Must Ride | St Helens, Tasmania Pt.2 – Keep Riding, Swimming, and Eating


St Helens has a lot to offer, and now there is mountain biking; you’d be crazy not to check it out. With beaches, bays and mountain bike trails just out of town, it’s a must-do when you cross the Bass Strait.

You’ve probably heard all about the Bay of Fires Trail; if not click here for part one of this project, now check out the rest of what this little beach town in Tassie has to offer.


Watch Christa and Andy Ride, Swim, Eat on Repeat


 

Flagstaff, but not the one in Arizona

When the Break O’Day council cut the ribbon on the Flagstaff trail network, the Town Link trail stopped just short of, well, town. Now the riding path that runs along the edge of the bay is complete, and you can ride the 6km from the main street of St Helens all the way to the Flagstaff network on purpose-built trails, protected from cars.

After a short pedal, if you’re keen to test your legs, the Stacked Loops are waiting, with everything from short and mellow beginners loops, to extended loops that traverse the Tasmanian dry sclerophyll forests above the town. When you arrive, you’ll see a couple of bike hygiene stations; these are key to preserving the health of the forest around the trails, be sure to spray off your bike before you set off.

St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
Mack 10 is an Airflow trail, but there are features for riders at every level to foster progression.
St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
More hips than Shakira and Ricky Martin on MTV.
St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
Spot the Andy.

If the Bay of Fires hasn’t satisfied your hunger for wilderness trail riding, hop on one of Gravity Isles party shuttles up to Loila Tier and roll the Dreaming Pools loop. This 27km loop follows a ridgeline through an Iron Bark Forest to get the quads burning before descending to the trail’s picturesque namesake, perfect for a mid-ride dip.

The biggest feature would be that rock roll, which is like a piece of artwork. When you go down Mack 10, you just want to stop and admire the freaking sculpture of rock.

If you enjoy climbing about as much as we like flat tyres, not to worry, the shuttles to Loila Tier have kegs of gravity-fed fun on tap, like Send Helens and the new airflow trail, Mack 10.

“The biggest feature would be that rock roll, which is like a piece of artwork. When you go down Mack 10, you just want to stop and admire the freaking sculpture of rock. You have the big natural rock, but then the amount of work that would have gone into the section that goes around it, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Christa Capel says.

St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
The rocks on Mack 10 are something to behold, but they are even more fun to ride.
St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
Booooosh!

“The coolest part about it (Mack 10) is that a strong beginner can ride it and roll evening and have a blast, and at the same time, it will be fun for someone who is super-advanced because there are so many sneaky lines; they could triple something, or they could just jump everything,” says Capel. “You can take it as far as you want, and there is the opportunity to progress.”

St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
The new Town Link trail takes you from town to the Flagstaff trailhead.

St Helens Beaches

St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
Baywatch: Flow edition
St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
“Hold my bike; I’m going in.”

St Helens has some of the finest beaches in the world, and there are plenty of quiet spots to lounge around and try to even out the tanline from your knee pads. If you’re a beachgoer that can sit still, Shelly Point, halfway between St Helens and Scamander, offers a consistent but mellow swell.

St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
Christa getting pitted.
St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
The lookout from Shelly Point, south of St Helens, is a mint surf spot.

“There is an excellent little lookout right behind the car pack, which gives you a view over the entire beach, which gives you a better perspective of what the wave is doing,” Capel says.

Kayak the river

If you simply can’t get enough pedalling, jumping on a pedal Kayak tour should scratch your itch, and maybe catch a fish or two.

We saw many eagles, and they have these massive nests up in the trees, and from the river, you can see the mountains a lot clearer too as you go down the river

St Helens, Flagstaff Stacked Loops
Cheers big ears.

“Taking the time to float down the river, you have the chance to see things that you otherwise wouldn’t really take notice of; we saw many eagles, and they have these massive nests up in the trees, and from the river, you can see the mountains a lot clearer too as you go down the river,” she says.

St Helens eats

With all of this moving around, you’re going to need to fuel up. Lucky for you, your tour guides sampled all of the culinary wonders around town.

No trip to St Helens is complete without a trip to The Social; it’s a bit like what you would get if a beer garden and a food truck had a baby. Everything we’ve tried on the menu is has impressed, however, the Steak and Cheese Burger is to die for after a big day out, and the rotating selection of local craft beers is massive.

The Social St Helens
The Social is a Flow favourite.

If fresh seafood is on the menu, Skippers Fish shop on the wharf is the place to be. For breakfast, The Bays Kitchen will start your day off right when you need a giant egg and bacon sandwich or a sweet treat.

“You walk in there, and they have every single type of slice you could ever imagine stacked up, and when you order a sandwich with bacon, they give you not one piece of bacon; you’ll get five.”

If you head down the Shelly Point, Capel says The Surfside is a must.

Giant St Helens
More bike shops in town are a sign of good times, Giant St Helens ready for action.
Vertigo MTB St Helens
Vertigo MTB has a new shop in St Helens, doing what they do so well in Derby, now on the coast.
Gravity Isle St Helens
Gravity Isle is set up at the trail head for shuttle bookings, bike shop and swag.
The Surfside St Helens
Hydration is important after a big day in the surf; luckily The Surfside has you covered with beers on tap and to die for burgers.
Skippers St Helens
A St Helens icon, Skippers!

A place to lay your weary head

Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day, and St Helens has hotels, motels, AirBNB’s, glamping and campsites to meet any budget. We stayed at the Big4 Campsite, which offered great little cabins, a bike wash, cooking facilities and a great fire pit.

Big4 St Helens
Chef Andy working his magic on the BBQ.
Big4 St Helens
Bunks for affordable accommodation to rest weary bodies.
Big4 St Helens
It wouldn’t be camping without a campfire; who brought smores?
Big4 St Helens
Cheers, that was a good time.

Getting to St Helens

The Flagstaff trail network is located just outside town, and from the main street in St Helens, it’s a short 6km ride via the Town Link Trail. The Big4 Bunkhouse where we stayed and The Social are both in the heart of St Helens, no car required.

To cool off after your ride and maybe even a Surf, Shelly Point is 15km down the coast on the Tasman Highway and home to the Surfsider.

For more information, head to the official St Helens MTB Trails website here – https://www.sthelensmtbtrails.com.au/

Can’t get enough of St Helens? Click here, sit back and enjoy everything the little Tassie beach town has to offer


Producer, videographer, editor, and sticker enthusiast – Jasper Da Seymour @jdaseymour

Photographer, backlit beers and vibe documenter – Kristina Vackova @kiphotomedia

Second camera, shakas curator and crayfish spotter – George Segda @georgesegda_ 

Chipper host, keen surfer and zinc connoisseur– Christa Capel @rideomtb

Rider, pedal breaker and Baywatch lifeguard in training – Andy Butler @_andybutler


This Flow MTB project was made possible with the support from Tourism Tasmania.

It appears you're using an old version of Internet Explorer which is no longer supported, for safer and optimum browsing experience please upgrade your browser.