“Where should we ride this weekend?” Barret asked. He wasn’t feeling particularly inspired by the forest green dots on Google Maps.
We’d covered a lot of ground on our bikes, but we hadn’t made it to Sydney’s northern beaches. Because of this we were inspired to plan our most ambitious route yet- a 50km roundtrip with friends to the Newport Arms Hotel. Aside from a spectacular view of Pittwater Bay, the hotel is a perennial darling of ‘best pub food’ lists.
The Arms was first established in 1880 by Charles Edward Jennerett, an entrepreneurial man with his hands in real estate, trade, and government. His endeavors proved fortuitous because in 1881 he was considered eminent enough to host Princes Albert and George (later George V) on their visit to Sydney.
Over the last 134 years the hotel has undergone major refurbishment and changed ownership four times. Today its sprawling outdoor patio overlooks Scotland Island and the edge of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
It was not easy, after a heavy course of food and refreshments, to find the energy to return home. The temptation to spend the night and call in sick was strong, but we dug deep and peeled ourselves off the mint lounge chairs just before sunset. We still had 25km to go.
The final destination was gorgeous, but what continually surprises me about Australia is just how stunning the coast is no matter where you are. The beaches of Curl Curl and Dee Why are not on most tourist’s radars but their sapphire water and golden sand gleams just as brightly as the most popular southern beaches.
Portions of the route from Manly to Newport are also specifically set aside for bicyclists. From Dee Why the trail runs beneath tree canopies and along the Narrabeen Lakes. There’s something about the crunch of an unpaved route under my tires that brings me so much joy. It’s the sound of all great adventures.
How to get to the Newport Arms Hotel: 2 Kalinya Street, Newport NSW 2106