CASE STUDY: Tara & Steve Howell
When the Derby tin mine finally closed in 1948, the town’s population dropped from 3,000 to 173. The town’s resurgence didn’t come quickly. Bringing Derby back to life though mountain biking wasn’t the easiest pitch or the simplest project. But in 2015, when the Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails quietly opened to the public, none of the founders boasted they were the best tracks in the world. The riders said it.
Tara and Steve Howell were among those riders, escaping their corporate jobs to bike and eat and drink Tasmanian every weekend. Still in their twenties, they decided to quit those jobs and marry the trails to a gourmet tourism experience. “We were proposing luxury adventure mountain biking when everyone thought mountain biking was for grubby middle-aged men who liked pub meals,” says Tara.
What did industry professionals say? “This. Won’t. Work.”
The Howells didn’t give up, and in the end their dream became a reality. Now, when Tara’s guests smell sassafras on the trail and sip Tasmanian wine on the deck, or lie back in their pod looking up at the stars after an amazing day of riding, they understand there is a better – more Tasmanian – way to spend their leisure time.
“At some point they turn around and say, ‘Hey, this is what life is about.’”