The Two City Circuit is a combination of some of the best local bike paths in both Lake Macquarie and Newcastle local government areas and some on road riding. It is approximately 50 kms long and as of 2012 has approximately 37kms of off road bike paths. It suitable for riders of moderate skill and moderate fitness as it involves 2 small sections of riding on main roads. The circuit links the Fernleigh Track, The Warners Bay foreshore path, The Glendale to Wallsend path, and the East – West cycleway each of which has a description on the NCM website. This page describes the linking sections. Peter Lee recommends doing this circuit in a clockwise direction to reduce the conflict at intersections and potential road squeeze points. Being a circuit obviously it can be started at any point but this posting starts at the southern end of the Fernleigh track.
Go to this address for a map: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=207339681701857729476.0004c73a78a844ad68b93
Detailed route description:
From the southern end of the Fernleigh track come to the end of the old platform. Take Ernst street north, right from Railway Parade, and approximately 400 m turn left into the Macquarie Street Mall. Cross the Pacific highway at the lights and head to the lake foreshore, turn right to follow the lakeside past Belmont baths and various cafes. There is a lakeside cycleway for about 250m then follow Brookes Pde 600 m to the Belmont 16 footers Club. From here there is a scenic option through Green point, accessed from Ross St.
The main route goes over the hill, past Belmont hospital following Croudace Bay Rd and through the Valentine bends to the traffic lights at Valentine.
Soon after the BP service station is a concrete shared path that can easily be mistaken for a wide foot path. This path turns away from the road and weaves through Croudace Bay Park and Thomas Halton Park. Soon after the Cycleway entry bollards the path splits. If you take the narrower one by accident keep going as this one connects through to the car park you will soon find the ‘official’ shared path. There are toilets and rubbish bins in this park. If you are in a hurray the road actually has a fair shoulder for most of this park perimeter, but becomes narrow as it climbs over Bareki Point.
At the northern end of the park the shared path makes a sharp left turn and runs parallel with the car park towards the Lake. Turn right into the car park at the end of this path, and follow along the waters edge.
For the next approximately 300 m you have a choice between getting back onto a narrow winding busy road or following the dirt track, narrow and rough with tree roots but a nice lakeside route. Proceed along the dirt track for approximately 200m until you cross a small bridge with white timber rails. Here the best option for cyclists is less clear than the walkers. Turn right up the grassy hill and you will soon find the dirt track again parallel with the road. Again the dirt disappears under grass but continue this direction until you come to the bottom of Toonibal Avenue and climb to the top.
Both options converge at the top of the hill here and unfortunately at the moment there isn’t a choice but to take the winding road which can be busy at times. The good news is though this section of winding road is wider and downhill so it can be fast and over and done with quickly.
Take the car park on the left and you have arrived at the southern end of the Warners Bay foreshore path which you can follow 5.5 Km to Speers Point.
The Speers Point shared path crosses Creek Reserve Road inside Speers Point Park. Turn onto the road and follow the creek side north under the Five Islands Bridge. Continue in this direction for about 1.3 kms and into the No Through Road. NCM is asking LMCC to continue a creek side path for a further 800 m to pass under the Main Northern Railway Line at Cockle Creek Station. The existing railway bridge already has a service track arch that would facilitate a cycleway under this obstacle and avoid the need for cyclists to run with vehicle traffic on the Lake Road railway bridge. This is a long term project but “watch this space.” For now once you arrive at the end of Creek Reserve Road access up to Lake Road is via a gap in the road side barriers in the south east corner of the cul-de-sac. Take care as you enter Lake Road.
For the next approximately 3 kms the shoulder varies frequently from good to poor. There are squeeze points at the railway bridge, and at an un-named drain before the road rises up to the traffic lights at Argenton. At the large two lane roundabout that is the entry to the Glendale shopping centre turn left into Fredrick Street which crosses Cockle Creek and then in turn crosses Main Road Edgeworth at the traffic lights. Proceed straight across, but be aware, cars in the left lane must turn left, so cyclists on the road have to wait in the middle lane for their turn to go. Fredrick Street ends at the entry into Glendale Tafe Campus and the beginning of the Glendale to Wallsend track. This is another of our regions Rail Trails, an ex-tram line that linked Wallsend to Speers Point and to West Wallsend. Continue along the concrete path through beautiful bushland, this section is the highest hill climb in the circuit but the gentle grade makes it not too difficult. The Glendale to Wallsend path uses a tunnel under the Newcastle Link Road, and then comes out into the suburbs of Wallsend, following Cowper Street in front of Wallsend Plaza. After Wallsend plaza cross the storm water drain and take the path down onto the side road parallel with the main road.
Some historic railway gates and items of interest can be found near the intersection of the main Wallsend shopping street, Nelson Street. The route now follows one of Newcastle’s oldest off road cycleways, known as the East West. This uses service lanes and dedicated shared paths all the way from Wallsend into Broadmeadow. Continue along the obvious pathway, taking care at several street crossings, and the path will slowly veer around to the right, or east. The path reaches a three way intersection, with the left junction leading out to Wilkinson avenue and access to the University of Newcastle, and the right continuing the 2 City Circuit. This direction runs between a nursing home facility and a storm water drain, until it comes out onto Mordue Parade. Turn right and follow Mordue Parade past the back of Jesmond Plaza. When Mordue parade turns left, look for the cycleway continuing straight ahead and then turning parallel with Newcastle Road.
Cross Newcastle Road at the lights with Blue Gum Road, and then turn right to go along Newcastle Road for about 30 metres before turning left into Illoura Street. Whilst the footpath to the left from the lights is part of the designated cycleway, there are more driveways and potential obstacles to the left than to the right. Proceed up Illoura Street only about 80 metres and you will find an off road Cycleway to the left. This is part of the original tram line and generally speaking the gradient is good. This path has bushland on the right, and Jesmond Park and rose garden on the left. Three quarters of the way along this path is the cycleway up the hill to John Hunter Hospital. After leaving Jesmond Park continue through an old tram cutting, up the hill and down to traffic lights on Croudace Street Lambton. These lights will give cyclists exiting the Cycleway a priority phase. Proceed straight ahead into Howe Street for 2 blocks until you come to Morehead Street. Confident cyclists will prefer to continue along Howe Street as the shoulder is reasonably good. There is an off road option to turn into Morehead Street and immediately onto the path in Lambton Park, and follow the section parallel with the main road.
After the end of the park the cycleway takes the 2nd of two small cul-de-sacs to the left, Tyrone Road where there is a small bridge that crosses a storm water drain and the path follows the drain along the edge of playing fields until Turton Road, at the sports centre.
For the 2 City Circuit, turn right once across Turton Road and ride parallel with the Hockey fields. For a short length the 2 City Circuit follows the route of the North South Cycleway. Cross Lambton Road with the traffic lights but watch out for fast left turning traffic in the sliplane. Follows a narrow path beside with the stormwater drain, to come out on to Jellicoe Street, New Lambton. Continue in this same direction when you encounter the bridge over the storm water channel, meaning you need to take a slight “dog leg” left onto Mackie Avenue.
At St James Road turn left and its only 150m to the Adamstown railway gates and the northern end of the Fernleigh Track.
Public toilets can be found at Redhead, and Belmont.
Enjoy the ride.