Monday, 30 July 2018

Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in Tasmania

Alrighty - so there has been a mind boggling amount of trail building going on in Tazzie over the past few years. Here is my own personal list (working progress) of MUST RIDE TRAILS & NETWORKS for a whirl wind tour...

A bunch of berm bashing gumby's loving life at Derby
1. Atlas + Krushka's (Blue Derby)

Now that the sidling link-up between these two trails is complete - in my opinion this makes the best value for money/time no brainer shuttle drop within the entire Blue Derby network.

Somewhere luscious on Atlas
2. King Brown + Marriotts + Dial it Down + The Local (Maydena)

This mountain is bonkers steep - and such a welcome addition to the Tassie network. Of what I have touched so far, this was my favourite link up of the lot (even pre Tea-Tree weaterproofing). Crazy days on the first half of King Brown - bail across to the lower stretch of Marriotts & then scoot across Midline into Dial it Down for all its flowy goodness...heck add in The Local on the way home!? Why not.

3. Juggernaut (Hollybank)

Under rated trail! This thing is a beast - starting fierce & keeping you on your toes (for the first half at least) with the rugged randomness of its rocky obstacles & rolling flow. This trail is best shuttled - but can be riden in either direction. Nice & close to Launceston.

4. Blue Tier + Big Chook (Blue Derby)

Scenically stunning - and a more gentle yet longer wilderness ride than Atlas. There are plenty of sneaky jump lines to keep harder riders happy, and finishing off with Big Chook is an absolute whirl every-time!! Plus it finishes at a pub...yikes.

5. North-South Track (Mt Wellington)

My first real regular. I used to ride up to this lil' beaut after work from Hobart's CBD a couple of times a month in season - but I never fully appreciated its all out awesomeness until finally getting dropped at The Springs trail head with fresh legs. The first sections are dark & a bit constricted - but it soon opens up and goes on to include some pretty special sculptured features. I'd love to give this one a re-visit sometime soon.

6. Trouty (Blue Derby)

Geez. This snappy piece rips straight down from high on Krushka's - initially along some nice open line sections with a couple of optional drops, before popping out onto the large granite slab clearly visible from the centre of town. As a final treat - the lower rock garden features serve up a nerve racking technical climax as you whizz past Mr. Trout himself. My favourite black run at Derby.

7. Pandani + Eastside + Colour Blind (Maydena)

Right-side this time...with never ending berms deeeeeply spiralling you back to town. Colour Blind in particular is extremely well bedded in & compact - providing a super sticky roller coaster like experience.

8. Return to Sender (Blue Derby)

The longest of the individual runs back into town from the Black Stump shuttle - and surely the one with the most pedalling. HUGE launchers are stand out options for those game enough. A great option to mix things up a bit.

9. Trevallyn Reserve Trails (Launceston)

The best place for a longer cross-country ride near town (Kate Reed trails are also pretty good). The following route should kill a couple of hours. From Gorge Road - start up Wiggly, onto Stolen Spice & Corkscrew before reaching the other main parking area. A no brainer takes you down the one-way launch happy Sidewinder, into Matinee, Value for Money (squeeze in a sneaky lap on the black diamond mini) & grind your way up Deadman's Knob to Hoo Hoo Hut. From there - follow the easy green trail back to the secondary carpark & retrace your steps before finishing up with a bang on Postmans. Yipee!

10. Meehan Ranges MTB Park (Clarence)

Have not rode here anywhere near enough to make proper comment just yet - but I have enjoyed what I've seen! A bit more raw & un-manicured than the stuff up north - and it appears like it stays relatively dry for most of the year. Tons of area to explore & growing!!

Other Projects to Get Excited About!!

Blue Derby - 10 new trails scheduled to open Oct/Nov 2018
Wild Mersey - A new cross-country network between Latrobe, Railton & Sheffield
Bay of Fires Descent - 46km trail from the top of Blue Tier to St Helen's on the East Coast!!
St Helen's Stacked Loop Network - 60+km's cross-country + gravity
Maydena - tons of new descents scheduled to open Oct/Nov 2018 & later the 25km Wilderness Trail
North-East Rail Trail - family friendly extension planned between Scottsdale & Lilydale

Yea...^^^!!! I know...

Suss out more via these links:

Friday, 19 February 2016

Ben Lomond - Northern Escarpment

A collection of photos from an alpine crack climbing heaven!!!!

