Words: Chris Panozzo                                                                         Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith

If only Australians celebrated mountain biking like they do surfing. I remember every news bulletin growing up would finish with the latest results from the World-Tour, here in the middle of the Aussie Alps I was painted a nightly picture of what Australian sport was if you weren’t that into footy, and that it was surfing. Sweet, surfing it was then, except for one problem, I was at least a five hour drive from my local break.

 

Now every kid in Australia has access to more mountain bike highlights on their phone than there are minutes in the day. Kids are telling their parents they want to go mountain biking, or maybe parents are telling their kids it’s time to go mountain biking, either way the next question is, how do I get to the Victorian High Country, and who do I know that can tell me where to ride?


Check out parts TWO and THREE below

Part 2 - Falls Creek

Part 3 - Mt Beauty



Let me be your local guide! Just to be clear I have only just reached local status. To qualify as a local in the High Country you need to have lived here for at least 30 years and it's the same for a town. So while I’m a local of the High Country, I’m only a resident of Bright and that’s why this mag is worth its weight in gold. Residents are happy to point you in the right direction, but don’t expect to get a detailed map of where to go and what to do from locals. It’s not like old surf culture where you might drop in on a local followed by a punch to the back of the head, everyone’s very friendly here, they just aren’t your personal tour guide.


Want proof? Team Mount Beauty, the 20+ year old mountain bike club that looks after Big Hill MTB Park have released a classic advertising slogan, it reads in bold letters “GET LOST” then in small lettering “at Big Hill MTB Park”.  For anyone who hasn’t ridden in Mount Beauty, or for Dads who love a good joke explanation, it’s nearly impossible to go for a ride in Mount Beauty without getting lost, unless you’re a local. So here is your local (and residents) guide to the three big locations, Bright, Falls Creek and Mount Beauty.



Hot Tip: Download the Trail Forks app, you can look at exactly where to go pre-ride and during the ride in each location as you will be given all the track names you need to know in each section!