This route follows a circuit around the 4WD trails and firebreaks of Coningham Reserve. The riding is a bit of fun, but this ride is more for the locals looking for a short spin, or those just looking for somewhere new to go, this route is great when the wildflowers are out, but at anytime of year it provides some lovely views towards Mt Wellington and over the Derwent River.
Head down the Southen Outlet from Hobart towards Kingston and continue on towards Margate and Snug which is 25kms south of Hobart. As you leave Snug look for a turn off on your left, about 600 metres past Snug Tavern, signed to Coningham Beach and Old Station Road. Drive along this road for a kilometre, then turn left again onto Coningham Road. A further 1.8kms down this road turn into the carpark behind Coningham Beach.
The main route is 10kms and can be cycled all of the way. There is an option about seven kilometres into the ride, just after coming back out onto the gravel road, to take a right turn and cycle down to the old car park. From here you can dismount and push your bike back to Coningham Beach via a walking track. The push is just under 3kms, and is a really nice piece of coastline. In summary, if you just want to ride - stick to the main route. If you're happy to push your bike for a bit and want to see a bit more of the reserve, then this bike-hike option is highly recommended.
The blue line shows the main route, and the pink line shows the alternate route where you need to dismount and push your bike.
Mountain Biking is only allowed on the formed trails and firebreaks in the Reserve Area. You are not allowed to ride on walking trails (hence the hike-a-bike mentioned above). Follow these rules so we can all continue to ride in this reserve.
If you want to know more about where you can cycle in the reserve, go to the resources tab where you will find a link to the official site and management plan.
This route is best done in a counter clockwise direction so you ride up Old Station Road (gravel road) and then get to enjoy the more technical downhill from Sheppards Hill along the trails.
From Coningham carpark, head back to the road, and turn right back up the small hill you've just driven down. As you get to the top of this hill (100 metres from the carpark) you'll see a signed gate directly in front of you which leads into the reserve.
Head up along the track behind this gate, and follow this track across the firebreak and into the bush. This trail quickly loops around to the right and quickly rejoins the firebreak (500m from start), continue to follow the track along the edge of the fireline to your left as it winds around behind properties. 900m from the start you will see a track heading off to your left, this is a nice little detour that heads around past a few small dams.
You'll reach a small T junction at 1.1km, turn right, and then when you come to a second junction (1.3km) turn right again and head straight back down the hill to come back out on the firebreak (1.6km). Continue to follow the trail that runs along the top of this firebreak, ducking off into the bush a couple of times to avoid the steepest gullies. 2.4kms from the start the firebreak turns sharply to the right. You will see a track heading off into the bush at this junction. Follow this track, ignoring another track to your left which will drop you out onto Old Station Road (2.6km).
Turn left and head up Old Station Road until the top (4.2kms from start) where you will see a well signed entry back into the park. Head up this track, around the gate and follow the track which heads off to the right (you can head straight up the hill, but it's harder). 4.7kms from the start (400 metres past the gate) you will see a track heading off sharply to the left. Follow this track as it sidles around the hill, ignoring tracks that drop off to your left. You will now be basically heading along the spine of Sheppards Hill and will come out into an open grassed area 5.8kms from the start. Just keep following the track through this area and enjoy the descent (which gets steeper and more technial as it goes down) which will eventually drop you out at a gravel roadturnabout (6.9kms). Be warned that the last few hundred metres of this track has some very deep ruts. I cycled down the centre and was fine, but this section could be quite dangerous for children or inexperienced cyclists.
100 metres from this roundabout (7kms) you will come onto a main road. This is where you turn right and head down the hill if you want to take the hike option (it's 600 metres to the car park from where you need to dismount and walk). Otherwise turn left and enjoy the ride back towards Coningham Beach. The first 2kms are on section of road that has been closed (gated) but there may still be horseriders on this road, so take care. At 8.9km you will come to the gate on the road (there is a cyclists bypass on the left of the gate) and from there continue down the hill and around the road towards Coningham beach. The beach and your car is just under a kilometre further along, but it's all downhill.
If taking the walking track option, from the carpark just basically follow the track along the top of the cliff edge. You will come out to Legacy Beach about half way long which is a nice spot for a break. Head up the track from this beach until you see a signed turnoff to Coningham Beach about 100metres up this track. Follow this track around to the beach. There are quite a few steps along this track which you'll need to carry your bike up and down, but on the whole it is a fairly easy push.