Late January this year, the most ambitious mountain biking project in Australia - Maydena Bike Park - flung open their gates and opened the brand new trail network to the public.
Maydena Bike Park’s opening weekend went off; we were there with bells on, we rode the trails, tested out the whole operation (including the bike patrol and medics). We rode their bikes, drank their beer, swam in the river, and got a proper feel for what this place is all about.
Oh, Tasmania, you’re spoiling us, it’s all just too good!
Watch our full road trip video below!
What, where, how?
In a nutshell, Maydena Bike Park is a brand new privately run gravity mountain bike park with some massive amount of elevation for trail builders Dirt Art to carve out a vast network from scratch. Think Australia’s own version of Queenstown or Whistler with uplift services running all-year long.
It’s one hour drive from Hobart in Tasmania, and it is now open with all systems go. It’s more than just trails though, Maydena Bike Park is a pretty sweet place to hang out!
We’ve been harping on about this place for a while now so that we won’t repeat ourselves on the known facts, all the details are right here – Tell me all about Maydena!
Flow loves a road trip, so, how was the road trip?
Getting to Maydena has all the right ingredients of a cracking road trip, for the mainlanders a flight to Hobart or taking the car on the ferry to Tasmania is a fabulous travel experience and a great escape from the major cities. Travelling about or to Tasmania is terrific, its natural beauty, fascinating and well-preserved history, and healthy tourism industry make it worthwhile over an overseas trip any day.
Those who’ve travelled around the Apple Isle would know how much fun can be had, it’s a kooky place with its free-and-easy flavour, it’s another world.
For residents of Tasmania, and especially lucky locals of Hobart, Maydena is a worthy day-trip or weekender to fill your boots with loads of time descending great trails. We expect a fast new generation of gravity racers to come out of this place; it’s going to foster talent into big names, for sure.
Jumping in the car from Hobart the drive to Maydena is a beautiful one, while it’s around 1-1.25 hour journey, we’d suggest slowing it down a little, take in the surrounds. Check out the old town of Hobart, swim in the River Derwent on the way, explore the historical sights like Australia’s first asylum – Willow Court – in the historical and unique town of New Norfolk. The drive takes you through some seriously epic scenery too, past rows of hop farms that smell like the best beer ever, and along picture-perfect rivers begging for a swim.
For the ultimate South-West-Tassie experience, take an afternoon and drive past Maydena to Gordon’s Dam which holds back Lake Gordon which at full capacity is the largest lake in the country, the spectacle of the dam and the incredible story behind its history and application makes it one of the most iconic developments in the country.
Just 15 minutes short of Maydena is one of Tasmania’s most popular day-trip tourist spot – Russell Falls – a postcard-perfect waterfall in the National Park with many walks and sights amongst classic Tasmanian Wilderness.
See, there’s plenty to do!
Anything happening in the town of Maydena?
Hmmm, well, yes, sort of. Maydena is a tiny town that time forgot, a stop for fuel and a sandwich on the way into the deep south-west, en-route to Strathgordon and Gordon Dam. There’s a pub up the road at National Park which looks pretty authentic when we passed by, and there’s a small milk bar that provides an essential service and a service station that makes a good lunch, breaky and coffee too.
But don’t get caught out with no dinner plans, it’s pretty quiet around town when the riding is done, for now.
A bike park with a restaurant and bar next to a pumptrack…?
Part of the Bike Park’s appeal is that not only will the town benefit from hoards of hungry mountain bikers coming from all over the place, with no doubt more food and accommodation sprouting up, but they have also launched a new cafe and bar at the bottom that is set to expand.
So, right now you can roll out from the trails, rack your bike and take just five paces to the bar to order pizza, burgers, rolls, beer, cider, drinks and coffee.
Take a seat in the beer garden, watch the pump track and fuel the stoke for more runs. Pretty bloody sweet!
Bike hire, test ride a Canyon, bike school, complete workshop and retail store, the whole lot.
It’s the complete package of this place that impresses us, like the way you can go to Thredbo with no gear and hire everything you need Maydena also has you covered. There are currently ten Canyon Senders, and ten Canyon Strives in the hire fleet. A full complement of Canyon Torques and Spectrals are on their way soon, too. We rode a Strive on the first day and scored a lucky first ride on the Torque (oh, yes, it’s perfect for Maydena).
Maydena has partnered with Canyon for their hire fleet, this in itself is appealing to a potential Canyon customer as they are sold only online, a demo or test ride is not as simple as regular retail brands. Maydena will provide that opportunity to hire one to test out properly.
The workshop is manned by a fulltime mechanic operating like a proper bike shop with spares and loads of trick stock from the likes of Deity, Maxxis, FOX, Dharco, SRAM, Rockshox, 100%, FIST, Krush and much more.
What’s at the summit?
It’s pretty hard to tear your eyes away from the view of the summit and get riding; it’s a massive view that lies below you, stretching as far as the eye can see. The Eagle Eyrie building is a striking structure and currently hosts a cafe and plans are to lift the capabilities of the building to host sunset functions, as well as more food and drink options for everyone, not just mountain bikers.
What did we think of the trails?
Yes, it’s nice to drive there, there are pizza and beer, but that’s not what you’re there for, how are the trails!??
We’re not going to beat around the bush; we were pretty blown away by the trails, everyone was. Partly due to the amount of trail that was finished and ready to ride for the open day, the flow and feel of them, the variety on offer, and the fact we can’t remember going to a destination in Australia and having our asses handed to us like we did that day, Maydena is legit!
