Sutherland Shire and St George mountain bike enthusiasts looking for new tracks to challenge their skills will have to look no further than Wollongong for a "spectacular" new bike park.
A wedge of former industrial parkland with spectacular views of the Illawarra coast will be transformed into a major mountain biking playground, under a new plan.
Wollongong City Council has unveiled its masterplan for the Cringila Hills precinct, where it is proposing to build an 11.8km network of mountain biking trails, a skill park and pump track, along with walking trails and picnic areas.
The council will also relocate a children's playground already within the park, and build a new formal car park for 80-100 cars.
According to the master plan, put together by mountain bike trail designers Dirt Art, the network will focus on trails for beginners and intermediate riders, but will also include a "black diamond" loop for advanced riders.
While the council says costs are yet to be finalised, the Dirt Art plan has estimated it will cost about $1 million to build the trails in three stages.
Council staff say Cringila Hills - located off Jarvie Road between Cringila and Berkeley - is ideal for mountain biking, as it "offers spectacular views and is visually the dominant elevation in the southern suburbs".
"The topography of the site and its natural setting lend[s] itself to mountain biking," council staff said.
"The proposed bike park plan ... capitalises on the undulating terrain of the site while framing the spectacular views."
The area is currently home to the Wollongong Cardinals Baseball Club, the council said, and is also used for passive recreation like walking and bird watching.
These uses will be boosted under the master plan with better amenities and spectator seating, and new public toilets, tree planting, barbecues pathways and water bubblers, the council said.
The Cringila Hills bike park has been in the works for several years, with the council identifying the area as ripe for development as early as 2013.
Councillors will consider the master plan at next week's meeting, and it will then be opened up for public comment between November and the end of January.