This has to be one of the easiest and best mountain bike trails near Hobart for those just wanting to go for a social cruise or family ride.
It follows the water pipe from Fern Tree out to near its start at the Wellington Fall weir 12kms away. The ride itself is very scenic including some lovely bush sections and ending with increasingly great views out to Cathedral Rock on your left. It also has plenty of places to explore along the way including silver and Wellington falls.
The route imperceptibly gains about 200 metres in height on its way out towards the weir, making the return ride particularly pleasurable and easy.
Go to http://www.wellingtonpark.org.au/maps/ to download the free mountain bike trail maps for Mt Wellington which include the pipeline trail. You can also buy these maps for a few dollars at some of the local bike shops.
Quite a few runners, walkers and mountain bike riders use this trail, and there are a few idiots out there who ride too fast especially around blind corners, so (1) be careful and (2) don’t be one of those idiots.
Don’t be fooled by being so close to Hobart as cold, wet weather can come in quickly and there are a few shallow streams to cross. Speaking from experience cold wet feet aren't fun.
The main route is a simple out and back 24kms. The route once went out all the way to the weir which was a nice spot to stop, but due to a landslip it now ends at a locked gate about 800 metres short of the weir.
The well signed Wellington falls lookout walk, starting about 1km before the turn around point, is a pleasant enough wander (no bikes allowed), though take some shoes you can walk in and a bike lock (there is a bike rack at the start). St Crispins Well can be worth a quick visit if looking to break up the time on bike with kids, and Silver Falls is a gorgeous detour especially on a hot day (you can cycle to the base of the falls).
Finally, for keener riders it is possible to ride to Fern Tree from Hobart. There are many ways of doing this, but if trying to follow the pipeline track, the best route would be to follow the Hobart Rivulet Track which starts at the top end of Collins Street out of Hobart, cut up through South Hobart and onto the water works reserve trails and then follow the network of fire trails up above Gentle Annie Falls which marks the start of the pipeline track and from there just follow the trail up to Fern Tree. I’ll add this ride to the site later on, but for now it is shown on the map below.
The start of the ride is across from the Tavern at Fern Tree, about 8kms south of Hobart. If driving, head out from Hobart along Davey Street, and just keep following the signs to Fern Tree / Mt Wellington on the B64.
There is a small car park on the right just past the turn off to Mt Wellington where you can park your car, or if this is full just follow your nose and find a park somewhere nearby.
You could follow one of the various trails on the Mt Wellington Rides Map to get here, follow the trail mentioned above up through waterworks reserve, or more simply just follow Cascade Road out from Hobart up past the Brewery onto Strickland Avenue and out to Fern Tree (approx 10km). This is a popular cycling route.
From Fern Tree head into the little park across the road from the Tavern (there are public toilets here, the last you’ll see until you return) and just follow the pipeline trail heading in a South Westerly Direction parallel to the road.
The first 4.5km is a well maintained, easy riding, single trail through some lovely forest. After passing through a small quarry, the trail joins onto an old vehicle trail (vehicles other than parks vehicles now prohibited) which it follows out to the end. The trail crosses several driveways and roads, but it is very difficult to lose the trail.
The turn off to Silver Falls is about 500 metres from the start, and there are several interpretative signs on old aqueducts and other infrastructure along this section for those interested in the history of the pipeline.
There is a small hut at St Crispins Well, which although not very inviting can make a good emergency shelter if the weather has turned. It’s worth cycling all the way out to the gate just for the close up views across to Cathedral Rock and the North West Bay River down below you, then turn around and enjoy the easy riding back to Fern Tree.
Check out the Mt Wellington web site for maps and ideas of other rides to do in the area.
There’s a picnic area and public toilets at the start of the ride, and the Fern Tree Tavern.