Tasmania, Australia's Mountain Bike Wonderland - Destination Showcase

Jan 9, 2018
by jasper da Seymour  


Riders in Tasmania are grinning ear to ear. All of a sudden, this rugged little island has risen to become Australia’s new home of MTB. About the size of West Virginia, and Australia’s only island state, it’s overflowing with dramatic scenery, MTB trails and an enviable laidback lifestyle. The old adage ‘build it and they will come’ isn’t always true. The planets have certainly aligned for Tasmania; outstanding terrain, a solid vision and funding for trails have created a MTB mecca down under. It’s built, and they are coming.




If you’ve been paying attention to the EWS, you would know that round two was held in the small town of Derby in Northeast Tasmania this year, and, it went off. Riders and teams loved the town and the trails, with stage 2 ‘Detonate’ being voted trail of the whole 2017 series. The Blue Derby network has inspired the MTB-led tourism revival, Derby, only 90 minutes from the northern gateway of Launceston. If you’re landing in Launceston, put your bike together at the airport (they have a dedicated bike building area) and hit up the local trails at Kate Reed, Trevallyn or Hollybank MTB Park before heading out to Derby. It’s also a good opportunity to stock up on fresh locally grown food and craft beer for the trip. Derby looks and feels like a MTB town, a distant memory from its heyday as a tin-mining town. The Blue Derby network has 85 km of trails in the hills behind Derby and over on the Blue Tier mountain range (get it, Blue Derby). And, they’re amazing.

Derby is a welcoming town and it certainly has an exciting future
It's always a good sign (har har) when the town's signs feature mountain biking...

Riding along the bedrock at Devilwolf. This area of the riverbed was washed away during a dam collapse in 1929.
A catastrophic flood in 1929 washed this river away to bedrock. It's now a trail feature

This is shot of a cafe in Derby. Big Chook is the name of a trail out at Weldborough 20 mins by car from Derby . The Blue Tier Trail a must ride ends on Big Chook.
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The whole town of Derby is getting behind riding
The whole town of Derby is getting behind mountain biking.

The emphasis of Blue Derby is trail quality. Aussie trail builders World Trail have taken the time to traverse the landscape and find the unique features that Blue Derby is now famous for. Every MTB market segment will have a blast. It’s great to see families cruising around the lower trails. Starting the trip high on the Blue Tier, a 45-minute shuttle from Derby, from the highpoint on a clear day you can see the Tasman Sea and Bass Strait that separates ‘Tassie’ from the mainland. Its true adventure trail, 18km full of smile-inducing flow, punctuated with effortless climbs before even more descending.

You re going to need a shuttle up to the Blue Tier and I highly recommend these guys Vertigo MTB.
You will need to grab a shuttle up to the Blue Tier trailhead.

One of the jumps on the wide open sub-alpine section on the Blue Tier.
The sub-alpine section of trail has some sneaky lines.

Checking out the scenary before the elevation drops and the flow increases to 11.
It's hard to do, but remember to take a break and check out the surroundings.

This wilderness trail is amazing.Starts up on an sub-alpine plateau before dropping 18km to Weldborough.
The wilderness trail has pockets of Jurassic style temperate rainforest.

The trail finishes on the lower half of Big Chook before exiting at the Welborough Pub. Time for a steak sandwich and local lager before another quick shuttle to Atlas. The country pub is full of riders and campers.

The beer garden at the Weldborough Pub is a welcome site.
The beer garden at the historic pub is a welcome sight.

Atlas takes us back towards Derby and has some more technical features in the middle section of the trail.

Halfway along the trail there are these massive vegetation covered balls . Riders have to weave around them before the trail drops down to Derby.
Once you pass these bad boys it's all downhill into Derby.

A major drawcard is, of course, the trails built for the EWS. You can get to most of them by shuttling up to Black Stump, or, climbing. Don’t let the confidence you have built up on Blue Tier and Atlas give you a false sense of security. The EWS trails are wild, from the now trademark split rock of Detonate, the rim-eating rock garden on Upper Shearpin and of course, Trouty.

