eBike Tours

Lake Illawarra

The idea of a ride involving a temple and a lake lured me to the NSW south coast.  There you will find the Nan Tien Temple close to Lake Illawarra and only 13kms south of Wollongong. A two-hour drive from Sydney and you are at the gates of the magnificent Southern Paradise Buddhist Retreat in Berkeley.

1 entranceThe Pagoda is the first impressive structure you find; its seven-tier structure represents the steps to supreme enlightenment.

2Behind the Pagoda is a tall steep hill which overlooks the Temple grounds. On its slopes, you find the Nan Tien Gratitude Bell and the Buddha statue. The kangaroos are steel-plate statuettes.


4You reach the main temple via a large quadrangle and everywhere you look there are intricate carvings and ancient architectural features. Cameras are not allowed inside the temple, but photography is OK everywhere else.


5The lake is an easy 15 minute ride from the temple, mostly downhill. Once you reach the lake shoreline, the scenery remains the same for the next 40kms: wide open water views to be enjoyed mostly from a shared cycling path.


7Half way around the lake, the path disappears for a while around Dapto and Kembla Grange. Being unsure of directions, I tagged behind a group of mountain bikers who turned out to be great company. The lead rider was a very cute poodle with excellent knowledge of local roads.


8Its great meeting other riders, especially if you are lost. The group let me join them from Hayward’s Bay to Windang, and it was easy to find the way back to Berkeley from there.  Thanks for the rescue guys.


11 groupThis is a great ride of 55 kms in about three and a half hours. Over three quarters of it has excellent paths and the few kilometres of road -iding was on a wide and clearly marked cycle lane. Great views and good paths give this ride the ‘Safe and Scenic’ tick of approval.


9 replies »

  1. The Pagoda Temple is accesible by car only?
    Are there trains and buses to get to the temple?
    I am on a power wheel chair.
    You provided us with a good description of the site as well as beautiful pictures, thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice to hear from you Virginia. I drove from Sydney and parked near the Temple, but the nearest rail station is Unanderra only a few kms away. As a Sydneysider, I cant add more useful transport detail, other than an observation that its a popular attraction and I saw several buses arrive in the time I visited. A wheel chair taxi from the station could work; I suggest calling the Temple staff; the ones I spoke to were very friendly. cheers.


  2. Do you have a gpx or kml file or similar of the route you followed. I would like to do it but can’t see enough detail on the map. Sorry I don’t use Strava

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry Fred, but Strava is the only detailed map I have. Maybe you could set up a ‘ghost account’ just to track rides. This particular route is relatively simple. I just located the Temple via gps, left my car close by, and headed down to the lake. If you keep tracking close to the water you cant get lost. cheers


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