Start backyard travelling with your motorbike on these scenic trails
There are few better ways to explore the epic scenery of Australia than by travelling by motorcycle. Not all roads are created equal and luckily Australia is home to an ample supply of excellent roads for motorbike adventures. With such varied landscapes to explore in every state, Australia can offer riding featuring scenic winding bends, rollicking rainforest runs or ribbons of ocean skimming asphalt.
If you’re eager to explore Australia on two wheels, here are the best motorcycle routes in Australia per state. Start backyard travelling today!
The Lions Road
The Lions Road is a twisting strip of asphalt that runs 96 kilometres from Beaudesert to Kyogle in the Scenic Rim region of the Queensland hinterland. Reeling through local towns, the rainforests of Border Ranges National Park and alongside creeks, riders will enjoy kilometres of left and right-hand bends, steep approaches to bridges over small creeks and narrow tree-lined runs that open to wide countryside.
For something completely different, head to the Boolboonda Tunnel, a retired railway tunnel 35km west of Gin Gin. You may need an off-road bike or at least some gravel-road riding experience to traverse the two-kilometre gravel track leading up to the tunnel on the eastern side, then flick your lights to high beam and head through the pitch-black, historic tunnel which, at 192 metres, is Queensland’s longest unsupported man-made tunnel.
Take your bike for a scenic drive day trip through the beautiful countryside of the Mary Valley, just north of Brisbane, to follow the sweeping curves and stunning mountain twists past the paddocks of farm animals between Maleny, Montville and Mapleton. Stop for lunch at one of the many country pubs, taking care at the single lane bridges, narrow roads and tight hairpin bends approaching Kenilworth before you delve into the lush and lovely Mary Valley. You can even pack a swag and sleep the night under the stars.
New South Wales
Macquarie Pass Loop
An experienced rider route, just two hours from Sydney’s CBD, the Macquarie Pass Loop between Kiama and Nowra is a super-fun and picturesque mountain route that skims Mittagong and Bowral and offers gorgeous valley views. The ride boasts quality stretches of straight road with plenty of slopes, bends and hairpins. Be sure to stop at the award-winning Robertson Pie Shop to fill your belly. We rate the signature chicken, camembert and leek pie.
Wauchope to Walcha
The two-hour run along the Oxley Highway, between Wauchope and Walcha, is one of Australia’s most spectacular, and popular, bike rides. The well maintained 163-kilometre stretch offers both wide open plains and tight, steep and demanding corners, and some great bike-friendly café stops at Gingers Creek and Long Flat.
Alpine Way, Kosciuzko
This fabulous 108km one-way route through Kosciuszko National Park is a treat for riders, particularly in spring and summer, when the snow has melted away. Expect to be bedazzled by the spectacular alpine scenery as you wind through tall mountain forests, as well as the twisty, well-sealed tarmac with sweeping corners that provides a fun ride for all types of motorcycle. Just remember to beware of debris and local wildlife, from wombats to brumbies.
Australian Capital Territory
It may be small, but its roads are mighty. Perhaps the best known of these is the Cotter Loop, a trio of scenic roads to the west of Coombs, packed with enough tight turns, hills and long open straights to make it enjoyable for bikers of all levels. At a length of 40 kilometres, it is on the shorter side, but there are plenty of spots to stop for a scenic stretch along the way.
Coombs to Tharwa
If you want to add a fun extra half an hour or so to your Cotter Loop ride, head south-west to Paddy’s River Road where you’ll find long sweeping turns with the occasional tight corners as the road becomes Tidbinbilla Road. Stop to admire the wildlife at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve or visit the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex before continuing to Tharwa for a refuel and a cuppa.
Canberra to Batemans Bay, ACT & NSW
While The King’s Highway only starts in the Capital, it is a route that’s almost iconic among riders. Meandering through the forests of Bungendore and Braidwood all the way to the beaches of Batemans Bay, the two-hour route’s steep declines, winds and curves make it an exhilarating ride. Just remember to take it easy in the wet.
Great Ocean Road
Starting in Torquay, this 240-kilometre stretch of road is one of the world’s most renowned, twisting its spectacular way from Torquay to the South Australian border along sheer cliffs that overlook the Bass Strait and the Great Australian Bight. Needless to say, it's a popular route for motorcyclists with plenty to stop and enjoy along the way. While it's a beautifully maintained road, you do have to watch out for blind corners, rockfalls and the occasional native critter ambling across the road.
