Girl Shreds: Best Bike Trails in Wanaka

By Mons Royale

Wanaka is an excellent place to ride a mountain bike

Whether you’re looking for a gentle roll in incredible scenery, keen to put some kilometres behind you or some air under your wheels. So where should YOU ride?

The Lakeside Tracks – For Scenic Cruisers

Warm up your legs or shake off the night before, by cruising these scenic lakeside tracks. It’s easy to create a loop starting from the café life of Wanaka’s lakefront taking in Beacon Point, the beautiful Outlet Track and returning for a coffee via Mount Iron. These trails are well surfaced with very little climbing required. Take care on the Outlet Track as you’ll be sharing that particular trail with walkers and joggers. Alternatively take an out-and-back ride along the spectacular Millennium Track past the instafamous #thatwanakatree to Glendhu Bay. Incredible views abound but you’ll need to keep your eyes on the trail – at certain points it hugs tight to the cliffs above a precipitous drop to the blue water of the lake below. 

Millennium Track:  12.7km  

Deans Bank and the Hikuwai Loop – For Flow Queens

A perfectly sculpted ribbon of single track starts and ends at the Albert Town Campground. After climbing a short series of switchbacks this trail flows across open country and through forest before a sweet descent to the river Clutha. Take in the stunning views up Lake Wanaka before a short climb leads to a return leg packed with high speed berms and a couple of fun, but not mandatory jumps. Finish with a dip in the river, or a leap from the Albert Town bridge.

Deans Bank Track:  11.2km 

On the opposite bank, the Hikuwai Loop is another single track loop that wInds its way through native bush and wilding pines between the Outlet Holiday Park and Albert Town. Accessible from either end of the loop, this is a rootier, more natural feeling trail than the groomed perfection of Deans Bank.

Hikuwai Loop:  9.1km

Sticky Forest – For Single Track Sisters

Hidden in the pine plantation above the Peninsula Bay subdivision are the trails of Sticky Forest. A vast amount of hand built single track has been lovingly cut into these woods, yet the network remains easy to navigate and your ride can be as long or short as you like. For a great introduction to the network, start from the car park at Forest Heights and climb up Hoe Down. Then take in the roots and turns of Venus which pops you out at Venus Landing. Follow the switchbacks of Cranking Fine back to the top (there’s a bench on the way with a killer view over the lake – perfect to get your breath back. Then race your mate through the parallel berms and whoops of 4G. The aptly named Chairlift (don’t get excited, it’s still a trail) takes you back to the top of the ridge. After that, try Dizzy Turns or take Summit to the very top and take in the steeper, rootier delights of Yumpts or Stumpy. Feel like getting a little air? Kooza features a series of progressively larger jumps as a warm-up to the bigger gaps of GBH and the send-fest of Pedal or Die.

 Sticky Forest: 1-20 kms

Cardrona Bike Park – For Big Vert Junkies

The winter wonderland of Cardrona Alpine Resort transforms to a playground of bike trails during summer. Accessed via chairlift and shuttle bus, Cardrona Bike Park  offers everything from sculpted berms and flow trails to gnarly rock-fests including the downhill course for the New Zealand Nationals. Offering descents of up to 1200 vertical metres from the summit of the White Star Chairlift to the famous Cardrona Pub, Cardrona bike park offers truly alpine riding. Fit some new brakes pads and cut loose. Cardrona Bike Park also features a café dishing up a gourmet menu, great coffee and local craft beers. Even better, you can stay on the mountain in comfort in one of Cardrona’s high alpine apartments  and be first out on the trails in the morning! Riders and non-riders alike will love the mountain carts (think luging on steroids!). 

Thanks to Mons Royale for the story - A local Merino clothing brand. Perfect to wear for biking! 

Download the Wanaka Track App to help you choose the best track for your fitness and experience level.