Happy trails: Narooma mountain bike trail network to grow to more than 100km

By Justin Walker 13 December 2021
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The awesome mountain bike trails of Narooma, on the NSW South Coast, are set to triple in size, making for the perfect two-wheeled escape.

Narooma, on the NSW Far South Coast, is set to expand its awesome mountain bike trail network with the exciting announcement that MTB trail-building company, Dirt Art, has been awarded the contract to complete the design and construction of the second and third stages of the Narooma Mountain Bike Hub, with the project being managed by Natural Trails’ Craig Stonestreet and Blue Sky Trails’ Craig Meinicke.

This exciting project means Narooma’s current 30-plus kilometres of amazing MTB trails will be expanded over those two stages to offer more than 100km of world-class trails and infrastructure, in one of NSW’s most beautiful regions. The project has been funded by the Bushfire Local Economy Recovery Fund (BLERF; funded by the Commonwealth and NSW government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, the project has received $3.9 million for the entire project). Narooma MTB Club President, Georgie Staley, says this project will be a huge boost to not only the riding experience, but also to tourism in the town and surrounding areas, and joins nearby Tathra and Bermagui (as well as Cooma, Jindabyne, Thredbo and Canberra inland) as another south-east NSW MTB riding destination. Add in the upcoming – and equally huge – trail network being developed in nearby Eden (due to open in June 2023) and the south coast of NSW is shaping up as another of Australia’s MTB meccas.

Spot the riders in a fern-green sea. The current 30km of singletrack takes riders through some spectacular terrain. Another 65-plus kilometres of this is going to be amazing.

President of the Narooma District Chamber of Commerce & Tourism, Dr Jenny Munroe, welcomes the development of the Narooma Mountain Bike Hub and fully supports the initiative, noting how bike-based tourism can help boost tourism and the resultant investment on-flow into the community. 

“Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing recreational activities globally and Narooma has the environment and facilities to host bikers who will visit for the experience,” Munroe says. “This will provide opportunities for local hospitality businesses to have year-round custom rather than rely on seasonal trade. The Far South Coast will be the perfect mountain biking destination for enthusiasts and will provide facilities for families to foray into our beautiful bush with all the benefits of exercise, adventure, and the environment.”

Getting the experts on board

The Narooma Mountain Bike Club invested loads of time and energy into getting the project to this successful stage, and recognised the need to engage people with project management and trail construction experience, and are stoked to have a renowned company such as Dirt Art, on board for that purpose.

“We are over the moon with being able to have such an experienced and nationally recognised trail building company as Dirt Art to design and construct our trail network,” Georgie Staley says. “Having seen their preliminary ideas I know that the mountain bike community is going to be excited to come and ride here. Dirt Art brings the experience of constructing such projects as Maydena Bike Park [Tasmania], the Hero Trail at Bright, Victoria, and the Thredbo Valley Trail.”

The Narooma MTB Club members should be proud of the Stage 1 trails they hand-built. They are great fun to ride.

Simon French, Managing Director of Dirt Art, is equally pumped about the project – and the location.
“Our enter team is extremely excited to partner with Narooma MTB Club to deliver the design and construction of Australia’s latest coastal riding destination,” he says. “Amazing terrain and perfect soils already have design and construction teams’ creativity flowing. We look forward to getting on the ground in the next couple of weeks as we begin the next design stages of the project.”

Both Munroe and Staley acknowledge this project – and indeed, the original trail network itself ­– would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the partnership with NSW Forestry Corporation and its continued belief and support.

A long held dream is now reality

The 30km of MTB trails that comprise Stage 1 are brilliant – something Aus Geo ADVENTURE can vouch for, having ridden the trails in early November this year. This first 30km of trail was the result of some serious hard work by Naroooma MTB Club itself, with members hand-building the trails over three years before officially opening to the public in 2019. The club’s dream is to grow MTB tourism in the area while also helping the larger community grow through the increased investment from visitors throughout the year. 

MTB tourism has proved wildly successful as a significant economic and social driver for communities wherever trail networks have been put in; the former tin-mining town of Derby, in Tasmania, is the best example, with its trail network now hosting rounds of the Enduro World Series, as well as thousands of bike-based tourists each year. As well, the NSW town of Dungog has seen an incredible increase in tourism spend as a result of its newly opened MTB trail network. And these are just two examples.

Moruya Bicycles’ Angus Murphy and Narooma MTB Club President Georgie Staley showed Australian Geographic ADVENTURE Editor Justin Walker through the current trail network in November this year. Needless to say, he was impressed!

With Narooma already offering such brilliant riding with its Stage 1 trails, as well as beaches, beautiful national parks, excellent fishing (and seafood!) plus a rich indigenous culture, this new project leaves you with no excuse not to visit this magic part of the NSW South Coast. Narooma is only around 2.5 hours from Canberra and five hours from Sydney).

For info on the Narooma trails, see www.mountainbikenarooma.com.au