Cycling Tours in Canberra

Canberra is set against an outstanding backdrop of the spectacular Brindabella Ranges, home to Namadgi National Park and the world renowned Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. The natural bushland reaches all the way into the city of Canberra, along the ridges, hills and through the native grasslands that separate the suburbs, creating a unique cycling destination.

Under blue skies, 5 cyclists stand with their bikes behind the Marion Mahony Griffin View handrail. The Australian War Memorial can be seen just behind with ANZAC Parade leading to Lake Burley Griffin and both ‘Old’ white and ‘New’ Parliament Houses behind. Canberra City can be seen in the middle right.

View from Marion Mahony Griffin View on top of Mount Ainslie. The Australian War Memorial can be seen in the centre, just behind the handrail, with ANZAC Parade leading to Lake Burley Griffin and both the ‘Old’ white and ‘New’ Parliament Houses behind. The Brindabella Ranges are on the skyline.

Canberra has something to offer everyone, from the iconic national museums and galleries to nature based tourism and adventure experiences, a multicultural collection of foods, cool climate wines, boutique brewing and, in more recent times, hand crafted spirits.

And the best thing about Canberra’s small size is that all of the attractions and foodie hot spots are only moments away from each other and are all safely accessible by bicycle using an extensive network of footpaths and shared walking and cycling paths. This includes the 145km Canberra Centenary Trail, which loops through the city and Canberra Nature Park providing some of the best views of Canberra and the ACT.

For gravel and mountain bike touring Namadgi National Park and the Canberra Nature Park have more than 200km of accessible fire trails that are ideal for short or multi-day tours. The Bicentennial National Trail, Australia’s premier long distance and multi-use touring route between Tropical Far North Queensland and Victoria, uses some of these trails.

A stone’s throw away in surrounding NSW there is an abundance of both sealed and unsealed roads suitable for day trips or multi-day on-road bike rides. It is not hard to find a route that passes through at least one historic village providing an opportunity to enjoy the region’s world-class wineries, smoked goods, chocolates, and truffle farms.

  • Private Guided Bicycle Tours of Canberra

    You tell us what you want to see and how far you would like to ride and we will curate a private guided bicycle tour that is personalised and tailored to fit your schedule, ability, interests, and budget. 

    More about this tour

  • Capital Country Spring Tour

    A spring bike tour of Canberra’s most spectacular cycle routes. Be enchanted by Canberra’s delights and immerse yourself in the cultural, historical and natural highlights of the wider region.

    More about this tour

For the more adventurous or those looking for something more strenuous the ACT is home to the Fitz’s Challenge, one of Australia’s toughest cycling events with five epic hill rides to choose from – 50 km, 105 km, 165 km, 210 km and 255 km. You can ride the routes at any time of the year or join more than 1000 riders on the last Sunday in October. 

There is really no other place in Australia where all the cycling is so close together making Canberra and the ACT a perfect short break cycling destination.

Silhouette of Black Mountain Tower against orange cloudless sky above purple mountains.

Canberra sunset over the Brindabella Ranges

About the Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory (abbreviated ACT) is the seventh most populous (0.4Million) and the smallest of the 8 Australian States and Territories.

The ACT is an enclave being completely surrounded by New South Wales and accounts for less than 1% or only 2,358km2 of Australia’s landmass. The ACT is not part of NSW.

Canberra, Australia’s capital city and the nation’s largest inland city, is located within the ACT.

Canberra is unique in Australia in being a planned city and being so close to the surrounding bushland it is affectionately known as the “Bush Capital”. To reinforce this title, 66% of the ACT is either designated national park, nature reserve or rural land. The remaining 34% of the ACT is covered by the city of Canberra and the tiny rural villages of Tharwa, Hall and Uriarra. There are no other towns or villages in the ACT.

Although technically incorrect you will find the locals using the terms ACT and Canberra interchangeably.

Why is Canberra the capital of Australia?

On 1 January 1901, after years of debate, the 6 colonies in Australia joined together to form the Commonwealth of Australia with Melbourne being agreed as the temporary capital city. Elections were held for the new Parliament of Australia and on May 9, 1901, the first parliament was sworn in.

Due to historical rivalries between Sydney and Melbourne the new Constitution required a new capital city be constructed away from the existing state capitals.  On January 1, 1911, the Federal Government created the Federal Capital Territory as the site for the future capital and announced an international design competition to design the new capital city.

In 1913 American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin were announced as the winners of the competition and the new capital city was officially named Canberra on March 12, 1913.

On May 9, 1927, the Duke of York, later King George VI, opened the provisional Parliament House in Canberra (now known as "Old” Parliament House) and the Federal Parliament relocated from Melbourne.

The Federal Capital Territory was renamed the Australian Capital Territory in 1928.   

