Werrikimbe and Mooraback Trails

An epic mountain bike circuit with big hills on two management trails in Werrikimbe National Park, crossing the Hastings River

Trail information

Werrikimbe and Mooraback Trails

The Werrikimbe and Mooraback management trails make an epic 36 kilometre mountain biking circuit. From Mooraback campground, follow first Mooraback Road, then Cobcroft Road to the signposted start of Werrikimbe Trail. Make your way around the locked gate and get ready for some challenging hills as you climb through forest to the high point. There is an abandoned manganese mine, Paddy’s Prospect, in this area. You are now above 1000 m in elevation. The descent to the wooden bridge across the Hastings River is steep and fast, take care! The bridge is a good spot for a rest.

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What goes down, must go up. The climb from the bridge is gentle to start, but becomes steep and may be slippery if wet as you approach the second high point. You’ll be ready for another rest! From this second summit, on the watershed between the Hastings and Forbes river catchments, it’s a lovely downhill run through open forest towards Racecourse swamp, a rare high altitude swamp.

Take care not to miss the turnoff onto Mooraback Trail – if you reach the 4WD road (Racecourse Trail) you’ve gone too far and need to backtrack a short distance. At the time we rode this circuit, the turnoff was poorly signposted, so check your map.

There are three more crossings of the Hastings River as you make your way back to Mooraback campground. The first is a gravel culvert where the baby Hastings drains out of the swamp. Don’t be caught by surprise at the second crossing, a couple of kilometres later, where a sudden steep descent brings you to the river which you will need to wade across with your bike. The final Hastings River crossing near Bishops Swamp trail is bridged, and signals the welcome return to the campground and rest for very weary legs!

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The route is mostly in forest of diverse types, including short rainforest sections and snow gums, as well as tall old growth forest, and the cleared grasslands around Mooraback. You may be lucky and see dingoes (we saw two), lyrebirds, and of course kangaroos and wallabies.

You will need a mountain bike, not suitable for road bikes. If riding a e-MTB, you will need to manage your battery range, as the hills and rough terrain will consume battery power far quicker than easy cycle ways. Help is far away in this remote country, so pack spare tube, tools, first aid, PLB, water and food. As this is also a wilderness area, please make sure your bikes and tyres are clean before you ride, and stay on the management trail.

Hikers: The Werrikimbe Trail is an 18 kilometres management trail through the forest, linking Cobcroft Trail and Racecourse Trail. The shorter 7 km Mooraback Trail starts near the campground and meets Werrikimbe Trail at Racecourse swamp. It’s possible to walk this loop, starting at the locked gate on Cobcroft Trail (arrange a car shuffle) then camping overnight near the main Hastings River bridge, and at Racecourse Swamp. Just before the Hastings River bridge, a signposted track leads towards Cleghorns Creek where you can find a spot to pitch your tent and water. At Racecourse Swamp, there is an informal bushwalkers campsite and water can be found in Kunderang Brook, across Racecourse Trail.

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