What a spot!! - Kate leading 'Barbe Di Vendetta' (17)
The Mighty "Frews Flutes" - Climbers on second pitch of 'Raja' (18) 
Martin starting up 'Ramadan' (19)
Cristal treating me with an attentive belay on the final pitch of 'Barbe Di Vendetta' (17)
Me leading 'Fierce Archer of the Downward Years' (16)
As good as a pure hand crack gets - Ben leading 'Raja' (18)

Climb Details:-

Classic Routes - Fierce Archer of the Downward Years (16), Barbe Di Vendetta (17), Raja (18), Ramadan (19), Rondeau (19), Rigaudon (20), Laendler (20), Aquilla (21), Dangerman (21), Defender of the Faith (22), Powerdrive Eliminate (22)

Grades - 14 - 24+ (ALL TRAD)

Access & Camping - Park at Car Villa for access to Frew's Flutes. A 30 - 45 minute scree hop will get you to the base of most climbs.

There is an established campground about half way up the mountain. Rough camping could also be had around the grassy patches near Car Villa - or even better just sleep in your van. Use the toilet provided! There is also a "climbers hut" tucked away for those who know where to find it. Please look after this spot - and take all your rubbish home with you!!

Get more info here - 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Port Davey Track - South West Cape - South Coast Track

A quick stream of snaps from our 22 day wander in the South-West National Park - taking in The Port Davey Track, South-West Cape Circuit & The South Coast Track. Pure BLISS!!


Jazzy was stupid/kind enough to drop the four of us starters off at Scott's Peak/Lake Pedder where the Port Davey Track begins. From this moment on - Jared & I would be stuck with each other for the next three weeks...!! Lil' Em & her mate Dave would be joining us for the first section to Melaleuca - then they would be off along the SCT. This was Dave's first ever walk in Tassie! 

Clear skies gave us a ripper start. It would set the trend for most of the trip really. Here we are at the junction of The Port Davey & McKay's Track. The Western Arthur Range chillz in the background. Just over a month ago, Jazzy & myself had a fairly soggy 9 day traverse across these funky little hills for both our birthdays. 

Our goal for the first day was to reach The Crossing River. Lovely afternoon swims in the Coca-Cola coloured water were had with merry times ahoy!

The following morning, we all romped up Mt Robinson on a scorching belter of a day! Great views - however the temperature was easily topping 30 degrees. I actually got into a bit of a pickle when my legs started cramping up on the way back down...I chugged a ton of hydralytes during a wee breather down in the shady valley, and somehow managed to make it back to our main packs. I still had a touchy ol' time keeping limber hoofing on to Watershed Camp that night. Ouch.

During the night - we heard a significant thunder storm roll over head. We later found out that this was the start of the fires that raged throughout large areas of the state for the next week or so - notably effecting sensitive areas of the Central Plateau & the Sentinel Range.

Just prior to reaching our camp on the Spring River, the original benched track we'd been following was replaced with the bee-lining newer bushwalker cut section. Plenty of muddy bits followed - as dark snaking tannin stained rivers were replaced with our first glimpses of some salty inland-peeping inlets. 

The next night was spent at Farrell Point - on the northern side of Bathurst Narrows. A great place for sunsets, hammocking & poor attempts at hitchhiking for yachts.  

The first of our two three-part row boat journeys. With a boat on either side - the crossing requires three trips so the boats end up back where they belong. They were surprisingly heavy, and the current in the middle of the narrows was strong. Luckily I got my inner killer viking on. We knew our friend Stella was a couple of days behind us - completing all three trips across solo. What a weapon. 

After the crossing, it was a relatively straight forward stroll into Melaleuca. We would end up repeating most of this day again in another week or so, after our stint around the South-West Cape Circuit. Jazzy flew in the following day through a veil of smog blowing down from the fires up north - and from here we parted ways with Lil' Em & Dave. We also scored an abandoned food drop consisting of two kilo blocks of cheese and a bag of apples...mmmmm nom nom nom. 

Melaleuca was a bloody good place to hang out. I'd love to shack up there for a longer stint in the future. Here is Mt Rugby looking sexy across the lagoon.


Along the South Coast Track we waddled - until the branch off to New Harbour. The packs were heavier after picking up our re-supply, so we had a fairly relaxed one. So so so beautiful - amazing coastline - white sands meet rugged headlands. Not another soul to be seen. 

Here is Cox Bight from the New Harbour Range - a short side trip before we headed off to Ketchem Bay. All the campsites along this route felt to me like forgotten pirate hideaways. Isolated paradise. 

If the apocalypse comes - find me here. Actually please don't. 

