$2.5 million for world-class bike trails in North East Tasmania

The Federal Labor Government has just announced that it will contribute $2.5 million to the North East Tasmania Cascade Forest and Blue Tier Iconic Mountain Bike Trails project.

Quoting staight from the medai release, the "Federal Minister for Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese said this funding will support the construction of 75 kilometres of world-class mountain bike trails across north east Tasmania."

That's got to be worth celebrating.

For the full media release click here.

If you want some more background on the project you can read the Potential for Mountain Biking in North Eastern Tasmania - Market Demand and Economic Assessment (March 2013) available from the Northern Tasmania Development website.  There's also some interesting documents on Launceton City Council's website for their May 20, 2013 meeting, including the 
North Eastern Mountain Bike Business Case (pdf).

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How do I use gpx or kmls on google earth on smartphone

How to view the route on your iPhone (or other smart phone)

Although you can of course navigate to the tassietrails.org webpage at any time on your iPhone and check the map, there is a big advantage to be had in directly downloading the route onto your phone and using the phone's inbuilt GPS and the Google Earth App (or windows / droid equivalent) so you can see not only the trail map, but of course exactly where you are (or more importantly aren't) on that map.  

This can be a real time saver if you think you might have taken a wrong turn.

This is actually pretty easy, but Google Earth does need you to have mobile coverage to work.  So if you're not going to have mobile coverage (think West Coast or the Blue Tiers) you will need to look into other software like GaiaGPS (my personal favourite) or ViewRanger which can use pre-loaded maps.  If you use these Apps then you will want to downlaod the GPX file, not the KML file.

Also please realise that if it Google Earth is downloading the imagery out in the field then it is using your phone's data bandwidth which could cost lots of money, especially if you're on an overseas SIM card (GaiaGPS and probably other apps ger around this by allowing you to download the map area before you head off from your wifi).

That's the disclaimers, here's how you do it.

Method 1: Download directly using your iPhone

Firstly, if a trail has a downloadable Google Earth kml (don't worry about the name, this is just what the file format for recording tracks in Google Earth is called) then you will find it under the "Downloads" tab on the routes detail page.

Perhaps the easiest way to download a kml onto your iPhone is to navigate to the tassietrails.org trail notes page on your iPhone directly (using Safari) and then download the
 image and open it in a new page.  

If this works you should see a screen something like this:

You can then just click on "Open in Google Earth" button in the top right of the screen and voila you will have the kml track displayed on google earth on your phone.  You can then just click on the GPS button on the bottom left of the screen and the GPS will show you exactly where you are on (or off) that track.

The only downside I've found to this approach is that if the phone clear's its cache, then you can lose this kml and have to go back to the site and load it again. Not usually a problem, but just making you aware of it.

Method 2: Download onto your Computer

This approach allows you to download the kml file (or files if you're planning on hitting a few different trails) and email them to yourself.  Once you have emailed the files to yourself, you can then just open these attachments in Google Earth or another App on your Smart Phone.

UPDATE NOTE: An easier way of doing all this (if you use a cloud drive like Dropbox) is to just save the file into Dropbox (or your file of choice) and you can then just open it straight on your phone from the dropbox file. 

But if you want to do the email approach, here's the steps:

Go to the downloads tab on the trail notes and download the kml or gpx file.  One of two things will happen ... 

  1. If it works properly (which it should in most modern browsers) then it will just download the kml file onto your hard-drive which is what you want; or
  2. In some browsers it may just open up a large text file which can be rather daunting.  If it does this you can either try and save this file onto your computer (using Save as...), but make sure that you save it as a .kml or .gpx file, or it might be easier to just close that text file, right-click on the KML button and select the "Save link as ..." option which you can select and which will download the file onto your computer.

That was the hard bit.  Now all you need to do is find that file on your computer (or files if you want to download a few of them) and then select them and email them to yourself.

Once these have come through onto your iPhone as attachments to your email (see bluetierdescent.kml below) ...

You can just click on this attachment to open it.  

Now if you're lucky it will just open directly in Google Earth, however on my phone I get something like this ...

Don't worry, just click on the arrow in a box icon in the top right (Send to) and you should then be given the option to open it in Google Earth ...

