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  1. #1
    OriginalDonk
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    MTB Options Sydney or Melbourne

    My wife and I may be transferred down to Sydney or Melbourne from the San Francisco Bay Area in the next three months. I spend most of my free time on my mountain biking in the region, thoroughly enjoy racing XC, and I'd like to continue riding and racing as much as possible if we move down to either city. I've heard there are some great tracks out in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and other parts of NSW but I haven't found much information for Melbourne and Victoria. I've spent some time on Rotorburn looking at local info and am hoping some of the MTBR community might have a few suggestions for me. In the end, where we end up will be determined by many factors. Hoping to bring MTB options into that decision making process. We will probably have to find a place close to downtown in either City. Appreciate any info and hope to ride with some of you soon. Thanks.
    Last edited by OriginalDonk; 05-25-2011 at 02:13 PM.

  2. #2
    nothing to see here
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    Trust me, there's no shortage of XC racing/riding variety in and around Melbourne.

    Close to Melbourne you have You Yangs, Silvan, St. Andrews, Lysterfield, Upper Beaconsfield, Officer and a few more "quieter" secret locations.

    Within a couple of hours drive from Melbourne there is Forrest (my favourite), Bendigo, Wombat, Bright, Mt Buller, Lake Mountain, Buxton, Erica, Castlemaine and probably a few more I've failed to mention.

    Races are held at the majority of these venues, and I believe there is much more XC racing to be found in Victoria than in NSW.

    I'm happy to show you around a bit and give you a bit more info if you decide on Melbourne. Good luck with your decision.

    Steve.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  3. #3
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    You wont get bored in either city in 3 months. Both have a range of places to ride and competitive races. The only thing I could say is that there is possibly more travel time to the trails from downtown Sydney compared to downtown Melbourne, but it all depends on where you end up living.

  4. #4
    OriginalDonk
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    Thanks for the info guys. I may not have been clear but I may be moving down in three months for a minimum of three years though it may be more. I've heard it's a bit tough to get to tracks from downtown Sydney. Not sure if I'll have a car or not at the moment.
    Are things close enough to make them accessible for before or after a day's work rides (probably 1 hour at a good pace) from either downtown or would I pretty much be limited to days off and weekends? Any comments on terrain? Are things predominantly techy and tight or smooth, flowy, and buff? Maybe a little of both?

    If technical terrain is tough to access I may sell my 5 inch trail bike and bring only my roadie and hardtail 29 race bike. Thoughts on what rig to ride? Thanks again for the tips.

  5. #5
    Hud
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    If you're coming to Melbourne, I'd say 29er HT and roadie, no question. No question either that Melbourne is better for accessible and varied trails. Less technical than Sydney generally speaking but lots more options. I have a mate in Sydney who loves coming to Vic to ride. Plenty of rides are organised are here on mtbr, moreso if someone like yourself is asking.
    By the way now if my chance to ask what 'downtown' means by definition. Outer suburbs?

    BTW Ben or Steve, does Bright have its own xc course or are you referring to Mount Beauty?
    The twenty-nine inch wheel.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hud View Post
    By the way now if my chance to ask what 'downtown' means by definition. Outer suburbs?
    I believe it is the US equivalent of the CBD.

    Downtown is a term primarily used in North America to refer to a city's core or central business district, usually in a geographical, commercial, and community sense.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    I'm biased, of course, but would say Melbourne..
    Found this new site on the Goldfields Trail the other day.. http://www.goldfieldstrack.com.au/
    Have ridden part of it and it's fun. Great weekend trip.

  8. #8
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    Check out Trailflix for Sydney trails.

  9. #9
    nothing to see here
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hud View Post
    BTW Ben or Steve, does Bright have its own xc course or are you referring to Mount Beauty?
    I was probably getting confused with Beechworth and Mount Beauty.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by crank1979@optusnet.com.au View Post
    Check out Trailflix for Sydney trails.
    x2 for trailfix, especially for the lesser known local trails

    Hud- Bright has a couple of courses. I have ridden them both but the conditions were not good so I cant really comment on what they are like.

    Just a comment on Downtown (Disclaimer- im just a country boy so I may be wrong here). If its what I think it means (and im with Mella on this one) you probably wont be living downtown as I dont think we have that much permanent accommodation in the city in this country. That would put you in the inner suburbs and there may be something close by, especially if your near the yarra trail in Melbourne. If you want a close CBD to the trails then come to wagga .

    I would say Melbourne is better for access at the moment but Sydney is improving a lot, but yeah you would probably need a car and the weekend to get to most places.

  11. #11
    OriginalDonk
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    Thank you all for working with my Yank lingo. I'll revise my statement. I think my wife and I will be working in or around the CBD in either location though it looks like North Sydney is more likely than something in the CBD for NSW. From what I understand, at least attempting to live in the East Suburbs would be on the short list for both locations to limit transit time.

