Derby Tasmania | Australia’s BEST Mountain Biking

Do you all recall a few years back, there was a massive hype surrounding a small town known as Derby Tasmania? There was talk that Derby was going to supply the best Mountain Bike Park in Australia. And with World Trail holding the reigns, nobody was going to argue.

The hype was well rewarded.

Blue Derby Mountain Bike Park opened their gates in 2015 to eager and hungry bikers. All of whom frothed over the hard packed perfectly formed dirt, cleverly cut through the mountainside creating some very interesting and unique terrain.

It only took two years for the Enduro World Series to make their mark, and in April 2017, Detonate was awarded the best trail in the entire competition.

mountain biking off a rock jump on Dam Busters after completeing the Blue Tier and Atlas Trail in Blue Derby Tasmania

Nestled alongside the Ringarooma River, the town of Derby is a mixture of new and old. Featuring old cafés refurbished to suit mountain bikers, grand old pubs set in their original glory and state of the art mountain bike shops. There is something for everybody here…

But only just enough.

As popular as this spot has become for fellow mountain bikers, Derby has not succumbed to the commercialised world. They’ve kept their dignity as a small country community in the outback of Tasmania. While Blue Derby mountain biking has obviously boosted tourism rates, Derby has kept its solace.

What this means for mountain bikers is a massive trail network spread over vast scenic forestry, based at the edge of a MTB friendly town.

What more could you want?

Mountain biking across the Ringarooma River Bridge in Blue Derby Tasmania

BLUE DERBY

Over 125km of perfectly sculpted single track running through one of Tasmania’s cool temperate rainforests has undoubtedly stamped Blue Derby on the map. Causing it to quickly climb the ranks as one of Australia’s most well-known mountain bike parks.

Throughout the roller coaster ride of glorious flow trails, railing berms and schralping through soft moist dirt will leave you with the highest level of stoke and a sudden realisation to why Blue Derby Tasmania sits atop of the throne.

Amongst the dense trail network, there are several options catering for all disciplines of mountain biking.

mountain biking through large boulders on the Blue Tier and Atlas Trail in Blue Derby Tasmania

BLACK STUMP

Hands down the master of variety. The name Black Stump is known to many as the central hub – used by shuttles and cross country mountain bikers alike – as a point for greater access to the Blue Derby network. Whether your bread and butter be flow or tech, from this point the world is your oyster.

Flying down smooth and fast trails, listening to the gliding sound of freedom while you pump through the rollers. Defying gravity as the tyres ramble and the nobbles are barely holding grip while whipping around a tightly compacted berm. These are some of the feelings you’ll become well accustomed with after tackling the sensational flow trails on offer in Derby Tasmania.

jumping the huge step-up on Upper Air Ya Garn in Blue Derby Black Stump

Treading on the edge of caution while ploughing through a steep and treacherous rock garden, barely managing to keep both wheels on line as you slip between rock chutes and slide around the loose, off-camber nature of the peak. An exhilarating ride awaits after sending it down one of the world-class enduro trails on offer at Blue Derby Tasmania.

What about the climbs? Everybody’s worst enemy!

Never fear, perfect trail placement due to countless hours of planning and scoping have landed the up-trails in areas of beautiful scenery. Heavily dense sections of the forest forced the switchbacks to be cleverly placed, winding in and out of the green tree ferns and massive eucalyptus environment.

Flat sections are scattered along the climbs to provide well-deserved breaks as you work hard before gaining the chance to soar like an eagle once again.

LEARN MORE ON RIDING BLACK STUMP

riding down a massive rock slab on Roxanne in Blue Derby Black Stump Mountain Bike Park

BLUE TIER & ATLAS

Blue Tier… the world’s description of all-mountain riding. From the dry and dusty exterior of the mountain top to the dense forest floor that has Derby surrounded, it’s not very often that one run can host all styles of riding.

When I say one run, I mean all 35km of it.

Mountain biking through the Goblin Forest on the Blue Tier and Atlas Trail in Blue Derby Tasmania

Commencing in the sub-alpine terrain of Blue Derby Tasmania, you’ll be introduced to flat rocky trails before putting those hard-earned skills to the test on some intense flow lines. Divided by technical climbs, these flow trails vary in length and terrain.

