A few weeks ago I finally got around to getting up to Mount Buller to explore its mountain bike trails.
It’s about a three-hour drive from Melbourne and in winter is a ski resort.
But it’s also got a growing reputation as a destination for mountain bikers in the summer months.
I’ve had a map of the trails at home for ages and, after getting a few days off, finally had the chance to see them for myself.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
I went up in early November, just as a cold front came through Victoria, giving the state a last taste of winter.
When I got up there it was freezing cold and a few light snow showers were still sweeping over the mountains.
But after driving for three hours and already checking into a caravan park in nearby Mansfield at the bottom of the mountain, there was no way I was going to let them stop me.
And I’m glad I didn’t. I decided the first day I’d spend pedaling around and exploring the cross-country trails. It was hard at first to match the map with the layout of the resort and where the trails went, but when I found the first trailhead, I just set off.
I took it slow to start off with, as the trails were new to me. They wound their way through close alpine forest and were nicely rocky and rooty, providing some nice obstacles to keep my attention.
The trails I tried tended to go straight down and then follow a twisty and turning route back up.
At one point on the way back up there was brilliant corner that had a spectacular view out across the mountain landscape. Whoever built the trail also realised it was a special place, adding a picnic table under a nearby tree and a stone seat just off from the corner.
My second day there I did the Delatite River Trail, 9km of brilliant downhill that followed the river and crossed it numerous times over wooden bridges. The weather turned brilliant and the sun was out and it was warm. The start of the trail was pretty scary as it was very steep and rocky. But it smoothed and leveled out eventually.
The trail ends at Mirimbah, at the base of the mountain, and where on weekends in summer a shuttle operates to take riders back up to the top of the mountain. I was there on a Monday. So it was back to the top the hard way for me.
I followed the road up and the steepness wasn’t as bad as it seemed on the drive up. Except at Hell Corner. That’s where it got really steep for the last 1.5km to the resort.
But at least now I can say I’ve also ridden to the top of Buller, not just down.
Next trip will be on a weekend to take advantage of the shuttle!