If you build it, they will come: Narooma MTB trail network expansion complete

By Aus Geo ADVENTURE 7 February 2024
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The expanded MTB trail network at Narooma is amazing and boosts the NSW Far South Coast’s credentials as the state’s new must-ride destination.

Famous for its pristine beaches, surf culture and rugged wilderness, the far south coast of NSW is rapidly garnering a reputation as the latest (and some say greatest) destination for keen mountain bikers, thanks to a flurry of trail building up and down the coast over the past few years. The town of Narooma, five hours south of Sydney and three hours from Canberra, is the latest to hit the news. This follows on from the recent opening of Gravity Eden MTB Park, in Eden, and continues the incredible growth in popularity of mountain biking (the sport is now claimed to be more popular than fishing in Australia). 

You want berms? You’ve got berms. Riders enjoying one of new trails at Narooma. Paul K Robbins/DHaRCO

The Narooma trail hub, built by Dirt Art, is located in Bodalla State Forest (thanks to a partnership with Forestry Corp). The trails are the result of the government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, designed to assist in developing more year-round (as opposed to summer-focused) tourism opportunities for the far south coast NSW towns devastated by the 2019/20 bushfires. (This grant also funded the Eden trails.)

The expanded Narooma trails opened just in time for the busy Christmas/New Year holiday period, when vehicles arrived in this region with mountain bikes added to surfboards on their roof racks; visiting riders super keen to check out the 55km of new trails (on top of the 30km that was already established). 

The Narooma triple treat 

There are three trail zones at Narooma, including the Playground (for skills development and intermediate riders and including some of the most amazing berms in Oz), with the ability to self-shuttle available (or you can ride up the climbing trails). 

The different trail zones provide unique riding experiences, from natural terrain, such as this, to berms and flow trails. Paul K Robbins/DHaRCO

The Gravity Zone provides some elevation and longer descents, with flow and jump trails rated Green through to Double Black, including such favourites as Goodbye Gravity (which has been compared to A Line in Whistler) and the beautiful flow trail, I Love Steve, which has fast become everybody’s favourite. There are paid shuttles available for the Gravity Zone, too, which is brilliant.

The Wilderness Zone lives up to its moniker, taking riders through heavily forested gullies and across small creeks, along ridgelines and over rocky terrain. It has a mix of Green, Blue, Black and Double Black trails.

The original 30km of trails are included in the Wilderness zone (AG Adventure rode these original trails in 2020 and reckon they are brilliant) built by Georgie Staley (Club President) and her husband Dave. For that immersive riding experience, this zone’s trails are hard to beat. And when you do get down there, make sure you ride The Tunnel, a great mix of what made Narooma originally famous (read: hand-built trails with a mix of rock and flow) with a particularly unique trail feature thrown in. Yep, the clue is in the name…

Time to enjoy some southern comfort

The Narooma network’s trails cater for all riders, from beginner shredders to those who want a more leisurely two-wheeled cruise through some beautiful terrain. The hard work of all involved, from Georgie, Dave, and Narooma’s passionate MTB club members to Forestry Corporation’s strong support, Dirt Art, the local Aboriginal Land Council, and plenty more, is already paying off with Georgie recounting how many vehicles she now sees in town, loaded up with MTBs, ready to hit the trails. 

All smiles after a morning checking out some of Narooma’s new trails. Paul K Robbins/DHaRCO

For the NSW far south coast, the Narooma and Eden trail networks are an absolute boon for lifting off-season tourist visitation numbers. As a former local boy, this writer can attest to just how beautiful the region is year-round, and with the opening of the Narooma and Eden trails (and with Mogo coming soon), great accommodation options, brilliant eateries and epic pubs, there’s now no excuse not to head south for that ultimate MTB road trip.