Road Trip: Max Carter finds the best MTB tracks in South Australia

2015-02-08 00:00:00

Over the past few weeks my family and I went on a holiday to Port Hughes in South Australia. Port Hughes is a small town 2 hours west of Adelaide on the Yorke Peninsula, it is surrounded by beaches and lots of flat dirt roads. We travelled to South Australia by car so we could stop at the best mountain-bike tracks on the way and visit some classic tracks around the Adelaide region.


The first mountain-bike track I got to ride was at Broken Hill on the way to South Australia. The track is located at the local golf course and is maintained by the Broken Hill MTB Club, I wasn't expecting a fantastic track because they only have a small club at Broken Hill but it turned out to be very good. There were a lot of rocky and loose sections which made for some sketchy moments on the downhills, especially on "Rock Ridge" and the awesome descent of "Mappa Valley". "Rock Ridge" also had a lot of tight switchbacks which made the uphills a bit easier. There were a number of smooth, fast and sandy sections along "Conrod Straight" and the "Golf Club Track".


In the following days after arriving at Port Hughes I did a number of rides on my mountain-bike along the dirt roads around the area. These rides ended up being very boring because the roads are dead straight with very little climbing. The very first ride I did there was 90km, 45km south and then 45km back along the same route. The 45km ride back home turned out to be an absolute sufferfest, the winds picked up and I had a 40km/h headwind for the 2 and a bit hours home. I also under estimated how hot it would be, by 9:30 am my Garmin was showing 45°C. Once home I was feeling the effects of heat stroke and was happy to be able to jump into a cold shower.


Two days later I was riding in the pouring rain and it was so cold that I couldn't eat because my fingers were so numb. The wind was so strong on this ride that the water in the puddles on the tarmac roads was getting blown up some of the hills!


Whilst in the area, dad and I took the opportunity to ride the tracks at Eagle MTB Park in the hills east of Adelaide and also the trails around the town of Melrose in the southern Flinders Ranges. The first MTB track we went to was Eagle MTB Park which is set up in an old quarry in the Adelaide Hills and has hosted a number of National MTB Series rounds. The trails here were very well sign posted so I could find my way easily. The track though turned out to be a lot rockier and steeper then I expected. My ride started out with a couple laps of the tough climb called "North Face" after I took a wrong turn.


Once I worked out where to turn I was able to do a good loop taking in the rooty trails of "Tunnel Vision", "Hawkeye" and "Southside" and then on to the very technical descent of "Sunset Boulevard" (looks a lot easier when watching it on TV) and finally on to the fun and twisty descent of "Overlocker". Some of the up hill sections turned out to be a bit hard to ride as I was running out of gears. My 1x10 gearing setup is for my local trails which aren't that flat either, shows you how hilly it is at Eagle MTB Park.


A few days later we headed up to the small town of Melrose to ride the trails situated on the rather large and steep Mount Remarkable. The trails here range from smooth, fast and flowy to the technical and rocky black diamond trails. A number of the trails at Melrose have some very steep slopes off the side of the track which can draw your attention away from the track at the wrong times! The day that we were at Melrose it was blowing a gale up the hill and at times it was hard to stay on the track! Some of my highlights of the Melrose trails were the technical trails of "Dodging Bullets" and "Throwing Cooper" and also the smooth "Textbook 10%".


On the return trip home from South Australia we got to ride the trails of the Coomealla/Mildura Mountainless Mountain-bike Club. These trails are situated next to the Murray river and Coomealla golf course just north of Mildura. As the clubs name suggests, the trails were very flat with less than 50 m of climbing for each 10 km lap. Even though it was flat it was still fun with it being very fast and including a number of jumps, bridges and other obstacles to deal with.    


Until my next adventure ride safe, ride fast and keep exploring.