On May 9, 1988, the Federal Parliament moved to its permanent home on Capital Hill when Queen Elizabeth II opened “New” Parliament House.

Photographs of past Australian Prime Ministers, their names and years of service are projected onto the front of the Parliament House. The large Australian flag flies from the stainless steel flagpole over the house. Black night sky.

Enlighten Festival projections on Australia’s Parliament House

What is the best season to visit the ACT?

A very useful tool for working out the best season to go bicycle touring in Canberra, the ACT or the surrounding regions of NSW is the climate zone model defined by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB).

The ACT experiences two of the 8 climate zones defined by the ABCB with the city of Canberra falling within Climate Zone 7 - Cool Temperate. The area of the ACT that is within Climate Zone 8 – Alpine, falls within Namadgi National Park and is unpopulated.

The map shows the border of the ACT in red and the three climate zones experienced in the Australian Capital Territory and surrounding New South Wales. Each zone is represented by a different colour –Mild Temperate, Cool Temperate and Alpine.

Climate Zone map of the Australian Capital Territory and surrounding New South Wales

Zone 7 – Cool Temperate: Four distinct seasons, cold to very cold winters with majority of rainfall, hot dry summers. Comfortable spring and autumn conditions. Low humidity. High summer temperatures may exceed human comfort range. Winter can fall short of human comfort range.

Zone 8 – Alpine: Four distinct seasons, cold to very cold winters with majority of rainfall and some snowfall. Winter can fall short of human comfort range. Warm to hot, dry summers. Variable spring and autumn conditions. Low humidity.

Australia's seasons are the opposite to the northern hemisphere, it is summer in Australia when its winter in the northern hemisphere.


A triptych of 3 photos. Left – Female cyclist in clear plastic rain poncho with the Mulga Bicycle Tours trailer in the background. Middle – Two riders on a Canberra Bike Tour at Dairy Farmers Hill lookout. Black Mountain Tower, Lake Burley Griffin and the City of Canberra is in the background, blue sky. Right – two riders stand in front of the larger than life sculptures of Australian soldiers on horse back, blue sky.

Left – Our Canberra Bike Tours are all weather events. Middle - View from Dairy Farmers Hill, The National Arboretum Canberra. Right – The National Boer War Memorial on ANZAC Parade in Canberra.

When planning your cycling trip to Canberra and the ACT you may wish to consider:

  • A popular festival at the beginning of March is the Enlighten Festival when architectural projections transform the buildings within the Parliamentary Triangle, with live music, performances and delicious food stalls to explore.

  • Bicycle tour of NSW and Canberra's Enlighten Festival

    This bike tour of Canberra and surrounding New South Wales is extra special. Why? Because it coincides with the renowned Enlighten Festival. You'll see Canberra in a whole new light. Ride, Eat, See and Explore.

    More about this tour

  • Autumn in Canberra is a very pleasant time with much of the street trees in the older suburbs and around Lake Burley Griffin putting on a wonderful autumn display.
  • Winter. The ACT can experience very cold winter days with heavy morning frosts and fog. Many of these crisp and crunchy mornings clear to sunny and cloudless days. It can be very pleasant cycling on these winter days if you wait until after 10.00am and finish before 3.00pm when the temperatures begin to fall. 
  • June to August is time for the Canberra Region Truffle Festival - in the ACT and surrounding NSW. The festival celebrates the seasonality of the locally grown “Black Truffle” or “Black Périgord Truffle”.

  • Capital Country, Truffles & Bettongs

    Rug up for a wonderful winter cycling experience. Take in all the delights of Canberra, take part in a thrilling truffle hunt, then ride through the spectacular scenery of the majestic Capital Region.

    More about this tour

  • Spring is a very pleasant times to be cycling in the ACT with Canberra’s urban forest putting on very colourful displays of blossoms.
  • For 4 weeks in September/October Canberra hosts the largest floral festival in the southern hemisphere - Floriade.
  • Capital Country Floriade

    This glorious spring experience combines the delights of Canberra, including a visit to the world-class Floriade festival, with an invigorating cycle tour through the spectacular scenery and historic townships of South East NSW.

    More about this tour

  • Capital Country Spring Tour

    A spring bike tour of Canberra’s most spectacular cycle routes. Be enchanted by Canberra’s delights and immerse yourself in the cultural, historical and natural highlights of the wider region.

    More about this tour

  • Summer – Canberra and the ACT can experience hot days in excess of 400 Celsius and heatwave conditions during January and February. On these occasions extreme care must be taken whilst cycling as the conditions may exceed the human thermal comfort level. See What are Summer Heatwaves? for more information.

What is the best time to visit the ACT?

High season or peak holiday times in the ACT are linked to the territory’s school and public holidays. Mostly these are the same, with some slight variations, as the other Australian states and territories. More information about high and low seasons, including dates, can be found in our answer to the question - “What is the best time to visit Australia?

