Cycle Adelaide, Road Ride, Adelaide Hills and Ranges
Stunning views and winding hills are the essence of this bike ride. The quintessential Adelaide Hills ride, it’s a scenic rollercoaster through a landscape of hills, valleys and quiet villages. When you’re not going up, you’re going steeply down, and on narrow, winding roads. There’s nothing flat or straight, so the fabulous views will most likely come as glimpses - when you’re climbing and descending on narrow, winding roads with incredibly tight corners, you need your eyes on the road and your wits about you.
That shouldn’t put you off, though, because on a gorgeous day, and when you really want to challenge yourself, it’s fantastic – especially in summer, when the shady roads lined with towering gums make it a haven from the heat. Add it to the Tower to Summit Ride, then pedal back down when you’re done, and you’ve got a serious training session through some of Adelaide’s most spectacular hills terrain.
A couple of important things to note before heading off. Commuter traffic can be heavy, especially around Norton Summit, and for much of the year the high hills roads are foggy and digit-numbingly cold – but of course glorious early on a summer’s day. It’s also not great in wet weather, when water running down the steep roads makes it slippery and dangerous, and care is needed at any time on the tight hairpin descents.
Other than that, it’s a great, challenging ride through countryside filled with orchards, vineyards and native scrub, climbing and descending into towns along the way. Take note of the funky Adelaide Hills town signs, designed and fabricated by two Adelaide cyclists, watch out for koalas along the route (probably more of them than people in these hills!) and, if you’re going to detour anywhere, take a trip past Marble Hill.
From the city, head east along North Terrace, Magill Road and Old Norton Summit Road to the Lobethal Road intersection. Or continue on from the Tower to Summit ride.
Food and Drink
The Scenic Hotel at the start/finish welcomes cyclists for coffee, cold drinks and food. Along the way, shops in Uraidla and Summertown, which also has a café.
Discover the quality and finesse of cool-climate Adelaide Hills wines. Visit Arranmore Wines, Ashton Hills Vineyards or Barrett Wines’ cellar doors along the route, or one of 30 others in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region.
Completed in 1880, Marble Hill was the summer holiday home of South Australian governors for 75 years – and the 1955 Black Sunday bushfire took just hours to destroy it. It left behind a grand skeleton of the Victorian gothic mansion, including its six-storey tower with 150 kilometre, 360 degree views. While the government declared it would never be rebuilt, the tower was restored and for many years used as a fire lookout. The Friends of Marble Hill group also preserved and regularly opened the property, showing visitors such macabre remains as a loaf of bread charred by the fire. Debate as to its future continued over the years and in 2008 the estate was sold to private owners under a heritage restoration agreement. Limited public access is part of the arrangement, so check for open days and get there if you can.
25.565 km / 15.885 mi
557 m / 1,828 ft
498 m / 1,634 ft
614 m / 2,013 ft