Adrenaline pumping on a mountain bike
Tassie’s reputation for classic mountain bike adventures shifts up a gear
It’s not only hard-core four-wheel-drive enthusiasts who love to get down and dirty in Tasmania. You’ll also find a growing number of adventurers who chase the adrenaline rush that comes with technically challenging mountain-bike riding through some spectacular forests and streams.
Once again, Tassie is blessed with more than its fair share of classic trails that are drawing more and more visitors to the island. Two places in particular, Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails, and Maydena Bike Park Trails, are going gang-busters.
Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails
A few years ago, Derby was a struggling little riverside town near Launceston with a declining population of around 200 residents. There were few job opportunities, and you could pick up real estate for about the price of a packet of chips. But in the space of a few short years, that’s all changed.
After winning a $3 million joint funding initiative, Dorset Council, with the help of Federal Government funding, undertook the largest single mountain bike project in Australia. It has become a mountain biker’s paradise, and attracts over 30,000 visitors a year.
In 2015, stages one and two were successfully launched, comprising nearly 40 kilometres of track through some of the most challenging and scenic tracks on the face of the planet. Another 40 kilometres were added in 2016.
What started as a $3 million calculated risk now generates around $30 million annually for the town, and has well and truly put Derby on the world stage for mountain bike riders, and adventure seeking travellers.
What makes Blue Derby so special?
Blue Derby boasts 24 different tracks which vary in difficulty, length and scenery. They have names like ‘Atlas’, ‘Black Dragon’, ‘Big Chook’, ‘Howler’, ‘Flickity Sticks’, ‘Devilwolf’, ‘DamBusters’ and ‘Detonate’. The trails have been built by ‘World Trail’, a Queensland absed organisation who have established a reputation around the world for jaw-dropping mountain-bike trails. The company has gone to great lengths during the planning and construction phases to maintain the natural beauty of the area, and to showcase it within a network of trails that take riders through a myriad of microclimates.
Some trails are as short as 300-metres, they’ll take around two minutes to complete, and they’re a hoot. Then there are trails that can take around 90 minutes to complete, and are technically challenging. Of course, if you’re not an experienced mountain-biker and you prefer to peddle rather than shred, there are still plenty of easy trails to enjoy. All the trails are clearly marked in terms of difficulty and duration, and there is something for everyone.
For more details visit ridebluederby.com.au
Maydena bike park trails
Equally popular with mountain bikers is Maydena Bike Park Trails in the beautiful Derwent Valley, which features 30-plus ‘gravity trails’ and a further 65 kilometres under development. All gravity trails, which are essentially fast winding downhill runs starting at a summit, capitalise on the parks unique rainforest environment and massive 820m vertical elevation, offering trails of all types, for all abilities. Most of the trails require a shuttle service to the summit, which is just as well as it’s a long, long way to the top.
Of course, there’s more to Maydena than just tearing down the mountainside on a tricked up mountain-bike (not that there’s anything wrong with that if this happens to be your schtick). Part of the business model for Maydena includes organised sightseeing tours that take you through all sorts of spectacular wilderness country, which can look even more stunning with snow-capped mountains as a backdrop. Maydena also has the highest altitude restaurant in Tasmania at 1100 metres above sea level, and features 360-degree views across the Styx Valley, Mt Field and beyond.
Maydena Gravity Festival, April 26th – 29th, 2018
This month, Maydena will play host to one of the biggest mountain bike events on the Australian mountain bike calendar! Starting April 26th, Maydena Gravity Fest is a 4 day festival that includes some of the finest riding you will ever have the thrill of witnessing, which takes in stunning Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness. Three separate marquee gravity events combine with three social events to create a packed three days of riding, and socialising.
According to information on their website, all race events are suitable for both enduro/trail and downhill bikes, and there are a number of different events. These include the Ultimate Flow Challenge, Air DH, Tech Assault, Pump Track Challenge, Dual Slalom and more.
For details visit maydenabikepark.com