This method may seem like a bit more work, but it does have an advantage if you want a few different routes on your phone that they're easier to find in your email, especially if you just file them in a single folder.

There may be better ways of doing this, but these work for me.  Happy to hear suggestions on how to improve these notes.

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Winter's Coming ... and so are the events

Winter's coming ... in fact as you can see from the picture on the left, I've just been up to Falls Creek for an early play in the snow.  However, I'm now back home in Tassie and I've just been scanning event updates, and boy have there been some good additions ...

First and most importantly for all our calendars is the addition of the Acton MTBNav event in January 19, 2014 ... or am I perhaps biased because I'll be putting in the long hours to organise it and it would be nice for someone to actually turn up ... yea, it could be that.

Probably of more interest to most mountain bikers is that entries will be opening to the  Wildside MTB Event in just a few more days (start saving quickly if you haven't already because at $620 for an entry it won't be cheap but will probably still book out quickly).

Also grabbing my attention big time is the teaser that Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club is organising a new MTB marathon ... the Cranky Penguin Marathon (originally launched as the Dial Range Marargon) which is to be a 40km/70km to be held on 27 October 2013 (yes that date has changed due to clash with Burnie 10).  Hanging out on more details on that one. 

Other notable new events include the release of the Dirt Devils Winter XC Racing Series with longer and longer enduros on offer each round, and the Launceston Mountain Bike Club have some interesting social rides coming up at Kate Reed and Ben Lomond.   These are on top of the Dirt Devils Adventure Rides and Cradle Coast Mountain bike club's Goodbye Summer MTB Enduro series which I mentioned last month ... basically it all adds up to there being plenty on in winter for mountain bikers.

Also worthy of note for those looking at other outdoor adventures.  Sally's Ride has been moved to December 8 to coincide with the Stan Siejka Cycling Classic which is good enough for me to pencil that into the diary.  The Icebreaker multisport is of course looming large on the winter multisport calendar, with the Ben Lomond Descent and Winter Challenge following on in August.  Looking further out I also noticed that the second RAW Challenge for Tasmania has been announced for February next year, and I'm hoping this is going to be the most fun I have in the mud - at least without a bike ... 

The Tassie Trails
events calendar is updated around the end of each month and contains a list of all the mountain bike, road rides and even multi sport and foot events that i find of interest in Tasmania ... so think you might too.

See you on the trails, or if not I'll guess I'll get by having the snow to myself ...

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Draft Clarence Bicycle Strategy and Action Plan 2013-2017

Clarence City Council, through the Clarence bicycle Steering Committee, has completed a review of the Clarence Bicycle Strategy and Action Plan and is now seeking input from members of the public on the draft plan.

Mountain biking is not explicitly considered in the plan, as it is dealt with in the Clarence Tracks and Trails Strategy, however the document is a worth while read if you are a local in the area as you probably still ride these routes and paths to work, to the shop or to the trails.

More details are available on the Clarence City Council's website.  Comment period closes Friday 5th July at 5pm.

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Wellington to Wilderness Multi Use Recreation Trail Survey

TRC Tourism is conducting a survey on behalf of the Wellington Park Management Trust to assist in planning for a multi use  trail between Wellington Park and the  Snowy Ranges in Tasmania.

Your assistance in providing details of your trail based recreational activity and your views regarding the proposed trail will be greatly appreciated. The questionnaire should take around 10 minutes to complete. All respondents may enter a lottery for a Kathmandu Outdoor Adventure Store shopping voucher valued at $200. 

The survey is anonymous and responses will be reported in aggregate. The survey will close at 5.00 PM Australian Eastern Standard Time on the 31st May 2013.

Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any queries.

Please click the link below to access the survey questionnaire. 

Start Survey 

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Greater Hobart Mountain Bike Master Plan (April 2013)

The April 2013 Land Manager Updates on the Implementation of the Greater Hobart Mountain Bike Master Plan has been released on the Wellington Park Website (you may have to refresh the page for the updates to appear) and it is worth the read as some great works are happening, including the opening up of the joggers loop on the Domain and the Geilston Creek and Pilchers Hill track completion just to name a few.
There's also an interesting update on the need for a social values study being required before  converting a number of tracks on Mt Wellington to multi-use.  I've included the update in full below (click on Read More) because there's so much good stuff in there.
Continue reading
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Lower Pipeline Track (Fern Tree - Gentle Annie Falls) MTB Access Trial

The Hobart City Council is undertaking a one year trial of bicycle use along the lower section of the Pipeline Track between Fern Tree and Gentle Annie Falls.

