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.
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.
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.
Atlas takes us back towards Derby and has some more technical features in the middle section of the trail.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
The multiple trailheads make for variety in each shuttle run.
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.
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.
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.