    Thank you all for the online resources. Sounds like a nice rundown of what Melbourne has to offer and it looks like Sydney has plenty of options that some would call a bit more techy. I appreciate all the information. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Hud
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsH View Post
    I'm biased, of course, but would say Melbourne..
    Found this new site on the Goldfields Trail the other day.. http://www.goldfieldstrack.com.au/
    Have ridden part of it and it's fun. Great weekend trip.
    What a great website!
    They really seem to know what mountainbiking is about, there is even reference to singlespeeds!
    200km of trail between ballarat and bendigo, that is fantastic!!
    The twenty-nine inch wheel.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by OriginalDonk View Post
    Thank you all for working with my Yank lingo. I'll revise my statement. I think my wife and I will be working in or around the CBD in either location though it looks like North Sydney is more likely than something in the CBD for NSW. From what I understand, at least attempting to live in the East Suburbs would be on the short list for both locations to limit transit time.

    Thank you all for the online resources. Sounds like a nice rundown of what Melbourne has to offer and it looks like Sydney has plenty of options that some would call a bit more techy. I appreciate all the information. Thanks.
    my 2 cents. Melbourne the pick of the litter. northeastern suburbs easiest to commute from, public transport is reasonably good into cbd. then you have local trails along the yarra, not the best but something. 20 -40 minute drive out to great trails at st andrews etc.

  14. #14
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    Ok there is a rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne has been for to many years.

    both think there the better city.Both are crap(good if your young and chasing the dollars).ps I live at times in Sydney.

    Can you take a train (30to 40 minutes from the center of Melbourne) with your MTB and ride in a national park with a 20/30 minutue loop that includes a decent amount of technical single track and don't say the Yarra(your kidding)Can you drive 20 minutes from the center of Melbourne and access a very good MTB dedicated loop(manly Dam)

    Melbourne if your a roadie for sure.

    Most on this forum are melburanities.and think Melbourne is the place.

    Far better places in Australia than both those S*** holes for everything including MTB to live.

    PS Sydney has a thriving MTB scene.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdamo View Post
    Far better places in Australia than both those S*** holes for everything including MTB to live.
    So where is this awesome place?

    Have not ridden Manly Dam yet but have herd mixed reports about it. I guess that depends on weather it is open or not

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben_M View Post
    So where is this awesome place?

    Have not ridden Manly Dam yet but have herd mixed reports about it. I guess that depends on weather it is open or not
    Try Canberra,Launceston,Hunter or Coffs harbour for starters.

    Haven't ridden Manly dam yet but already knocking it.Spoken like a true Melburnitie.

    Have you ridden RNP or Menai either?
    Last edited by bigdamo; 05-27-2011 at 03:39 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdamo View Post
    Spoken like a true Melburnitie.
    Yep, Melburnite through and through, thats me!!!! Not everyone here is a Mexican you know. Some of us had there heads in there hands in the 75th minute of the game on Wednesday night

  18. #18
    Hud
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    I have ridden Manly Dam and it was good for sure...but short and I think you'd soon get bored.
    I've done a lot of riding in and around Sydney - Oaks, Yellowmundi, Ourimbah and Glenrock and even the escarpment around Wollongong. I'd love to ride Appin, that looks really good.
    Sydney is good, but Melbourne (or more accurately -Melbourne and surrounds) has a lot more and is going ahead in relative leaps and bounds IMO. But yes its generally less technical, but there is more scope for epic rides if that is what you want.
    I'm not meaning to escalate this Melbourne vs Sydney either, I really don't think there is such a thing.
    The twenty-nine inch wheel.

  19. #19
    OriginalDonk
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    Didn't intend to turn this into a pissing match. It sounds like both areas have plenty of options that would allow me to keep riding frequently and competing. More importantly, it sounds like both Sydney and Melbourne are working to increase the number and diversity of tracks for Mountain Bikers. I'm involved in similar efforts here in the San Francisco area and it sounds like the prospects in both cities might be more promising. Thank you all for your help. I may be posting again looking for somebody to ride with in either area in a few months.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdamo View Post
    Try Canberra,Launceston,Hunter or Coffs harbour for starters.

    Haven't ridden Manly dam yet but already knocking it.Spoken like a true Melburnitie.

    Have you ridden RNP or Menai either?
    Canberra is great for all types of riding it seems. Coffs Harbour is a great spot too. Manly Dam is very overrated, but it's the closest mtb track to the Sydney CBD. RNP/Loftus is average. Menai is excellent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hud View Post
    I'd love to ride Appin, that looks really good.
    Sydney is good, but Melbourne (or more accurately -Melbourne and surrounds) has a lot more and is going ahead in relative leaps and bounds IMO. But yes its generally less technical, but there is more scope for epic rides if that is what you want.
    I'm not meaning to escalate this Melbourne vs Sydney either, I really don't think there is such a thing.
    PM me if you want a guide around Appin when you're heading out there and I'll show you all the sneaky lines!

