Cycle around beautiful Narrabeen Lagoon
Any time of year is a good time to visit Narrabeen Lagoon. The large coastal lagoon, often referred to as Narrabeen Lakes, is half way along the Northern Beaches peninsula and is a great spot to play, whether you’re cycling, walking, paddling or swimming.
We love cycling the Narrabeen Lagoon circuit. It’s easy on my knees, it gets the kids out in the fresh air, and you can take it as fast or slow as you like!
The 8.4 km off-road Narrabeen Lagoon nature trail winds through parklands and lush ecosystems that are home to over 190 bird species, such as the black swan, powerful owl and the great egret.
Strategically placed around the circuit are four picnic grounds with very different characteristics – so take a break often and enjoy your day at Narabeen Lagoon. All the grounds provide tables, shelters, electric barbecues, water bubblers and toilet facilities. Two have playgrounds, and you can launch your boat from three.
On ya bike
We generally start cycling at Narrabeen Lagoon from Middle Creek Reserve, off the Wakehurst Parkway, however you can start at Jamieson Park, Berry Reserve or Billarong Reserve.
The picnic grounds at Middle Creek and the section of trail either side of it were the last pieces of the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail project to be completed, and are still looking pretty schmick.
You can travel in either direction, but we usually ride over the bridges first, past the Sydney Academy of Sport.
This joins up with the old section of the trail to Jamieson Park where you cycle through lush ecosystems with endangered vegetation communities, such as Cabbage Palm Woodlands pictured here.
I often get the sensation that I’m in the middle of some jungle when I ride through this section. You really do feel a million miles away from Sydney.
From Jamieson the trail continues along a path next to the road for a short distance before turning into a long narrow parkland that finishes at Berry Reserve.
If tummies are rumbling by the time you reach Berry Reserve, then stop and take advantage of the wide variety of eateries along Pittwater Road.
Ranging from burgers to pad thai, this is the only spot on the Narrabeen Lagoon trail where you can stop to fuel up unless you have BYO.
When we decide to do the cycle at the last minute, we stop here for a takeaway and eat it at Berry Reserve. Tip: don’t feed the birds while you’re eating or they won’t leave you alone!
If you have small children, there is a playground here. However, a much better playground awaits you at the next picnic ground.
If you feel like going for a paddle, Pro Kayaks, located at Berry Reserve, hire a range of canoes, SUPs and pedal boats.
The next part of the trail runs alongside the road for a small section and includes crossing a road bridge. Although this can be a little daunting, there is a barrier between riders/pedestrians and the cars. Besides crossing one minor road, you are totally off road.
Dungeons and dragons
The Narrabeen Lagoon trail then brings you to Billarong Reserve. Regardless of the age of your kids, they are going to love the playground here.
Besides a climbing net and spinning wheel, there is an enchanted playground/sandpit with mythical creatures carved out of sandstone.
From dragons to fairies, dungeons and sea creatures, the fantasy playground will have kids (and adults) intrigued and scrambling to see what they can find next. This is obviously a work in progress as every time we come here there seems to be a new sculpture!
The trail continues by hugging the foreshore back to Middle Creek, and includes a bridge and extensive boardwalk to protect the environmentally sensitive foreshore here. If you’ve brought a picnic, Middle Creek is a pretty spot to sit and enjoy it.
It is probably best to travel to Narrabeen Lagoon from the west and avoid traffic through Neutral Bay.
Travel down Warringah Road and turn off at Wakehurst Parkway. This is a pretty stretch of road that winds through lush bushland. Just after the Sydney Academy of Sport you’ll see a turn off to Middle Creek. Travel a little further along the Wakehurst Parkway for Billarong Reserve.
There is limited parking at these grounds, but if you can’t find a parking spot at either picnic grounds you can always try the residential streets around North Narrabeen.
There are only a few parking places at Berry Reserve and they always seem to be full, so if you are coming from the south you may prefer parking at Jamieson Park. If parking here is full, try the residential streets at Wheeler Heights.
Alternatively, catch a 190 bus from the city to Palm Beach and get off at Narrabeen. If you don’t have a bike you can always hire a bike in Narrabeen.