If you’re coming to Tasmania for adventure, along with on-water kayaking we can highly recommend some land-based excitement of a different sort, especially if you love to hurtle.
There are all sorts of great trails in Tassie – history, wine, art, beer, whisky and tasting – but the ones getting global attention at the moment are the mountain bike trails. It’s hardly surprising really, given the spectacular and wild landscape the island state is renowned for and the expert trail builders involved.
Derby Trail Network in the North East has been dubbed the number one success story in Australian mountain biking whilst the Maydena Bike Park in the South lauded as the most ambitious. These are but two of a network of trails across the state with more being areas being opened up as mountain bikers plead for more to sate their appetite.
The small town of Maydena, about 1.5 hours drive north west of Hobart, was once a bustling hub for the forestry industry. With the downturn, things went quiet but it’s getting pretty noisy these days with the sound of comments like “mind-blowing”, “epic” , “sick”, “love it” etc.
Given its 820m elevation, the Maydena Bike Park is gravity focused and serviced by a year long uplift service (ie a bus!). From Eagle’s Eyrie at the summit, with its 360 degree views across the wild mountain ranges, over 30 trails twist and turn all the way down to the valley floor below.
Each trail takes advantage of the unique rainforest environment and they vary from the ‘full on just go fast downhill’ type to the longer ‘stop and taste the stream water‘. They are also mainly targeted at the more experienced riders.
The team from Flow Mountain Bike say that travel to Whistler and Queenstown isn’t now required for the rush of gravity riding – you just need a ticket to Tassie. Check out their clip from the opening of the Maydena Park here.
If you’re thinking of coming in April, check out the Maydena Gravity Fest too.
Roaring 40s comments: our own Damo, always one for some adrenaline pumping action, loves the place. He has ridden many places around the world and says "Maydena is right up there with the world's best and has more vertical drop than anywhere in Australia. Descending takes approximately 15 - 20 minutes of flat out riding." He returned still grinning from his last trip too, despite his black eye from an inelegant crash!
The same driving distance from Launceston to the north east of the state lies the small town of Derby. Its boom times were once based on mining and forestry but now it’s riders coming to shred the trails that are giving the town a buzz.
Blue Derby with its two networks – Derby and Blue Tier - offers over 80km of premium trails running through temperate rainforest giving mountain bikers everything they love. Cruising to the top of the hill then hurtling down, blood pumping and every sense alive and honed. Whizzing past forest giants and manferns, steaming through creeks, jumping over and squeezing between boulders, the trails offer challenges and excitement aplenty. Trails range from green (easy) to double black (fully sick) and bus shuttles are available to the top of some trails.
The Blue Tier trail is the wild and remote but quintessential Blue Derby experience. It traverses sub-alpine environment, crystal clear streams, Myrtle Beech forests and remnants of the historic tin mining industries. It finishes at a country pub called the Weldborough where well-earnt hearty counter meals and craft beers and ciders are the just reward for the ride!
You can even hire bikes and all the gear you require from Derby. We used Vertigo Mountain Biking while visiting and the full suspension bikes were fantastic.
The second round of the Enduro World Series was held in Derby in 2017 to much acclaim and the round returns this year from 8-9 April 2018.
Roaring 40s tip: Reg (an old MB hand) and Jen (the beginner) had a ball at Derby. Jen still managed to master the green (easy) trails and even enjoyed some of the blue (moderate) trails. She also loved the berms on the Flickity Sticks trail. They are planning their next trip to ride the Blue Tier.
Damo's suggested perfect mountain biking trip to Tasmania: 3 - 4 days at Blue Derby and 3 - 4 days in Maydena, with a day sea kayaking in Hobart in between to use some different muscles.
More info on how to shred Tasmania