New limits on the number of vehicles able to enter Mystic Park as well as fees will be introduced this summer to address safety and operational issues that have arisen due to the growing popularity of Mystic as a ride destination. With visitation to the park trending higher, and vehicle traffic in summer having surpassed capacity, these measures are designed to ensure Mystic improves its ability to operate in a compliant, safe and responsible manner while securing the park’s sustainability and longevity.
Some of the key safety issues being addressed by vehicle access management include:
Reducing unsafe dust levels and improving visibility on the road network inside Mystic.Managing the dust health hazard for neighbouring residents, particularly with the katabatic wind which carries the dust down the mountain each afternoon.
The commencement of dust monitoring.
Reducing traffic inside the park and on Mystic Lane to bring vehicle movements back down to a safe capacity and preventing the overcrowding as shuttle-drop points.
Reducing traffic and providing drivers with conditions of entry such as slow driving speeds to reduce dust.
Reducing traffic to improve safety for riders crossing at trail and road intersections.
Ticketed vehicle entry to address year-round safety issues such as speeding and reckless driving, riding in the back of utes, driving on firebreaks, and stopping or parking in unsafe areas along the loop road.
Demand to drive into Mystic has skyrocketed since the opening of the Hero Trail in December 2016, followed by Shred Kelly’s Last Stand in December 2018. Vehicle movements into the park during the summer and Easter holidays consistently record traffic count readings between 700-900 vehicle movements a day. With no slowdown in demand, Mystic Park has matured into a facility that requires ongoing access management to ensure the venue contains its risks.
The growth in mountain bike tourism is in line with regional data collected by Tourism North East, which show that cycling tourism to the North East region increased 28% in the past year to 144,000 cycling visitors. North East Victoria attracts more cycling visitors than any other region in Australia.
The need to improve safety within Mystic also coincides with the need to increase operational management. The most feasible way of reducing vehicle traffic and implementing vehicle safety controls, while covering costs in a manner that is sustainable on an ongoing basis, is to introduce a fee-for-use of the Mystic access road, which is maintained by Alpine Community Plantation (ACP).
ACP – which is the not-for-profit recreational land management organisation that enables recreation to take place in the private estate of HVP Plantations – does not have the ability to hire park staff or implement access controls without a sustainable source of revenue to cover the ongoing costs. The creation of a sustainable revenue stream for the park will provide a means for ACP to cover the cost of traffic control and park staff, as well as implement ongoing park improvements, increase road and trail maintenance, and secure future trail development. This will ensure Mystic remains one of Australia’s favourite mountain bike destinations in an increasingly competitive environment, with new mountain bike parks in the works, like the 150km development at Warburton, among others.
Trail access remains free
These changes only impact those who wish to drive a vehicle into the park. Riding, walking and running within Mystic remains free. The vast majority of Mystic’s mountain bike trail network is located in the easy-to-reach lower sections of the park and these trails do not require shuttles to access. Mystic also continues to improve its climbing trail offering, which is e-bike friendly. In addition, a new Beginner MTB Trail will begin construction next week next the Pump Track at Pioneer Park, creating a great free family-friendly ride destination at the base of Mystic. This project is being funded by our successful Pick My Project bid and is a combined initiative of the Alpine Cycling Club and ACP.
Shuttle Bus Options
To assist us in reducing traffic, ACP is encouraging those who would like uplift services to use the existing Blue Dirt Shuttles rather than drive. Blue Dirt is contracted by ACP to offer shuttle services in the park and pays a fee per-user to ACP. This money goes toward road maintenance costs.
Blue Dirt Shuttle Tickets
Single shuttle ride: $25
Full day pass: $70
Two-day weekend pass: $130
Early Bird Season Pass: TBA (this is the most economical option for frequent riders.)
Full Price Season Pass: $750 (although we recommend purchasing during the early bird sale)
Friday Frothers: FREE (Free shuttles for kids after school on Fridays)*
*Please note, this service is paused until December due to a weekday haulage operation in the plantation.
Private Vehicle Tickets
Vehicle ticketing comes into effect on Saturday 30 November 2019 to coincide with the start of summer and for us to ensure the smooth running of the new system prior to the Christmas and January school holidays. Tickets will be available online through this website in mid November. We will announce when they are available to purchase. Staff and/or gate controls will be present at the Mystic Lane entry to Mystic to check tickets (Vehicle access to Mystic Park is via Mystic Lane only).
Please note, only limited vehicle tickets will be available per day in order to reduce traffic. Due to this reason, season pass vehicle tickets will not be available as we cannot guarantee you will be able to access the park in your own vehicle at peak times under the cap. We encourage those who would like frequent entry during peak periods to purchase a Blue Dirt Season Pass (the shuttles operate on days of high demand). An off-peak vehicle pass will be available.