The king of flow is Big Chook. Stretching 5.4 km and requiring little to no pedalling, you are in for a treat. As the soil darkens and the gradient decreases, nothing but awe can be felt while swiftly carving the poppy berms and kickers throughout.

As the altitude decreases further, so does the flow. Atlas is the name of this change and boy does it change. Throwing you into a much more technical descent through the likes of rutted out corners and large rocks everywhere.

But don’t let that deter you. Atlas is still an intermediate trail and is only as intense as you make it.

LEARN MORE ON RIDING THE BLUE TIER AND ATLAS TRAILS

Mountain biking down the rock gardens found on the Blue Tier and Atlas Trail in Blue Derby Tasmania

ACCESSING THE BLUE DERBY TRAILS

Back tracking a little and going back to an un-commercialised Derby means only great things for mountain bikers. At the top of that list is absolute freedom when it comes to riding.

No park fees, No lift passes, No time limits. Just good old fashioned mountain biking.

LEG POWER

As a most simple form of access you can just ride up the mountain… seems obvious right? Well unless you only have one run in mind or are a fitness fanatic, you may want to source another means of transport up.

Roughly 6.5 km worth of up-trails stand between you and the Black Stump Shuttle point. No matter how well these climbs are built, your energy will be massively depleted on reaching the top.

On the other hand you can take the fire road up. Providing a more direct route – albeit steeper – a 4 km slog is apparent.

Just use caution if this method is used as the road is quite tight and there will be an abundance of shuttles passing you all day!

riding up the steep climbs on the Blue Tier and Atlas Trail in Blue Derby Tasmania

PERSONAL SHUTTLES

Perhaps the best method of accessing Blue Derby is by personal shuttles. Considering one rider will miss out each run, as long as you have a big enough crew this won’t be a problem.

Personal shuttles are able to work in alongside the commercial shuttle providers driving up Cascade Dam Road in order to access the Black Stump Shuttle point. Likewise with shuttling Black Stump, anyone can access the Blue Tier. Although judging by the length of this bad boy, we don’t think many people would be riding the Blue Tier more than once in a day.

Locals tip: Big Chook is without a doubt the best section of the Blue Tier and can be shuttled without the need to visit the entire 19 km Blue Tier Trail.

BLUE DERBY SHUTTLES AND BIKE SHOPS

As much as Derby Tasmania has kept its charm and quiet society. Several bike shops have spawned as a result of Blue Derby Mountain Bike Park’s grand opening. EvolutionVertigo and MAD MTB are the three main forces leading the charge.

Along with several different shuttle options throughout the Blue Derby network, these shops offer:

VERTIGO MTB

One of the larger bike shops in Derby and with a slogan like “guaranteeing to supply all you need to find flow in Tasmania’s temperate rainforest”, can you really go wrong?

Supplying specialised bikes and local bus drivers full of knowledge, our experience with Vertigo was a downright positive one. And although Evolution is Blue Derby’s main bike workshop, the guys at Vertigo were able to keep us riding on two occasions with quick and just fixes to our beloved Canyons.

Alright… keep me riding after I broke my beloved Canyon Torque on two occasions. Vertigo MTB’s main services are:

  • Daily uplift shuttles
  • Bike Hire
  • E-bike Hire
  • Skills sessions
  • Guided rides and tours
  • Group packages
  • Small workshop repairs

EVOLUTION

Claiming to be Blue Derby’s premier destination Mountain Bike Store and gravity riding specialists, tons of services are provided by Evolution. Powered by TREK and PIVOT, quality bikes are at your disposal along with a well-equipped workshop capable of fixing any issues that may arise.

The full range of services provided are:

  • Local expert trail knowledge
  • Bike Hire
  • Bike Sales
  • Daily uplift shuttles
  • Workshop services, parts and accessories
  • Guided E-MTB rides

MAD MTB

A small family owned and operated business that has set a goal to put the customer first and provide a once in a lifetime experience. Regularly riding the trails keeps Dawn and Richards’s minds up to scratch with the trail conditions, assisting you as a complete newbie and putting you on track for a grand day out.

The services MAD MTB offer are:

  • Daily uplift shuttles
  • Mountain bike hire
  • Exclusive private charters
  • Group ride packages
  • Airport Transfers

PLACES TO EAT IN DERBY TASMANIA

Onto the second best topic… behind mountain biking of course! What is there to eat in that quiet old town of Derby Tasmania?

