Tasmania is dominating right now. They're building trails like crazy down there, and attracting a huge chunk of the mountain bike tourism market that previously would've been boarding a plane for New Zealand. The latest trail development to be announced is the Maydena Bike Park - a monster shuttle-accessed gravity park, due for opening in early 2018. All the news we've seen about this place so far has been incredibly promising, so we headed to Tassie to meet up with Simon French from Dirt Art, to take a look at the site and learn a bit more.
So where is Maydena?
You’ll find the town of Maydena about an hour west of Hobart. It’s a bloody beautiful drive too – passing through hops fields, hedge rows, following the pretty Derwent and Tyenna Rivers. It’s within day-trip distance from Hobart, but there’s already a bunch of accommodation options in town, and more to come, so staying on site and enjoying the vibe of this beautiful area is possible too.
Maydena is on the cusp on Tasmania’s impenetrable Southwest National Park – a quarter of the state that is as wild as it gets, accessible by only foot, boat or helicopter- and from the summit of the park, you’ve got views deep into the wilderness, not a sign of habitation, just dense forest folded into rolling valleys, stabbed through by occasionally craggy peaks. In short, it’s a magical part of the world. It’s also just down the road from Mt Field National Park, one of Tassie’s most visited sites, home of the Russel Falls, and the Styx Valley which has some of the tallest trees in the state.
What sets Maydena apart from existing developments?
The elevation is one thing. The park has over 820m of vertical drop from the summit to Maydena way below. That’s about 200m more than Thredbo, and twice the elevation of Mt Mystic in Bright, to put things in perspective! According to Dirt Art, the average descent length from summit to base will be over 10km. That is MASSIVE.
Maydena Bike Park is also a privately run park, just like Thredbo or other lift/shuttle accessed trails, you’ll pay to ride. Obviously one of the virtues of being a privately run operation, not a public facility, is that trail builders are freed of any ‘sanitising’ influences – steeper, wilder trails, with more challenging lines than you’ll find on public lands are definitely on the cards.
There won’t be any climbing to the top here either – this will be a gravity park through and through. You’ll be shuttled to the top, with buses departing from the centre of town and taking you right to the summit building, where there’ll be a bar and cafe, so you can chill out soaking in the incredible views on the deck before dropping in.
So is this a downhill park?
There’ll definitely be some more full-on downhill style trails and sections in Maydena Bike Park, but the bulk of the riding will be targeted at the Enduro style rider, on a 150-180mm travel bike.
In addition to the more gravity-focused trails, Dirt Art will also building a longer back-country epic descent, that will head out into some beautiful sub-alpine terrain. The intention is that this trail alone will be around 16km long.
An Aussie version of Whistler?
There’s certainly that potential. Dirt Art are taking a very wholistic approach to this project, pulling in all their experience not just in trail building, but also in seeing how bike parks and successful mountain bike destinations operate all over the world.
This means in addition to the shuttles and trail building/maintenance, Dirt Art will be running bike hire and accommodation, as well as setting up a brewery and a cafe/restaurant that will use locally grown hops and other produce.
So how much trail will there be?
Dirt Art are planning to launch the park with close to 50km of descending trail, with plans to double this within a couple of years. They’ll be launching with a mix of trail styles too, from machine-built jump trails (in a similar style to the Hero Trail in Bright) through to hand-cut singletrack tech lines.
When is Maydena Bike Park opening?
The final opening date is yet to be confirmed, but early 2018 is the aim. In the coming months Maydena Bike Park will be releasing more information about bookings, pricing and the like. Visit the Maydena Bike Park site, or their Facebook page for more.
As an aside, it’s incredible to see what a positive impact this development is already having on the local economy. Trail building hasn’t even commenced here yet, but locals are reaping the benefits already with property prices doubling in the past few months. Read more about it here.