Bartagunyah is a ~2000 acre property on the outskirts of Melrose SA and in addition to sheep, kangaroos and vineyards is home to a bunch of arguably lesser known MTB trails, including one of the local’s favorite MTB rides – the Whiskey Trail.
Staying on the property means the trails are literally outside the door – sweet! From the shed accomodation I headed out on the Winery Loop, up the Wallaroo climb, along the Mia, Blue Heelin’ and Jackanna trails before turning onto the Whiskey Trail which is located right along the back edge of the property and feels like it too!
The Whiskey Trail is signed as an advanced ‘Black’ trail which in practice translates to a bunch of fun. It’s narrow and rocky with the Melrose flavored drop ever present on one side. It’s one of those trails where you’ve got to pay plenty of attention, especially the first time out. A rush of blood to the head lead to sphincter action a couple of times as things got a little out of shape. Drop either tire off the narrow trail and you’ll know about it too. The trail also includes a few fun (damp, steepish, out of nowhere-ish) gully crossings – gotta keep a look out ahead for those.
The sharp and jagged rocks along the Whiskey Trail are known for their ability to generate tube and tire sales, similar in a sense to some of the trails around Castlemaine. The armoured tubeless 2.4 front/2.2 rear Spesh tires on the Mojo HD worked a treat. Carrying a spare tube is probably a good move though, as it’s a decent walk back to anywhere and there’s limited mobile phone service to call a buddy.
In addition to the trail network, Bartagunyah is a super scenic place to ride. The rolling hills and the views all with Mt Remarkable as the backdrop make for great eye candy. With no shortage of hills climbing legs are an essential bit of kit to make the most of the trails but really that’s no different to other MTB destinations. The trail network is signposted but individual trails aren’t named so it’s a good idea to grab a map from Over the Edge in town before heading out. Take a wind shell along too as some of the trails are quite exposed and the winds from the South can be freezing.
If you’ve made the trip to Melrose be sure to check it out the Bartagunyah’s Whiskey Trail for for yourself!