Another fairly relaxed day brought us over to Wilson Bight. There were some speccy little rock pools to lay about in that slowly pulsed as the waves crashed further out. The campsite again was magic. The hammocks sure come in handy along this stretch. 

The harder yards were inevitable however - as we knew we had to put in a big mostly off-track day across the South West Cape Range. The weather was turning a little sour, but visibility thankfully stuck around.

We caught a sneaky spot of South West Cape itself - a spectacle I'd love to witness via sea & sail!

Spectacular place really - the grand scale blew me away when we spotted a couple of fishing boats bobbing 600 meters below us over a horizontal distance of only a kilometre or so. Whacky! 

Our first proper look across to the distant Port Davey. That night we stopped over at Window Pane Bay before continuing on to Noyhener Beach

Noyhener Beach was crazy sand dune country! Massive expanses roll inland from the ocean. 

As the weather wasn't the nicest, and we were getting a little tired after two biggish days - we decided to bunker down & stay put for two nights. It gave us a chance for a short wander along the main stretch of beach & then out to a view point looking over Stephens Bay. Strangely, this remote spot was the only place we saw other people on the entire South West Cape Circuit.

Rested up - we put in an unexpected charger of a day from Noyhener Beach all the way back to Melaleuca via Horseshoe Inlet. The swim we had been bracing for ended up as a bit of an anti-climax - as everything actually stayed bone dry in our packs. 


Ahhh back to Melaleuca & on to the last leg of our trip - The South Coast Track. Em-J flew in to greet us the following morning & the sun decided to pay us another welcome stretch for the start of our walk out. We picked up our last re-supply & ventured on to Point Eric - smack bang in the middle of Cox Bight

Another pristine HUGE stretch of white sand!! The New Harbour Range loomed above us - vistastic hills that we had looked out from just over a week before.  

Jared & I decided to pay Mt Counsel a visit - whilst the girls hung about in the sun & scavenged about for shell fish. Surely up there with one of the better spots I've sat.  

Again, the next day's contained more blissfully ridiculous coastline. Look at that water!!!

Far away from sanity at Faraway Creek 😝

The weather did eventually crack again is Jazzy crossing Louisa River in a thunder storm! We couldn't find Jared & his bloody beepy GPS watch - as he'd taken off during one of his regular bursts of sudden heads-down energy. We found him dry in his tent the lucky bugger. I however managed to pitch myself in a minor swimming pool just for shits & giggles - testing out the Goondies bad-ass floor tub. Water-bed bomber!! 

After a soggy & boggy night at Louisa River, the clouds again parted & then that was the end of it...I can't remember another drop of rain! The Ironbounds were next - and proved a doddle in comparison to what I was expecting. The steps cut into the western slopes aloud us to climb quickly, which allowed more time to soak up the amazing views into some of Tasmania's best preserved wilderness. 

I was a little bummed to not make it out to Louisa Bay, as some mates had said it was one of their favourite spots. This far into the trip though an accumulated fatigue meant we were more or less just sticking tight to the main stuff to see us home. More to do for next time!! 

The descent off the Ironbounds was far meatier than the climb in my opinion - and it did stretch out to be a fairly long day. Lots of slippery rocks & roots. But how about this to lift the spirits though hey?!? ^^^ Views across to the Southern Ranges from Little Deadmans Bay

Another day - another massive stretch of sand!! Prion Beach goes on forever - but the march flies at the campsite were brutal!!

Jared & Em-J had scooted ahead that day - which meant Jazzy & I had a SUP master to ferry us across New River Lagoon one way only! Check out PB in the background. What a stunning place. 

There was no hiding from the march flies bar fortifying yourself in your tent. 

After smelling some Chileno's frying up onions which reminded me of BBQ'ed burgers - the game had changed. I felt like I was coming out of the zen zone I'd been floating through which comes with extended trips away. We only had a few more days to put in & we'd be back to civilization of such - so we were all pretty stoked to get a sunset like this at Surprise Bay!

...and this about sums it up! Jazzy trying her hardest to put a visual on how much of a good time we'd all had. Wow. I could do it all again in an instant. Our last night was spent at South Cape Rivulet with a trickle of walkers popping down for shorter walks or even setup to surf the famous southern swells off the coast. We met a couple who had been turned back from starting The Overland Track due to the fires that had started on night two of our trip - and by the time we were walking out there were apparently floods hitting St Helens region! I love that Chinese whispers kind of detachment - it's a rare thing to find these days!

Hahaha! But as much as we love muesli, instant coffee & mingaz noodles - beer & deep fried potatoes rock my world...(even if it is VB)!!

Dandy. Thanks to you all for good times!