Don’t expect to be able to tick off a full grocery shopping list at low prices, actually don’t expect to tick off a full grocery list period!

The small General Store in Derby has means to top up supplies and provide basic forms of food, but not enough if you love cooking up a storm like we do! As a result, be sure to grab what you need from a larger city such as Launceston before making tracks to this quaint country town.

Another tip: There’s not much choice for fuel either, so fill up before venturing into this neck of the woods.

We get that for some, the idea of cooking on a holiday is foreign so no need to worry, there are several options for eating out. From the classics in Derby’s old pubs to new quirky cafes, surely there is something for everyone.

The main street in the town of Blue Derby Tasmania

DORSET HOTEL

Located at the western side of town is the Dorset Hotel. Here is where we get back into old school Derby. The pub is exactly what you’d expect from a small mining community hotel. A massive beer garden situated at the rear and a maze-like interior.

On tap are some mainstream lagers – Boags – along with some newer local craft beer brewers – Little River. If you plan on dining at this classic Derby Pub don’t expect to just waltz on in. The restaurant was entirely booked every night we were in Derby, so as a friendly tip… book in advance.

What is the best news about this pub?

Just by eating a meal and grabbing a schooner you’ve secured a place to camp for the night. How’s that for hospitality!?

Drinking a pint of local craft beer at the Dorset Hotel located in Blue Derby's cute country town

THE HUB – PIZZA AND BEER

The name pretty well gives it away doesn’t it? Situated in the centre of town, this small cottage styled restaurant was transformed from the old butchers shop into a social mecca that specialises in well… PIZZA and BEER! But don’t worry if you aren’t into beer, there’s also an extensive wine list.

enjoying a beer at the Hub Pizza and Beer in the main street of Blue Derby Tasmania
drinking craft beer at The Hub in Derby after mountain biking Blue Derby in North East Tasmania

CRANK IT CAFÉ

Set up to mirror the atmosphere of modern day Derby. Mountain biking is the main theme of this café, and what is a better lunch meal for mountain bikers than a burger? That’s it, a burger and a beer. Catering for vegetarians as well as caffeine addicts, Crank it café is a perfect spot for everyone to enjoy.

PLACES TO STAY IN DERBY TASMANIA

Don’t worry about the size of Derby being an issue with accommodation, there is more than enough for everybody. Everything from camping for us plebs to top notch Airbnb and lodgings for those a little better off. You will have no trouble finding a spot to stay.

BLUE DERBY CAMPING

Considering this is our way of life and what should be yours as well, camping is where we’ll start. Nestled along the Ringarooma River, it’s no wonder Derby has several beautiful spots to camp while getting that adrenaline high.

From open cut areas, to patches of grass in the sporting complex, to the backyard of the local pub, finding a campsite should be a breeze!

And guess what! They’re all free!

DORSET HOTEL

We’ve already explained that to stay at the Dorset Hotel for free, a friendly gesture of business is all that is required. Whether that be a meal, a beer or several. The choice is yours in how you want to pay homage for using their facilities.

They provide a 24 hour toilet and also offer a shower for $5 per person. The site is pet friendly and obviously has good food in the restaurant.

Dorset hotel pub in the main street of Blue Derby Tasmania

DERBY FREE PARK

Derby’s main campsite. We know we said it would be a breeze to find a spot but we were very lucky to find one in this site. Obtaining what was the last patch of grass on New Year’s Day, we are glad we managed as this is hands down the best campsite in Derby.

Derby Free Park, the main campsite in Blue Derby Tasmania

Equipped with a basketball and Tennis Court in one for the kids’ entertainment, a new toilet block with showers – $4 for 4 minutes – and a BBQ area for those without a complete set up, this place has it all.

Toilet and shower block in the main campsite at Blue Derby Tasmania

DERBY BIG RIG CAMPING SITE

Located directly across the road from the trail head and directly next to the shuttle pick up point, here is Derby’s most basic campsite. No toilets are provided, although the 24 hour public toilets are a short 5 minute walk up the main road.

the pump track behind Blue Derby Tasmania's Big Rig Campsite

BLUE DERBY LODGING

We understand camping isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Crammed next to like-minded, fun and friendly neighbours. Enjoying a beer while sharing hilarious stories about stand out events of the day and one or two close calls. We get it, this sounds dreadful… Not!

