Derby, Tasmania travel guide and things to do: Nine highlights

THE ONE RIDE

Tucked in the hills of the state's north-east and revived thanks to the establishment of the Blue Derby Trail Network in 2015, more than 30,000 mountain biking enthusiasts now come each year to what was a tin mining town. Much like a ski town, it's not just for the hard-core. While there's 125 kilometres of purpose-built tracks ranging from the very difficult (23 Stitches) to easy (Berms and Ferns) the newly opened Valley Ponds trail is the ideal starting point. The two way trail passes the fern-lined Ringarooma River, links the Derby and Branxholm communities and makes for a relaxed and family-friendly ride. See ridebluederby.com.au

THE ONE STEAM

Sauna, Derby, Tasmania. Mandatory credit Anj Blair.

Photo: Anj Blair

The centuries-old ritual of a sauna then a plunge into cold water has made its way to Derby with the country's first floating sauna on the town lake - Briseis Hole. A sauna master guides the experience which includes 10 minutes of dry heat starting at 60 degrees, then some steam and then a dive into the refreshing water. Non-riders also seek out the exhilarating experience so book ahead. See floatingsauna.com.au

THE ONE LOAF

Three years ago chef Luke Clarke swapped the kitchens of high-end properties from Laos and Lizard Island for baking, biking and work-life balance. On the off-grid property he shares with partner and Montreal native Catherine Irving, Clarke rises at 5am to bring Nancy, the wood-fired oven to temperature before baking sourdough loaves, cinnamon scrolls and rosemary focaccia. Order ahead and double the amount. See facebook.com/derbybreadshed

THE ONE STAY

A place where Scout camp and supreme comfort intersect, Dales of Derby is a vision realised by the owners, long time campers in the area, keen for a place that would cater to larger groups. Designed by Philip M Dingemanse Architecture and winner of the 2019 Barry McNeill Award for Sustainable Architecture, an airy walkway leads off to bunk rooms and private pods and beds with hotel-quality linen. There's purpose built storage for bikes, a commercial quality kitchen and communal dining and lounge to comfortably accommodate 24 people. Set on the banks of the Ringarooma River, the property is a five minute walk to town. See dalesofderby.com.au

THE ONE PUB

A day exploring is best finished at The Dorset, either inside the 1920s building or under the sprawling oak in the beer garden. Located in the main street, friendly staff serve local brews on tap including Willie Smith and Boags and generous meals like Spring Bay mussels and Pyengana scotch fillet. Like all food and drink venues, The Dorset is located on Main Street. See dorsethotel.com.au

THE ONE CAFE

It's not the only decent cafe in town, but Two Doors Down serves ready to go sandwiches, fresh pastries and house-made quiches. Real fruit smoothies of local berries and natural yoghurt will provide more than enough fuel to get you up the hill. For pizza, head a little further along the street to The Hub. See thehubderby.com.au

THE ONE MUSEUM

The town's past is captured in the original 1800s schoolhouse. From a 1929 mining disaster when a dam wall burst killing 14 people to a 1944 Derby Wood Chopping challenge with 100 pounds prize money and an afternoon tea of saveloy and sweets, the museum is a comprehensive snapshot. While Derby's population peaked at 3000 and more than 1000 Chinese miners lived in camps just outside town, before mountain biking, that population is thought to have once dwindled to just 40 people. See visitnortherntasmania.com.au

THE ONE SIDETRIP

A 40 minute drive among rolling green hills takes you to Pyengana Dairy to watch cheesemakers cut curds and whey behind glass in a tradition that dates to the 1880s in this valley. While guests enjoy farmers' lunches of local ham and relish alongside the renowned cheddar, maturing wheels in traditional cheese cloth are stored in the cave-like facility underneath. See pyenganadairy.com.au

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THE ONE ATTRACTION

Little Blue Lake, just metres off the B82 between Derby and Gladstone, is a natural phenomenon resulting from the pioneering mining days of South Mount Cameron and the surrounding areas of the Far North East of Tasmania. Originally a mine hole, the lake reflects a vivid aqua blue from the minerals in its base. Now popular with locals for waterskiing, swimming is, nevertheless, not recommended due to the high mineral content in the water. tra27derby

Photo: Melissa Findley

It's worth the 20-minute drive to the turquoise Little Blue Lake, another byproduct of the state's mining era. The vivid colour is a result of the white clay exposed in tin mining reflecting the blue of the sky. This was a working mine as recently as the 1980s, but today the only thing to do is admire the colour of the lake with water that is too toxic to swim in and reflect on the hard labour of tin mining with hand-operated sluices in the 1880s. Ask locals for directions before setting off. See visitnortherntasmania.com.au

ONE MORE THING

Before tackling the trails, mountain biking novices will do well to invest in a lesson with an expert rider such as Loz Stranger. In just over 90 minutes our group, ranging in age from 11 to 50 was bunny hopping over rocks and navigating berms (a banked turn) with a semblance of control and confidence. See rideomountainbiking.com

Jane Reddy stayed with the assistance of Dales of Derby. See discovertasmania.com.au

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