Having heard about the amazing transformation that the town of Derby in Tasmania has had, I decided it was about time to go and see what all the hype was about.
Located about 90min [100km] drive from Launceston, the town of Derby has been transformed from an old Tin mining community to a cycling mecca. Approx 5 years ago a group got together and proposed to the local Dorset Shire council a plan to build a mountain bike park that would bring riders from around the globe in their droves.
From what I could see the very small local community is thriving with 3 local bike shops, cafes, a pub, post office and a wide range of accommodation to suit every ones needs. Check out the ABC Landline video below to get an insight into what has happened in Derby.
You can get a shuttle directly from the airport at Launceston to pick you and your bike up and drop you at your accommodation, which by chance is all with in 5 min ride of the trails. The only down side that I can see is the closet super market is about 30min drive away so if you don’t have your own car, you have to rely on the local cafe’s and restaurants for your food, from what I tasted you won’t be disappointed with that!
The local bike shops all offer a shuttle service to various spots, so you can ride the gravity feed trails with out having to climb to much to the top of the local hills. The big attraction is the ride from Blue Tier down to the Weldborough Pub for lunch then another shuttle to the top of the Atlas trail which takes you all the way back to the Derby trail network.
This ride experience is approx 5 hours, the first leg is approx 17km and the second leg, The Atlas is approx 14km. There are some small rises in elevation but the majority is all down hill. The trails as I found out were all very predictable, in that when you descended down some more extreme rocks where you couldn’t see the exit points the trail had been carved out to provide a safe exit, now as a word of warning this experience is at my pace;-] …….I’m no down hill thrill seeker [well maybe a little bit!] but I did most of this track solo so I entered a lot off downhill features “blind” and just felt safe in the knowledge that the trail building crew from World Trail had done a masterful job in building a challenging but safe trail.
The 6 days I was in and around Derby I saw plenty of different levels of mountain bikers, as it was the end of the school holidays there were a lot of families here and there were plenty of trails to ride for young and old and also for the different levels of ability.
You can expect lush dense rainforest around the Derby trail network.
My trip wasn’t all single track, I had heard about the Ben Lemond climb and decided i would give it a go, it was about a 90 min drive, I had seen a few routes off Strava and found a starting point about 3km from the base. The climb is similar to Hotham where its steep at the start, a slight reprieve in the middle then an epic final 5 km where the rock formations hanging above you is seriously jaw dropping. Its been a long time since I have been absolutely floored with such scenic beauty. I was quite happy to take a few small breaks to take in the views, the final switch backs are challenging and the gravel road gets a bit loose in sections, I was glad I had my mtb bike. Once I got to the top I headed to the ski Village and managed to ride to some snow that had remained despite being Spring. I realised that my fitness needs some work after this monster of a climb, but I was rapt that i took on the challenge and got to the top!
Check out this video from the ABC Landline show about the re birth of a small town called Derby. The history in this town is prevalent every where, from the Tin mining quarry around the lake right up into the hills where the remenance of the hand built stone wall aquaduc that feed the water supply for the mines many years ago.
I managed to find this great rail trail close to the Airbnb that I was staying at. It was approx 50km out and back ride through some amazing scenery and an abundance of wildlife including a Tasmanian Devil sighting.
My trip wasn’t all bike riding, I enjoyed my other hobbies of hiking and photography. Tasmania is so worth a visit , it had been 20 years since I last visited but it won’t be that long until I return for some more exploring.