Join us on a balmy early autumn bicycle tour from Goulburn to the Palace of Versailles.
Experience the wide blue skies and fresh autumn air as you cycle along quiet country roads, through historic villages, rolling pastures and the spectacular scenery of the Australian Capital Territory and surrounding New South Wales. Overnight stays in Bungendore, Canberra, Gunning, Crookwell and Goulburn.
Whilst in Canberra visit the National Gallery of Australia’s exhibition - “Versailles: Treasures from the Palace”, and take a look into a mesmerising period in French history and the French royal family from Louis XIV to Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France.
At the same time experience the breathtaking beauty of Canberra lit up after dark with the fabulous Enlighten Festival. View stunning architectural projections that transform six of the Parliamentary Triangle’s iconic buildings: Australian Parliament House, Old Parliament House, National Library of Australia, Questacon, National Portrait Gallery and National Gallery of Australia.
If you’re coming from Sydney, why not catch the train and meet us in Goulburn?
Leaving Australia’s oldest inland city, famous for its rich history, agricultural heritage and the iconic Big Merino, we’ll set off at a relaxed pace across the relatively flat southern end of the Goulburn plains. We’ll ride through the village of Lake Bathurst before arriving at Tarago, known most recently for its renewable energy projects. After lunch, we’ll take in a tour of the nearby Woodlawn Eco-Precinct and Bioreactor. Then we’ll jump back on the bikes for the undulating climb and a final, rewarding five-kilometre descent into the charming village of Bungendore, home to a thriving local arts scene, galleries, and cafés.
We’ll spend the night at the historic Carrington Inn, built in 1885 as a stopover on the Cobb & Co. route, now a cosy getaway.
Except for the short climb up Smith’s Gap, today is a relaxed, undulating, downhill ride into Canberra.
With this relatively easy day done, we’ll have plenty of time to explore the Parliamentary Triangle, an area in the heart of Canberra that includes the Australian War Memorial and ANZAC Parade, and Canberra’s oldest building St John’s Church. Other sites around Lake Burley Griffin include the National Library of Australia, Questacon, and the National Gallery with its stunning sculpture garden. We’ll finish with a circumnavigation of new Parliament House before arriving at our accommodation in the thriving hub of Kingston, known for its lively restaurant and café scene.
This evening we will take in the splendour of Enlighten Festival, which sees buildings in the Parliamentary triangle illuminated with stunning architectural projections, and features live music, food markets, and night-time tours into some of Canberra’s most captivating landmarks.
Today guests are free to choose between a trip to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, or stay in the capital and visit the National Gallery of Australia’s exhibition - “Versailles: Treasures from the Palace”.
If spending the day in Canberra guests can also wander around Lake Burley Griffin, visit national museums, or take a tour of Parliament House or the War Memorial. For those who feel like cycling, Canberra has many on- and off-road cycle paths, and a tour around the Lake is a great way to unwind.
Alternatively you can drive with us to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, where we’ll cycle around the 16-kilometre loop road and immerse ourselves in the rich natural surroundings before stopping to enjoy a sumptuous picnic lunch.
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is located on the fringes of Namadgi National Park in Canberra’s south-east and joins the northern section of Kosciuszko National Park in NSW. Together, these parks and reserve form the northern part of the Australian Alps. They play a vital role in the conservation of endangered indigenous species like the northern Corroboree Frog, the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby and the Eastern Bettong.
Tidbinbilla is home to a multitude of stunning native birds as well as kangaroos, emus, wallabies, echidnas and koalas. It provides a rare opportunity to experience Australian birds and wildlife in a range of habitats, from wetlands to alpine environments. After lunch, we’ll take a leisurely stroll through the predator-proof Sanctuary enclosure, where you’ll have the chance of a close encounter with brolgas, pelicans and magpie geese, and may even see a platypus.
On our way back into Canberra, if time permits, we may also visit Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex and the new Cotter Dam.
This evening we can again take in the splendour of Enlighten Festival.
Although it’s the longest of the tour, today’s ride is very achievable and begins on the relaxing shared pathways and off-road cycleways of Canberra. We’ll take an easy roll through the Jerrabomberra Wetlands, once again on the lookout for birdlife, before a short cycle through the Royal Military College at Duntroon to see Duntroon House and the Changi Chapel. From Duntroon, we’ll join part of Canberra's newest bicycle infrastructure, the off-road cycleway alongside the new Majura Parkway, which will take us out to the Federal Highway.
Lunch today will be at historic Gundaroo, a unique town that has retained its special 19th-century character. Before we leave, we’ll visit the workshop of renowned ‘Bikecologist’ Wayne Kotzur, a bespoke bicycle builder who specialises in custom vehicles for people with visual or mobility impairment.
After lunch, we’ll tackle some steady climbs affording gorgeous rural views. This is an area famous for wind turbines, and these sometimes controversial structures dot the surrounding hillsides. We’ll arrive in the peaceful town of Gunning in time for a well-deserved afternoon tea.
Today takes us to the highest point of the tour. Crookwell is nearly 1,000m above sea level, and while short, today’s cycle features a steady, constant climb with a reasonably kind gradient – although a few short sections will challenge the legs. You will be rewarded, of course, with stunning views across the countryside, as well as a lovely, four-kilometre descent to our destination.
On the way, we’ll pass through Grabben Gullen, named after the local Aboriginal term for ‘small waters’. This town is known for gem fossicking, and sapphires, zircons, and garnets can still be found in the many streams that feed through the area into the Lachlan River.
We’ll arrive in Crookwell in time for a late lunch, and you are invited to tour a famous Crookwell landmark – the Lindner Sock Factory – in the afternoon. Here colourful, Australian socks, including hand-dyed local merino versions, are made by this family-owned company.
Today we’ll cycle through quiet backroads before taking the main road to Goulburn, reaping the benefits of yesterday’s climb and finishing the tour with a mostly downhill run into one of Australia’s first inland settlements. Before we arrive, however, we’ll stop at the locality of Roslyn for morning tea. Roslyn, formerly known as Cotta Walla, was the birthplace of Dame Mary Gilmore, who appears on the $10 note. We’ll arrive in Goulburn in time for a late lunch, and you are invited to spend an afternoon relaxing or exploring the town before we meet again for our end-of-tour dinner.
Today the tour concludes at checkout. You may wish to spend some time exploring the many fascinating architectural gems around town before heading home.