Must Ride: The Australian Alpine Epic Trail, Mt Buller

This happened to us. The recently opened Australian Alpine Epic Trail is teeming with huge vistas, magical flow, effortless speed, massive trail variety and it’s all in a wide-eyed frothing ride that gives that feeling that only the most epic of epic rides can deliver. It’s a big day out, with plenty of climbing and hard effort to complete the whole 40km, but the best is saved for last with a rewarding final descent that is likely to change your life.

Flow loves a road trip to Buller, it’s a long drive down from Sydney but nothing beats that feeling of turning off the highway and heading up into the big mountains. Especially now that Mt Stirling/Mt Buller have lifted the bar once again with their latest masterpiece – the IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) accredited Epic Trail. The Epic marks the final stage in their huge first phase of mountain bike trail development. With over 100km of premium trails in the region, and some that have been named ‘best trail in the Australia’ it’s only fitting that they sign off with a bang with The Epic, and with the trail builders themselves claiming it is their best work yet. Fear not, this is most definitely the end, we’ve been hearing rumours of the next phase of mountain bike trails at Buller to focus on downhill and beginner cross country trails near the village. Stay tuned for more.

The complete Epic Trail is a 40km journey that takes you from the Mt Buller village, through many of the original trails that lead up towards Howqua Gap and then you climb Stonefly. From the top of the incredible Stonefly you will descend (not the Stonefly singletrack descent) west towards Telephone Box Junction. Grab a bloody delicious coffee and food from the friendly crew at The Epicentre, then you climb up along Razorback Spur. The juiciest part of the new trail is the 7km descent.

The official opening of the trail was a real celebration, with the Bike Buller crew putting on a great show full of surprises for the riders who joined in on the inaugural ride. But once the crowds subsided (and unfortunately the rain arrived) Flow grabbed World Trail’s long serving trail builder and enduro shredder, Ryan De La Rue to show off their work for our camera, this is how it went down.

Directions of use: Watch the video, scroll the pictures, call your crew and plan a trip to ride The Epic as soon as possible.

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Not taken from a plane, views like this from the Mt Buller village are very common. Not bad, eh?

 

It's a 43km ride, in the alps. So, you have to earn your descent.
It’s a 40km ride, in the alps. So, you have to earn your descent.
Follow the signs to bliss trails.
Follow the signs to blissful trails.
The Epic takes you a long way away from Mt Buller, but you spot it at times from some of the long ridge lines that carry you along.
The Epic takes you a long way away from Mt Buller, but you spot it at times from some of the long ridge lines that carry you along.
Let the brakes off, you can trust the trail builders to have built a predictable and safe trail to ride fast.
Let the brakes off, you can trust the trail builders to have built a predictable and safe trail to ride fast.
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The trail rewards your bike handling skills, you’ll be pumping and flowing down the trail gaining speed at each turn.
Lush ferns line the singletrack, which turn into a blur of green as you hoot along.
Lush ferns line the singletrack, which turn into a blur of green as you hoot along.
The trail has been carefully crafted to maintain effortless speed. Less braking, supportive turns and plenty of visibility.
The trail has been carefully crafted to maintain effortless speed. Less braking, supportive turns and plenty of visibility.
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Through forests of mountain ash and alpine snow gums, the trail takes in the best that the alpine region has to offer.
How's the terrain! This was not an easy section of trail to build through, but the team manage to join up spectacular features with beautiful flowing singletrack just fine.
How’s the terrain! This was not an easy section of trail to build through, but the experienced team manage to join up spectacular features with beautiful flowing singletrack just fine.
At the crest of one of the toughest climbs, a well-placed piece of furniture awaits you.
At the crest of one of the toughest climbs, a well-placed piece of furniture awaits your tired wheels.
Breaking up the dizzyingly blissful singletrack are numerous linkages to allow your brain to recharge it's froth depleting froth levels.
Breaking up the dizzyingly blissful singletrack are numerous linkages to allow your brain to recharge its depleting froth levels.
From this point on, prepare to lose your mind.
From this point on, prepare to lose your mind.
Left, right, left, right.
Left, right, left, right.
Every inch of trail is a good experience.
Every inch of trail is a good experience.
One of the many, many heavenly turns.
One of the many, many heavenly turns.
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You’ll be faced with a real dilemma, slow down and take in the stunning surrounds? Or let it RIP!
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Feature packed, it’s a real head explosion to take it all in.
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Turns link up with a magical sense of flow.
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From Lou’s Lookout you can see how much elevation you still have in the bank, plenty.