    Sydney and the surounds has some really good technical stuff like Appin, Kentlyn, Menai, etc. I'm keen to do some riding around Victoria if I ever get there again.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by OriginalDonk View Post
    Thanks for the info guys. I may not have been clear but I may be moving down in three months for a minimum of three years though it may be more. I've heard it's a bit tough to get to tracks from downtown Sydney. Not sure if I'll have a car or not at the moment.
    Are things close enough to make them accessible for before or after a day's work rides (probably 1 hour at a good pace) from either downtown or would I pretty much be limited to days off and weekends? Any comments on terrain? Are things predominantly techy and tight or smooth, flowy, and buff? Maybe a little of both?

    If technical terrain is tough to access I may sell my 5 inch trail bike and bring only my roadie and hardtail 29 race bike. Thoughts on what rig to ride? Thanks again for the tips.
    You can take the express train(three stops) from central(downtown Sydney) and be at Sutherland in 25 minutes.From there it is a three to five minute ride to the Royal National Park which has dedicated MTB tracks.I do a two hour loop up to East Heathcote and back.

    If your keen you can ride from Sutherland station to Menai on the road. A friend does it in twenty minutes(plenty of technical terrain at Menai two thousand hectares I think) .

    Also they hold short track XC races at Sutherland bike track three minutes from the train station.

    Or you can ride from Heathcote train station down to Helensburgh through the National park and state reserve.

    Got anything like that in Melbourne?

    Don't say the Yarra all that is good for is cafe latte look at me MTBers.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben_M View Post
    x2 for trailfix, especially for the lesser known local trails

    Hud- Bright has a couple of courses. I have ridden them both but the conditions were not good so I cant really comment on what they are like.

    Just a comment on Downtown (Disclaimer- im just a country boy so I may be wrong here). If its what I think it means (and im with Mella on this one) you probably wont be living downtown as I dont think we have that much permanent accommodation in the city in this country. That would put you in the inner suburbs and there may be something close by, especially if your near the yarra trail in Melbourne. If you want a close CBD to the trails then come to wagga .

    I would say Melbourne is better for access at the moment but Sydney is improving a lot, but yeah you would probably need a car and the weekend to get to most places.
    Plenty of downtown(inner city living) apartments in Sydney.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdamo View Post
    Also they hold short track XC races at Sutherland bike track three minutes from the train station.

    Or you can ride from Heathcote train station down to Helensburgh through the National park and state reserve.

    Got anything like that in Melbourne?

    Don't say the Yarra all that is good for is cafe latte look at me MTBers.
    Every Thursday night there is the dirt crits at Westgate Park, less than 4km from the CBD. Or catch the train to Lilydale stn, then straight onto the Warburton Trail and a couple of km later, you're in picturesque Silvan, or Doongala. There's more XC trails under construction I believe at Warburton as well. You Yangs is approx 5-6km from Little River stn. Plenty of variety there, and regular racing orgainsed by GMTBC. About 8km from Hurstbridge stn is Smith's Gully/St Andrews where there's scores of tracks which hold up well in the wet too. Lysterfield is approx 6-7km from Hallam stn.

    Everyone knows the Yarra trails are in poor condition right now and personally I don't use them, but there's sections in excellent condition if you know where to look. Not to mention that very soon you'll be able to ride from the CBD to the Dandenongs and onto Warburton on bike paths which have a lot of single track attached to them.

    All of this is accessible without a car.

    Of course there's much more, which the local riders in each area know about, but is kept quiet for various reasons.

    So yeah, bigdamo, we have our share of accessible trails.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  24. #24
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    I love it when people bag the Yarra Trails. Heck, I'll take them as my commute to & from work over sitting in traffic any time.

    Singletrack starts about 3km from my office, ends about 800m from my house. About 28km of mostly singletrack, with about 2km of shared path & road scattered in the middle. A Faux-leroid series showing this route can be seen here (note - no coffee stops bigdamo, but you could do so in a few places if that was your choice of beverage):
    Yesterday's ride home

    Also, Plenty Gorge is about a 15min ride from Greensborough station (bout 40min from Flinders). Few hours worth of riding to be had out there.*

    * Provided you're OK coming home with arms scratched up to the bejeezus.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuclear_powered View Post
    I love it when people bag the Yarra Trails. Heck, I'll take them as my commute to & from work over sitting in traffic any time.

    Singletrack starts about 3km from my office, ends about 800m from my house.
    I wish i had single track 800m from my house
    the best i've got at close proximity is the tracks through the tea tree along the beach from Parkdale through to Sandringham
    they're not actually legal for bikes either, but 99% of walkers didn't seem to have an issue with the few times i've ridden them.

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