Video & Photo Story: Mark Matthews Finds MTB Paradise in Tasmania

May 25, 2019
by Mark Matthews  


It’s 4pm on a Wednesday, I left home on a Monday afternoon and the 27-hour long journey from Vancouver Island to Tasmania is complete.

As I was flying into the Hobart airport and looking out the plane’s window, the beautiful landscapes made me almost forget how tired I was. The smell of eucalyptus hit me like a wall the second I walked out of the airport. I had travelled from one piece of mountain bike heaven to another. Both Tasmania and Vancouver Island have their similarities. For example: they are close in population, provide world-class riding, and are geographically unique in their own regard. That “island vibe” is also very prominent among Tasmanians.

Tasmania has always fascinated me in general. For a Canadian, it’s a mysterious, far-away place, full of unique wildlife and separated from the rest of the world. These are all reasons I wanted to visit, but I had also seen great content from Maydena Bike Park lately. The trails there would make any avid mountain biker in the Northern Hemisphere want to jump on a plane to escape winter. A few of my Canadian friends have been living down in Maydena and helping develop the park, so my interest was sky-high. I was looking for any excuse I could to experience the place.

Derby


Before going to Maydena, I wanted to explore more of the island first. I was convinced to visit Derby after a handful of suggestions (it wasn’t even on my radar originally), and boy- am I ever glad I visited! When I first rolled into town I had zero plan, other than wanting to stay there for a few days. I dropped by a shop called Vertigo MTB and they welcomed me with open arms. Vertigo also does shuttles up the local trail network in town, so I hopped on a shuttle later that day and was grinning ear-to-ear after the first lap. Vertigo owner, Buck Gibson, was my driver, his fun-loving attitude kept the vibes high all afternoon. After that first day I quickly fell in love with the town.


The riding in Derby is incredible, I can easily see why this is such an exciting Enduro World Series stop. Not only that, but the riding community blew me away. This place is the perfect example of taking a ghost town and transforming it into a little mountain bike oasis. Riders are everywhere and the amount of trail development that has happened in the last few years is extremely impressive. In just a few years, mountain biking has saved this community. The Blue Derby Mountain Bike Project was backed by a $2.5 million Federal Government grant to develop a new industry and help the region recover from the collapse of the forestry industry. It's safe to say this was a huge success.

Feeling the flow on one of Derby's popular trails "Air Ya Garn"

Much like Tasmania, we are so blessed with amazing natural terrain on Vancouver Island, but we don’t have communities quite like Derby. Our local governments could learn a valuable lesson from the way they do things in Derby. The visit to this little town was eye-opening to see how much impact mountain biking can have on a community.

MAYDENA


After a memorable few days in Derby, it was time to head south to the place I had been looking forward to for months, Maydena Bike Park. My idea of this place was not even close to the real thing. I knew it was going to be good riding, but the scale of it blew me away. It has over 800m of elevation and 30+ trails open for riding, with a further 65km of trails under development. I couldn’t believe it! This is bigger than most bike parks in Canada. And every single one of the trails is very well-built.


Maydena Bike Park is an epic mix of flow trails and steep technical lines. It's a very full-on mountain and much steeper than I expected.

The trail ratings here are pretty next level! This one is called "Colour Blind" and it's considered a blue on the mountain. It's no wonder all the local kids I met here are so gnarly.


The best way to summarise my trip to Tasmania: a truly eye-opening experience. I’m fairly certain this visit was the first of many.

Derby images by Jasper Da Seymour
Maydena Images by Simon McLaine

Regions in Article
Derby, Maydena


36 Comments

  • + 20
 There is a place called Warburton in the state of Victoria that is getting some upgrades to their little bike park as well. The $11.3 million dollar project will end up with 135+ KM of trails with upwards of 1000 meters of elevation.

It's a great time to be alive!
  • + 4
 I live an hour from Warby. I was so sad when they destroyed the La La Falls trail. I'm hoping the new trail system doesn't dissapoint
  • + 3
 @dr-fishy-noooo: Not a chance they'll disappoint. World trail are on the job.
  • + 3
 I'm 35 mins away and can't wait either!

I'm strongly thinking about AirB&B'ing out my spare rooms and running a few shuttles. It could be a BUNCH of fun!