Mark our words, this is a gravity park, and the trails are fast, steep and very long. While there are plenty of blue-grade trails they err on the darker side of blue, it’s the daunting gradients and how you need to manage your speed well to avoid exploding on a simple piece of track that turns a trail with simple features into something more tricky. The jumps are epic, from small-ish to enormous they are the biggest jumps we’ve seen in this country! The jumps are safe though, well designed and never a nasty surprise as you rip down the descents, visibility is excellent and it makes you push your comfort zone. Spend some time here, and you’ll come away a better rider and jumping bigger than before, guaranteed.
There’s a real mixture too, one run you could take in insanely fast bike-park style runs with superbly constructed berms that catch you and send you hurtling into the next one if you’re committed and hundreds of jumps. Then on another lap down, you could be sinking your tyres into a lush and loamy wonderland on one of the natural hand-built trails that dart and weave through the dense and ever-changing bush.
We could have ridden on that dirt for weeks; it’s so nice to shred hand-built trails that are designed to drift and roost soil everywhere.
Because the whole project is privately run, there are billions of benefits over a public facility most notable 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 in abundance in Maydena.
How many runs can you do in one day?
The uplift is around 20 minutes long with a new more direct route up the mountain and in the new turbo diesel bus fleet (unfortunately red tape got in the way of us experiencing the turbo vans this weekend) will provide a rapid and comfortable uplift.
On average five runs (totalling about 5km of vertical descent) in one day would be comfortable, it takes a long time to get down! Though if you are mad keen and quick seven-eight runs (a whopping 6.5km of vert earnt) in one day is also achievable.
How many runs to do them all?
There are currently 34 trails open, totalling a mighty 32km, it would take you 14 runs to do each track right now. The challenge is set!
Shred hard in safe hands.
As Tasmania doesn’t have significant ski resorts like NSW or VIC, the safety program is second to none, and they have had to write their own state code practically. The fees to uplift and use the park go toward a full-time bike patrol medical team. They have already put in the time to work on a comprehensive safety and extraction system that covers the whole park.
Trust us on this one, we personally tested this out, though an unfortunate accident, we were indeed in safe hands.
What bike to bring?
We started on a Canyon Strive, their burly enduro race bike with 160mm travel forks and found it to be quite ample. The park is varied, but a long-travel (150mm and up) bike is highly recommended. Make sure you have plenty of meat on your tyres and have brakes that bite and are not prone to fading on longer descents, if there was a place to test out brakes, Maydena would be on our list.
After the Strive we stepped it up a notch to the new Canyon Torque, their recently released 180mm travel ‘park bike’ which gave us a lot more confidence to let the speeds trickle up and commit harder to the turns and let it hang out on the natural tech lines.
Even a downhill bike would be great there, we’d just recommend that whatever you bring, make sure you can control it on long and steep descents!
The bike park is big, the riding level is advanced, so what is next?
We expect a lot of experienced riders to rock up to Maydena and find the trails a bit daunting, but that was the plan from the outset, Maydena is its own place, setting it apart from other hot spots in Tassie like Derby. Right now the park will appeal to the more experienced riders, but the next six months will see the place exploding with variety as they embark on construction and continue to introduce more trails to maintain interest. We won’t get bored!
- A climbing trail is under construction which will take riders up to Midline Trail, (not to the top, that’d be too brutal to climb) where you’ll have 13 trails to choose from to descend back down.
- ‘Flow’ and ‘technical’ intermediate level tracks are in the works, designed to provide a stepping stone for riders, an introduction to more blue grade trails.
- An intermediate jump line will be under construction soon, a contouring track with multiple table top jumps, like B-line or Crank it Up in Whistler.
- Green/beginner 15km Flow Trail, early summer season 2018/19.
- A 25km wilderness trail, like Blue Tier Derby with twice the vertical. Contouring, short climbs, a proper wilderness adventure. Taking you to beautiful rivers and viewpoints. Completion early 2019.
Oh, and there are events!
Yep, alternating fortnightly there will be a Fat Friday social, for $20 the crew will provide an evening uplift with a beer after, with a new track to be raced selected before the day.
And alternating each Sunday, a Turn Earner event, $5 with a beer a 10km trail ride/race up the climbing trail and down again, a social affair, and sounds pretty good fun to us.
Maydena Gravity Fest!
But the big news is this coming April 2018 is the inaugural Maydena Gravity Fest!
- Ultimate Flow Challenge
Race to find your flow down 820m vertical of incredible flow trails! We’ve pieced together the ultimate combination of trails to find Maydena’s Queen and King of flow!
- Air DH
Australia’s first ever full-scale Air DH Event! This event will test riders ability to rail corners, scrub jumps and maintain momentum through the absolute best selection of the park’s jumps trails.
- Tech Assault
Rocks, roots, loam and hand-built trail goodness, the Tech Assault is a top-to-bottom race through some of the park’s most technical trails.
- Pump Track Challenge
Race a series of laps around the park’s mega pump track, or simply spectate from our trackside beer garden!
- Dual Slalom
Dual slalom is back! And we’re not sure why it ever left. Side by side racing down our ‘old school’ dual slalom course, with a mix of flat turns and built features.
- Whip off (invite only)
A collection of jump legends sessioning our whip off jump for the battle of who can get most sideways!
See, it’s big!
Or want to see really good riders riding Maydena? Click here.
Photos supplied by Flow, Jasper da Seymour and Ryan Finlay/Maydena Bike Park.