Six best mountain bike trails in Tasmania
Riders worldwide are making tracks to Tasmania - an island at the world's edge covered in wild mountain bike trails with ribbons of dirt tracks passing some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet.
Whoever said "the fun is over at the end of the trail" didn't ride this island. Adrenaline pumping adventures are just minutes from trails. Jump on a quad bike and seek out secluded beaches, fly above the forest canopy, raft wild rivers or abseil Gordon Dam.
It's not just mountain biking trails drawing people to Tasmania. It also has a reputation for tantalising food and wine trails and more recently lesser-known beer and whisky trails are making their mark.
Here are the rides that are shifting the island's mountain biking reputation up a gear. To nail your trip on and off the trails, tuck these insider tips firmly in your back pocket.
1. Blue Derby Network
Once the centre of a tin mining boom, these days it's the mountain bikers carving up the dirt
Blue Derby is a network of trails that surround the town of Derby. Once the centre of a tin mining boom, these days it's the mountain bikers carving up the dirt. The Blue Derby Network has changed mountain biking in Tasmania and Australia forever. The trails encompass everything mountain bikers love. Cruise to the top of the hill. Tear downhill as fast as you can. Repeat.
Dam Busters trail takes its name from the 1929 disaster when the Cascade Dam burst, wiping out the riverbed and half of the township of Derby. Ride the forest and exposed riverbed and finish with a white-knuckle descent to Derby.
Blue Tier trail cuts through the mountain ranges it's named after, descending to Weldborough Pub - just in time for a hearty counter meal and a huge selection of craft beer sourced from local Tasmanian microbreweries.
Want to taste a local brew at the source? Head to Little Rivers Brewing Co. in Scottsdale for a Dam Busters pale – it packs a punch, just like the trail it's named after. Need to brush up on your Australian history? Learn about Tasmania's tin mining history at the Derby Schoolhouse Museum. Feel like cooling down after your ride? Follow the locals lead and skinny-dip underneath Mathinna Falls.
2. Hollybank MTB Park
Only twenty minutes north-east from Launceston, Hollybank Mountain Bike Park has easy to ride loops and wooden berms. Those seeking a challenge can tackle the Juggernaut track, a ten kilometre downhill descent. Adrenaline junkies can hop on a Segway or zip line tour with Hollybank Treetops Adventure or hit a trail of the cool climate wine variety on the Tamar Valley Wine Route.
3. Maria Island National Park
Historic ruins, sweeping bays, dramatic sea cliffs and plenty of stories await
Maria Island is a national park as well as a natural wildlife sanctuary. Historic ruins, sweeping bays, dramatic sea cliffs and plenty of stories await, but don't expect to find hard-core mountain biking trails here. The main attraction of exploring Maria Island by bike is getting off the grid. Maria is great for those with little or no mountain biking experience, a keen sense of adventure, and a desire to explore a place free from the confines of modern life. With 30km of tracks and trails on the island, a mountain bike that can handle loose sand, mud and rocks should guarantee you see it all.
There are no shops on the island, and no cars. The only traffic you might encounter is a wandering wombat or hopping kangaroo. Oh, and you may get a bossy honk from a Cape Barren Goose if you don't follow the island road rules – give way to wildlife. Stay on the island overnight at Darlington Probation Station, a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site rich with Australian convict history. A short ride from Darlington will take you to the Painted Cliffs. Further up the east coast at Freycinet National Park, swap two wheels for four and explore the Freycinet National Park on a quad bike.
4. Maydena Bike Park
...Tassie's newest sensation
In the Derwent Valley, only 80 minutes from Hobart lies Tassie's newest sensation, the Maydena Bike Park. The full-service bike park offers gravity riding in spectacular wilderness. Opening 26 Jan 2018, the park will offer 30 individual gravity trails / 35km of trail with plans to expand that to around 100km including an epic 25km wilderness trail. Boasting a massive 820m of vertical, the most of any bike park in Australia, the park can happily fill the boots of any intermediate through to advanced riders wanting hand-carved single-track. If jumps are your thing, the lower park has some of the biggest jumps and hits in Australia.
It's important to pre-book your ticket, which will give you as many trips as you can handle to the trailhead at the summit on the shuttle. At the 1100m summit, there's a café and lookout with expansive views of rugged South West World Heritage Wilderness Area. Select your trail and drop away. The combination of trail (multiple trailheads down the hill) is endless. Check out their website for events and to book your shuttle, hire bike, coaching or photography package.
En-route to Maydena, treat yourself to a meal at one of Australia's best regional restaurants, The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery in New Norfolk. Maydena is only 10 minutes from one of Tassie's most loved national parks, Mount Field NP. Check out Russell Falls or venture further into the park to the alpine area for walks including the 4-8 hour Tarn Shelf walk. The region also has some great spots for kayaking and Tassie Bound can offer you a short or long tour.
5. Penguin MTB Park and Dial Range
The Penguin MTB Park is small, but where it's lacking in quantity it makes up for in quality. Ride an old disused speedway, a corkscrew bridge, north shore features, and massive berms. Once you're through, head to Dial Range for longer tracks with higher elevations. This rugged area is a mixture of forestry-trails, motocross trails and wooden tramways – an infrequently ridden world of climbing and descending.
After your ride, drive to Burnie where you can pour, wax, and seal your own bottle of whisky; drop into places along the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail; or tag along on a free penguin tour. For a chilling adventure make your way to Cradle Mountain and dive, leap, shoot and repel your way down river on a canyoning tour with Cradle Mountain Canyons - that's off the charts.
6. Wild West MTB trails
This wild remote region has many 'old school' trails...
This wild remote region has many 'old school' trails along former railways, and prospecting routes. Check out the descending Stirling Valley track near Rosebery, or the mellower Montezuma Falls track. Climies Track from Trial Harbour to Granville harbour connects the two shack towns and is exposed to the West Coast's wild weather. Following your ride, walk Ocean Beach or cruise down the Gordon River through World Heritage rainforest.
Hobart and Launceston
If you're staying in Hobart or Launceston there are still great rides to be had. For more on city-based rides see Mountain Bike our Cities.
Map of mountain bike locations
Travelling with your bike
Travelling to Tasmania with a bike is easy. Grab a bike box or bike bag from your local bike store before you book your flights (don't forget to include the excess weight). If you land at Launceston Airport there's an area to assemble your rig and you can rent a vehicle with bike racks from Cranke MTB in Hobart and Launceston. Campervans offer a cosy alternative, and the Spirit of Tasmania from Melbourne to Devonport has room for bags, bikes and your car, so you can just drive on in Melbourne and drive off when you get to Tasmania.
Future mountain biking trails
There's a swag of mountain bike projects in the pipeline. They include the West Coast Mountain Bike Project; Wild Mersey Mountain Bike Development; Dial Range Network; Bay of Fires Descent and St Helens Trail Network. Now that's epic!