One of the key projects in the Remarkanle Southern Flindersproject is the construction of 20 kilometres of new mountain bike trails at Willowie - and these are now ready for public use.
Catering for beginner through to intermediate riders, the new trails are family-friendly with some progressive elements included for riders looking to challenge their skills.
New and improved day visitor facilities are now also in place at Willowie including a picnic area, accessible toilets and improvements to the existing carpark.
These new trails will contribute to the network of already popular mountain bike trails in Melrose and were planned with the help of local mountain bike organisation, Bike Melrose.
The trails network includes:
Possum Magic (3.5 km loop)
Possum Magic is the most family and beginner friendly trail in the network with a combination of natural and machine built features. The trail starts and finishes at thevisitor area making it ideal for those seeking a short loop ride.
The common Brush-tail possum is the most widespread marsupial in Australia and can be found in Mount Remarkable National Park. They feed on eucalyptus leaves, flowers, shoots, fruits, and seeds.
Sleeper (2.4 km)
Sleeper provides a short introductory loop experience for novice riders and families. The trail starts at the main trailhead and ends at the junction with Twisted Sister. The trail is predominantly on a very low gradient, making it an easy trail for riders with limited mountain biking experience and skill. As this is a one way trail, you will need to continue on to the top portion of Twisted Sisters.
The trail traverses through stands of native cypress and is home to a population of sleepy lizards (also known as shingleback or stumpy-tailed lizards). Between 1896 and 1889, an estimated 10,000 Sugar gums were harvested from the Willowie Forest area for railway sleepers to service the region’s expanding network. If you look closely, you’ll spot some of the old saw pits scattered through the forest.
Twisted Sisters (1.5 km)
Twisted Sisters is tight, natural and twisty, with shallow creek crossings and small trail features. This is an ideal climbing trail for beginners to link with the intermediate trails or to return to the car park on the Orb Flow trail.
Keen and quiet observers may see Carpet pythons hunting in the leaf litter around the forest. Their diet consists mainly of small mammals, birds, and lizards, which they kill by constriction. These pythons aren’t a threat to humans.
Orb Flow (900 m)
Orb Flow is a flow trail featuring a combination of tight and open bermed corners and rollers. Flow trails can be used to learn the skills required to conserve and generatespeed using the trail features rather than relying on pedalling. The trail traverses the formerly cleared cropping land and passes remnant ruins of the forest’s farmingheritage.
Orb-weaving spiders make large webs through the grasses and low bushes throughout the reserve, including across the trails in these open areas of the block.
Southern Flinders Rail Trail (22 km)
The Melrose to Wilmington section of the Southern Flinders Rail Trail was completed in 2011. The trail surface is compacted fine gravel with some sections of coarse gravel and creek crossings. It features stunning views of Mt Remarkable to the west, and views of the Flinders Ranges to the east.
The trail can be used by walkers and cyclists to link the two towns or as a cycling link to Willowie Forest. This Section of the rail trail crosses Goyder’s Line, a surveyed line that historically separates good cropping land from marginal cropping land (low rainfall). Surveyor George Goyder prepared the line in 1865 by observing native plants while travelling 3200 km on horseback across SA. You will notice the vegetation change as you ride north along the trail, particularly in open areas.
Awky Squawky (5.8 km)
Awky Squawky provides the single track experience for which Melrose is famous, with long sections of rugged hand-built trail providing a natural and technical feel without losing the flow. The trail traverses small gullies and dry creek beds; the rockiness adding to the technical aspect of the trail. The call of groups of Apostle birds is commonly heard throughout the Willowie Forest. Awky Squawky is a common nickname for the bird, and aptly describes the trail’s twisting nature.
Leaping Lizard (1.1 km)
Named for the Lace Monitors often seen clinging to trees throughout the park, Leaping Lizard features rocky, off camber and flat turns with a series of intermediate double jumps. The doubles are designed to allow you to practice your jumping technique or to simply roll through (if you prefer to keep your wheels on the ground).
Waterfall link (500 m)
A short single track link for viewing one of the many small seasonal water features that spill down the sides of the Mount Remarkable Ridge. Best viewed after rain events, these deep gullies occur along the entire length of the ridge. The trail makes a great rugged and challenging detour from Awky Squawky.
Kooka Brothers (1.7 km)
Climbing to the highest point of the network, this tight and twisting single track climb will have you wishing for wings by the time you get to the top. Probably one of the most recognisable sounds in the Australian bush, be sure to keep an ear out for the distinctive laugh of the brothers.
E-skid-na (1.5 km)
Descending from the highest point in the north-west corner of the Willowie Forest, E-Skid-Na features a mix of fast, flowing machine cut and natural, handbuilt features. While this trail is suitable for intermediate riders, more experienced riders will enjoy finding challenging lines and features.
Short-beaked echidnas can be seen throughout the Mount Remarkable National Park, where they feed on insects hidden among the leaf litter. Most active in the hotter months, echidnas enter a state of hibernation in cooler weather.
Monitor Track Loop (6.1 km)
A rugged doubletrack loop trail which meanders along the foothills of the Mount Remarkable Range. The trail crosses several shallow watercourses and follows theouter fenceline of the original Willowie Forest area. The trail allows great viewing opportunities of the diverse range of flora and fauna of the Willowie Forest area.