Private Vehicle Ticket Prices 2019/20
Single Trip Entry – off-peak: $25
Single Trip Entry – peak: $50
Vehicle day pass – off-peak: $77 (7am – 8pm)
Vehicle day pass – peak: $132 (7am – 8pm)
Off-Peak Pass: $560 (Covers all off-peak days in the year)
Please note, price includes all people in a passenger vehicle up to 8 seater capacity with a standard bike rack.
Trailers are not permitted.
Peak and Off-Peak
On peak days when we need to transport larger numbers of people up to the top, we encourage riders to use the Blue Dirt Shuttle Bus service provided. The vehicle tickets available on these days are priced to become economical once you have two or more people in a vehicle to encourage car pooling. Off-peak days are days of lower demand, and generally occur when Blue Dirt Shuttles are not running due to low demand. With the exception of school holidays and public holidays, off-peak days predominantly fall on weekdays.
Alpine Cycling Club Access Benefits
Alpine Cycling Club members will have access to some club incentives that include a discount entry rate, access to club shuttle days and free vehicle entry for those who contribute the required hours under the club’s trail maintenance program. More details will be available through the Alpine Cycling Club shortly. Locals looking for discount or free vehicle access to Mystic are encouraged to get involved with helping the Alpine Cycling Club.
Isn’t it a public road?
No, the majority of roads within the HVP Plantation estate are not public roads. They are built and maintained within the private estate for forestry purposes and not designed or maintained for public access. In the Mystic precinct, ACP is responsible for controlling traffic and maintaining the road for recreational purposes.
Do I have to pay to go to Huggins Lookout?
No, you don’t need a ticket to access Huggins Lookout via Bakers Gully Road or the walking track. A gate will prevent access into the park beyond Huggins Lookout. ACP is increasing its road maintenance budget to grade the road to the lookout via Bakers Gully to be suitable for 2WD use.
What if I want to drive up to see the view from the Launch?
All vehicles entering the mountain bike park will require a ticket in order for our vehicle entry controls to be manageable and effective. Sightseers may purchase a single trip entry for $25 off-peak or $50 peak. This fee covers all people in the passenger vehicle. There are a number of lookouts close to Bright that can be considered as alternatives, including Apex, Mount Porepunkah, Tower Hill and Clearspot.
NEVHGC members may take guests to the launch for sightseeing and paragliding purposes.
Will this impact tourism?
The underlying indicators don’t suggest an overall negative impact on tourism. Shuttle patronage in September was at a seasonal high, with 280 customers already choosing to pay for the shuttle service on the weekend of 28-29 September and ACP has been receiving inquiries about how to purchase tickets this summer. Importantly, Mystic Park remains free to ride and walk in, and the Rotary Pines area adjacent Pioneer Park is being developed as a family-friendly bike precinct that will be popular with tourists.
Bike tourism to the region is up 28% in the year, and that’s in line with a 30% increase in overnight stays in the Alpine Shire in that time. Since 2016, overnight stays in the Alpine Shire have increased by 54%, from 369,000 to 568,000 in 2018. Meanwhile, day trips over the same period have increased 98% from 185,000 to 367,000.
The ability to ride the broad range and quality of gravity trails Mystic provides does not exist for free elsewhere in Victoria and Mystic is moving to a similar model common in gravity bike parks in which patrons pay for uplifts. While we do anticipate an adjustment in how tourists plan their trip to Mystic, indicators suggest they will continue to be attracted to the new and high-quality trails that we will be able to deliver in the future due to our underlying financial stability. In essence, the ability to invest and improve our park will make it an even bigger tourist attraction.
Alpine Community Plantation (ACP) is a not-for-profit organisation that is responsible for overseeing recreational activities – such as mountain biking – that take place within the private pine plantation estate of HVP Plantations. In 2013, HVP permitted the formalisation of mountain bike trails at Mystic on condition that the community would oversee the safe management of the area. To do this, ACP was formed as an independent not-for-profit with a volunteer board comprising representatives of Alpine Shire Council, HVP Plantations, Alpine Cycling Club, North East Victoria Hang Gliding Club (NEVHGC), and the Bright & District Chamber of Commerce. The organisation has a part-time Executive Officer to conduct daily operations. ACP is licenced by HVP to act in the position as recreational land manager to oversee risk management.
ACP works with the park’s key user groups – the Alpine Cycling Club and NEVHGC. The Alpine Cycling Club is responsible for maintaining the trail network at Mystic, however, ACP takes responsibility for high-cost maintenance, such as major machine maintenance on non-club-built trails that attract large volumes of riders, such as Hero and Shred Kelly’s Last Stand.