Heading from Canberra to Gunning makes for a great day out. If you’d like to make the trip on Gundaroo Road it has limited verge and regular traffic. Gravel is the better way to go, involving some of the best gravel roads in the Canberra region: the roads are generally really well maintained, the traffic rare, and the views can be epic.
Heading out of Canberra
Heading north, we decided to endure the short distance on the Barton Highway, particularly the ~2km alongside the current roadworks on leaving the ACT prior to connecting to Spring Range Road. Soon, the highway duplication should provide excellent cycling verge but if this narrow highway cycling is not for you an alternative is to leave Canberra on Mulligans Flat Road and cycle Tallagandra Lane (see Gundaroo Gravel for more details).
Gravel to Gunning
Spring Range Road starts sealed, but converts to gravel for around half of its distance. It makes for a more fun trip than following Nanima Road end-to-end. The route does still require 7.5km on Nanima Road which is sealed, but at its end it is a very short distance to Dicks Creek Road. At this point some of the region’s best gravel cycling starts: when combined with Yass River Road it is a great connecting road for lots of possibilities – Yass, Gundaroo, Murrumbateman and Gunning.
One of the things that is noticeable about these roads is that whilst they provide good views here and there and are nice places to cycle, they don’t offer spectacular scenery. It is therefore a real pleasure to connect to Berrebangelo Road, which offers some tremendous views as it gently rolls across some hills. It is here that you can really appreciate you are getting into sheep grazing country.
At the end of Berrebangelo Road the road becomes sealed on Lade Vale Road, which connects to Gundaroo Road close to Gunning. The 40km between Murrumbateman Road and Gundaroo Road offer very light traffic, only 400m of climbing and fantastic cycling conditions. Highly recommended.
Return to Canberra
After Gunning, the gravel soon returns on Collector Road. If, like me, you have travelled up and down the Federal Highway and seen the sign near Collector to “Gunning”, this is the road it directs traffic to. Gently rising uphill all the way from Gunning to the top of the Lake George escarpment, this road has a higher level of traffic than all the other gravel roads on this trip, but is wide and well maintained.
The last of the gravel on this route is Marked Tree Road. Offering unmissable views of Lake George, this road is a lot of fun as the majority of it is downhill! You also have the advantage of views towards the Brindabellas that you completely miss if cycling in the opposite direction. More details on this road, and also options to/from Gundaroo, are included in Circumnavigating Lake George. For this trip cycling home via Sutton and then the Majura Parkway was our choice.
Details of this ride
Travel guidance and suggestions
- This route could be ridden on an appropriately trodden road bike when dry.
- The Merino Cafe is a highly recommended stop, offering great coffee and an excellent selection of sweet items.
- We also stopped in Gundaroo and had a light meal at the Grocer – worth checking out if you are travelling on a day when other options (such as Cork Street Cafe, my top recommendation) are closed.
- You could add a detour to Collector (to the tremendous Some Cafe), but note the extremely steep climb back up to Marked Tree Road. You have been warned…
- Feeling parched at the end? Finish like we did at Capital Brewing. My personal favourite is the Hang Loose Juice NEIPA. Enjoy!