Council Services / Community

Break O'Day and Dorset Councils - Blue Derby MTB Trail

The north east is a remarkable region, with gorgeous wet rain forests on the Blue Tier and a scenic drive away - pristine white sandy beaches in Tasmania’s warmest climate zone.  

 Blue Derby MTB Trail
Figure 1: Blue Tier Rainforest

In the early days, tin mining supported the region - at one time Tasmania made 20% of the world’s tin. Mining declined, as forestry has too, resulting in towns like Derby and Weldborough becoming ghost towns.  

Figure 2 Blue Derby MTB Trail
Figure 2: Racers in the World MTB Enduro Series were treated to the very best of Tassy's trails

The Dorset and Break of Day Councils were faced with the challenge of developing a whole new industry for large parts of their region - for the sake of the towns and people living there - but also for the longer term economic viability of the councils themselves.

The councils came up with a plan to transform the fortunes of area by putting the wild forests and alpine ecosystems to a new use. They would create a really high quality network of mountain bike trails in the Blue Tier Forest Reserve, with trails starting from Derby and Weldborough to help stimulate the region. 

They had a plan but Dorset and Break of Day councils are small, they couldn’t raise the whole project cost themselves from rates paid by their small communities. So the councils applied for and won a $2.5 million grant from the Commonwealth Government. The councils funded the remainder of the $3.1 million required for the trails, trail signage, bike wash area, toilets and showers and managed the project.  

The first group of trails in Derby was opened in February 2015.  In October 2016 Weldborough’s Blue Tier Descent trail opened, and in 2017 more trails were added to Derby. You can find out more about the trails like the recently opened Blue Tier Descent at https://www.ridebluederby.com.au

Figure 3 Blue Derby Trail
Figure 3: One of the twisting "bermed" turns used extensively by track builders World Trails

Coverage in mountain bike magazines, mountain bike races on the trails, tourism promotions and word of mouth – have all brought many riders to the trails. Derby hosted Round 2 of the 2017 mountain bike Enduro World Series in May 8 and 9, this was the first time the World Series had been held in Australia. The Enduro website had this to say- 

"This wild and remote island off the Southern Coast of Australia will offer riders a real adventure as they explore the famous trails around Derby in the North East of the island. The area has become synonymous with world class mountain biking in recent years, and riders will get to experience everything from fern forests to granite slabs as they take in the stunning views on offer."

Tired, hungry, thirsty, dirty riders and their machines will have needs! In the space of two years many local small businesses were created, filling the once empty street front of Derby with new life. On a visit to Derby now you will see the main street crowded with cafes, a gourmet pizza shop, a mountain bike shop, mountain bike rental, mountain bike shuttle services, and many houses for rent as mountain bike friendly accommodation. Cafes and pubs in the region favour stocking craft beers made in the local area, of which there are a number! Behind the scenes an army of locals are cleaning and servicing the rental accommodation.

The Blue Derby Trail Network is a major destination for adventure seeking mountain bikers. Already the Blue Derby trails have been a game changer for north east and with 46km of new downhill track planned to the Bay of Fires, and a network of new trails south of St Helens, the opportunities for growth should keep inspiring riders to visit, and local communities to create businesses and jobs – making them richer, if a little muddier!  

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