Cycle Tasmania, Mountain Bike Ride, Dismal Swamp
Riding through the rainforest Dismal Swamp...tough name, tough track at the edge of Australia’s largest temperate rainforest. The track is divided into three loops of increasing technical difficulty - less experienced riders might want to limit themselves to the Wandering Wombat and Blue Tongue loops. Note that Dismal Swamp’s gates close at 5pm November to March and 4pm October to April, with a hefty call-out fee to unlock them.
A trio of linked, purpose-built mountain bike tracks in dense rainforest. The clay soil can get slippery after rain - a fairly typical event in a rainforest.
All three tracks can be ridden in one direction only, keeping to a minimum the number of riders you’ll encounter, as does the remoteness of the location.
Travel about 35 kilometres west along the A2 from Smithton, into the far northwest corner of the state, to reach Dismal Swamp.
Food and Drink
There’s a cafe inside the Dismal Swamp visitor centre.
Park up the bike and pay a visit to the sinkhole that forms the basis of Dismal Swamp, plummeting down a 110-metre slide to the forest floor.
Blanketing Tasmania’s northwest corner is the Tarkine, the largest tract of temperate rainforest (4500 square kilometres) in the country. At its northern fringe, Forestry Tasmania has created the Dismal Swamp tourist venture offering walking tracks, a 110-metre- high slide to the forest floor and one of Tasmania’s few purpose-built mountain bike tracks. Known as The Edge, the track consists of three interconnected loops - the Wandering Wombat, Blue Tongue and Deviant Devil - pushing deep into the blackwood forest, each one more difficult and technical than the last.
By the car park, two signs welcome you onto the track: an archway marking the start of the gentle Wandering Wombat track; and a warning about snakes - try to focus on the first sign. The Wandering Wombat is little more than a forest path, hard-rolled and gravelly, gently rising and falling through the rainforest and ferny gullies. The Blue Tongue offers more singletrack and more climbing (and is also slushier after rain), heading further into the forest before hooking up with the aptly named Deviant Devil. This final loop is pure singletrack, with a tight, twisting beginning that’s hairpin upon hairpin. If you don’t like what you see, you can double back on the tester track after 400 metres. Past the tester track junction the track does become a little more free-flowing, but it’s temporary.
As the track turns back on itself at The Landing, beside a vehicle track, the real crux of this trail begins. A section through a narrow gully here is particularly tight, with some steep climbs and plunging drops - there’s also a nervy leap between two trees on the final climb out of the gully if you care to take it.
From here, the Deviant Devil is as tight and twisting as the small intestines, with sharp pinch after sharp pinch and tree roots groping across the path. There’s a steep drop as you rejoin the Blue Tongue track, but after the previous two kilometres this trail should seem like a roll through the park, even if it didn’t on the ride out. The Blue Tongue track leads back to the Wandering Wombat and a gentle winding end.
8.002 km / 4.972 mi
181 m / 594 ft
181 m / 594 ft
108 m / 354 ft