Dubbo - Discovering New Trails out West
Think of Dubbo and you’ll probably think of the Western Plains Zoo. That’s why we were headed there on a family holiday; to show the kids elephants, hippos, tigers, monkeys and all the rest.
What we didn’t expect was to find a load of MTB singletrack as we were driving into town. We’d driven west from Sydney before heading through Mudgee, eventually linking up with the Golden Highway. This led us into Dubbo from the north. We were 5km out of town and there it was, plain as day; thin ribbons of MTB singletrack in the bush on the eastern side of the highway!
A quick google revealed that Dubbo has a thriving MTB scene with a number of trail networks at their disposal. The trails that we spied were part of the Mugga Hill network but there are also trails at Geurie, Beni Forest and right in town at Dundullimal.
While they don’t have massive hills at their disposal, the twisty singletrack networks are ideal for XC riding and the Dubbo MTB club hosts a number of popular events including the Dubbo 300, the Beni Spring Spin and a 27 race long 'Super Series'.
Here’s a brief overview of the main trail networks:
These trails are easy to spot; on the eastern side of the Golden Highway on the way to Dunedoo – they’re just 5km out of Dubbo. The trail head is well marked with a detailed map and you’ll find 4.2km of tight and twisty singletrack. There’s an easy green rated loop as well as an intermediate blue loop (marked with blue arrows). They’ve even got a 1km long kids loop that’s marked with yellow arrows.
There’s no water or amenities at the trailhead but Dubbo is close by. The trails run in an anti-clockwise to avoid collisions.
Click here to locate the trailhead.
This small town is around 20 minutes drive southeast of Dubbo on the way to Wellington. The Gurie trails host the annual Dubbo 300 MTB marathon event, so there’s a lot of singletrack to be found. For maps and information its best to visit the Dubbo MTB site http://dubbomtb.org.au/ but the Geurie trails are split into a number of areas.
- Oak’s Flat is a 9km loop that’s 80% singletrack and said to offer the most fun riding around Dubbo. There are gully plunges, escarpment drop offs, a magnificent benched climb along river frontage, a few stout stem biting climbs, some nice flowing downhill sections and a couple of boring bits too.
- Bald Hill Reserve offers a 10km loop with 95% singletrack. You’ll encounter some steep pinch climbs but be rewarded by nice flowing descents.
- Quarry Trail provides more technical riding opportunities This is a 4.5 km loop trail with climbs and more serious downhills. There are drop-offs and B-lines for anything that’s particularly tough. With this one it’s probably best to ride with someone who knows the trail on your first visit so you don’t get lost.
- Homestead Trail This is a good one if you're bringing the kids. It has the easiest climbs of all the Geurie trails, although the uphills do get more challenging as you get further along the trail.
The Geurie trails are scattered around this area on the southern side of town.
Beni State Conservation Area
The site for the Beni Spring Spin MTB event, this trail follows a 20km loop in and around the Beni Forest. It’s all on fire trail and mainly flat (there’s only one steep descent to a creek and a climb back out). The trailhead is approximately 10km east of Dubbo at the eastern end of Whitewood Road.
Apparently Dubbo MTB club is in negotiations with National Parks and Wildlife Service NSW to allow development of singletrack through this forest.
Dundullimal MTB Trail
This trail has just been created by Dubbo City Council on the banks of the Macquarie River – it’s right in town!
It leads off the Tracker Riley cycleway and is ideal for beginners. You can ride from South Dubbo over Shibble's foot bridge or via the Tamworth Street foot bridge. Alternately, you can drive via Obley Road and follow the signs to Dundullimal Homestead. There is a carpark and toilets at the trailhead. Newcomers will enjoy this trail while more experienced riders will simply go faster. The trail crosses the Tracker Riley Cycleway, so take care where it intersects.
So if you're planning a visit to the Western Plains Zoo, we'd suggest that you pack your MTB too. Riding is a fun way to get around and see the animals and you can also plan in some 'me time' and check out some of the singletrack that's on offer in the area. For more information on the trails go to the MTB Dubbo club website.