Mountain bike riders can test their endurance in one of South Australia’s most picturesque national parks with the opening of the state’s newest bike trail.
The 38km Epic Mountain Bike Trail, near Melrose in the Mid North, winds through Mount Remarkable National Park and private land adjacent to the park, traversing the western flank of Mount Remarkable.
Riders are treated to spectacular views of Black Range as they travel the western side of the trail, before being looped back toward Melrose beneath the Gibraltar Rock formations.
The trail includes a total of 1500m of climbing elevation and a near continuous 6km descent, which links the new $1.8 million trail to the ground level of the nearby Willowie Forest mountain bike trails.
It was first identified in the Southern Flinders Ranges Regional Tourism Authority’s 2008 cycle tourism masterplan.
The Epic trail was designed by South Australian company TrailScapes, which is a construction specialist delivering high-quality trails with minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
The detailed alignment of the trail was designed in close consultation with the Nukunu Wapma Thura Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the land’s Traditional Owners, to ensure it does not disturb any sites of cultural significance and to ensure cultural respect.
Department for Environment and Water Tourism and Commercial Services Director, Jo Podoliak, said trail was a wonderful example of how we can provide unique experiences in the stunning surrounds of a national park.
"The new trail complements several other mountain bike trails located in parks across the state – including in Sturt Gorge and Cobbler Creek recreation parks – and will be a great addition to Melrose and the wider Flinders Ranges," she said.
"I’d strongly encourage all mountain biking enthusiasts to make a beeline and test their mettle on this great new track, while embracing nature."
The Epic Mountain Bike Trail was a major component of the $10 million Remarkable Southern Flinders Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) agreement, which is funded by the South Australian and Australian governments and supported by Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife.
Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife CEO Ian Darbyshire said the Epic Mountain Bike Trail was a demonstration and great example of different interest groups successfully collaborating to achieving a positive outcome.
"Together, we safeguard native endangered species for the well-being of our natural ecosystem and positive biodiversity outcomes," said.
"This joint effort ensures a legacy for future generations to come."
The agreement also includes 20km of new trails in Mount Remarkable National Park at Willowie, an upgrade of the Mambray Creek campground and day visitor area, and new and improved day visitor facilities at nearby Wirrabara.
Other partners in the BBRF include Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North, District Council of Mount Remarkable, Port Pirie Regional Council, Northern Areas Council and the Nukunu Wapma Thura Aboriginal Corporation.