Casey Brown rides Wanaka: Siberia Experience

Even the pros take days off. Casey Brown spent two days riding the mountain bike parks of Wanaka, but on her third day in town, it was time for an airborne adventure.

Images by Callum Wood. Adapted from a story originally published in NZ Mountain Biker.

On a three day trip to Wanaka, Casey Brown, arguably one of the best female mountain bikers in the world, rode some of Wanaka’s premier terrain at Cardrona Bike Park and Bike Glendhu. However, even the pros need a down day and on Casey’s day off, she took to the air with the Siberia Experience.

This is the third installment in a three-part blog series chronicling Casey Brown’s trip to Wanaka. On her first day here, she rode the high-alpine at Cardrona Bike Park. On her second day, she hit up the newly minted Bike Glendhu. Now, to get airborne.

Take to the skies

Casey is no stranger to heights – although usually she’s got her bike underneath her. On board a bush plane with the Siberia Experience and soaring over the Southern Alps was both a new, but familiar experience. In a way, the trip to Siberia Valley was something of a homecoming for Casey – her and her family used to live in the New Zealand bush – even the owners of Southern Alps Air knew her as little girl.

A pilot flies his bush plane over the Southern Alps in New Zealand

 Views from the plane flying with Southern Alps Air in New Zealand

Once landed, Casey s off across the valley, even wading through an ice-cold glacier fed river to make her way to the trails. Exploring the dense bush of the remote mountains, Casey and co. happened upon a lush lagoon, where they chilled and drank in the sun before heading back to the plane and flying back to Wanaka.

A bush plane parked in the Siberia Valley in New ZealandWalking across a river barefoot in the Siberia ValleyA waterfall in the Siberia Valley in New Zealand

Lunchtime

All that flying certainly works up an appetite, and nothing satisfies a hunger pang like Big Fig. With an ever-changing menu of slow-cooked meats, veggie options, salads, sauces and treats, it’s a different experience every time you visit – but always delicious.

A group of people eat lunch at Big Fig in Wanaka, New Zealand

A humble abode

The nostalgia continued as Casey and her crew settled into their accommodation for the evening; the River Ridge Private Riverside Retreat by Release Wanaka. While the plane ride that morning spoke to Casey’s Kiwi roots, this log cabin played to her Canadian heritage – the handcrafted structure was made in Canada and shipped to New Zealand where it was set up overlooking the Clutha River and the Southern Alps. With a cozy atmosphere ripe for relaxation and an expansive lawn just waiting for a BBQ crowd, the crew settled in for their last night in Wanaka, basking in the late afternoon sun.

A log cabin by Release Wanaka in New ZealandThe interior of a log cabin by Release Wanaka in New Zealand

In Wanaka, Casey discovered that there is unending choice for diverse riding, unique stays, delicious dining and epic off-bike adventures. To start planning your own MTB trip to Wanaka, click here.

And if you haven’t already, check out Casey’s days riding Cardrona Bike Park and Bike Glendhu.