This rock garden claimed a few rims and more at the EWS Shimano Enduro Tasmania . This was stage 4 and drops down into a jump line...eventually.
Pin-balling down the rock garden on Upper Shearpin.

The jump line on Lower Shearpin is sick
The jump line on Lower-Shearpin has plenty of options for boosting.

The same rock gap from above. Bit of a climb to get this shot.
The split rock on Detonate. Just wide enough for the bars.

This shot is at the end of a super fun and fast section before it drops down onto the open slab. Derby sits below.
The top of Trouty looking down towards Derby. This a seriously fun trail.

Life s pretty plain without wheelies right
Watch for the right-hander and rock garden at the end of this one on Trouty. Or just pop wheelies.

At the moment you will need at least 3-4 days in Derby. 35km of new trail at Derby opens mid-2018. Plans are underway a new 40km trail dropping from the high point of Blue Tier down to the beaches of the Bay of Fires on the East Coast, and a 60km stacked-loop network in the hills behind the seaside town of St Helens.. That’s a mind-boggling 200km plus of singletrack in the northeast alone. Stay tuned for that one!

Here s the main building for the Blue Derby Pods Ride.
Guests of the Blue Derby Pods Ride have this oasis to retreat to

Check this out This is one of the pods at the Blue Derby Pods Ride. Check those guys out they definitely have something special in the forest right by the Blue Derby Trails.
Relaxing in the pod in the Derby forest

Post ride dip in the Ringarooma River that flows through Derby.
The Ringarooma River that flows through Derby is perfect for a cool-down

Meanwhile, down south, 80 minutes from Hobart in the Derwent Valley, the next evolution of Tassie riding has been brewing.



Maydena Bike Park is a gravity park with 820m of vertical (most of any bike park in Australia). There are 20 individual gravity trails / 35km ready for the open day on the 26th of January and when complete later this year there will be 100kms total. The full-service park with year-round shuttle uplift, has been built by local trail company Dirt Art. It's set up for intermediate and advanced riders in mind but beginners are catered for. Being a gravity park, long-travel trail bikes or DH rigs are recommended. The hire shop can kit you out with a Canyon. A mix of hand-cut and machine-built options descend from the café at the 1100m summit.

The trail from the 1100m summit of the park before it meets the trail head. Choose your trail and drop 800m of vertical..
You're about to do some serious descending.

The neighbouring forest is World Heritage Wilderness, home of the tallest trees outside of the Redwoods. Expect the trail to pass giant Eucalyptus and massive manferns before dropping a more open jump and flow zone.

Foot out flat out for the bike park s Managing Director.
One of the berms on the upper section of the mountain, before it gets (way) steeper.

The views from the trails are amazing.
Different ridge lines have different soil types. Luckily the berms do their best to catch you.

The local trail has some super fun hips and doubles. Super flowy and ends at the lower jump zone section of the park.
The Local Trail will be an instant hit. So many fun gaps, hips and doubles.

The jump line has many options for steez.
Trail builder Dan Booker shows us how it's done.

The lower park zone has some massive berm and jump lines.
The lower jump section has green, blue, black and double black jump trails.

Trails are served with a side serving of loam. If Whistler and Squamish had an Aussie baby, it would be Maydena. Multiple world champion Sam Hill is a park ambassador and he’s had input into the build. We recommend you pre-book your shuttle pass online to avoid the dreaded FOMO.

Up high on the mountain the mist rolled in as we passes this massive eucalypt growing through the rock.
The lower park zone has some massive berm and jump lines.
The multiple trailheads make for variety in each shuttle run.

The hand-dug loamy steepness of the In-Fern-O will be sure to please.
The In-Fern-O Trail is set to be a drawcard. Hand-built steeps mixed with jumps that appear from nowhere.

This is a step-up hip an excavator dug feature on a largely hand dug and steeeeep trail the In-Fern-O. The guys were sessioning this for a while.Super floaty in the manferns.
This step-up hip on In-Fern-O looks crazy fun.

