Cycle Sydney, Mountain Bike Ride, Lady Carrington Drive Trail

Lady Carrington Drive was constructed in 1886 and was named after the wife of the Barron Carrington, the then governor. Lady Carrington Drive is a 9.4km long fire trail which follows the course of the beautiful Hacking River. This is one of the classic Sydney MTB rides. Its beautiful scenery and low difficulty make this an ideal first off-road MTB adventure, and a ride suitable for the whole family.

Terrain

Predominantly flat fire trail with a few small rolling hills. A mixture of sand/gravel and clay surface with small rocks.

Traffic

No private vehicle traffic is permitted on the Lady Carrington fire trail. Trail is shared use so keep an eye out for walkers and the occasional NPWS vehicle

Access

This ride can be commenced from either end. From the southern end look for a small car park located on Lady Wakehurst Drive where the marked trailhead is clearly visible. If starting from Audley enter the national park on Furnell Avenue and turn right into Lady Carrington Drive approximately 200m after crossing the causeway park and picnic area. If travelling by train, access by Loftus or Heathcote stations. Either of these adds approximately 8km of on-road riding.

Food and Drink

A café/kiosk is located nearby at Audley Weir where they make a great sausage roll. Public picnic areas are located along the Hacking River at Iron Bark Flat including toilets, picnic tables, and public BBQs, so don’t forget the snags!

Side Trip

There are a number of walking trails in this area, most notably Lime Stone Cave. It leads to the lovely Pagona Cave and is 1.6km each way. Forrest Pathand the Walumurra trail are also nearby at Audley.

 

More Details

Lady Carrington Drive is located in the Royal National Park which was established in 1879 and is the second oldest national park in the world after Yellowstone. Located only 32km from Sydney the Royal National Park abounds with wildlife and riders have a good chance of an echidna or lyrebird sighting. Lady Carrington Drive follows the Hacking River from Audley through to Lady Wakehurst Drive providing regular glimpses of the river.

Lady Carrington Drive is approx 9.4km one way or a return journey of 18.8km. Anyone with average fitness should easily cope with the few small hills. Overall the trail is in good condition, comprising sandy gravel and clay sections with small rocks—it’s suitable for anyone with basic bike handling skills and ridden at a casual pace it should take around 2-3 hours to complete. There’s no water available along the length of the trail so be sure to carry sufficient water for the duration of your ride. This ride is suitable all year round with plenty of tree canopy for shade during the hotter months and its sheltered position provides protection from wild wintery weather.

For energetic riders looking to put some extra kms in the legs, the ride can be extended by riding one way between Loftus and Waterfall stations resulting in a mini Tour de Royal. Both Loftus and Waterfall stations are roughly the same height so there is no real advantage in starting at one over the other. This option adds the excitement of a brake burning downhill on the way in and a leg burning climb on the way out. It also adds around 10km of bitumen bringing the ride to around 30km.

Once you’ve had enough of MTB riding there are numerous other activities to be enjoyed in the park including fishing, swimming, bushwalking and picnicking. For a closer inspection of the Hacking River row boats can be hired from nearby Audley. 

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start in the car park at Iron Bark Flat which is adjacent to the trail and find the locked gate.
  • 1.8 Notice a large rocky overhang to the left and good views along the Hacking River to the right.
  • 3.5 Jersey Springs are two large sandstone water troughs which are filled from a freshwater spring. These were built in 1892 and served to water the horses that travelled Lady Carrington Dr.
  • 3.6 Large grassy clearing off to the right. Ideal spot for a break or a picnic.
  • 6.1 Cala picnic area off to the right with picnic table and chairs. Note the large English Oak tree which is over 100 years old.
  • 7.25 Trail crosses Erunda Brook.
  • 7.8 Trail crosses Palona Brook. Rest area with table and chairs off to the left.
  • 7.9 On the left is Lime Stone Cave walking trail which is approx 1.6km long and leads to the beautiful Palona Cave complete with cascading waterfall after rain.
  • 8.7 Junction with the Forrest Path walking trail and the Bola Creek rest area. Bola Creek rest area contains a table and chairs.
  • 8.8 Junction with the Walumarra walking trail. A 4.4km walking track which follows Bola Creek through dense forest before climbing up hill on a rough track to eventually meet up with Sir Bertram Stevens Dr.
  • 9.4 Trail head at Lady Wakehurst Dr. This is the end of Lady Carrington Dr so simply return the way you came.
  • 18.8 Ride completed back at Iron Bark Flat.
  • Trail map

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    Back

    18.614 km / 11.566 mi

    Total Distance

    558 m / 1,830 ft

    Total Ascent

    558 m / 1,831 ft

    Total Descent

    58 m / 189 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Low
    MTB Segment: flow
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 9.4
    Elevation Gain: 369
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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