All jokes aside, if you are after a more comfortable situation, private showers and maybe even a fireplace for those chilly nights, there are many options available.

AIRBNB

As stated earlier, this place boomed when the plans of mountain biking took place. And a lot of people saw this as an opportunity to buy up, renovate and offer accommodation for the mountain bikers. There are around 20 to choose from, the most expensive being around $250 a night.

POSTMASTERS

A complete refurbishment of the town’s original Post Office has created some very unique accommodation. Dating all the way back to 1900, a historic setting is achieved without the sacrifice of comfort thanks to the modern interior of the Lodges.

The aim to provide patrons with a warm and welcome stay. Located a short walk from the town centre of Derby Tasmania, here is a great choice for mountain bikers looking for something a little closer to home. Three lodges are available and all outdo each other in quality!

THE LODGE

The original Postmaster’s Lodge. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms make this ideal for families and groups of up to eight guests. Supplying two main living areas, a kitchen, balcony and an outdoor BBQ area, what more could you want!

THE SHED

Looking for something a little fancy? You’ve just found it! Designed to be architecturally striking, this hi-tech and stylish interior is a sight to behold. The two-bedroom open planned apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen, air conditioning, a small deck, fancy interior and a Bose Sound System… We’re sold!

THE APARTMENT

Located under the Post Office in what was the old mail sorting room is the Postmaster’s Studio Apartment. This Lodge, while being smaller in size, doesn’t lack the quality of the others. Coming with a well-equipped kitchen, smart TV, air conditioning, leather lounges and an extra sofa bed.

THE DERBY LODGE

A brand new luxury mountain biking lodge. Providing a standard of accommodation that matches the Blue Derby trail network and positioned at the base of Cascade Dam Rd, here may be the best bet for a passionate rider.

The Derby Lodge provides one, two and three-bedroom apartments. All of which offer kitchens, fireplaces and living areas spread over vast floor plans.

As a bonus, bike hire is available at the premises. They really have thought of it all.

GETTING TO DERBY TASMANIA

With all of that said and done, one final step stands between you and an unforgettable holiday. And that is… how on earth do you get to this beautiful pocket of the world?

Well that’s the easy part. Here is all you need to know to land you in the iconic Australian Mountain Biking Mecca known as Blue Derby.

DRIVE TO DERBY TASMANIA

Whether you caught the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry across from the mainland of Australia or have hired a camper van locally for your travels, being your own taxi is by far the easiest form of transport across this wonderful state. Not to mention one of the best ways to soak in the sights of the spectacular rainforests surrounding the Dorset County.

If you are looking to hire a car or camper van here is the best companies to take a look at:

LAUNCESTON TO DERBY

Launceston is situated at the base of the Tamar Valley and is only a short hour and twenty minute drive west of Derby. Having Tasmania’s second largest city located just a stone’s throw away from Australia’s best mountain bike park is great.

Launceston can be used as a point of entry into Tasmania, Airport shuttles, campervan or car hire, bus routes or even a central hub from which day trips can be undertaken… although we definitely wouldn’t recommend this last option. You’re going to be tired enough as it is!

HOBART TO DERBY

Hobart may be considered as the best point of entry into Tasmania due to the cheaper nature of flights, but take into account the three and a half hour journey between the Capital and Derby.

By all means, if a road trip is on the cards, this may be the best option. However, if Blue Derby is the sole destination of your adrenaline-fueled mountain biking getaway, we urge you to look into Launceston as the origin of your travels.

The same services are available from Hobart as in Launceston with one exception…

There is no direct bus route between Hobart and Derby, so count this out if you were relying on it.

AIRPORT SHUTTLES

If you are as lucky as we think and your holiday is all about riding then a direct airport shuttle may be the best option for you. Several companies provide pickup and drop off services making your life a hell of a lot easier than dealing with car rentals. Some companies that offer this service are:

BY BUS

Yes you can even make the trip to Derby by bus from the city of Launceston. Sainty North East Bus Service provides many different routes around the North East of Tasmania, and for just $22 here is a great option for travellers on a budget.

Standing among the tree tops in Goblin Forest on the Blue Tier and Atlas in Blue Derby Tasmania

So what are you waiting for? Although Derby may still only support a small local community, nothing can take away the charm of this country town. Let us know about your epic experience with this wonderland in the comments below, we could talk all day about our love of Mountain Biking in Tasmania.