This trail drops massive vertical in a hurry. It s berms are steep and intensive mixed with some off-camber and ungroomed trail. It will be a hit.
The King-Brown Trail features endless tight and steep berms. These are tire burpers!

The trails weave past giant eucalypt trees. When you give your forearms a break remember to look up.
Yiew! Trees.

A colourful welcome to any town is always appreciated.
Maydena is a cool town surrounded by forest and mountains. Further down the road is the Southwest World Heritage Wilderness and the Mt Field National Park is only 10 mins away. The town is about to experience an big influx of gravity riders thanks to the Maydena Bike Park that s right in the middle of town. The Mountain Cafe does a decent coffee and feed too.
Maydena is a cool town, surrounded by forest and mountains. It's the gateway to the Southwest World Heritage Area.

The park is planning a massive event from 26-29 April 2018 including enduro (with uplift) Air DH, Whip-Off, Pump Track Challenge and Dual Slalom.

Kind of a shame to wreck this artwork really
Some of the hits on offer on the Local Trail.

The upper section of King Brown. Loamy
You too can flick, berm and huck.

Sometimes you hit these zones of old growth forest with thick canopies and tacky dark soil. It s an overload for the senses especially when you re already dropped 600m and your miles from the end of the trail.
Gap berm hit repeat.
In Tasmania, the art is on display everywhere.

From Melbourne, you can fly to the island in an hour or overnight by ferry and from Sydney, you’ll be there in a little over an hour. Wrap up your trip in Hobart with a lap on the local trails on Mt Wellington and the Meehan Range, and a visit to the local sites before flying out. On the flight home, you will be planning your return to Tasmania, guaranteed. Look deeper and there are more trails and fun to be had.

Local Knowledge
Check out Tourism Tasmania for a state-wide riding guide and more trails to check out during your trip.

Northern Tasmania have a great site for the Launceston trails and these are great options if you’re heading to Blue Derby.

The official sites for Blue Derby and Maydena Bike Park have all the info you need for accommodation, food and drink and services for those areas.



Presented by Tourism Tasmania


MENTIONS: @JasperHarley


Must Read This Week

65 Comments

  • + 28
 Just booked flights for April, can't wait!
  • + 1
 True. Booked flights last night!
  • + 6
 Spent a week riding Blue Derby in September last year, awesome time ! Vertigo bikes organized the trip for 8 of us kiwis and helped with everything ! Stayed at the Weldborough hotel, who really looked after us with great food and even better beer ! Cant say enough good things about the place, get there, guarantee a goodtime ! Trouty, Atlas, Upper shear pin all the trails are AWESOME, I left some skin behind on Detonate rock crack lol Go on do it !
  • + 1
 @glenno: thanks for the tips. Can't wait.
  • + 14
 I emailed a link to this article to the Mayor of Cairns, under the subject title of:
"See what can happen when you pull ya finger out"
  • + 2
 Too busy trying to kill crocs!
  • + 14
 Has anyone else been singing 'Funky Cold Maydena' to themselves?....
  • + 9
 Having ridden the blue derby trails before they were mountainbike trails when I was living there 10 yrs ago and loved the granite slab sandy wildness of it; I can't wait to get back there and try out the trails.

It makes me pretty damn happy that Potter and Buck have finally made what they wanted.
  • + 3
 Buck for Mayor of Derby!
  • + 10
 OMG Maydena looks soooo good.
  • + 1
 Awwyeah!
  • + 10
 Bookmarked. Thanks
  • + 7
 I too can't wait to get down to Tassie. The weather down there would be beautiful this time of year.
  • + 4
 "The park is planning a massive event from 26-29 April 2018 including enduro (with uplift) Air DH, Whip-Off, Pump Track Challenge and Dual Slalom."

