For families who love to mountain bike, Hidden Vale Adventure Park near Grandchester is top of the list.
Only half an hour from Ipswich, or an hour from Brisbane, this property has over 100km of tracks set in 12,000 acres of bushland. There are plenty of tracks to both challenge elite riders and to suit casual riders and families.
The tracks are open to the public every day except when closed for races – there are five events each year, so check on their website before heading out. Besides those weekends, the park is open to the public for a small fee (currently $10 per person) which gives you access to all the trails for the whole day.
When you arrive, drive down the service entry next to Spicers Resort and follow the signs to the HVAP parking area. Sign in and say g’day to Hayden, the park manager. He can give you a map and some advice on where to ride. The Trailforks App is also a good idea to use when riding on the property.
Mountain bikes are available for hire from the HVAP office. If you think you might have trouble keeping up with the kids all day (who doesn’t?), you could consider getting an extra boost by hiring an electric assisted e-bike. It’s a bit like getting a push up the hills.
Jump on your bike and you can head straight up the access road to the top of the hill. Here there’s a skills park with logs, see-saws and other obstacles for practising advanced technical skills. Some of these have a high level of difficulty, so it’s a good idea to make sure kids only take on challenges within their level of ability.
Green Tracks (Easy)
Even with kids, you can have a ton of fun by just sticking to the green tracks, and there are more than enough options to keep you busy all day. Some great options are:
Ripple Effect - This is one of the premier tracks in the park and it’s rated green, so it’s great for the kids. It’s heaps of fun and it’s a fairly long track, so it feels like it goes for a long time. It has nice berms and some jumps on the way down.
Plane Sailing - This is a flowing track that takes you past the plane wreck (hence the name). It is a nice fast track that has a slightly technical section about half-way. It has some good berms, and it’s not too hard, so heaps of fun.
Almost There - You can ride this track uphill and it’s great downhill as well. It’s a nice flowy track that takes you up to Ripple Effect.
Happy Gilmore - This is a fairly flat, fun and easy track. Keep an eye for kangaroos while riding along this trail - as you pass the dam you might even see one having a swim.
With over 100km of tracks here, there are so many more to explore. The hardest tracks in the park are rated Blue (Intermediate) and they are more cross-country rather than downhill tracks. Some of the blue tracks have technical features such as big jumps and drop-offs so families and beginners are best to stick to the green tracks, or get advice from park staff about which blue tracks would be advisable to attempt.
It’s no wonder that elite racers come back time and time again to ride and train here and for families, there’s definitely plenty of fun and adrenalin to keep them riding the tracks all day.
Need to know - Food is usually available for purchase at the Barn or the Restaurant at Spicers Resort, but it’s a good idea to call ahead to check that they aren’t closed for a function.
By Kate Bennie, Sons of Adventure