A new mountain bike track opened recently on kunanyi/Mount Wellington foothills, South Hobart. Come for a ride!

Firstly, John “Rocky” Whelan escaped from Port Arthur on 28 January 1854, evading the dogs and guards at Eaglehawk Neck. He took to bushranging, and survived for 12 months at large, living in a cave on Mount Wellington, overlooking Hobart. Whelan, who would shoot then rob his victims, was the most bloodthirsty of Tasmania’s bushrangers. He was eventually hanged.

And now there’s two new tracks ranging through the bush named after him! Firstly, an uphill only for bikes, shared with walkers and dogs dragging humans, the Rocky Wheel’n Track.

The first section climbs steadily with a few switchbacks, crossing Wood’s Track and then an upper tributary of the Hobart Rivulet shown below. This part is in great condition and a pleasure to ride. (While it was being built, we speculated the track might be called The Big Woody).

After the crossing, things soon get a little more challenging … but firstly, some fungi.

Trum de dumb da …

Immediately the track is less dressed, it becomes mushier with uncompacted clay, rocks and a often tight and at times challenging, relentless winding climb.
Fortunately today it was less muddy than I expected.

This section was the last to be completed, even the mini excavators got stuck during construction!

If this isn’t for you, push up Woods Track and jump on-board the down … but up and up we continue toward Shoobridge Bend.

And up …

And up …

The top of the up track … well, almost. You could pedal a short distance further to Shoobridge, which joins the North South Track running between the Springs and Glenorchy!

But this time, it’s down down for the reward of all that climbing!
… The bermy, flowy Free Wheel’n Track! Downhill bikes only 😛

It’s a fantastic fast green rollercoaster! BUT, there’s only really one jump off to the side (below) … which is good, but overall, disappointing! There’s a few opportunities to get a little air – I think a missed opportunity to introduce some easy to moderate progressive jump options to add more interest as you improve on this fun down.

Apparently however, a few more difficult downs are planned off the N-S track, so maybe fair enough.

Once down Free Wheel’n, it’s a short way along the fire trail in the first pic and down Pitfalls, which when starting out has some challenging rocky sections which get easier and add fun as your confidence grows. The track is not as polished but one we also climb.

It crosses a fire trail and becomes Stumpside, crossing the Hobart Rivulet some way above Strickland Falls and can be muddy after rain, with sections of technical roots and rocks.

Some selfie stills from video, a little drop on the bottom of Stumpside, and below, this time a shorter route home down the unofficial Thark Track, a steeper, technical rocky rooty bit of fun that opens up onto the tarmac of Strickland Avenue and home – around a 12km outing.

This was a solo ride, all images/video taken with Samsung S22 Ultra, some utilising Panorama mode.

Thanks for joining me. 😀

12 thoughts on “Rocky Wheelan

    1. Hi John, I still remember my early rides on the lower older trails, balking at every rock, root and drop, walking sections to find the best/easiest line. I used to ride motorbikes as a kid but this is a little different. Building confidence in the tyres and suspension, that they will roll over obstacles and handle impacts. Learning to lean the bike more and keep yourself more upright to put more pressure on the outer lugs so they grip and hang on rather than sliding out. It seems odd that the faster you go, the harder you push, the easier it is and the more fun it is … to a point. I’ve already found out the hard way, it can hurt past that point 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Having grown up riding dirt bikes, I fully understand the thrill! And, the pain. I wiped out on bicycles plenty as a kid too, we used to build our bikes from scrap bike parts which produced some odd-looking bikes. Fun!


    1. Thanks Hammad, I included the bike for a sense of scale. The new trails should hopefully blend in better to their surroundings in a year or two, they pass through a lovely variety of forest on the lower slopes of the mountain previously difficult to access.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sandra, I like the variety and progression on this particular ride from easy free flowing to narrow and technical. There’s plans for some more connecting trails but for now there’s a few different options/tracks near the end depending on how much time I have (I’m currently on holidays). This ride on a good day takes a little over an hour, a great pre-work workout 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hello Tone,
    This use to be one of my walks with Nutty, from home via O’Gradys then up to the Octopus Tree then back via the walking track that is now for bikes. So I was pretty pissed off when I saw the bike track construction going on. I have not been up since is was finished (Wheel’n..Ha-ha) but is it a shared track and safe for dog walkers with bikes hurtling down or bike only?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jane, it’s now sign posted, the up track is for bikes going up (now down) and walkers, dogs on lead allowed in either direction.
      The down track is for bikes going down only .. it’s a fast track!!


  2. I love how the track doesn’t take a broad sweep of destroying the trees and what wonderful trees there are to be seen in your photos. Thanks for sharing your ride with us …


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