Cycle Adelaide, Road Riding, Aldgate Valley Loop
An undulating ride around the Aldgate and Onkaparinga Valleys, this ride meanders through the most populated part of the Adelaide Hills. Comparatively easy as hills routes go, gentle stretches combine with a couple of challenging climbs and sweeping descents along roads shaded in turn by European trees and native gums. The former make it a blaze of colour in autumn, the Eucalypts ensure it stays green in winter, and spring blossoms complete its year-round attraction. At just under 19km you’re never far between towns, and it’s mostly on quiet back roads. The loop winds between four quiet, historic towns, leaving from the pretty village of Aldgate. Established in 1864, the settlement grew around the Aldgate Pump Hotel, as popular now as it was then with travellers en route to the goldfields. Aldgate has a distinctly English feel, its streets lined with deciduous trees and cottage style gardens, and its welcoming cafes and organic bakery make it an ideal base for cyclists.
Take the South Eastern Freeway to the Stirling exit, then follow Mt Barker Road to Aldgate.
Food and Drink
Shops, cafes and bakery in Aldgate; general stores at Mylor and Bridgewater; shops and cafes in Hahndorf (2km detour).
Visit The Cedars, home of artist Hans Heysen. Tour the studio and house, and view first-hand original artworks in the rooms where they were painted. Open Tuesday-Sunday: Heysen Road, Hahndorf.
We head out along Aldgate Valley Rd, a quiet local access road, for a winding descent to Mylor along the Aldgate Valley. It’s cool, shady riding until the views open up on the approach to Mylor, a tiny town with a strong rural base – and the only town in the Adelaide Hills established without a pub. Its monthly country market is its major drawcard, along with the nearby Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary.
From Mylor it’s an undulating ride along the Onkaparinga River valley through classic Heysen country. The landscape is now very Australian, the European trees replaced by spreading gums and the villages by horses, hobby farms and open views.
Eventually we meet the road to Hahndorf, a 2km detour but well worth the trip. Australia’s most traditional German town – and oldest remaining German settlement - if it’s sausage, sauerkraut or streusel you’re after, Hahndorf’s got it covered. Shops, restaurants and cafes line the shady main street, interspersed with friendly pubs serving steins of beer, making Hahndorf one of the most visited towns on the SA tourist route. It’s also a regular destination for city cyclists and one of the annual Tour Down Under sprint finishes.
Continuing along the route, we cross the Onkaparinga River to Mt Barker Rd and the ride’s major climb up Germantown Hill. It’s long and steep all the way up to Vimy Ridge, rewarded by a winding descent through Bridgewater - best known for its historic mill and water wheel. We pass the mill - now Petaluma’s Bridgewater Mill restaurant and cellar door - on the steady climb out of town, before a final descent takes us back into Aldgate.
19.484 km / 12.107 mi
289 m / 949 ft
285 m / 935 ft
447 m / 1,466 ft