This trial has started and will finish on Friday 2nd May 2014.

The trial is being monitored, and subsequent evaluation of the trial will inform a final decision on whether bicycle use will be permitted on a permanent basis.

Cyclists are asked to note:
  • Bicycles remain prohibited on the Pipeline Track below Gentle Annie Falls – cyclists wishing to ride between the Waterworks Reserve and the Pipeline Track are to do so via the R18 Fire Trail (which joins the Pipeline Track at McDermotts Saddle, and enters the Waterworks Reserve via the bitumen service road adjacent Council's works store).
  • Riding down the stairs immediately below Fern Tree is prohibited, and cyclists are required to dismount on this section of the Track.
  • Cyclists should avoid riding on the sandstone capping within the Track in order to minimise the risk of damaging these heritage features.
This route is a key link for mountain biking providing, in my opinion, one of the best options for riding up onto the mountain from the CBD (when linked with the Hobart Rivulet Track and the Romilly Street to Waterworks Track).
Continue reading
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Tassievore Eat Local Challenge

If you haven't stumbled across the Tassievore challenge elsewhere, then read on, as its a great idea to get out on your bike and support local eateries.

The basics are that you have until the end of April to visit some or all of the 8 restaurants along the trail from Tracks Café at New Town Station Nursery (on the bike path to MONA) down to Citrus Moon at Kingston Beach, and the ‘Sunday special’ location of Farm Gate Market.

Each trail location has committed to providing at least one dish made from totally Tasmanian ingredients (with the exception of minor ingredients such as spices and raising agents) for the duration of the Tassievore Challenge.

Trail riders who visit 5 or more locations before the end of April will be eligible to win a copy of the fantastic new cookbook “Island Harvest” by Tassie chef Karen Goodwin-Roberts. The trail map is available on the Cycling South website.

Source: Cycling South Newsletter #84.

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Wilmot Recreation Ground Plan - Update

The Advocate today (24 January 2013) reported that "Kentish councillors have also endorsed the Wilmot Recreation Ground concept master plan, which has been in the woodworks since February last year and has involved lengthy community consultation.

"Council will now commence a planning application for the master plan, which will see the implementation of a BMX park, new picnic facilities, a fitness track, children's play equipment, new landscaping and parking facilities."

More details are available in the January 2013 Kentish Council Agenda Papers which are available on the council's website.

Source:  Lauren Cameron, Advocate

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Metro (Hobart) Bus and Bike Trial

Metro Hobart is trialling bike racks on some of its services for a short period from 30 December 2012 to 2 February 2013.

According to their website, bike racks have been be fitted to the front of 10 Metro buses operating on selected Bus and Bike Services in Hobart.   The routes being serviced are from Hobart up to the top of Strickland Avenue (Route 45) or Fern Tree (Route 48) and out to Rosny Park, Tranmere and Camelot Park (Route 615).

These routes are ideal for those wanting to get a foot up to Fern Tree to ride the Mt Wellington Trails, or maybe get a jump over to the Clarence Foreshore TrailClarence Mountain Bike Park or even the Tangara Trail.

Bike racks carry two bikes per rack.
The trial will determine the suitability of the services, any operational issues and how services and operations could be improved if the services were to be made available on an ongoing basis, so if you're one of those cyclists that have complained about there not being a bus service to the trailheads of your favourite rides - get out there, fork out the money, and use this service whilst it's there.

For full details visit:  http://metrotas.com.au/bus-and-bike [Link no longer works]

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Kingborough Mountain Bike Park - Opening Day

The Kingborough MTB Park is officially opening on Saturday 22 December. The day will kick off with speeches and ribbon cutting at 10am, followed by:

  • 10.30am – Cross Country Time Trial (individual 2km lap)
  • 11.30am- Junior XC race (under 12, 2km race)
  • 12.30 pm - Free BBQ- Thanks to Dirt Devils Mountain Bike
  • 1.30pm – Cross Country Eliminator (Tasmania's first ever!)

