We don’t think anyone could have predicted just how spectacular Falls would eventually prove to be.
It was back in 2013 that Falls Creek opened their first stage of mountain bike trail development, the latest in a procession of alpine areas to acknowledge that ski seasons were becoming patchier than Trump’s policy detail, and summer is the way of the future. Back then, if you’d been a talent scout for mountain bike trails, you’d have put Falls Creek in the ‘has potential’ column – it was a place with all the bones for an incredible mountain bike park, but there was no meat. Let us tell you, there’s plenty of meat here now – we don’t think anyone could have predicted just how spectacular Falls would eventually prove to be. When you consider that Falls only began mountain bike trail development in earnest three years ago, and that the place is covered in snow for a good chunk of the year, it’s unreal how far it has come.
This summer sees the completion of Falls Creek’s fourth stage of trail development, including the opening of Flowtown, which will certainly become a signature trail for the region. We last visited Falls in 2015, at the end of the third stage of trail development, but with Flowtown now cranking, along with a regular shuttle service from the crew at Blue Dirt, Falls is the full monty. If you’ve got a mountain biking holiday on the brain, Falls has got to be on the list – it genuinely will go head to head with any of east coast Australia’s best mountain bike destinations. You could quite blissfully spend an incredible week in the Falls/Beauty/Bright zone. You could quite blissfully spend your entire life there, actually!
In the context of Victoria’s high country Falls Creek, Mt Beauty and Bright form a tight little love triangle at the eastern end of the strip of mountain bike towns that run across the region like a rich seam of gold: Mt Beauty, Beechworth, Yackandandah, Bright, Mt Beauty and Falls Creek. The Falls crew knew, that being a little more far flung from the population of Melbourne, they’d have to work hard to entice riders up the hill from Mt Beauty. But with visitor numbers doubling every year, and the hugely successful Ignition MTB event seeing almost 400 riders on the hill for Falls Creek’s opening weekend, the message is out there now.
The setting couldn’t be more spectacular: resting on the cusp of the Bogong High Plains, hemmed by views of the magnificent Kiewa Valley and rolling alpine meadows, Falls Creek is just a stunning place to be. The stark, white fingers of gums line the surrounding mountains, with the Bogong Dam a shimmering in the backdrop to the village. Sunset from the peak of Mt Mackay alone is worth spending the evening for – the view from the top of Australia’s highest public road across the range to Hotham is truly top notch.
The bulk of the trails are located in the huge bowl that naturally funnels you back towards the village – this accessibility is one of Falls’ real draw cards, with the trails starting and finishing literally on the edge of the village square. Exhaust yourself, and you’re not staring down the barrel of a long slog back to a brew. Stage 4 has also seen the development of a new beginner loop too, which keeps riders within cooee of the village, but is a great gateway into the broader Falls Creek network. Of course, the area’s sensational aqueduct trails, which we explored last time we visited, are all out there too if you’re keen on a mellow day in the mountains. Or, if something seriously epic is what you desire, then the legendary Fainters Track is a must-do as well – a multi-hour mission that traverses the ridges of the surrounding hills before dropping like a stone back into Mt Beauty miles away.
Laying some tracks on Flowtown, the brand new creation from the folks at World Trail, was the main driver for our trip to Falls this time around and it left us a fizzing at the bung. This all-new 5.5km descent is a gem, linking seamlessly from some of the existing trails, you can effortlessly put together over 20 minutes of face-warpingly awesome descending from the peak of Falls all the way back to the entrance gates hundreds of metres below. The run from Frying Pan spur, into High Voltage, then Wishing Well and finally down Flowtown is just unbelievable fun. Finally, when you pop out on the main road, jelly-legged from almost half an hour of flat out descending, you’ve got the option of either jumping in a shuttle back to town, or taking in the gradual climb back up the recently opened Pack Horse track.
The visionaries at Falls who’ve made this all happen deserve all the success in the world. Like so many alpine areas, they had to overcome the winter blinkers that have commonly hampered mountain bike development in ski areas, but they’ve made it happen! Each year Falls has bulked up, and now it’s a true contender – make sure you’ve got it on the list this summer.
For all the details, including a full trail map, visit http://www.fallscreek.com.au/mtb