Ride of the Month: Olearia Mountain Bike Trail, Monarto South
Dale Manson offers you a guide to a mountain bike ride suitable for the whole family.
The Olearia Mountain Bike Trail, running through the Monarto Woodland precinct at Callington Hill, offers quite a different riding experience compared with some of the more treacherous mountain bike trails in the Murray Bridge area.
This trail is amongst nicest and safest of the local mountain bike trails, providing families with an opportunity to ride together through mature plantations of native and exotic vegetation initially established in the 1970s as an environmental buffer for the proposed Monarto City development.
Although the Monarto City development did not eventuate, the beautiful planted Monarto Woodland precinct remains.
The trail name of “Olearia” has been drawn from the presence of native olearia bushes in the local region, while the term “mountain bike” is commonly abbreviated and simply written as MTB.
With special permission from the custodian of the Monarto Woodland precinct, the SA Government’s Department of Environment and Water, local MTB cycling and walking enthusiasts have been permitted to establish an environmentally friendly six-kilometre loop trail running through the Callington Hill part of the precinct.
This trail offers a great flowy experience for MTB riders, with gently undulating terrain and relatively solid soil surfaces.
Compared to some of the other trails in the region, there is an absence of rocks, obstacles and challenging drop-offs.
This is what makes the Olearia Trail such a suitable area for beginner MTB riders and family groups.
However it needs to be recognised that Olearia Trail is dual-use and walkers may be encountered, sometimes with a leashed dog in tow.
In parts of the trail, horse riders and groups of kangaroos may also be present.
The trail is very easy to find, being on the crest of Callington Hill in a block of woodland positioned just across the road from the large telecommunications tower on Thomas Crescent.
A signposted common entry and exit point to the trail is a step-over opening in the woodland fenceline located at the corner intersection of the Old Princes Highway and Thomas Crescent.
Coming from the direction of Murray Bridge on the Old Princes Highway, this trail entrance is on the left hand side opposite the Browns and Highland Roads intersection on the right, just before the highway dives steeply down toward Callington township.
Intrepid and energetic mountain bike enthusiasts find it quite easy to ride the 20-kilometre distance from Murray Bridge to the Olearia Trail along the dirt tracks running through the scrubline alongside the Old Princes Highway.
In doing this, riders need to be mindful of the numerous property driveways and the need for care to avoid colliding with vehicles.
However, many riders find it more convenient driving in a vehicle directly to the Monarto Woodland block at Callington Hill before unloading their mountain bikes to ride a number of times around the six-kilometre Olearia Trail loop.
As there are no facilities such as water or toilets at this location, riders must be completely self-sufficient.
The Olearia Trail is suitable for year-round riding and is open day or night every day of the year, apart from days of declared extreme fire danger.
It is common to find MTB riders going around this trail in the dark of night using strong bike lights, as the reflective direction arrows fixed to the frequent trail guideposts and relatively even track surface provide excellent conditions.
This short loop ride is a truly wonderful mountain bike experience that brings the entire family into close contact with the natural environment along a shared walking and bike trail.
Previous rides of the month
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