Registration will be on the day. $10 entry both senior events, Junior event is free. All money goes to the Dirt Devils. Normal MTB licensing will be in place- annual license or day license required.

Please come along and show the council and state government that the local MTB industry supports these new mountain bike developments (because, ultimately we want more trails!)

Source: Dirt Art &  Dirt Devils for more information. 

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Proposed Chalet to Junction Cabin Downhill Mountain Bike Track

A workshop is being held to assist with refining the concept of a new downhill mountain bike track within Wellington Park between the Chalet and Junction Cabin.

Broadly, the purpose of the forum is to:

  • Inform riders of the proposed downhill MTB track between the Chalet and Junction Cabin in context of the Greater Hobart MTB Master Plan.
  • Involve riders, particularly downhillers, in developing the concept via input into matters such as the level of difficulty, track width, surfacing and gradient and desirable features.

The workshop is being held on Wednesday 19 December 2012, 6pm to 7:30pm at the Lower Ground Floor Conference Room, Town Hall (access via Elizabeth St parking deck).

For more details view the workshop background and details (pdf).

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Hollybank Mountain Bike Park

Hollybank is already used by the Launceston Mountain Bike Club for both mountain bike and cyclocross races, but the area has lots of untapped potential which is why it is exciting to hear that funding of $800,000 has just been announced to fund the first stage of a Hollybank Mountain Bike Park.

According to the 2009 Tasmanian Mountain Bike Plan, A Mountain Bike Trail Network Plan  for the Hollybank State Forest area was prepared in 2005 as a partnership between Sport and Recreation Tasmania and Forestry Tasmania. In 2006, Joey Klein, IMBA Trail Specialist ground truthed this plan on behalf of Forestry Tasmania. 

There are approximately 27km of trails mapped out and around 8kms of ‘shovel ready’ trails with existing approvals in place.

The Funding for the Park is part of the State Governments "Tasmanian Jobs Package".

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Glenorchy and Clarence MTB Trail Care

This is taken (again) straight from Dirt Art's facebook page, but I thought it was such a good thing that I couldn't resist putting it up ...

"After a long hiatus Dirt Art are now launching a fresh bunch of dates for volunteer works sessions at both Clarence and Glenorchy MTB Parks.  All sessions will run from 0900 onwards, with a free BBQ provided.  BYO tools if you have them, but we will have a supply available.  Both Parks will use their respective shipping containers as a meeting point.  We have scheduled a session for the second Saturday
of each month for consistency.

"There are a few extra sessions towards the end of the program.  For more info or to join our mailing list please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 0438 310 984. "

The dates for the sessions are:
  • December 8th- Glenorchy MTB Park
  • January 12th- Clarence MTB Park
  • February 9th- Glenorchy MTB Park
  • March 9th- Clarence MTB Park
  • April 13th- Glenorchy MTB Park
  • May 11th- Clarence MTB Park
  • May 25th- Clarence MTB Park
  • June 8th- Glenorchy MTB Park
  • June 15th- Clarence MTB Park
  • June 22nd- Glenorchy MTB Park
At the first Clarence MTB Park session there will be a whole new trail to work on connecting the MTB Park with Belbins Road.
These dates have been added to our Events calendar.  I hope people can get along.

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Kingborough Mountain Bike Park Now Open

Dirt Art have announced on their facebook page that the Kingborough MTB Park is now open.  

According to their post, the park features a range of skills dev
elopment features and a big A frame wall ride/slope style box for those game enough to face the challenge, these features are scattered throughout the 2km trail network. 

Dirt Art also remind riders that the Kingborough Council have asked that people park up on Kingston View Drive, and not try and drive down the gravel road.
There will be an update to the trail notes as soon as I can get down there ... which will be very soon. 

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Kate Reed - October Track Update

There is good news for all users of Kate Reed NRA, the closed tracks have now been opened, including the uncapped extension of the Berm track and the Rock Drop track.

