Words: Mike Blewitt                                                                          Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith

The first time you drive to Maydena Bike Park, the sense of moving into a wild environment is immense. As you edge closer to the town of Maydena through the Derwent Valley, the heights of Mt Field National Park rise on your right, with peaks that could easily house hanging glaciers. The valley is broad and the winding road is so close to the foot of the hills on your left that you actually have no sense of their height – but beyond the occasional house or small farm – the bush looks near impenetrable. Plantation pine forests do give the game away that everything is not as it was originally, but viewed a little romantically it harks to a setting that might be beyond our shores and in the northern hemisphere.

 

Maydena Bike Park is not a mountain bike network that has been signed off by local council as something to bring some tourists in and provide recreation activities for locals. It's a mountain bike park build to a world standard of gravity riding, and something that caters to the growing demand for riding that pushes riders and their bikes.


But since opening in January 2018, Maydena Bike Park has continued to grow and diversify. While their first step was to set the mark for gravity riding in Australia, the next phase of development focused on trails with a broader appeal. The Wilderness Trail was a big part of that, and the Lower Wilderness Trail comes off Midline, which is an access trail going across – you guessed it – the middle of the park. The Upper Wilderness Trail will complete the ride and be open towards the end of 2019.

 

The Wilderness Trail does cut a cool line down the hill. Unlike some of the other bike park trails it's out on its own. There are tall trees, huge tree ferns, and plenty of loam. It starts with some steeper and tighter corners, but part way down it opens up a little more with faster and more open sections that flow really well and are just a blast to ride. There's a small climb after a rock bridge but make no mistake – this is a descending trail. The best thing about the trail though is that it's currently about 4.5km (just the lower section) of uninterrupted riding, with no trail crossings. It's a whole lot of fun to ride with a mate or two. No thinking about trail choices, just line choices and outdoing your buddy.

 

The Upper Wilderness Trail is set to be completed in November 2019 and you'll be able to access it from the top shuttle. For now, you can descend from the top via Pandani and Green Room, or maybe Tea Trees and Marriots. Otherwise take the Midpoint shuttle drop off and ride Midline to the Wilderness Trail Lower. There is the option of the climbing trail but it is steep, and does eat into your riding time compared to using the shuttle. But if you like to earn your turns the option is there!
 
 
GETTING THERE:


If you're in Tasmania you'll know. Otherwise fly to Hobart and expect to drive a little over an hour. Take the A1 past Glenorchy. New Norfolk is a good spot for any grocery shopping on the way.
 
TECHNICAL NATURE:


World class, for the park. But for the Wilderness Trail, intermediate. There are a couple of gaps on the main lines but there are B-lines around them. The technicality increases in the wet, especially carrying mud on your tyres onto the roots.
 
YOU’LL NEED:
 
Take some knee-shin guards, and most riders at Maydena wear a fullface helmet – although that's not really necessary for trails like the Wilderness Trail. The bike park has everything you need but it's a big hill – carry basic spares, a phone for emergencies, and a jacket because it's Tasmania.
 
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE:


Some sides of the hill deal with wetter conditions better than others. If you're not sure on any trail conditions just speak to the staff, or even check their Instagram profile (@maydenabikepark) for updates before booking your shuttle ticket.
 
BEST TIME OF YEAR:


Winter is cold and wet. Summer can also be cold and wet on a bad day. But September through to late May is typically the best.


 
WHILE IN THE AREA:


There is lots to do. Whether you take a trip down to Lake Pedder and go canoeing, go for a drive (or ride!) up to Mt Field National Park, or just take a day off to let your arms recover, there are a number of ways to enjoy the surrounding areas in the Derwent Valley.
 
COSTS:
 
A day of shuttling costs $80 for an adult, and buses stop at 4pm. There are discounts for multi-day visits and children and seniors. If you just want access to the park to use the climbing trail, it's just $15 for the day. You can access every trail from Midline down. Check out the pass options HERE.
 
ACCOMMODATION:
 
There are lots of mountain bike specific AirBNB options in Maydena, but Left of Field Caravan Park is just down the road in National Park, right next to the pub. It's quirky, has piping hot showers, and is a good spot to park a campervan or pitch a tent.
 
LOCAL BIKE SHOPS:
 
The shop and workshop at Maydena Bike Park will keep you going. If you have any boutique parts – take your own spares. Maydena is hard on brake pads and wheels, so pack accordingly.


FACILITIES 
Toilets: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Parking: Yes
Trails Signposted:  Yes, trail maps at major junctions.
Mobile Reception: Telstra and Optus
Shelter: At the bottom and the top.
BBQ Facilities: Not in the park, but they do put some on. 
Accommodation: Plenty in Maydena.
 
Wilderness Trail ratings:
Technicality 3/5
Fitness level 3/5
X-country 2/5 
Trail 5/5 
All/mtn 4/5
Downhill 3/5
JUMP 2/5