We were nearing the end of our driving adventure through the Western Wilds in Tasmania and the main thought in my head was that I would love more time here. Our experience had only opened my eyes to the almost infinite number of things to do and see here and I was itching for more. If you are a nature lover like myself, and love the opportunity to break away from the ordinary and immerse yourself in fresh air, a pristine environment and dramatic landscapes, then this is definitely the place for you.
We had just left Queenstown, the largest town in the west of Tassie and full of history and character. We had met some of the most passionate locals you could hope to find, full of pride for their regional home and absolute masters at sharing its stories with visitors like us.
Our journey was taking us further south towards the village of Maydena. But first, a stop en route at Mt Field National Park was on the agenda and just a ten-minute walk from the car park lead us to one of Tasmania’s treasures… Russell Falls.
It was a stark vision – a crystal clear reminder that Tasmania is home to some of the cleanest air and freshest water in the world. The environment was exactly as it would have been for thousands of years and the natural beauty of this scene was stunning, with water cascading over many tiers of ancient rock, framed by lush green rainforest and giant ferns.
It was also a reminder of just how accessible Mother Nature’s gems are in Tasmania. We were only an hour from Hobart and ten minutes off the highway. Very few places in the world offer locations such as this.
Our final destination for the day was the tiny township of Maydena at the southern end of the Western Wilds. A charming little riverside hamlet close to national parks and surrounded by stunning ranges which at the time were kissed by the colour of the autumn leaves and shrouded in a beautiful mist.
It might be a small town but there is a big buzz around the area thanks to the arrival of the Maydena Bike Park. Not just an experience for adrenalin enthusiasts, this incredible park has been developed with all kinds of visitors in mind, from those who want to simply experience a coffee or lunch from the incredible architect-designed “Summit”, with 360 degree views over the Western Wilds wilderness, or those who want to test the all-abilities bike tracks – of which there are more than 53 open.
It had been a while since I had been on a bike of any kind so when I met with park owner and visionary Simon French at the base café, the obvious first step was taking me through ‘Bike School’.
Perfect for all abilities from beginners to advanced, the Bike School is operated by world-leading trainers who coach riders on the skills needed to enjoy the gravity-based trails on the mountain.
My experience rested largely on having watched BMX Bandits as a kid, so Bike School certainly gave me the preparation I needed to have fun and stay safe on the slopes.
“We’re not taking out trees, we are weaving through them which makes for a nicer rider experience, but it also means we are not impacting the environment” Simon tells me about the design and creation of the bike trails.
As Simon and I descended the track, we were like two kids playing in the street ‘til after dark and, inspired by guru Simon who was showing me all the stunts, I even managed to get some ‘air’ on a few jumps of my own.
At the end of the day, the sun set perfectly on the Tasmanian wilderness surrounding us and it was the perfect way to reflect on such a unique experience.
I tell Simon I will definitely be back, and I know that the Western Wilds, a region that has captured my heart and mind, will absolutely be calling for me to return.
Have you enjoyed our series on the Western Wilds? We would love to know if you are inspired to visit yourself! Tell us in the comments!
Photography thanks to Bruce Davis for Places We Go