LMBC ask that all riders remember that the tracks will need a few days to dry out after periods of rain and the extension of the Berm track will need to be closed for a week or so prior to being capped. 

Source: Launceston Mountain Bike Club Newsletter

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Queens Domain Master Plan

If you ever go cycling up around the Hobart Domain, then you may be interested to know that the Hobart City Council has a master plan for the Queens Domain.

According to their website, The Queens Domain Master Plan identifies projects to enhance the Domain's claim to be the City's premier park. These include improving access, lifting its appearance, improving road treatments and parking, better catering for passive recreation (walking, cycling and picnicking) and cultural activity throughout the park, and activating underutilised assets.

Continue reading
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Summer Smorgasbord of events

If you haven't already noticed there is a real smorgasbord of mountain and road biking events coming up over the next few months.  Rogaining Tasmania has two MTBNav events coming up in Hobart and Sandford for anyone who might want to try 'orienteering on bike'.  It's a great way of exploring an area and can be as competitive or as fun as you like. 

Also down south Dirt Devils have a few more interesting 'Adventure Rides' coming up in the Meehan Ranges and down at Adamsfield, and Audax is back with a 100km on-road offering in October starting at Moinutain River, the Ash Dash in December and a growing list of other rides right through summer.

For the road rider there's also Le Tour De Norfy, the Flinders Island Ride, Sally's Ride and of course the Opperman Gran Fondo.  Off the road, the Launceston Mountain Bike Club are also offering a great series of events including the Cycle Tourqe and Coffee 6 Hour Enduro, the Twilight Series and Sprung Sprint Series.

I could go on: the Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club are offering summer clinics for ladies and there's the Tasmanian 2012-13 Gravity Downhill Series and don't forget the tullah challenge multisport being run over on the west coast, and that just gets us to the end of December ...

Tassie trails tries to keep an up to date calender of events that are relevant to cyclists so have a look and start putting some in your diary now.

Continue reading
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Launceston Mountain Bike Club - Trails Update

The latest Launceston Mountain Bike Club newsletter provides this update on the tracks and trails at Kate Reed and Trevallyn (copied verbatim):

"Unfortunately September has been a particularly wet month and the tracks and trails at Kate Reed and Trevallyn have taken a bit of a hammering and are still quite wet and boggy. As the weather fines up and the tracks start to dry out the club will endeavour to reopen some of the closed tracks. The club is hoping to schedule some working bees in mid November to cap the extension of the "Berm Track" that is currently closed and are currently liasing with Parks and Wildlife to set a date. As reported a few weeks ago the Aboriginal Heritage Assessment of the proposed trail network at Trevallyn has been completed and is waiting for the final approval from Parks and Wildlife before work can commence. Once work has commenced within Trevallyn, certain areas of track will need to be closed off as the there will be machinery in operation, the club asks that all user respect these track closures."

Subscribe to LMBC's excellent newsletter or join their facebook page for updates.

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Greater Hobart Mountain Bike Master Plan Update

There's been an update released (August 2012) on work underway or planned by the different land management agencies involved in the Greater Hobart Mountain Bike Plan.

It's worth a read as there's some great initiatives underway including the opening up of a few key links on the mountain like the lower pipeline track as well as planning work on routes such as the proposed Chalet Downhill Track.  In the bigger picture apparently there's some thinking going on about a Hobart to Dover regional trail, including the opening up of a track from Ridgeway to Mt Nelson and also from Mt Nelson to Kingston.  It would be awesome to be able to get back into those areas again.

It also looks like the Hobart City Council are looking at setting up a volunteer register to help with the design and construction of tracks, Parks and Wildlife are working (as resources allow) on the development of a mountain biking policy as well as management plans for both Snug Tiers Nature Recreation Area & the Meehan Range Nature Recreation Area.

There's not enough space to plug all the great initiatives going on, but click on the links to the Greater Hobart Mountain Bike Plan and have a look and stay up to date.

While you're thinking about Mt Wellington, check out the Draft Management Plan for Mt Wellington which is out for comment until October 26, 2012.  Chapter 9 includes mountain bike use, and there's been some useful comments over in the forums on pedalbite.com if you want to get your head arond things the quick way.

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