How to stay safe in the sun?

The Australian sun can be extremely intense, which means if you do not take appropriate precautions prolonged sun exposure can be bad for your health. In fact, Australia has the highest level of skin cancer in the world. To avoid getting burnt by the sun, follow the 5 SunSmart rules – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide.

What are Summer Heatwaves?

Summer brings an increased likelihood of extreme heat waves where very hot days are followed by hot nights making it hard for your body to cool down. Even fit and healthy people can become very ill during these periods, therefore, if you are on a cycling tour you should avoid strenuous activity during times of extreme heat. If untreated, heat illness can lead to the more serious and potentially life-threatening condition of heat stroke. Heatwaves should not be underestimated as they cause more deaths in Australia than any other natural hazard.

All sporting organisations in Australia have hot weather guidelines that they use to determine if a sporting activity needs to be modified or cancelled during periods of hot weather.

It is not uncommon for the Tour Down Under to shorten its competitive stages and cancel the community rides during heatwave conditions.

When is the Bush Fire Danger period? 

In New South Wales summer also brings an increased risk of bush fires. If you are planning a bike ride during the bush fire season it is important that you monitor the Fire Danger Rating each day. This will help you assess your level of bush fire risk so you can plan what to do if a fire was to start near you. It is important to understand that the Fire Danger Rating IS NOT a predictor of how likely a bush fire is to occur but an indicator of how dangerous a bush fire may be if it does occur.

A cyclist’s guide to road rules in the ACT

Australians ride and drive on the LEFT SIDE of two-way roads.

Under the Australian Road Rules a bicycle is considered a vehicle and as such cyclists have the same responsibilities and rights as other road users. Some road rules are specific to bicycles and these vary between the states.

An explanation of the road rules and how they apply to cyclists in the Australian Capital Territory can be found here.

A triptych of 3 photos. Left – 4 bikers ride past historic Duntroon House. Middle – Cyclists on a Canberra Bike Tour pass the life sized bronze sculpture of Prime Minister John Curtin and Treasurer Ben Chifley. Right – Touring cyclists at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. Deep Space Station 43 is the antenna behind the riders.

Canberra Bike Tours destinations – Left - Duntroon House. Middle - Bronze sculpture of Prime Minister John Curtin and Treasurer Ben Chifley. Right - Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex.

Supported cycling tours in the ACT

Mulga has a full calendar of supported Australian bike tours that fit with the seasons and optimum touring times. Tours vary in length from 3 to 12 days with daily distances averaging 70km.

Every Mulga tour is achievable by the average cyclist with the focus on enjoying each day, not stacking up the kilometres or racing the clock. Our goal is to soak in the scenery, marvel at fascinating stories, then recharge the batteries with a good feed and a good rest.

To see our calendar of guided Australian cycling tours please go here.

Mulga Tours offers the following supported ACT cycling tours.

If none of these bicycle tours in the ACT suit, or a tour in which you are interested is not currently scheduled, feel free to Contact Us and we’ll work with you to provide a customised or private alternative.

  • Canberra's Enlighten 3 Day Bicycle Tour

    Enjoy the scenery and tranquillity as you cycle from Canberra to Goulburn. Rest in charming country towns each night, then put your feet up for the transfer back to Canberra.

    More about this tour

  • Capital Country, Truffles & Bettongs

    Rug up for a wonderful winter cycling experience. Take in all the delights of Canberra, take part in a thrilling truffle hunt, then ride through the spectacular scenery of the majestic Capital Region.

    More about this tour

  • Capital Country 3 Day Floriade

    Join us for the last three days of our Floriade 2018 tour and enjoy the scenery and tranquillity as you cycle from Canberra to Goulburn. Rest in charming country towns each night, then put your feet up for the transfer back to Canberra.

    More about this tour

  • Capital Country Spring Tour

    A spring bike tour of Canberra’s most spectacular cycle routes. Be enchanted by Canberra’s delights and immerse yourself in the cultural, historical and natural highlights of the wider region.

    More about this tour

  • Capital Country Spring Tour - 5 Days

    Spring into the new season with this 5-day 4-night bike tour through SE NSW. Take in breathtaking views and all the highlights of Capital Country. Enjoy overnight stays in Gunning, Crookwell, Goulburn and Bungendore.

    More about this tour

Cycling day tours of Canberra and the ACT

  • Private Guided Bicycle Tours of Canberra

    You tell us what you want to see and how far you would like to ride and we will curate a private guided bicycle tour that is personalised and tailored to fit your schedule, ability, interests, and budget. 