Would like to hear more about this.....
  • + 3
 Spent 5 days in Derby in October, it is absolutely amazing. Don't get hung-up on the Derby Pods in the forest, they are overpriced. There is some awesome AirBnB's offered up by the locals, most of whom are mountain bikers as well. Definitely recommend Vertigo MTB in Derby, wicked shuttle and customer service. The pizza place in town is also wicked, head chef and manager are MTBer's and we rode with them a couple times. Can't wait to go back!
  • + 2
 Heading to Tassie in a week to drop my son off at University of Tasmania. Planning on doing a loop down the east coast to Hobart and back up to Launceston. Hoping to get a day of riding in at BlueDerby. Do we do the shuttle and ride Blue Tier and Atlas or do we ride the trails around Derby? Suggestions would be appreciated.
  • + 3
 If you only have a day, the shuttle gets my vote.
Shuttle up to Blue Tier, ride down and grab lunch at the Weldborough pub. Then ride/shuttle to the start of Atlas. If you want to extend your ride, there's a few ways to do so. From Atlas you could turn right up Krushkas. Or you could turn left up Long Shadows, then finish down Return to Sender. Or left up Long Shadows, down Flickety sticks, the Great Race, loop around Dam Busters etc etc.
Finish the day with pizza and beers from The Hub (tip - if you're not a craft beer tragic, get take-away pizza and buy your beers from the pub across the road for half the price). The bresaola and truffle oil pizza was my fave.
Note there is no mobile reception so download the maps on Trailforks before you ride if you're planning on riding the Derby trails. I found the trailside signage (and maps at the Derby trailhead) not all that enlightening, but maybe things have improved in the last 6 months.
  • + 1
 @dsut4392: Thanks for the info, much appreciated. Already have Trailforks loaded.
  • + 6
 Bunch of yobbo's pounding the map-of-tassie! Love the pics!
  • + 1
 Pounding the map of Tassie, classic, you get the fun of Aussie
  • + 4
 Is there enough riding and other things to do to keep you busy for 2 weeks or woukd that be overkill?
  • + 9
 Tassie does two things well. The first is amazing unique wilderness, so if you enjoy bushwalking (hiking) there's heaps of memorable stuff to do. The second is fancy food & drink. If you like wine, cheese, fresh food from local farms etc there's lots to try.

(See them filling up the camelbak straight from the stream? That's legit. You usually don't need to filter water down there, as the streams and rivers really are that pristine. It tastes fantastic too - natural tannins from the buttongrass)
  • + 8
 Definitely not overkill - plan for a week up north around Launceston and Bluederby and a week down south around Hobart and Maydena - with an amazing coastal road trip of about 3 hours in between. You can fly into Launceston and out of Hobart. Awesome food and heaps of places to stay.
  • + 9
 I spent 5 summer holidays hiking and climbing in Tasmania as a uni student. Then I moved here "for a year or two" in 2004, and haven't left yet.

What "other things" do you like to do?
@Jagungal covered hiking, eating and drinking but we also have plenty to offer in water sports.
We have good surfing from deserted beaches
www.youtube.com/watch?v=47rsFNAqIfo
Sea Kayaking
www.roaring40skayaking.com.au
8-10 day whitewater rafting trips
www.franklinriverrafting.com
Scuba diving
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQb9ZFWfNZE

Of course there are also other land-based activities, including (at the risk of being banned from pb) great road cycling.

Or a huge variety of rock climbing from bouldering to remote multi-pitch trad routes with massive exposure
www.thesarvo.com/confluence/display/thesarvo/Introduction+to+Tasmanian+Climbing

There's also a pretty big arts scene, helped not a little by mona.net.au
  • + 4
 I recently have gotten really into climbing so this is starting to sound like a perfect winter getaway. I’m guessing there’s some places to rent a camper van or something like that?
  • + 1
 Keep the suggestions coming please! It's pretty cool to hear about the future trail expansions too
  • + 3
 @Jagungal: filter or treat all water, it's not worth the ruined holiday.
  • + 1
 in most case yes@iamamodel: ,the water on the Blue Tier is the cleanest freshest most satisfying water i have ever had, Tassie is abundant with fresh water Smile
  • + 1
 @iamamodel: I've spent I think about 20 days bushwalking/kayaking in southwest Tasmania, drinking straight from creeks and rivers, and never got sick...in my experience you are far more likely to ruin your holiday eating out in town! The worst food poisoning of my life was after eating at the chinese takeaway in Salamanca in Hobart. Several of us got it, and it did, in fact, ruin the last week of the holiday.
  • + 2
 @dfinn: yeah, lots of places for camper van rentals. Traditionally van rentals a pretty seasonal, with peak being December-March, and Jan-Feb get pretty busy (presumably costs more). At the beginning of December when the rental companies ramp up their fleet size there is a massive field full of camper vans at Hobart airport. Keep in mind that you won't be able to get a camper van in to some climbing areas (at least not without voiding your insurance) such as whitewater wall.
www.youtube.com/results?search_query=climbing+tasmania

