This is a ride I always enjoy, it can be used to link Wollongong with Lake Illawarra and points south. It can be ridden almost entirely on cycleways or a combination of road and cycleway. Traffic is generally light but what there is is usually BIG.
The ride passes heavy industry, lagoons, beaches and Port Kembla harbour and provides many interesting sights and lots of variety - as I said, one of my favourite rides.
The ride commences in Warrawong at the junction of King St and Shellharbour Rd where the cycleway from Windang turns up Shellharbour Rd at Kemblawarra behind Harvey Norman.
The cycleway is a shared footpath on a route which passes the Coomadichy Lagoon, turns right into Cowper St and continues down a fairly steep hill, passing the Surf Lifesaving Club and into the car park at the Olympic Pool. (Sometimes the section between Shellharbour Rd and the lagoon can have a lot of glass from weekend revelries)
Bear left and follow the Footpath/Cycleway to Military Rd which is crossed and enter Gloucester Boulevard in front of the Illawarra Senior College. Again the cycleway is a shared footpath.
(If you fancy a detour and don't mind a fairly steep hill turning right into Military Rd will take you up to Hill 60 for sweeping views of the Illawarra coastline, the lake and of course the Steelworks. You can also pay a visit to the Coast Guard lookout tower and occasionally watch the hang gliders take off.)
Back to the Illawarra Senior College - Follow Gloucester Boulevard down to the seafront and the usually deserted North Beach which the route follows from end to end. The cycleway changes from footpath to a marked lane on the road a couple of times. What a contrast! on one side the sand and surf on the other some of Port Kembla's heavy industry.
Keep straight on at the 'end' of the road ignoring the left turn into Darcy Rd, head toward the pilot station and the museum, follow the cycleway past the Breakwater Battery Museum (Open 2nd and 4th Sundays - Adults $2), the old steam shovel and then left into Foreshore Rd. Here again perhaps time for a detour to the breakwater and No 3 and 4 jetties on the right.
The ride again follows a marked cycle lane over the various railway lines before turning right into Old Port Rd where once again the cycleway is a shared footpath. You won't meet many pedestrians along here but it is worth keeping a look out for vehicles leaving and entering the various sites along the road.
The cycleway takes you past the Coke Oven Batteries, along Five Islands Road then turns north along the side of Springhill Road, past the Lyshaght's Complex (now BHP Coated Products) and on toward Wollongong.
The cycleway passes BHP's North Gate where signs recommend cyclists dismount to cross, then on to a quite pleasant area of reclaimed lagoon and reserve before passing the Golf course and arriving at the Illawarra Steeler's Football ground. From here it is just a short ride to Wollongong harbour and the cycleway north to Bulli.