6 days exploring Tasmania’s mountain bike trails
Known as Australia’s mountain biking capital, Tasmania is threaded with award-winning tracks through spectacular landscapes.
Mountain bikers from across the globe are making tracks to this island at the edge of the world. Explore the best Tasmania has to offer during six days of extreme riding adventures through diverse alpine, rainforest and coastal scenery, topped with excellent local food, refreshing craft beers, scenic drives and a dash of culture thrown in for good measure.
Across Tasmania’s most popular bike parks, including Blue Derby, Maydena Bike Park and St Helens Mountain Bike Trails, the elevation, topography and terrain of the natural environment are incorporated into the custom-built trails – from flowy single track and gnarly gravity rides to family friendly tracks for all abilities.
Day 1: Devonport to Derby
- Drive time: 2.5 hours
- Distance: 194 kilometres (120 miles)
Arriving from mainland Australia on the Spirit of Tasmania, keen mountain bikers can disembark in Devonport with bikes in tow, set for adventure. The first cab off the rank is Blue Derby, a 2.5-hour drive east and one of Tasmania’s most popular mountain bike parks. But it’s worth taking time along the route, which follows the eastern part of the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail. Pick up couverture chocolates at House of Anvers, award-winning cheese at Ashgrove, and fresh berries and jam at Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Cafe.
At Derby, fuel up on pizza at The Hub or a burrito at Two Doors Down, then gear-up at Vertigo Mountain Bikes. Get familiar with the area on a lap around Derby’s outskirts or ride the easy trail around Lake Derby, before taking it up a level on one of Blue Derby’s dozens of trails, winding through forests of giant ferns and myrtle. The trail network is built in the enduro-style, with uphill and downhill sections and tracks catering to all skill and fitness levels. Finish the day with a meal pack from Trailhead Food Co. and settle in for the night at Dales of Derby.
Day 2: Blue Tier and Atlas, Derby
Spend a day fully appreciating all that Blue Derby has to offer; with 125 kilometres (78 miles) of purpose-built trails, expect loads of berms, booters, jumps and flow. Tune up the bike then grab a shuttle to the Blue Tier trailhead. Enjoy sub-alpine views on this 20-kilometre (12.5-mile) mostly downhill trail, with a few climbs along the way. At the bottom of the trail, tuck into a classic pub meal and a refreshing beverage in the beer garden at the Weldborough Hotel.
Jump on a shuttle to the white-knuckle gravity trail Atlas for a more technical ride, or choose from a range of other popular rides, including Kingswall, Trouty, Dam Busters and the Derby Tunnel. Relax over a craft beer at Side Tracked, a pop-up bar by local brewery Little Rivers Brewing Co, before enjoying dinner and good old-fashioned country hospitality at the Dorset Hotel.
Day 3: Derby to Bay of Fires
- Drive time: about 1 hour
- Distance: 65.5 kilometres (41 miles)
There aren’t many places in the world where you can ride from the mountains to the sea. The Bay of Fires Trail, part of St Helens Mountain Bike Trails, starts high on Blue Tier’s trailhead, near Derby, and ends on Tasmania’s east coast. Unless there is a designated driver in the group to shuttle the car, begin the day early with a one-hour drive to St Helens, before jumping on one of the shuttle services, such as Gravity Isle, operating out of St Helens back to the trailhead.
This epic 42-kilometre (26-mile) ride traverses rainforest and sub-alpine terrain, climbs through giant granite boulders and emerges on the white sands of Swimcart Beach at Bay of Fires. Allow 4.5 hours to complete the trail, and pack for self-sufficiency, including water and snacks, as the track is remote in places.
Day 4: Bay of Fires to Hobart
- Drive time: 3.5 hours
- Distance: 277 kilometres (172 miles)
One of Australia’s finest coastal routes, the Great Eastern Drive stretches 176 kilometres (109 miles) from Bay of Fires to Orford on Tasmania’s east coast, and covers dramatic coastline and beaches, past boutique wineries and seafood shacks, and spectacular coastal national parks. Take the time to rest the legs and enjoy all the coast has to offer.
Stroll along empty beaches, sample cool-climate wines, and take a dip in the cool waters of the Apsley River Waterhole at Douglas Apsley National Park. In nearby Bicheno, it’s a short walk from the car park over slabs of granite to the Blowhole, where ocean spray shoots into the air. Enjoy a late lunch of seafood at The Lobster Shack, on the water’s edge at the Gulch, where Bicheno’s fishing fleet shelters.
Day 5: Hobart to Maydena, return
- Drive time: about 2.5 hours
- Distance: 168 kilometres (104 miles)
Located in the Derwent Valley, just over an hour’s drive north-west of Hobart, Maydena Bike Park is the largest gravity park in the world. With more than 62 trails and a massive 820-metre vertical elevation, take the full day to experience the park properly. Steep and technical for the most part, it’s best suited to experienced riders, though there are some family friendly rides through the rainforest. Good starting points for amateur gravity riders are Pandani, Scandinavia and Regnans Ride. The Wilderness Trail offers intermediate riders 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles) of uninterrupted track through lush forest, while Maydena’s best-known trails for advanced riders include King Brown, Styx & Stones, and Yeah Gnar > Gnar Yeah.
The MBP Canteen, beside the finish-area jump site, is an action-packed patio for lunch. Alternatively, The Summit café is located at 1,100 metres (0.6 miles) at the top of the trail network and offers 360-degree views over the south-west wilderness. After a big day of riding, head back to Hobart for a quality pub meal in a cosy corner of the laid-back New Sydney Hotel, or intimate Italian fare at Templo.
Day 6: Hobart to Devonport
- Drive time: about 3 hours
- Distance: 281 kilometres (175 miles)
If there’s still energy in the tank, head to Fern Tree to ride kunanyi/Mount Wellington’s Pipeline Track, a shared-use trail through rainforested gullies and wooded spurs, then leave the bike and walk the Wellington Falls Track to reach the lookout over the falls (about three hours return to ride and walk). Alternatively, drive to the kunanyi/Mount Wellington summit for expansive views over Hobart and the island’s south east, then walk the short but steep track from the Big Bend car park to the striking cliffs of the Lost World.
For a culture hit, jump on the ferry from Brooke Street Pier to Mona, Hobart’s provocative Museum of Old and New Art, or enjoy a quiet morning wandering Hobart’s picturesque waterfront and relax at one of Salamanca’s cafes and eateries.