Mt Buller Mountain Biking
The opportunity for a road trip should always be seized with both hands. And if that road trip involves mountain biking at Mt Buller, well then that is the cream cheese frosting on the cake. After arranging for some last minute childcare help, thanks to my mother in law, I had the car packed and was off to Mt Buller to experience what this resort has to offer riders for the 2012/13 season.
The ride day was organised by the Bike Buller team, and led by the local, knowledgeable guides from All Terrain Cycles in Mansfield. Our crew of 9 was a group of experienced riders from a variety of bike shops and businesses including Waverly Cycles, Goldcross, Jet Black / Pivot and a roadie looking to get back to his MTB roots.
When I started this blog close to 12 months ago, I never thought I would see it get to a point where I would be invited to destinations and review it for my readers, yet my recent visit to the Bike Buller stand at Australia’s premier bike trade show Ausbike, secured an invitation to review and ride one of Australia’s most progressive alpine resorts, especially when it comes to trail building and mountain bike tourism.
The Mt Buller alpine resort and the Bike Buller initiative is now its 6th phase and have gradually, over a number of seasons, added and improved the infrastructure for its summer program, to target riders from the DH, XC and AM disciplines. What was once a DH skewed offering, the Mt Buller mountain bike trails now offer a an expansive range of DH runs and expertly built singletrack. The resorts integrated trail network, with quality singletrack built by World Trail, is well supported with the current infrastructure of ski lifts and regular weekend shuttles from Mirimbah, to return riders to either the trail head or village.
Also on offer this year will be heli-biking, where riders can be picked up from Mansfield and dropped to the top of Mt Stirling , hitting the Stonefly downhill section and linking with the Delatite river run to capture over 20km’s of largely singletrack bliss.
World Class Singletrack
The ongoing trail work, conducted over several seasons, has now cemented Mt Buller as a premier mountain bike destination for both local and international riders. The quality and variety of trails has also been recognised internationally by IMBA, as an IMBA Ride Centre. These ride centres have been carefully selected for the variety and quality of the trails, and their ability to cater to most levels of riders – from beginner through to expert.
On this trip we encountered almost every type of riding conditions, with the exception of snow. We had drizzle, blue sky, heavy rain, heavy fog, warm temperatures, cold temperatures and this is all before midday. The afternoon then suddenly changed and we were greeted with blue sky again. These rapid changes in weather required careful planning of equipment and clothing required, with layering being key for riding at Buller.
Trail / All Mountain Wonderland
The XC trails and terrain is best suited to a 4 or 5” trail bike and given its alpine location, it will provide you with long descents as well as technical, switchback climbs. Standout trails include Stonefly, Misty Twist, Gang Gangs, Delatite River Trail and for those wanting to test your skills the Klingsporn. Described by our guide as ‘the toughest downhill mountain bike trail in Australia’ , the Klingsporn trail is not formally patrolled and has a number of natural features to keep you on your game. The trail has that element of exposure and backcountry, combined with very technical riding, that will leave you wanting more. While not seen as some as a traditional DH trail, it certainly is worth a look when riding at Buller.
As with other premier mountain bike destinations, the Buller experience also has a central village for the ride in/ride out convenience. ATC cycles will be operating a store and bike hire facility from the village with a suite of Specialized Cambers available for hire (and Specialized Status bikes for DH riders). There are plenty of accommodation providers to select from for your accommodation needs in addition to supermarket, bars, cafes and restaurants. The Mirimbah store at the end of the Delatite River and Klingsporn trails provides a shuttle service to return riders. They also have some of the best homemade pies you’ll ever taste – all the more tastier after a taxing ride. If travelling from Melbourne, be sure to check out Yarra Glen, Yea and Mansfield on the way up for a selection of quality regional food, wine and beer.
I first rode at Mt Buller in 2006 when the biking facilities catered mostly to the DH rider. Since then the changes to the trails and the increase in quality singletrack has been immense. The extensive trail network and build by World Trail and the ongoing investment from Mt Buller to create this summer product is a sign of their forethought and commitment to increase their summer visitor numbers and deliver world class facilities for Australian mountain bikers. Their focus to appeal to a broader range of mountain bikers, in particular the Trail /AM niche, is evident from the trails such as Stonefly, Misty Twist and Delatite River. With whispers of an IMBA epic trail in the pipeline, the Mt Buller mountain biking experience will be hard to match. The trails and ride experience will not disappoint.
A detailed trail map can be found here – PDF viewer required.
Mt Buller is approximately 3 hours drive North East from Melbourne (250Km). Take the Maroondah, Melba and Goulburn Valley Hwy’s, via Yarra Glen, Yea and Mansfield. Mt Buller is then 50km from Mansfield via Merrijig & Mirimbah.
Food & Drink:
Apres Bar – Located at the Mt Buller Chalet provides a breakfast, and lunch menu and full service bar.
Mansfield Regional Produce Store – Best stop in Mansfield for quality coffee and regional food & supplies.
Mirimbah Store – Perfect lunch stop at the end of the Delatite River and Klingsporn Trails
Royal Mail Hotel – Expect city quality restaurant food at the Royal Mail in Yea. Perfect stop on your way up from Melbourne.
Hargreaves Hill – What would a mtb road trip be without a trip to a micro brewery. Stop by Hargreaves Hill in Yarra Glen to get your supplies
Local Bike Shop:
All Terrain Cycles – With branches in Mansfield and at Mt Buller and offering a wide variety of guiding options, including Melbourne pick up/drop offs.
Riding Guides / Tour Companies:
All Terrain Cycles – Quality guides with various options from hourly, daily or multi-day guiding options. Pick ups from Melbourne for weekend trips. Shop locations in Mt Buller village and Mansfield.
Mirimbah Store Shuttle – The shuttle runs every weekend through to Easter with 4 shuttles throughout the day.
Blue Dirt Mountain Biking – Weekend trips with transport pick ups from Melbourne, Torquay and Geelong.
Gravity Oz – Provides skills clinics at Mt Buller with both group and private options available.
MTB Skills – Guided rides and skills sessions with shuttles and pick ups from Melbourne.
Ride Guide travelled to Mt Buller as a guest of Bike Buller.