Australian Alpine Epic Traill (1)

Australian Alpine Epic Trail (10)

This particular section of trail towards the end had everyone stumped on how to negotiate the cliff-lined river. It took time, but World Trail managed. You'll probably spend about 1.5 seconds there...
This particular section of trail towards the end had the construction team stumped on how to negotiate the rocky cliff-lined river. It took time, but World Trail managed the task. You’ll probably spend about 1.5 seconds there though…
The final 3 km follows the Delatite river, roaring with fresh water from the mountains, teeming with fish and lined with lush ferns.
The final 3 km follows the Delatite river, roaring with fresh water from the mountains, teeming with fish and lined with lush ferns.
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You’d be forgiven in mistaking this photo was taken in Rotorua, NZ. The ferns are massive!
Ryan ducks a green curtain along the Delatite River.
Ryan ducks a green curtain along the Delatite River.
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No section is without flowing terrain to maintain momentum.
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The final few metres of the epic journey take you through a forest with a thick fluorescent green canopy.
Congratulations everyone, it's bloody great.
Congratulations everyone, it’s bloody great.

Want more Buller? Click here. We visited the alpine singletrack haven last year to explore the whole spread of trails on offer. 

For everything you need to know about mountain biking in Mt Buller. From accommodation options, bike hire, retail opening hours, trail maps, uplift shuttle details and more: http://bike.mtbuller.com.au

[divider]The Australian Alpine Epic[/divider]

Grade: Intermediate / Advanced
Distance: 40km
Riding time: 4 – 7 hours (ability dependant)
Gradient: Long distance, includes singletrack, fire trail sections and moderately challenging slopes
Fitness: High endurance, medium technical skill
Description: This journey takes riders through a variety of environments, and trail experiences. It utililises familiar favourites including Soul Revival, One Tree Hill, Gang Gangs, Picnic Trail, Cornhill Trail, Woolybutt and Stonefly (ascent). The experience gets a little more wild, as the trail continues through Mt Stirling to Telephone Box Junction, Razorback Trail, No.3 Road, and will thrill with an endless descending flowing down section to Carter’s Road. From there, a scenic river-side stint will bring you back to leafy Mirimbah Park at the base of Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resorts. Don’t Forget: Be prepared. Pack food, water, trail map and a repair kit. Limited phone reception. Respect the alpine environment. Conditions can change quickly so pack a spare layer of clothing.

[divider]The Epicentre, coffee and food break![/divider]

Located along the new Epic trail at Telephone Box Junction on Mt Stirling, the Epicentre offers servicing (including call-outs), funky bike retail, loads of local knowledge, advice, delicious meals and coffee.

Thur 9am-4pm
Fri 9am-6pm
Sat 8am-5pm
Sun 8am-4pm
Open daily from 17 December 2014 – 26 January 2015

T: 0407 730 809
E: [email protected]
Facebook: Bike Related Industries

[divider]Shuttle Services[/divider]

Mt Buller has two shuttle services that operate during the mountain bike season, a shuttle that runs from the base of the mountain to the top (servicing the Klingsporn and Delatite River Trails) and a shuttle that services the downhill trails after the chairlift season ends.

Mirimbah – Mt Buller Shuttle

There are two awesome trails, (Delatite River Trail & Klingsporn Bridle Track), that take you from the top of Mt Buller right down to Mirimbah at the base of the mountain. If you ride these trails you can take our bike shuttle service back up the hill – too easy! 

