As much as some of the locals would prefer we kept this news on the down low... the word is out. Mt Buller and Mt Stirling's network of trail is giving mountain bikers around the country plenty of tasty reasons to get back up to this part of the world, book a shuttle and a bed for the night and set aside some time to rediscover the joy of riding up here.
Don't take our word for it. The crew from Australian Mountain Bike have taken more than a few runs over recent months and their verdict is in:
"Buller 2.0 is here, and it’s a shimmering example of big mountain riding and expert trail building."
Aww shucks guys. Glad you love it.
Let's take a moment to say a massive thank you to the resort trail crew, operations team and Contour Works for the transformation and the Victorian government's regional tourism investment of $1.25m that has made this possible.
Here's AMB's take on Mt Buller and you can read the whole story on doing a Victorian High Country road trip MTB adventure here
Here's the article and AMB's pics to get you inspired>>>
We said farewell to Mount Beauty with a blissful sunset over Tawonga Gap, and settled onto the highway again with our bikes racked on the Shingleback Sport rack. It’s an easy feat loading this rack with bikes of all shapes and sizes, thanks to its lever-activated reclining system. With the bikes loaded safe and sound, the next destination promised brand new trails which are set to sweep mountain bikers off their rubber this summer.
Initially one of Australia’s Alpine powerhouses, there was period where Mount Buller fell off the mountain bike radar. The narrow, pedally, and relatively uncomplicated trails were in desperate need of an update to compete with modern advancements in trail building and increasingly capable bikes. Situated on arguably the most scenic mountain in Australia, the Buller trails were crying out for a new standard that would reflect its landscape and bring back the swarms of mountain bikers that once visited religiously.
Over the last year, the resort has answered those cries emphatically. The highly respected team at Contour Works have overhauled what was known as the “XC” side of the resort, while the passionate diggers at TrailScapes have refined the much-loved ABOM and International gravity trails. Suffice to say, a $1.25 million grant from the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Fund was put to excellent use.
I visited Buller last year to catch up with Contour Works while they were finishing their work on Gang Gangs and other trails; the refurbishments made some parts of the old trail nearly unrecognisable, transforming them from wearied runs into fast, all-mountain roller coasters. With a taste for the future, I was excited to return and experience the new Stonefly descent amongst others.
Our first stop as we drove from Mt Beauty was All Terrain Cycles in Mansfield – the same business as the Bright store. Knowing the wide spread and variable terrain of Buller, we rented some Specialized Levo SLs again to assist us in our explorations.
The drive up to Mount Buller never gets old. As the road leaves the valley and edge of the Delatite River, it twists ever higher, moving into the iconic alpine setting. I implore you to put the windows down and let the smell of the forest enter your car as you drive to the mountain-top resort.
“My favourite trail was probably Clancy’s [before the renovations] but what they’ve done to it now has made in 100x better. It’s still Clancy’s, but it’s got that modern twist that we’re all craving.”
During summer, the resort provides plenty of dining options. Of course, no trip to Buller is complete without a visit to the ABOM Bistro for their classic pub-style menu; I’ve eaten here on every visit to Buller and its warm atmosphere and delicious food is always the perfect cap on a big day. Your morning coffee can be found here as well, but we can also attest to the fine brews across the road at Coffee Garage. And the beauty of sleeping and eating on the hill? The trails are never more than a few pedal strokes away.
The Epic trails extends from Stonefly and takes us through the wild backcountry of the national park. The air is still and quiet, allowing riders to be transported to locations untouched by industrialisation save a few historic huts. This is the kind of experience that brings people to the High Country. Surrounded by ancient trees and spectacular views, the Epic Trail gently undulates along singletrack and fire-road, the calm before the storm of fun that is the Epic descent.
‘Modern’ is the certainly one of the best terms to describe Buller’s facelift. Contour Works and TrailScapes have put Buller on equal footing with other Aussie alpine resorts, and it will be overspilling with visitors once the word spreads. But don’t wait for the bandwagon, head to Buller now to experience it for yourself. Regardless of what bike you bring, it’s a truly rewarding few days on top of the world. Whether you hit the downhill trails of ABOM, International and Copperhead, explore the updated networks on the other side of the hill, or tackle the longer trails like Epic and the Delatite River Trail, there's certainly a few days worth of riding at Mount Buller.
Shuttles: From $75, bluedirt.com.au
Local Knowledge: Like many high-altitude destinations, wear layers! You can experience up to four seasons in a day. Be aware that Buller is more spread out than other resorts; if time is a constraint, bring an e-bike. Otherwise, enjoy the groomed climbing trails and shuttles!
Best eats and drinks: ABOM, The Birdcage, Alpine Retreat Hotel, Coffee Garage, Buller Grocer
AMB's favourite trail: Stonefly – rewards you all the way after its revamp!
What bike? We think an eMTB is a great match for the trails at Buller, meaning you can get to a lot of the network to keep the stoke high.
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