But with borders re-opening, it’s time to explore the country again, and what better way than from the top of it.
Words and photos: Georgina von Marburg
The Victorian High Country is a sacred place for cyclists of all disciplines. Its natural vert has produced some of the most recognised mountain bike parks in the country, not to mention its endless network of scenic fire roads. The Alpine resorts are particularly unique in their metamorphic nature, as the melting blankets of snow reveal old and new trails each year for the green season.
If you haven’t visited Alpine Victoria before, the ride choices can be overwhelming. So to assist your stay, we’ve compiled this list of must-ride descents. This list is by no means definitive, as you’ll undoubtedly hear varying favourites from other locals. But this list will point you in the right direction regardless of what bikes you’re riding, or who you’re riding with.
Location: Falls Creek
Trail: Big Fella > Wishing Well > Flowtown (8.4km excluding Aquaduct liaison)
Local Tip: Bring layers.
Total Descent: 507m
Shuttle Cost: $75
Falls Creek is aptly known for their annual winter wonderland, with copious snow coverage and weekly firework displays throughout the season. But once the après nightlife settles and the lifties enter their hangover-induced hibernation, the resort transforms itself into a bike park with 40km of purpose-built mountain bike singletrack. The area has hosted the Victorian XCO Championships and Victorian Enduro Series for successive years, in addition to EWS Qualifiers and the gloriously chaotic McKayos Enduro. Suffice to say, Falls has developed an excellent reputation for event management with a smorgasbord of courses to choose from.
But for those who lack competitive zeal, Falls also provides the perfect summer wind-down. Imagine mild alpine temperatures, a crystalline lake, local beverages – and one of the longest, people-pleasing descents in the region. I say ‘people-pleasing’ because this descent – or connection of descents – gifts everyone with a slice of everything. Whether you’re a seasoned XC rider, a champion of tech, or just enjoy finding your rhythm on 5km of delectably flowy loam – this descent delivers on all fronts.
To best enjoy this ‘top-to-bottom’ adventure, heed the following directions. Your journey will start at the trail named Big Fella – not to be confused with the gigantic Bogong Moth mural of the same name down the road. Big Fella is a narrow, rocky minefield beginning at the end of Summit Road (the shuttle drop-off point). The dirt runs well in the dry, but perilous, greasy ruts can develop in the wet; depending on who you ask, the latter conditions are character-building or wicked fun – or both. There’s a 110% chance of wind gusts at the top, so come physically and mentally prepared; but fear not, as the elevation drops so do the icy blasts. Once you reach the Aqueduct trail at the bottom of Big Fella, turn left and follow this mellow path to the start of Wishing Well.
READ: Falls Creek huts ride
Wishing Well is a maze of natural line choices and provides plenty of speed when masterfully connected. You’ll then be ejected onto a short segment of fire-road before dropping into the renowned Flowtown. Like any good descent, Flowtown is arduous to race but blissful to ride. There are several false flats which provide ample opportunity to embrace the scenery and high-five your squad after all the pumping and jumping. The rollercoaster finishes at Howman’s Gap, where your pre-booked Blue Dirt shuttle will return you to the Village Bike Café for a homemade pie or Buddha Bowl before heading out for Round 2.