The Big Chook is one of the trails making up the Weldborough section of the Blue Derby Network. It follows the old Blue Tier Descent route up from Weldborough for the first 3kms and then turns off and what follows is one of the most awesome sections of trail in Tasmania.
The easiest way to ride this route is as noted in the trail notes below. You can however combine this ride with a longer ride up the Blue Tier Descent (with more new trails coming soon). You can also arrange shuttles with VertigoMTB (see resources on this page for link) allowing you to combine both the Big Chook and Atlas into a single days riding without all the hassle of the climbing.
If you really, really want to avoid the 3km climb up big chook (and it is a lovely climb so I don't know why you'd want too) you could try and get someone to drop you at the top of Frome road and you can come in the back way (but it's a long detour, still quite a climb, and it would be quicker to just ride up).
Weldborough is about 120kms east of Launceston via Scottsdale (22kms east of Derby) on the A3 highway towards St Helens. It’s about a two hour drive (those roads are winding).
From Hobart, you have the option of coming up the East Coast via St Helens, but going this way it’s closer to 300kms and a four hour drive. If coming up from Hobart you may hear about a secret 'shortcut' from Fingal over the Mathina Plains Road to Ringarooma, but trust me, it's hard and dusty driving to save around 10 minutes from a nearly 2 hour drive.
Either park near the pub on Emu Road on the St Helens side of the pub or drive down this gravel road for about a kilometre and park near the gate where the actual off route section starts at a sharp right hand corner (now well signed for the Big Chook ride).
Weldborough Pub does great meals and even better ciders and beers. They've also got a great map of the area on their wall. Camping their is pretty cheap (and it's a great place to base yourself), or you can get a reasonable room. There is not however any mobile reception or internet at Weldborough (you'll have to drive up one of the hills to get a few bars if you;re desperate)
WARNINGSMobile coverage is patchy in this area.
Starting from Weldborough, follow the gravel road towards the North. About a kilometre along the road, look out for the Blue Derby branded 'Big Chook" sign on the left side of the road just as the road turns around to the right, go around the gate near this sign and continue along the track crossing a new bridge.
Over the next 3km you’ll climb about 250 metres in altitude as you follow an old trail up through lovely forest. The trail is quite pleasant now and the climb will be manageable by most fit riders.
At the top of this climb you will see the signed turn off on your right onto the Big Chook single trail descent. Turn down here and follow the trail as it descends back down (OK, there are a few flat bits and a tiny bit more climbing near the top) to Emu Road. You'll emerge about 50 metres further up the road from where you originally turned off.
The total circuit is around 8.5kms.