Cycle Queensland, Mountain Bike Ride, Nerang Forest MTB: Hard
These are two fun rides to do as the Nerang Forest is a little less “polished” than some of the other popular MTB parks in South East Queensland. There are generally no signs along the trails and while there are a handful of mudmaps of the area, none seem to be that accurate or current. New singletrack is occasionally added due to trail maintenance elsewhere and development of the network. Talking to locals, after an introductory spin through the Casuarina Grove Track, they suggest the best strategy to finding your way around is to spend a weekend getting lost in the forest, just riding!
Advanced Track (Hard)
This ride aims to give people an introduction to the larger forest area; a taste for what else lies within. It is primarily focused in the south east corner which is most popular with riders and that is where the majority of the trails have been developed. A little over the first half of this ride is on the main forest trails that cut through providing access for service vehicles. These are all great fun to ride. While some of the junctions in the trail you come upon will look incredibly inviting, unless you want to come across a dead-end or find yourself at the foot of a climb that will have you climbing back up to get back on course, stick to the instructions provided.
Keep your wits about you; this trail includes some lactate pulsing ascents and some adrenalin pumping descents. There is no signage once in the park so a cyclometer to measure distance covered is a great investment prior to undertaking the Advanced Track.
Leave the Pacific Highway at junction 69 (southbound). From the Nerang Connection Road, turn on to Hope Street to park in front of the Nerang Velodrome and Criterium circuit.
Food and Drink
There is nothing available at the start so bring with you sufficient food and drink for before, during and after your ride.
In the summer, if you ride later in the day or on a weekend, why not hang around to watch some of the racing on the Nerang Velodrome. When the local riders come out to race, you can expect an action-packed night of entertainment.
0.0 From the car park on Hope St, enter the facility by the gates opposite Stevens St. Cross straight over the criterium circuit and to the left of the velodrome and right of the scouts’ hut.
0.3 Directly in front of you is a gap in the fence. Cross through here. You are at a three-way junction. Trails to your left and right, and immediately in front of you is a sign for the Casuarina Grove Track; a 2.8km easy loop. Turn right.
1.0 The first climb of the day begins. Continue ahead sticking to this fire trail. There is a handful of inviting singletracks diverting to the side but keep pushing on upwards.
1.9 Nearing the top of the climb there is a split in the trail. Continue to the left.
2.4 Having reached the top of the climb, the trail forks in front of you with the left veering downhill. This trail is known as ‘Three Hills’. Do not turn left. Follow the original trail to the right and continue ahead.
2.9 There is another fork in the trail just as the powerlines come into view. Continue ahead; do not take the trail on the right. If you find yourself riding directly towards a powerline pylon or you appear on the edge of the quarry, double back, you have gone the wrong way.
3.8 Follow the trail to the left. Do not turn right. If you find yourself facing the quarry, double back, you have gone the wrong way.
4.4 As the trail forks again, bear right. Taking the left fork will send you rapidly downhill along a trail affectionately known as Rollercoaster by the locals.
5.6 Turn left on to a singletrack that emerges from a narrow clearing. The track takes you right into the forest with views through the trees across to the coast. This trail is known as ‘Wimps’. The descent ahead is technical and rocky in the upper sections and riders should only ride those sections they are comfortable with and that their bike skills can handle. For the rest, just jump off and walk down until the trail looks a little more rideable for you. Look out for the tight corners towards the bottom of the descent.
7.7 After another short climb, you are on the homeward journey. Continue east along this trail as it hugs the residential streets just to your right. The path is well used and easy to see. It can become narrow and a little steep in places.
9.2 At the top of a short rise running alongside a storm-water run off, follow the track downhill to the right but be prepared for a sharp left hand turn.
9.3 Turn left, over the short rise and it’s downhill for the final 0.7km to the start of the trail.
10.0 Exit the trail over the same fence that you came in on. Carefully cross the criterium circuit, keeping an eye out for other riders using the facility.
10.3 End of the ride.