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In December 2020, Pinkbike came to Wanaka with photographer Jay French and riders Conor Macfarlane and Brooke Thompson.

Images and words by Jay French. Adapted from a story originally published on Pinkbike.com

As a riding destination, Wānaka is rightfully claiming its place on the map. With a range of different types of riding on offer, there’s something for everyone. If it’s adventure you seek, then it’s adventure you shall have. Southern Lakes Helibike offers access to an exclusive trail you can’t ride unless you’re with them.

Catch A Lift

First off, we can’t forget that Cardrona Bike Park is lift-accessed, so you can lap to your heart’s content. The trail crew know what they’re doing and they love jumps. There’s a cafe, a bar, even a mountain cart track, which we’ll get back to. As for the riding, the Mile High jump track is a big pull. The terrain is predominately rocky, but the tracks are fun and easy to find. You can even bike down to the Cardrona Hotel if that’s what you’re into.

If for some reason, you’ve decided you’ve had enough riding for the day, they offer mountain carts. Now, this is something I’d always looked at as something you might do if you weren’t riding. After doing it, I’ve changed my mind completely. You HAVE to do it. It’s so much fun, we thought we’d do one lap just to have a go, and ended up lapping until they kicked us off.

Wanaka-Pinkbike-Cardrona-sunrise-JayFrench

Conor warms up in the Cardrona car park as the sun illuminates the sky behind him.

Wanaka-Pinkbike-rockroll-JayFrench

Brooke rides a rock slab, high up in the resort.

Wanaka-Pinkbike-big-rockroll-JayFrench

High up in the alpine we’re treated to those huge views towards the Southern Alps.

Wanaka-Pinkbike-jump-Cardrona-JayFrench

You can lap all day without having to pedal if that’s your thing.

#lovewānaka