by Jodi Panayotov
Eight of Brisbane's best family friendly bike rides dispel the idea that there's no such thing as fun for all the family:
An adventure ride of around 7-8km return through marshlands, paper bark forests and waterholes, this has some gentle hills, narrow bridges and plenty of winding trails so is best suited to those with some riding skills. While there are no on site options for refreshment breaks, Nudgee Beach foreshore park is a short hike by bike or car up the road and Nudgee Beach has a quaint little cafe. For older children and those with lashings of stamina this ride can be linked to Toombul via Kedron Brook. Park the car in the back streets behind Toombul Shopping Centre and take the exposed other worldly pathway all the way to Boondall, a ride of about 25 km return.
Red Hill Newmarket
This easy shady 6-7km return ride starts at popular local Woolcock Park and loosely follows Ithaca Creek (home to turtles, eels and ducks), passing through wooded glades, and grassy parklands, picnic spots and playgrounds on its winding way to the bushland of Banks St Reserve in Newmarket. About half way along is a little dirt trail bike circuit perfect for little ones to hone their Evel Knievel skills and except for one brief stint on a quiet suburban road, it is exclusive and traffic free. Finish with the lure of a picnic or barbecue and play in Woolcock Park on return.
Carindale Minnippi Parklands
A delightful green belt ride of about 9km skirting Bulimba Creek, this one starts in the back streets of Carindale, passing by the shopping mall and culminating at the spectacular Minnippi Parklands, which those with energy still to burn can circumnavigate before returning. Mostly flat except for the odd gentle slope, this is another well shaded ride along a wide concrete path that passes through scenic wooded glades, meadows, quaint wooden bridges and with an excellent playground as a halfway reward. The parklands themselves are an oasis of lotus covered lagoons, bird watching platforms, windy paths, picnic amenities and a quirky aerodrome themed playground.
Following a sea front path all the way from Oyster Point Wynnum to the Manly Marina, this flat ride of about 10km return is scenic, mostly shady, road-less and full of interest points for children. On the way through the picturesque cotton treed parklands of the foreshore there are playgrounds, a water park, tidal pool and tiny sandy beach as well as multiple picnic and barbecue spots. Manly's foreshore park has a pool with water slides and on the nearby jetty, the Jetty Kiosk is a child friendly spot for an ice-cream or lunch.
This partially exposed easy ride of about 8km return has something of a rural flavour as it begins at Mitchelton's Teralba Park and tracks Kedron Brook through remnant farmlands littered with cows and disused machinery as well as the odd sculpture and plaque to families that once worked the land. There are no roads to cross and the 'halfway' turning point is Alderley's popular Grinstead Park with its mega fort, frog colony and play things for all ages.
As a bike ride for children, this one is best started at Jamieson Park at the far northern sea front tip of Scarborough and from there is about an easy 7km return waterfront trip to Newport, with one car park road to cross. The path, which s fairly exposed all the way, winds around an isthmus, a caravan park and Morgan's Seafood before joining the sea front again all the way to Newport. What it lacks in play equipment and shade it makes up for with exclusivity and Glass House Mountain views. Little Jamieson Park (and playground) is a charming spot for a post-ride picnic otherwise Reef Point Café by the caravan park is child friendly. On the way back stop by Scarborough Park for a cotton tree climb.
This easy scenic ride of about 6km return follows the historical foreshore of Sandgate along the waterfront and all the way around the cliff base to the Shorncliffe Jetty. On the way it passes by stunning Queenslanders from its hey day as a seaside resort, through picnic grounds and playgrounds that are scattered along the sea front. Then it culminates in a jaunt along the heritage listed jetty and a beachfront play at Lower Moora Park which is also home to state of the art barbecue facilities and picnic pavilions.
Bribie Island Foreshore
Make a day of it with this idyllic beachfront jaunt less than an hour from Brisbane city. Starting by the protected waters of sea village Bongaree, the easy, flat protected ride of about 7km return winds its way along the shoreline via a myriad of parks, picnic and fishing spots and a boardwalk through a bird hide. Pack a picnic, dine beachfront at Blue Anchorage café bistro and bar or otherwise there's an on-water kiosk at the turning point of the ride at Sylvan Beach.
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