Yeah Warbie!
  • + 1
 Is that in Canada?
  • + 2
 Oh shit that’s in Australia.. welp that’s out of my budget
  • + 6
 The trails here are even better than anyone thought!! Frenchie with the Dirt Art team, and Glen Jacobs with the World Trail team have worked so hard to make this a MTB Mecca.

Hmm, I wonder where they can expand to next.. the world's biggest pump track in the Queenstown mine? Or remake Tahune into a tree tops MTB park?
  • + 6
 Living in Sydney sucks. Pitty the wife doesn't think so...
  • + 5
 @Ktron: You can swap the wife easier than making a MTB park nearby!
  • + 5
 But not to take away from this vid!!! Derby and Maydena are well worth the short flight or battling Bass Strait for.
  • + 3
 Half the people I met in tassie were folks from the mainland that visited, fell in love and chose to stay. Such a beautiful place.
  • + 5
 Love it.

Derby seriously wasn't even on your radar?!
  • + 1
 I was lucky enough to ride Derby twice a few years back while living in Adelaide. The trail network was in its infancy but still so unbelievably rad. Love to get back, but it’s a 24 hr trip now!
  • + 1
 Are there many natural trails there? because everything seems machined, you didn't encounter one root or rock in any of the video's. I kwon the flow trails are fun but not really challenging right?
  • + 6
 Around half the trails at Maydena at natural, hand built tech trails! It’s certaibly not just flow and jump trails- the park has 62 trails and each one is unique.
  • + 1
 Yes, I have a bunch more clips on my YouTube from the trip, not just these 2 flow trails.
  • + 1
 Yes stacks of technical trails, right from fairly easy to bonkers mental steep. After a super steep section there will be just enough of a hand cut berm to somehow hold you in for the next steep.
  • + 1
 Yeah most of our local trails around here are far less machined and have alot of those natural features like roots rocks etc. The video of the trail he rode in Derby is a flow/jump trail so it's deliberately been manicured. Probably fair to say the rest of the Derby trails have alot more natural features and in particular alot of granite boulder style rocks and some sections are quite rooty. The place is amazing and you feel like recently the work the World Trail crew have done has opened it up to more riding styles to get more people riding it. I have been riding Derby since it first opened and where it is at now is absolutely next level - the shuttles are super affordable and if you're fit everything is ridable (shuttles aren't necessary but allow you to fit more in to your day). If you do come down here 2 - 3 days will have you grinning from ear to ear. This place is MTB mecca for us Aussies and I truly feel lucky to live here!
  • + 3
 mental
  • + 2
 Nothing sped up
  • + 2
 Great shots!
  • + 2
 island viiiibes woop!
  • + 1
 just, wow
  • + 0
 No snakes, crocodiles, spiders there?
  • + 3
 No Crocs.
  • + 2
 they are in the mainland, only tassie devils to worry about
  • + 2
 @bmar560: Ummmm and a few tiger snakes.

@zokinjo - Just come between April and October - thats our Autumn, Winter and Spring when the slithery ones are nowhere to be seen.
  • + 3
 It's the drop bears you need to worry about!
  • + 2
 Snakes are regular visitors at Derby.... also worth noting all snakes in Tasmania are venomous so bring a compression bandage in your pack, and read up on treating snake bites. I believe in Australia (or maybe it is Tasmania) we have a single anti venom now so there is no need for you to try and chase the snake to try and identify it. I have come across snakes at Derby in the Summer months and there have been reports of riders getting bitten.

A new species of spider has also been discovered in and around the area of Derby too.... www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-13/new-species-of-funnel-web-found-in-northern-tasmania/8441740

We don't have crocodiles in Tasmania (it's too cold for them) so that is a bonus!

Don't let this put you off though it's just worth being aware of it doing some reading and coming prepared!
  • + 1
 @listofdemands: to be fair, the locals are far more savage ;-)
  • - 1
 It looks paved
  • - 1
 that shit sped up?
  • - 1
 I had the same thought on the 2nd vid
  • - 1
 @bcbarry: Knowing ColourBlind, it doesn't look sped up to me.
They're fairly steep corners.


Edit: Actually, just rewatched. That roll in is totally sped up
  • - 2
 need speedpolice to check in here!
  • + 3
 @EnduRowan: seriously dude? I watched this several times, nothing looks sped up. Down voted!

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