    More about this tour

  • Capital Highlights Tour

    Explore the historical, political and cultural sites of Canberra on a bicycle. This tour provides an excellent orientation for all visitors to Canberra. Price includes a light lunch, guide, bike, helmet and a small bike mounted bag to carry your gear.

    More about this tour

  • Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Tour

    Cycle through Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on its 35kph 16 kilometre sealed loop road and experience Australian fauna and flora first-hand. Price includes a picnic lunch, guide, bike, helmet and a small bike mounted bag to carry your gear.

    More about this tour

  • Capital Twilight Tour

    This bike tour is a shorter version of our Capital Highlights Tour with a special side trip to the Australian War Memorial to attend The Last Post Ceremony. Price includes guide, bike, helmet and a small bike mounted bag to carry your gear.

    More about this tour

Supported cycling tours in NSW

  • Country NSW Canberra To Dubbo 11-Day Cycling Tour

    NEW Tour in 2019. Enjoy the best of inland NSW on this easy-does-it cycling tour from Canberra to Dubbo. Ride past fields of golden canola. Visit charming historic villages, enjoy delicious local produce and take in some fascinating attractions.

    More about this tour

  • Sarah Maddock Sydney to Melbourne 125 Year Commemorative Cycling Tour

    Celebrate the achievements of Sarah Maddock the first woman to ride from Sydney to Melbourne in 1894. Our route is a modern day version of Sarah’s 1894 Sydney to Melbourne achievement taking in some new towns and the Murray to Mountains and Great Victorian rail trails.

    More about this tour

  • Bicycle tour of NSW and Canberra's Enlighten Festival

    This bike tour of Canberra and surrounding New South Wales is extra special. Why? Because it coincides with the renowned Enlighten Festival. You'll see Canberra in a whole new light. Ride, Eat, See and Explore.

    More about this tour

  • Capital Country ANZAC Day

    Our special ANZAC cycle tour combines an exhilarating autumn ride through the spectacular Capital Country with the chance to take part in a beautiful ANZAC Day ceremony at the Australian War Memorial.

    More about this tour

  • Capital Country Floriade

    This glorious spring experience combines the delights of Canberra, including a visit to the world-class Floriade festival, with an invigorating cycle tour through the spectacular scenery and historic townships of South East NSW.

    More about this tour

Supported cycling tours in Queensland

  • Cairns To Karumba Across Cape York Bike Ride

    A Queensland cycling adventure like no other. A 10-day bike tour from Cairns to Karumba, complete with plenty of spectacular scenery, intriguing wildlife & plenty of fascinating stories to keep you company.

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  • Cairns to Karumba across Cape York

    The outback experience of a lifetime. Start near the sea and traverse rainforest, mountains and savannah as we cross Cape York, arriving in the Gulf of Carpentaria to watch the sunset over the sea.

    More about this tour

  • Carnarvon Gorge & The Great Inland Way Cycling Tour

    A NEW bicycle tour from St George to Emerald through the many changing landscapes of Queensland's Great Inland Way. Includes two days exploring the magnificent Carnarvon Gorge National Park.

    More about this tour

Supported cycling tours in Victoria

  • North East Victoria 8-Day Spring Bicycle Tour

    Wrap yourself in the incredible natural beauty and history of North East Victoria’s mountains, valleys and rivers. On this bike tour you will enjoy gastronomic delights, visit wineries, distilleries and breweries and explore the alpine townships of Beechworth, Stanley, Myrtleford, Bright, Milawa and Whitfield.

    More about this tour

  • North East Victoria 8-Day Autumn Bike Tour

    Immerse yourself in the autumn colours of North East Victoria on this eight-day bicycle tour. Enjoy gastronomic delights, explore alpine townships from Beechworth to Bright, and take in some fascinating history along the way.

    More about this tour

  • Murray to Mountains 5-Day Autumn Bike Tour

    Enjoy the autumn colours of Victoria's High Country on this five-day bicycle tour along the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. Learn about the regions history and explore the alpine townships of Beechworth, Bright, Milawa and Whitfield.

    More about this tour

  • Three Rivers

    Experience the beauty of the Kiewa, Ovens and King rivers and valleys. Appreciate the delicious food, local wineries and breweries, and learn about the region’s intriguing history on this 8-day biking tour.

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  • Three Rivers and a Waterfall

    This is a special version of our Three Rivers tour, offering two-night stays in each of four unique locations. Enjoy delicious food and wine, immerse yourself in the natural beauty of North-East Victoria.

    More about this tour

Supported cycling tours in South Australia

  • Spirit of Eyre Peninsula 12-Day Cycling Tour

    NEW Tour in 2019. Mulga Tours will show you the best places to visit on Eyre Peninsula. You will ride, explore, relax and dine and if you wish we can ramp up the excitement and take you cage diving with Great White Sharks. What more could you want from a bike tour?

    More about this tour