotics growing in the village.
While you are at Central Tilba, consider two other rides. They are Ride 8 to Little Lake (eight kilometres return), and Ride 10 to Tilba Tilba (four kilometres return). But you would probably want to cycle to these places at another time.
Back to Narooma
The ride back to Narooma along the Ridge Road will take you between one and one and a half hours, so you can calculate how long you can stay in Central Tilba.
As described on the page about Central Tilba, most people can comfortably spend several hours in this historic village, looking at the shops, sampling the cake and pastries from the bakery, and trying the coffee from various cafes.
On your return to Narooma, retrace your route to the junction with the Punkalla Road. Go straight ahead—you will now be on Ridge Road for the next five kilometres. There are a few mild hills on your return, but they should not present any degree of difficulty.
You will come to a road junction. Ignore the signs, as they are misleading—they are intended as the shortest possible distance to Tilba along the highway.
Turn left, go down the hill on the sealed section of road for about one kilometre. Cross Corunna Lake. You won't see much of the lake—here it’s only an arm of the lake and a small narrow bridge.
Climb the hill, and you are now only ten kilometres from Narooma.
Sounds of the bellbirds
Soon you will come to the bitumen road and the start of the bellbirds.
After six kilometre from the last turnoff, there is another major road junction. The road to the left goes to Mount Dromedary and the Scenic Road you were on earlier in the day. Keep going straight ahead, and Narooma is about four kilometres further on.
At the highway, turn left until you come to the Narooma Plaza on your right—there is a wide shoulder on the road on that section, so you should be able to keep out of the way of most vehicles.
When you are almost opposite the plaza, look out for Davidson Street on your left. This is a short, steep road, so make sure your brakes work!
Around Forsters Bay
At the bottom of the hill, turn right, and soon you will pick up the Forsters Bay cycle track. Follow that to the Princes Highway, cross the road, go over the bridge, over the boardwalk, and you will be back at the start of your ride.
Map for Ride 7.