Feb-March is the best time to visit; stable weather, warm, long days, less people. December weather can be good but it's less settled, it's often windy and a cold snap is not uncommon (we had snow down to 400m on Mt Wellington).

You'll want to get a National Parks pass, once you have one of these may of the camping areas are free of charge (but don't expect any facilities other than a drop toilet and maybe a picnic table if you're lucky.
  • + 7
 @leelau: BlueDerby trails are planned to be extended all the way to the East Coast, resulting in an 80km singletrack from Derby to St Helens. Another trail centre with 66km of singletrack is also planned at the St Helens end (called the Stacked Loop Network).

Hollybank is also worth a day if berms and sculpted trails are your thing. Do it before Derby though because it's not quite so mind-blowingly good.

www.tassietrails.org is a good source of information on MTB tracks all over the state. Some of the West Coast tracks (Stirling valley, Montezuma, Trial-Granville) are worth checking out despite being mostly old lgging or mining tracks.Not purpose-built MTB trail, but great scenery and a few technical challenges particularly on the Stirling Valley track. Some of the 'puddles' on the Montezuma Falls track are deep enough to submerge the whole bike.

There is also lots happening in the Meehan Range in Hobart. www.facebook.com/groups/119741154774894

The North-South Track on Mt Wellington is always fun for a blast, and connects up with a myriad of old-school trails on the mountain, as well as finishing at the Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park.
  • + 2
 @dsut4392: thanks to you and others for the info. Was trying to decide if there was enough in Tasmania to merit a PB front page multi parter from tourism and economic impacts perspective. Evidently there is
  • + 5
 @dfinn: Yep, Tassy has all the things you'd need. Car/Van hire, fancy hotels, airports, etc. The city (Hobart) is smaller than most cities, but ample and fun. Much like a 26" bike, does everything you need, but smaller and more playful than their cluttered and excessive 29" counterpart :p
  • + 2
 You could comfortably fill the better part of a week at Maydena, and Blue Derby is the same.
  • + 1
 The northwest of Tassie also has Penguin MTB Park with it's awesome jumps park and right behind the park, building of the first of the Dial Range network is about to commence. Also the construction is about start on Wild Mersey trail network around the towns of Latrobe, Railton and Sheffield, 100km of trail once completed. Down in Hobart the guys are kicking goals in the Meehan range with new trail addition planned adding to the already substantial network of trail and the new jumps park is almost complete. Tasmania is going off!
  • + 2
 Couldn't help but think of how many I would get attacked by a swarm of highly poisonous snakes riding these trails. I don't know much about austrailia/tasmania, but I do know that everything will kill you.
  • + 21
 It's always a little amusing, the fear of our wildlife from foreigners. I know we have some seriously deadly snakes/spiders, but they're incredibly hard to find in reality even if you're set about deliberately finding them. They do a damn good job of pissing off before you know they're even in the area.

But I'm actually much more fearful of going to the USA/Canada to do some biking in the Rockies etc. I mean, you guys have real predatory animals, like bears, wolves and mountain lions. Things that'll literally hunt you down, outrun you and rip you to shreds if you come across them in the wrong way (and I imagine more likely so if you get your way with Wilderness areas at some time).

