Over 30kms long, the Prospect Reservoir Orphan School Creek Trail is one of the of the longest continuous off-road bike paths in Sydney. It is also one of the most varied, ranging across rolling rural hills, bushland, suburbs, and townships. By wandering through 17 different Western Sydney suburbs, you see a diverse slice of multicultural Australia. A jpg map of the route is below, and a full size pdf is here.
I started at the Prospect Reservoir just off the Horsley Drive exit on the M7 Motorway; but you can start at any point or enter from any direction. Most of the suburbs are on a train line, so accessing the path by train is a convenient option.
The path is a circuit loop and I chose to do it clockwise, heading east along the excellent cycleway which starts at the Prospect Reservoir. Most of its 12kms was once a water-supply canal and is now a shared public path. The Greystanes Viaduct is a particular attraction, I enjoyed the contrast between the classic viaduct architecture and its underworld street art.
When the Prospect Cycleway runs out, you can be guided by the massive water pipes that run through Merrylands and Guilford. Look at the horizon for signs of the cultural richness of this part of Sydney.
Around this point I met an Assyrian cyclist and enjoyed his company for several kilometres. As he told me about his new life in Australia we passed the Fairfield Saturday Markets and he proudly pointed out the church to which he belonged. Thank you for sharing, George.
When the waterpipe line runs out you know you are in Guilford; just keep close to the railway line for several suburbs and you cannot get lost. The railway artworks are impressive as are the various viaduct bridges.
These street art dsiplays are samples that you find everywhere. The top two are part of a long wall adjoining the railway and the bottom one is in a shopping carpark in Guilford. There are vibrant colours everywhere.
Keep your eye peeled for this beautiful temple west of Fairfield. As you go through the Canley Vale shops you can choose amongst four Vietnamese bakeries for some palate pleasing snacks.
When you leave Fairfield, the path rises into the hills of Bosley Park and Abbotsbury. Look for signs to Calmsley Hill Animal Farm; once you find it you will see the cycle path that will take you all the way back to Propect Reservoir passing through forests, lookouts and gently rolling hills.
This varied ride takes about half a day, depending on diversions and breaks. It’s a safe, interesting, mostly scenic ride, and one to keep on your list of favourites.