Cycling around Lake Derby. Image: Stu Gibson
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If you haven’t heard of Hauts-de-France yet, that’s because it is indeed France’s newest region – only formed in 2016, including chateaux, the Remembrance Trail and more. It’s all within an easy drive from Paris, and here’s a six-day road-trip itinerary that will help you see it all.
Cycling might just be the new cool way to travel. While many people have been looking for ways to avoid public transport or stay active outdoors, bike riding has seen a significant increase in popularity. Now, as travel continues in an era of social distancing, a cycling holiday is sounding like a pretty great idea.
Whether you’re an amateur who enjoys leisurely rides in beautiful scenery, or an enthusiast for mountain-biking, Tasmania has it all. The island is threaded with purpose-built, award-winning tracks through spectacular landscapes – from sky to sea, rainforest to beach, granite to hero dirt. It has become a global mountain biking destination, with 300 kilometres of track across the island and routes for all skill levels. There’s even a range of shuttle businesses, accommodation, eateries and entire towns popping up that cater especially for riders.
Beyond mountain biking, there’s a dazzling range of cycling experiences on offer, from gourmet day-tripping through wineries to multi-day touring for the whole family. To help you plan the cycling adventure that suits you, Tourism Tasmania has rounded up their best bike tours and trails around the island.
Tasmanian Island e-Bike Adventures, Maria Island
Around the island in a day
Cycling around Maria Island. Image: Stu Gibson
Explore Maria Island National Park off Tasmania’s east coast from the comfort of an electric mountain bike. There are no cars (and no shops) here, just 30 kilometres of tracks and trails and a wonderland of abundant wildlife, quiet beaches and bays, geological formations such as the Painted Cliffs, and convict ruins. Maria is great for those with little or no mountain biking experience and a keen sense of adventure. tasmanianebikeadventures.com.au/tour/maria-island-adventure
Huon Bikes, Huonville
Pinot and pedal
Kate Hill Wines. Image: Chris Phelps
Tasmania’s nickname, the Apple Isle, blossomed in the apple orchards of this fertile southern region, and there’s no better way to explore the valley than on two wheels. Among Huon Bikes’ guided tours is the Valley Ride, taking in historic buildings, scenic countryside and visits to local producers for tastings, and the Mountain Ride towards the Sleeping Beauty mountain range through rural landscapes with morning tea in an orchard. The Winery Ride, meanwhile, is a chance to pinot-and-pedal between the cellar doors of Home Hill and Kate Hill Wines.
On Your Bike, Launceston
Charms of the northern city
Josef Chromy Wines – Ride the Vines tour. Image: Osborne Images
Get to know the city from the saddle on this guided cycling tour by local operator On Your Bike. Expect history, local stories, tastings and gentle exercise on a range of tours, including Ride The River, following some of Launceston’s best cycleways, a Saturday-morning Ride The Harvest exploring the lively farmers’ Harvest Market, and Ride the Vines through Josef Chromy’s vineyards and finishing with a tasting.
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Eudaimonia Tasmanian Cycling Tours, Hobart
Image: Supplied/Tourism Tasmania
Cycle roads less travelled on tours by Eudaimonia Cycling Tours. Tours range from a couple of hours around Hobart to multi-day journeys. The Channel Loop is a challenge rewarded with a treat at the Cygnet Bakehouse. Hop the ferry to Bruny Island for highlights including time at the Neck and whisky tastings to guilt-free indulgence at the Bruny Island Cheese Co – ideal for a group getaway, with overnight stays available. The Hobart Weekender tour explores the city’s farmers’ markets, cafes and restaurants. And the Wild West Coast tour plots a wild course from Cradle Mountain to Queenstown through the central highlands.
Self-guided east coast bike tour
St Helens Mountain Bike Trails. Image: Stu Gibson
If you’re seeking a freewheeling holiday without the fuss Tasmanian adventure-travel specialist Tasmanian Expeditions oversees the logistics of a six-day self-guided cycle tour of the east coast. This coastal adventure begins near Bicheno and winds past fishing villages and vineyards, dairies and berry farms toward Freycinet National Park and Wineglass Bay. The ride ends on the car-free wildlife haven of Maria Island.
Maydena Bike Park
Calling thrill seekers
Maydena Bike Park. Image: Tim Bardsley-Smith
Welcome to the largest gravity park in the southern hemisphere. Located in the Derwent Valley, just over an hour’s drive north-west of Hobart, Maydena Bike Park has more than 62 trails and a massive 820-metre vertical elevation. Steep and technical for the most part, this park is best suited to experienced riders, though there are some family-friendly rides through the rainforest.
The town where mountain biking reigns
Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails. Image: Flow Mountain Bike
Threaded through forests of giant ferns and myrtle in north-east Tasmania, the mountain bike trails at Blue Derby cater to all skill and fitness levels. With 125 kilometres of purpose-built trails, expect loads of berms, booters, jumps and flow. The earth here sticks like glue to bike tyres, creating a riding experience unrivalled in Australia. The network is built in the endure style, with uphill and downhill sections, and is close to the friendly former tin-mining town of Derby, about 90 minutes’ drive north-east of Launceston. This little town has a great atmosphere and caters specifically for mountain bikers, its main street lined with bike shops, bike hire, shuttle services and bike workshops, and plenty of rider-friendly accommodation and meals.
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