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Travels with My Bike to The Apple Isle – Part One

Travels with My Bike to The Apple Isle – Part One

Albury-Wodonga to Yackandandah

Call it if you will, an epic road trip … a challenge seeking solo adventure … or a mountain biking pilgrimage, I had dialled in my travel mode once again and this time I was starting my trail seeking journey to the Apple Isle … Tasmania!

Being no stranger to the world of solo travel I spent six unforgettable weeks facing fears, pushing my boundaries, discovering awesome trails, and meeting inspiring people who left their mark.

Equipped with all the necessary road travel essentials … a reliable car, spanking new mountain bike, comfy hiking shoes, and a healthy spirit of adventure I left my hometown of the Illawarra and made the lengthy drive south.

Albury-Wodonga

Above: Midway stop on this mountain biking road trip was on the rolling hills of Albury-Wodonga. View from Huon Hill.


Albury – Wodonga

After a much needed rest stop in Albury-Wodonga, I took the opportunity to park up for a few days and see what these country trails could offer this gal. You can spend hours researching trail maps, screen dumping Trailforks, stalking Strava, jotting GPS co-ordinates and still manage to get yourself lost and confused on the trail.

So I decided to reach out to the good ladies of the Albury-Wodonga Mountain Bikers club to help with the navigation and show me some of Albury’s best.

It was encouraging to hear the women’s riding scene on the NSW – VIC border was gaining strength and was so supportive, kudos to the ladies!

The friendly, fit and fast ladies took me around the dry and rocky trails of Nail Can Hill until my bike and body could no longer take the punishment. But the exhilaration of riding with Bec and Dena and chasing their lead on Dirt Luge, Red Jumps and Home Run made for a well-spent morning and a great sampler of what Albury could offer.

With a finishing round of chatter, it was encouraging to hear the women’s riding scene on the NSW – VIC border was gaining strength and was so supportive, kudos to the ladies!

Albury-Wodonga

Above: Local shredders Bec and Dena from the Albury-Wodonga MTB club showing me around Nail Can Hill.


Hunchback

As bluebird skies continued for miles over rolling lush green hills, I focused my energy on getting out for an afternoon solo session at Hunchback Mountain Bike Park in Wodonga.

The warmth of the late spring afternoon instilled a healthy fear of snakes and an irrational fear they would chase me up the trail. But after having only one girly moment from being spooked by an enormous goanna I made it unscathed to the safe and clear grassy ascent of Coyles Track.

The start of the crown jewel of Hunchback … Rock’n’Roller! A 3km flowy descent that truly lived up to its name!

Albury-Wodonga

Above: Green rolling hills and blue skies as far as the eye can see! Hunchback, Wodonga.


This track took me upwards with a final pinch that had me working hard to get to the start of the crown jewel of Hunchback … Rock’n’Roller! A 3km flowy descent that truly lived up to its name! After a thrilling descent, the endorphins release must have affected my judgement, the seemingly easy ride back to the car turned into a misadventure.

Somehow deviating off the Trailforks plan I found myself following animal paths, biking technical walking track, jumping fences, and tip toeing around nervous cattle.

Albury-Wodonga

Above: Left the rain behind and riding in the scenic hills of Hunchback Mtb Park … and maybe got a little spooked from a big goanna!


Yackandandah

With one more day at my disposal I set in motion a well-formulated plan … ride, eat, sleep. Driving into the countryside the sweetness of Yackandandah was hard to resist, a quaint little town offering ten varieties of jam and four cross country mountain biking loops.

With a steady climb, flowy singletrack and a rewarding fast cross country descent, my old love for XC had been rekindled.

Albury-Wodonga

Above: Yackandandah…Jam and MTB Trails!


Albury-Wodonga

Above: I love it when I don’t have to think a whole lot! Like selecting a dessert I studied the Yack Tracks trail map looking for something that was going to be sweet, long-lasting and that would leave a lingering goodness. I’ll take the purple trail, thank you.


With a steady climb, flowy singletrack and a rewarding fast cross country descent, my old love for XC had been rekindled. I was tempted to go in for seconds with another trail delight but as the sun beat down a little harder, my belly rumbled a little louder, and a near miss with a black snake became too close for comfort, I called it a day.

Below: The afternoon was deliciously spent selecting from the menus at Yackandandah Star Hotel, Beechworth Berries and Beechworth Le Blanche Ice Creamery!

Albury-Wodonga
Albury-Wodonga

Above: A relaxing yummy lunch at Yackandandah Star Hotel after a 25km solo ride … and a place to calm the nerves after being paranoid of deadly snakes the whole ride … then only to almost ride over a big black one!


Across The Bass Strait

My midway rest stop in Albury-Wodonga now had me satisfyingly exhausted. It was now time to wash off the mainland dust and get back on the National Highway and make a B-line to Melbourne’s ferry terminal. An evening crossing on the Spirit of Tasmania was awaiting!

Lined up obediently on the dock my sparkling white hatchback was dwarfed by robust and masculine looking utes, 4WDs, campers and the like. My excitement brushed away any feelings of inadequacy as I prepared my sporty little hatch for its first sea voyage across the Bass Strait.

After a bumpy and creaky night on the water I awoke to red eyes and dreary skies, but the anticipation of new adventures kept my spirits high. The arrival horn sounded, Devonport was in sight! Leaving the gangplank and my sea legs behind the search for epic trails in Tasmania had begun!

Albury-Wodonga

Above: Time to cross the Bass Strait and let the real adventure begin! Spirit of Tasmania!

Follow my journey to the Apple Isle, in Part 2 of the next instalment.


Useful Information

https://alburywodongamtb.org.au/
https://www.facebook.com/AWMTB/
https://www.facebook.com/HunchbackMTBpark/
https://www.exploreyackandandah.com.au/yackandandah-mountain-bike-track-network/


Lisa Matuzelis
Latest posts by Lisa Matuzelis (see all)
Follow @tyresandsoles
  • Anyone going out for a night ride in these strange times? If so, what lights are you using? Check out these bad boys from @glowormlights They’re certainly keeping us on the bright side of life, right now. | 📸 @richardmcgibbon
  • Repost from @westcoastmtbtas
•
We are all in uncertain times with regard to COVID-19 and strong measures are being taken on all fronts to ‘flatten the curve’ and minimise the impacts on our society and economy. 
We all need to exercise some social responsibility and adhere to the advice being offered from medical professionals and those who are calling the shots - social distancing, self isolation, hygiene etc.
BUT -  if your circumstance allows it, it is as good a time as ever to head out on the trails to get some fresh air and exercise. 
Many of the small businesses which service us as riders are heading into tough times also. A lot of interstate travellers have cancelled trips to Tassie and your local bike shop, cafe, or pub needs your patronage more than ever!
One last thing - now is a time we should be conscious of riding well within our abilities so as to not risk placing unnecessary pressure on the health system at this uncertain juncture.

Happy trails!
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