Queenstown is the latest Tasmanian town to aim for world-class mountain-bike track status with the release of plans to develop 35.1 km of tracks on Mount Owen.
The West Coast Council has released the Dirt Art authored design plan for a Mount Owen trail network, which it hopes will attract riders from interstate and overseas to tackle the area’s unique rocky landscape and enjoy the views of the West Coast Range and World Heritage Wilderness Area.
An entry trailhead would be established at Headly Faulls Park in the centre of Queenstown, which already has toilets and parking, and would be about 1200 metres from the functional trailhead on Tramway Street.
Of the new trails, more than 80% are suitable for intermediate to advanced riders, providing a destination for skilled riders. The nine new trail ratings and lengths would be:
- Green Circle – 4 km
- Blue Square – 24.7 km
- Black Diamond – 4.1 km
- Double Black Diamond – 2.3 km
Dirt Art says the intermediate trails would cater to advanced intermediate riders rather than strong beginners.
About 10 km of trails would be loop riding that suits frequent use, local riders and the rest of the network would require 4WD shuttle buses to take riders to the Mount Owen summit via the current service track. The track can also be used by riders on e-bikes to take themselves to the summit.
Dirt Art believes a climbing trail could be built for the network, but it was outside the scope for this project.
There is also potential for a skills track near the Mountain Heights School to help beginner riders develop, but that is not outlined in the design plan.
The design plan also outlines other possible mountain bike projects for the area, which could be developed if funding becomes available. These include:
- Conglomerate Creek and Moores Creek Valley trails – 10–15 km of stacked loop trails.
- Heemskirk Regional Reserve – long-format trail riding of up to 50 km of tracks, also with potential for stacked loop trails. The Oonah Hill MTB trail is in this area, which is close to Zeehan.
- Bike-packing tracks for overnight rides. Some 80 km of long-format tracks could be developed that connect to towns for overnight accommodation, with Tullah, Roseberry, Zeehan and Queenstown being the possible connections.
- Queenstown to Strahan journey that would consist of ride from Mount Owen via Mount Huxley to the King River for rafting and connection to the Wilderness Railway.
- Heli-biking such as operates in New Zealand and North America where riders are helicoptered to a high point then ride down.
The trails have $3 million in federal and state funding and Dirt Art estimates construction of the network would take around six months.
Third time lucky for Derby
The Enduro World Series mountain bike race round two will be held in Derby 10–11 April in 2021.
This will be the third time Blue Derby has hosted the series, which last time around saw about 5000 spectators descend on the small village.
Race Director Ian Harwood said there will be side events organised during the enduro, such as a kids event, a Derb-E e-bike event and more entertainment.