Riding from Kotara to Shortland and the John Hunter Hospital

Recently I was reading the works program of the Newcastle City Council Cycling Strategy and it recommended for Route 3 Kotara – John Hunter Hospital – Sandgate to ride via the inner city bypass then Charlestown Road then along Lookout Road and from the JHH along a future road, H23, to the Jesmond roundabout at Newcastle Road. The reverse direction is slightly different and recommends riding down Carnley Avenue beside Blackbutt Reserve.
These routes are asking cyclists to ride up, then down, lengthy hills beside fast traffic, and sometimes beside parked cars at a fast pace. These hazards are duly noted in the Strategy.

Image credit: Google maps

Image credit: Google maps

If you want to ride to Sandgate, which is very close to the uni, from Kotara, a much better route is to follow the tracks beside the drains, a slightly longer distance. These tracks are all flat and you can ride nearly all the way completely off-road as seen in the map above. Once you reach Jesmond Park, there is an off-road track alongside Main Road. From the uni, there are tracks throughout the campus from which you can reach Sandgate.

Picture 2
As for the JHH, it is on a hill so there is no escaping uphill riding, but there are much safer options along St James Road, then through back streets, then along Carrington Parade, which requires you to carry your bike up a flight of about 20 stairs. The best solution I can suggest here is a bike gutter to make this easier. The marked route going via Curzon Road is not necessary but Google maps would not allow me to remove this as Carrington Pde has a break in it where there is actually a staircase.
There is also a track through the bush behind JHH and emerging at Jesmond Park as seen in the first map. This is a much better option for bicycle travel from JHH to Jesmond/Sandgate.

Any other or better options would be greatly appreciated in the comments.

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7 Responses to Riding from Kotara to Shortland and the John Hunter Hospital

  1. grant says:

    There is another incredible awesome, safe, and direct option to JHH, but it is not strictly permitted, which is unfortunate and silly.

    • Vicki says:

      Would be really grateful if you could share it Grant, I go there every fortnight …

      • Grant says:

        Up through Richley reserve :) It’s a bit of a hill, but a lovely ride. Bitumen maintenance roads up to the top. I can understand them not wanting mountain bikers in there, and you would want cyclists behaving responsibly on the descents (I have never ridden down the hill through there though), but I have heard the rangers turn a blind eye to cyclists riding through (but don’t quote me on it!)

      • Vicki says:

        Thanks Grant, I’ll check it out!

  2. Why is this still the only option? The first time I rode between New Lambton and its Heights it was along the narrow edge of Lookout Rd clinging to the white picket and chicken wire fence in the 1970’s. Finding the path through Blackbutt Reserve was a boon. I remember when the cycling ban was applied to Blackbutt Reserve despite the best efforts of the NCM. I thought that the fire trails would have been surfaced and marked by now. For years I rode my dragster on those fire trails and later my road bike.
    In Canberra, rangers aren’t bothered as long as you stay on the fire trails.
    Get up the Council. Or just ride the trails. “More honoured in the breach!”

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