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 is 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.
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 Bar 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.
“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.”
Have a ride, take a dip
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.
“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.
If you simply can 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
“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.
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.
If fresh seafood is on the menu, Skippers Fish shop on the wharf is the place to be. For breakfast, The Bays Kitchen is the place to go 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.
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 Big 4 Campsite, which offered great little cabins, a bike wash, cooking facilities and a great fire pit.
The Flagstaff trail network is located just outside down, 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 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.