The mountain bike shuttle operates from Mirimbah (at the base of the mountain) to Mt Buller each weekend from Melbourne Cup Weekend (2 November) until the Easter long weekend in April. 
Available: Saturdays & Sundays 1 November 2014 – 26 April 2015
Times: 9am, 11:30am, 2.30pm and 4:30pm (extra shuttles can be operated on demand for groups)
Cost: $15 per run or $40 for four
Bookings & enquiries: 03 5777 5529 or email [email protected].

PLEASE NOTE BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL

Mirimbah – Mt Stirling Shuttle

Ride the Australian Alpine Epic from the Mt Buller Village to Telephone Box Junction (TBJ), and catch the shuttle back to Mirimbah or start your ride 1/3 of the way in, at TBJ.

The mountain bike shuttle operates from Mirimbah (at the base of the mountain) to Mt Stirling each weekend from 6 December until the 26 April. 

Available: Saturdays & Sundays 6 December 2014 –  26 April 2015
Times: Departs Mirimbah 10:15am & 12:45pm (extra shuttles can be operated on demand for groups)
Cost: $15 per run 
Bookings & enquiries: 03 5777 5529 or email [email protected]

PLEASE NOTE BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL

 

Flow Nation: Mt Buller, Day 3

Stonefly has been named as Australia’s best trail many times, no wonder why.

This single track loop is the crown in the jewel of the incredible trail network around Mt Buller. World Trail have created a masterpiece, a truly wonderful experience in the form of a single track climb and descent that blurs the line between a scenic tour and a real thrill.

Check out first and second days in Buller here.

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Stonefly takes you through the full range of vegetation that Buller has to offer, from green, fern-filled rainforest, to open woodland and all the way up to alpine above tree line.

It’s quite an undertaking to ride Stonefly, it climbs up alongside the summit of the mighty Mt Stirling, the other big whopping mountain you can see clearly from the Mt Buller village. But although it may sound a bit backwards, we believe the climb is as good – if not better – than the descent back down. It’s not one of those climbs that grinds up, and up and up, it has been lovingly built to take in the best parts of the climb, and provides the rider with many moments to rest and recover.

From the greenest of green ferns, to open gum tree woods dripping with bark and up higher into the ghost-white alpine forests, the trail also crosses bubbling stream and waterfalls with delicious cold water. It’s a trail built to last, with extensive armouring and a great mixture of natural and imported features to help the delicate terrain withstand years of happy tyres humming along.

When you make it to the top, it’s time to make the call – slog the 1.5km diversion to the summit of Mt Stirling – or begin the ball tearing descent down Stonefly straight away. You’d be crazy not to visit the top at least once, the views are gargantuan, so vast, it makes the whole Buller experience a very special one, with views of where you have been, going and where the Epic Trail is under construction. Sit under the lone tree, an old wiry gum that must have made it through the wildest of conditions over hundreds of years.

And when you get back to the post the signals the start of the Stonefly descent, you’ve got a lot to be excited about, so much to look forward to lies ahead!

The descent is fast, and bloody exciting. By the time you get rolling, you don’t really slow down until the bottom. Built by riders who love to shred fast, the flowing singletrack makes the most out of the hard-earned elevation.

Riding behind someone accentuates the flowiness of the trail, when you turn one way, the rider ahead turns the other, and it repeats over and over again. The corners are bliss, and there are plenty of sneaky lines to jump next time, or if you’re a bit reckless, go for it.

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Large parts of the terrain around Buller have been logged, way back in the early 1900s. Many of the original bench cuts put in by the loggers are still visible and sometimes form backbone for the new trails.
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The Mt Stirling summit isn’t actually part of the Stonefly loop, but it’s only a 700-metre diversion. It’s a real grunt of a climb to the peak, but the view is definitely worth it.
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The views from the Stirling summit are incredible.

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That’s the Buller village, way, way in the distance. To ride the full loop of Stonefly from the village is a decent old undertaking, so leave yourself three to four hours.
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The lone tree on the Stirling summit. Who knows how long this fella has been up here fighting the elements.

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It’s a great time of year to be in Buller, with all the wild flowers out the trails look fantastic.
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Letting it all hang out on the Stonefly descent. There’s a reason so many people rate this as the best trail bike descent in the country – you forget the climb pretty damn quickly!