If I could write a feasibility study on the successful implementation of converting an area known for tin mining in the old days to a thriving MTB trail network, I could simply write, “do what they did in Derby”. It’s really that simple.

Derby, a small Tasmanian town with origins of tin mining is really the poster child of areas who saw an opportunity and pounced. I could go on about how they did it, but that would be getting deeper into my passions of how you can grow an area using mountain biking as the excuse. In Fact, Tasmania overall, really has taken the entire sport on and embraced a new avenue of tourism they can be worldly proud of.

Situated around an hour East of Launceston, the now thriving micro Mecca is home to not only a network of some of the most interesting mix of trail I’ve seen but also an entire culture. Mining huts converted to air BnB with now million dollar values, old stores converted to cafes, bike shops, camp grounds and common areas with all things bike centred down a non chalante Main Street that if you blink you’ll miss. But don’t let the size of the place fool you. Big things are often disguised in small packages.

Gazing upon trail forks shows a compact and well planned trail network that can reward riders with kilometres of trail no more than a stones throw from town. Looking further afield, the blue tier trail is an all day epic that starts to show the real depth of the area and another piece to Derbies puzzle. A well placed shuttle pickup and drop off network (yes, theres more than one operator!!)  awaits riders from all walks of life in both private and ad hoc situations. The question was, what to ride?!

Derby’s distinct Tree ferns, pumice and sandy conditions will almost trick you into being in a tiny Rotorua. I reitterate , don't be fooled by it's perceived size.... The Derby network is tightly bunched in around the main street with trail options to suit every rider. Granite slabs, loamy leave scattered trails, berms, flow, tech and gnar.

Leaving the main shuttle drop off, you can quickly jump into a return trail to the shuttle pickup point or delve deeper into the upper reaches of the park to reward yourself with not only the best views, but the trails most well known to the region. An important tip off from ben, one of the Up Down Around shuttle drivers steered me towards the further out trails earlier in the day while honing in on the closer trails later. His advice was sound!

A steady climb after descending down black stump (possibly my favourite), lead me towards the middle part of the park which then opens you up to a sizeable climb but great trail loop around to the infamous Trouty (my now new favourite). This expertly laid out trail takes you down rock slabs, loam, chutes, drops and delivers you almost right back to town. my grin was nearly as big as the roller diameter of a 29er tyre and I couldn't believe in just two trails, I would have been fine if thats all I got to ride. But, like all fairy tales, it got better!

Trouty - Picture credit - Freehub Mag

Over the next 5 shuttle uplifts for the day, I managed to sample even more new favourite trails and found myself finding somethingn special about every drop off. Clock ing up an impressive 45km of riding for the day, I called it quits and headed for my shipping container boutique accomodation which was 5 minutes from Scottsdale.

I'll admit it that Scottsdale felt like a provincial NZ town with people you'd normally not associate as being friendly to visitors, but the town is far from that. Friendly people, good food and a relaxed Aussie yeah mate attitude.

Day two saw more shuttles on a restricted time schedule to get back to Hobart but this time with my previous days knowledge of the park, I'd worked out a way to draw as much blood from the stones and get the best out of the loops.

A few new favourites popped into the spotlight after riding them a second time like detonate and Shearpin as some advisable Must do's for anyone visiting who likes tech trails. These trails were made famous by the EWS when they first toured derby and you can see why. MM's of precision requires you to be top of your game but the exhilaration and achievement of a clean run reward your mind with a sense of world achievement.

Derby for me can't be truly given justice in only two days with so many accompanying trails like the blue tier lying there in wait with a coulda, shoulda, woulda. but this just proves why it's become such a stand out destination for not only Anzacs, but the world around.

Come here, take your time, spend a few days and make sure you couple this with a much longer tour of the other amazing Tassie locations like Launceston, Maydena and Hobart. Tassie is also far more than just a riding destination. They're packed with history, adventure, handfuls of whisky distilleries and cool people.

Will I be back? you bet ya! And I'll be bringing my mates....