Some of the cleanest water droplets of this world drawn up from a 10000 Km journey over the Indian and Southern oceans are carried along by some of the cleanest air of this world and encounter Tasmania's western shoreline. Water droplets begin to condense into increasingly larger droplets to form heavy dark clouds that collide with Tasmania's Western mountain ranges. Disrupted and slowed, these clouds further condense until drops of water succumb to gravity, falling as beautiful clean rain and snow. Clouds continue to stream in from the west, accumulating against the mountains. Rainfall here is measured in metres.
Travelling to Queenstown is a spectacular drive journey. Or ride, if that's your thing. After travelling for some time the tamed agricultural lands and plantation forests disappear from the rearview mirror, the landscape, and in consequence the road, become rather interesting. Mountains begin to loom large and the forests that up to this point of the westward journey have been dominated by gigantic Eucalypt species give way to stretches of highland button grass plains. And then, right after the Mt King William lookout if you're clockwise from Hobart or just south of the Bolgerback if you're anti clockwise from Devonport, Myrtle canopied temperate rain forests appear. Numerous lively perpetual waterways are encountered as you suddenly realise that apart from the narrow ribbon of roadway enabling your rapid transit, the world around you is still wild, uniquely wild, and that alone is simply magnificent!
There are a myriad of reasons to visit Queenstown but for this article we are going to focus on an activity that from a widespread perspective has become one of the most popular ever.
Riding a specially adapted bicycle down a mountain trail, yes Mountain Biking....MTB....Yew.
Check this blog https://www.roamwild.com.au/post/the-mt-owen-experience-queenstown-tasmania for the backstory of how we began providing general tourism 4x4 adventures a number of years prior to the day that a consultant engaged by local government to give the idea of MTB here life came to visit us at The Paragon. The discussion was of how best to make bike trails work for Queenstown and our input was.
'If we are going to make bike trails here they will need to be among the most epic in the country.
With this environment and terrain around us here it would be crazy not to make the most of it.
Derby and Maydena are well established and with many more trail networks being created by other councils people will have to drive past many other trails to ride farthest flung Queenstown.
We will need to create the Epicest trails ever. Look, get in the 4x4, I want to show you something.'
Our tour shuttle for councils consultant onto the mountain combined with the passion driven vision and expertise of Rob Potter and Aaron Stewart (whom I now refer to as the Trail Master) with major contactor DirtArt carrying out the majority of works, a uniquely grandios riding experience has been created.
I have not ridden a bike for decades. MTB wasn't even a thing when I rode, no, it was the 1980's and known as BMX.
If anyone had told me back then that people would be riding down, and up some but generally down, the slopes of Mt Owen all the way into Queenstown's CBD on bikes with suspension, gears and 29 inch wheels with disc brakes I honestly would have laughed whilst pedalling away on the Mongoose, not wearing a helmet... (I know, that would just be unbelievably daft these days.)
But, I survived, and here I am several decades on from the days of BMX bandits, riding a 27 inch dual suspension don't know how many gears Canyon Spectral about to take on the 10Kms of 'Waterfall' on a cool late August afternoon...wearing a full face helmet...Siiick!