I know I've probably massively got it wrong, as there seems to be bugger all discussion on this or fear from the locals, but as a tourist in a foreign country I'd be way more worried about these animals than snakes! The only real predator to fear in Australia would be crocodiles, but I doubt you'll come across them going mountain biking. Oh, that and dropbears. Fear the dropbears!
  • + 2
 @Ktron: I’d agree with you on that... mostly. I’ve bunny hopped my fair share of brown snakes this summer!
  • + 1
 @Ktron: Yeah literally every time I go walking back home I come across a browny or two and I've seen my fair shair of whites surfing, so I'm not so sure....

I did cross paths with a cougar a few weeks ago and that was quite scary, but at least you see it coming.
  • + 2
 @Ktron: Like @samjobson I mostly agree. Our wildlife is less dangerous than bears and mountain lions, more people in Australia die from allergic reactions to bee stings than every other animal combined.

Snakes however are not 'incredibly hard to find' in Tasmania, they're very common, particularly in grassy and coastal areas. I don't think I've ever been riding on Bruny Island and NOT had a snake encounter, and have seen snakes on numerous local Hobart trails many times (for instance in the last 3 months alone on Yellow Hippo, The Blair Switchback Project (below Head of the Serpent) and Birthday loop). They almost always try to slither away and hide, but can be quite active and defensive in mating season (spring/early summer, i.e. Nov-Dec in Tassie). Last time I rode Labillardiere circuit on Bruny we were joking about snakes on the drive there, and I didn't even get two pedal strokes from the car park before there was big fat tiger snake blocking the trail.
  • + 12
 @Bahh: I got stalked by a cougar once, scary. Haven't been back to that bar since.
  • + 3
 Great write up and video. I'm lucky enough to live in Tas and ride awesome trail most days. Maydena should be rad! Yew!!!
  • + 1
 Really nice video !! if you guys filmed this on the 18-20th of December in Derby, I think I came across your group in the cafe at Derby. Is there any XC/AM trails in Maydena or is it mostly gravity type trails ?
  • + 2
 Hi there, Maydena Bike Park is set up to allow riders to ride the park in an AM/enduro style if they wish. Contouring trails connect ridge lines, so that riders can break up their descent into more of an enduro/AM style of riding.
  • + 3
 Just left Derby a few days ago and it’s just as awesome as it looks! You should go!
  • + 1
 Spent 5 days in Tassie with the family last year as part of a 3 week Australia New Zealand trip. It was my favorite place! Didn't get a chance to bike there but that just gives me a reason to return!
  • + 2
 Got back from Derby 2 days ago, super fun trails, well built. The town just has to catch up with the demand!
  • + 1
 Gotta hit cyclinggo, they are busy in renovations. Going to be rad when finished. That workshop pumps!
  • + 3
 Looks like an incredible place!
  • + 1
 Great promo vid, but not sure why they chose to include a random pan shot of Cradle Mountain at the very end - that place has nothing to do with the profiled MTB trails.
  • + 2
 Want to know if Rocky Mountain bikes and Transiton bikes are known and ridden down in the great land of Auz?
  • + 2
 In Hobart, Bike Ride sell Rocky Mountain. Cyclingo sell Transition.
  • + 3
 Gorgeous shots! Primal ferns!
  • + 1
 Dicksonia antarctica . . . . . they can be hundreds and hundreds of years old, so I hope not too many were cut down to make way for the trails in Maydena
  • + 3
 Yahoo! Serious looking ferns.
  • + 9
 Can't tell if deliberate "Yahoo Serious" reference in an Australian based article or not...
  • + 1
 As a Tasmanian now living in Canada I'm now extremely homesick - flights now booked! LOOKS AMAZING AF!! Seems there is a bit of variety since the days of Radfords and S57...
  • + 2
 Looks sooo good, considered moving there from only seeing this vid.
  • + 2
 Fairly sure I'll have to move to Hobart.
  • + 2
 That rock garden look great. Rocks are disappearing around here.
  • + 2
 Awesome detailed article dude!
  • + 2
 Jasper, you nailed it again bro, great work!
  • + 1
 Vamos Pedroooo! Pinche Cabron ayyy yaaayyyyy
  • + 0
 Gonna be so good, there's also more riding scattered around the island. Also food down there is on point!
  • + 2
 Looks amazing

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