Trail shredders, pedal pushers and brake burners unite! Summer is here and we all know what that means – putting the rubber to the dirt and riding for as long as the sun shines (or in some cases, donning headlamps to continue ripping into the night). And with the addition of the new Bike Glendhu park, Wānaka is now home to an arsenal of riding options, fit for any dirt palate.
Allow us to offer you an hors d’oeuvres – because whether you prefer to pedal, chill on the chair or get a ride in the sky, we guarantee there’s a pedal-powered adventure to suit your taste.
This brand-spanking new park fuelled the Wānaka MTB rumour mill for months before finally opening. And it is glorious.
Riders can choose to pedal to the lower landing of Jack’s Point, the mid landing Stag’s Point or to the very tippy-top at Falcon’s Nest. Whatever kind of slog you’re in for, the trails that descend from all three are magnificent.
Quick, poppy and intuitive, these trails transport you to Canada’s West Coast where the sport was born – they just make sense. The trail builders over at Glendhu can give themselves a pat on the back; they knocked it out of the park (no pun intended).
And while we know some of you will scoff at the mere suggestion, might we recommend e-bikes for those trying to get a full day at Glendhu? Yes, we know that in some circles, that’s blasphemy. But believe us when we say… don’t knock it, until you try it. (And then go back to knocking it when you begrudgingly return to your normal bike).
In short, Bike Glendhu is a must-do for any MTB enthusiast visiting Wānaka. Beautiful trails, expansive views and maybe even a few pros around… you didn’t hear that from us though.
With two chairlifts providing a cruisey uphill lift, Cardies is perfect for riders with a little bit of inner park rat. And should you choose to descend past the lifts, there’s a shuttle that will pick you up at the midway point for a quick drive back up the hill, with your bike in tow. For a real burner, the Peak to Pub trail leads riders all the way down to the Cardrona Hotel – where a cold one most certainly awaits.
With 25km of trails suitable for all levels of riders, Cardrona is a dream that lasts all day. And when you finally decide to call it, we recommend popping into The Lounge for that well-earned post-ride pizza and beer. You can thank us later.
Heli-what? Yeah, you heard us. Try going home and telling your water-cooler mates about that time you heli-biked in Wānaka. That’s a story that will chase away the Monday blues. It doesn’t get any more remote or rugged than this.
It might sound hardcore, but helibiking leaves no man (or woman!) behind. Adventures are tailored to all ability levels, whether you’re looking for a meandering ride among the mountains or a day shredding the New Zealand backcountry. Then, you can choose between taking your own faithful two-wheeled steed or opting for an e-bike (there are some punchy climbs along the way – you know, just to keep you on your toes).
Whatever you choose, we guarantee this experience is going to blow your mind. Secluded, larger-than-life and absolutely stunning, these are the mountains that you dream of when you think New Zealand. It’s a toss-up between keeping your eyes on the trails and peeping a look up to enjoy the view. (We know it’s tough, but just make sure you stop occasionally).
After the ride of your life, full-day adventurers get to settle down for a post-ride gourmet picnic lunch. Yeah, we’re serious – this isn’t the peanut-butter-sandwich-shoved-into-your-bum-bag kind of excursion.
At the end of the day, get a lift back to your accommodation and then immediately start bragging.
To book the MTB adventure of a lifetime, visit Southern Lakes Helibike’s website.
So pick your poison (or try all three) in New Zealand’s undiscovered MTB mecca.