Top five mountain bike rides in Wanaka

Wanaka has one of the most extensive track networks in New Zealand with over 750kms of trails to explore. From scenic lakeside and riverside rides, to high-country enduro adventures, through to a lift-accessed bike park and heli-biking.

Download the Wanaka Tracks app or Trailforks to help you choose the best track for you. Available on Apple and Android. 

The Millennium / Glendhu Bay Track

This ride is best started with a coffee at one of the great Wanaka lakefront cafes. Once fueled up, follow the flat, wide track along lake shore, past the famous Wanaka Tree and Rippon Vineyard until you reach Waterfall Creek, known for lovely views across to Ruby Island. From here the Glendhu Bay track continues along the shoreline and becomes more hilly, including some short, steep sections which can be easily walked. There are some beautiful, secluded beaches along the way, which are perfect for a picnic or swim in the summer with stunning views up to Mt Aspiring.

Follow the track all the way to Glendhu Bay campground (ice creams available from the camp store in summer).

From Glendhu Bay, return via the same track back to Wanaka, or alternatively you can ride back along the road which takes 30-45mins. If you want to keep biking, then try the Minaret Burn Track at the end of the West Wanaka Road. 

Locals Tip: Stop at Rippon Vineyard’s cellar door on your way back to try some great local wines or try one of the fantastic scones at Edgewater which are baked to order (be sure to order them ahead of time).

 

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Spinning around on Christmas Day....lovely little afternoon ride out on the Glendhu Bay Track yo earn the pigs in blankets!!!

A post shared by James Palmer (@jepalmer100) on Dec 25, 2017 at 12:11pm PST

The Upper Clutha & Hawea River Tracks

These riverside trails that follow the Clutha and Hawea River are a local favourite. Take the Newcastle Track from Albert Town for 12km to Red Bridge, and call in at the historic Luggate Pub for lunch before returning via the Upper Clutha River track to Albert Town (16km) for a great loop ride. An alternative and easier ride, ideal for families or beginners, is the 10km trail following the Hawea River from Albert town to Lake Hawea which can then connect with a variety of other trails to make a longer trip. The Hawea Store & Kitchen is a great place to stop for refreshments or an ice cream.

To ride from central Wanaka to Albert Town, take the easy lakefront trails past Eely Point and Bremner Bay to the Outlet Track and then follow the river to the Albert Town Bridge. This adds approx 10kms of flat, easy riding (one way) and passes some great swimming spots for the summer.

Locals Tip: Take the new track to Hook for a bite to eat and a well earned drink at the end of your ride - it branches off near Pawson's Bridge on the Upper Clutha Track. If you're heading to Lake Hawea then be sure to stop at Hawea Store and Kitchen.

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Sticky Forest & Hikuwai Tracks

A 10-minute bike ride from the centre of Wanaka is Sticky Forest. This fun single-track network has over 20 different trails, from the technical switchbacks of Stumpy and Yumpts, to the rolling berms of Venus, and Crankin' Fine's legendary uphill switchbacks. The cross-country-esque Hikuwai Loop makes a great extension to Sticky Forest, with both bike areas offering expertly designed trails to be enjoyed by intermediate riders and pros alike. 

Locals Tip: Tucked away in Northlake is Monkey Farm with a great outdoor area for a cold drink and snacks after your ride.

Dean's Bank

Deans Bank is a purpose built 11km loop of fast, flowing single track on the river terrace above the Clutha River. This fun cross-country track starts at the Albert Town campground and takes you to the Lake Wanaka outlet, before doubling back through the forest, offering amazing views of the Southern Alps and waters of the Clutha River. The fast, flowing track includes some superb sections of banks and berms and is ideally suited to intermediate and advanced riders.

Locals Tip: To fuel up before or after your ride head into Double Black Cafe or Pembroke Patisserie in Albert Town. The cakes and coffee are next level!

Cardrona Bike Park

The Cardrona Valley, just south of Wanaka, offers some of the most spectacular high-country mountain biking in New Zealand and includes chairlift accessed downhill biking at Cardrona Bike Park.

Open from early December until late April, the Cardrona Bike Park features a variety of chairlift-accessed downhill & cross-country mountain bike trails with spectacular mountain views. Lap the lifts daily from 10am-4pm & from 4-8pm on Friday nights. It’s also well worth trading two wheels for three and taking the awesome mountain carts for a spin. The three-wheeled carts with front suspension and disc-brakes offer gravity-fueled fun for all the family!

Locals Tip: It's hard to beat a cold beer and snacks sitting in the garden bar at the Cardrona Hotel but if you can't wait then try the cafes up on the hill at Cardrona.

Bike Glendhu

Newly constructed by trail building pros, Bike Glendhu is the latest gem in Wanaka's crown of mountain biking. As they say, 'it turns out Mother Nature was a mountain biker too', this trail network was dug into the hillside of a high-country station and the land seems just made for it. The terrain is glorious, the trails; an incredible mix of fast flow and challenging tech and the location; classic New Zealand beauty. Choose between pedal-powered shredding, public or private shuttles - whatever helps you get your day's worth!

Locals Tip: After a long day at Bike Glendhu, hit up Wanaka's newest brewery B. Social by B. Effect - no doubt you'll see other bikes parked up there was well after a day on the trails!