The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix will make its triumphant return to Phillip Island in 2022 along with the seventh Blessing of The Bikes as part of the ensuing Festival, and is bound to bring with it plenty of bikers. Time it right and you can tackle the best motorcycle racing circuit in the world yourself on Phillip Island Ride Days that were created to allow riders to enjoy the limits of their motorcycle in safety. Just remember to rug up as it gets cold.
The 248km Lyell Highway connects Hobart and Queenstown, passing through Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park on great smooth roads with plenty of sharp corners. It’s worth making stops along the way for a hike at Lake St Clair National Park, and there’s a particularly scenic and windy section outside of Queenstown that requires your full attention.
Hobart to Strahan
Winding its way up and down mountains, celebrity motorcyclist Charley Boorman rates the 230km road from Hobart to Strahan as one the best stretches of road on earth. The spectacular route through the wild landscapes of Tamania’s west is spectacularly twisty, making it a lot of fun on a motorcycle. Once you reach Strahan, there is also some great dirt and beach riding to be had for those on dirt bikes.
One for the more experienced rider, Jacob’s Ladder is a particularly steep, all-weather gravel road in Ben Lomond National Park, around 50-kilometres from Launceston. Well maintained, the road requires plenty of concentration as its loose surface zig zags 1,500 metres up steep, hair-pinned bends to the summit and its breathtaking vistas across the valley.
Crafers to Cuddlee Creek
The Adelaide Hills is something of a nirvana for motorcycle enthusiasts with a variety of routes across the hills through quaint towns and sprawling wine regions. One of the best day trip routes starts at the bottom of the Mount Lofty Summit Road, following a route packed with a dynamic blend of great roads and good scenery. There are smooth switchback turns, open runs and the aptly named Corkscrew Rd with tight downhill corners to keep it interesting.
Echunga to Strathalbyn
Feel like a short burst on your bike? Echunga, located around a 35-minute ride south-east of Adelaide, is a sleepy little village that doubles as the start of 21 scenic kilometres of twisting road and tight turns through to the town of Strathalbyn. Popular with motorcyclists due to the quality of the road and consistent 50kph turns, the route is suitable for all types of motorcycles and riders.
Robe to Victor Harbor
Got a little time to cruise? You’ll need five to nine days for this multi day route that starts amongst the sea and vines of the Fleurieu Peninsula and follows the Southern Ocean Drive to the limestone coast, via some of Australia’s best wineries, breathtaking beaches and jaw-dropping geological marvels.
Balingup to Nannup
One of the most picturesque rides in Western Australia, the Balingup to Nannup drive, at just over 40-kilometres in length, is short but challenging. The narrow and winding road along winding sealed road that meanders alongside the Blackwood River and Balingup Brook offers amazing views of everything from forests to falls, and there are plenty of quaint cafes along the way.
Denmark to Albany
A detour along the Great Southern Highway is popular amongst Western Australian motorcyclists, not only due to its weaving route past beautiful wildflowers, karri trees, vineyards, beaches and endless green fields. The bendy roads keep the riding just as interesting. Don’t forget to factor in time for a stop at the Denmark Bakery who make the best sausage roll in the State.
Yallingup to Augusta
The windy 84-kilometre Caves Road route from Yallingup to Augusta is one of the country’s most spectacular. Lined with towering trees, some as high as 60 metres tall, and open runs offering mind-boggling views, this ride is smattered with restaurants and wineries that provide a perfect break point. The zig zagging roads can be loads of fun for motorcyclists in good weather but are best avoided during winter and the wet when they can prove dangerous.
Litchfield Park Road
This unusually bendy road for the Northern Territory, Lichfield Park Road provides 50 kilometres of twists and turns and some low hills along well-laid tar. The views are breathtaking, with waterfalls dotting the route. Just beware of the enormous road trains, and the gravel they often sweep onto roads, which can prove a hazard to motorbikes.
Katherine to Kununurra
At more than 500-kilometres, this long westerly highway is a great road for motorcyclists with long open runs, mountainous areas and some sections of twisty. There’s plenty of scenery but fuel stops are few and far between and the humidity is high, so be prepared to sweat.
Kakadu National Park
Arguably one of the best motorcycling roads for motorcycles in the Top End, the 200-kilometre Kakadu Highway is a well-sealed scenic road through the Kakadu National Park from Jabiru to Pine Creek offering fast curves, steep sections and jaw-dropping open landscapes and, best of all for riders, low traffic. Remember to keep an eye out for kangaroos crossing and always be respectful of the surrounding Indigenous lands.
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