I got to celebrate Australia Day by touring 25 kms of Australia's most manicured mountain bike trails at Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park.
There is lots of trail building going on here and the amount of work is staggering. I rode the 10kms to the top and felt completely fresh due to the planning that has gone into the gradient and the berms. There are lots of different trails and intersections that would give you lots of different options to link up different sessions - not like Smithfield that was more of a loop once you strung the individual trails together.
More great descents were had! A niggling complaint kept popping into my head though that this place was just too manicured and perfect... Riding here regularly would be breathtaking but like a completely waxed cha-cha it strangely leaves you feeling slightly unsatisfied. MTBK'ers like it rough and hairy goddamnit!
In saying that I did find some very slightly rougher trails towards the end of my session but still my trail bike was way over kill and an XC hard tail would of been totally comfortable. My 1 x 10 set up was completely at home here and I never actually needed some of the higher gears.
I have since read though that the the plan was always to build the green and blue (which in my opinion are really green too) trails first for the masses and to get the Atherton folk into riding and later they are going to build the black trails - so watch this space. There is massive pump track right in town and they are making it so that you can get on the trails right from the main street of town rather than currently how you drive a bit out of town and then into the bush to find the trail head.
Being up higher on the Tablelands the climate was cooler and there was a beautiful cool breeze - I felt very comfortable considering I rode from 10am to 1pm.