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To help you choose the track that’s just right for you, we’ve put together a curated list. Families, cruisers, serious hikers and mountain bikers, we’ve got you covered.

You can also download the  “Wānaka Tracks App” walking and biking guide (on Apple and Android).

Family-friendly tracks

The track from town around to Eely Point, Bremner Bay and Beacon Point is ideal for the kids. It’s flat and short (about 5 km) and there are plenty of lovely beaches to stop for swims on the way.

The Gladstone Track (6.5km one way) located at Lake Hāwea is another family friendly option with plenty of opportunities for swims along the way to Johns Creek. There are a few hills to negotiate but they are short and easy to walk or ride up.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge then try the track to Lake Hāwea along the Hāwea River Track. It’s 12km one way and has a few gentle hills but is wide and well formed.

Locals Tip: When you’ve all had enough head to Hāwea Store & Kitchen or the Lake Hāwea Hotel at Lake Hāwea to relax and have a snack before you head back to town

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Scenic lakeside tracks

Starting from town head to Stoney Creek, past #thatwanakatree and along the Waterfall Creek Track, which is flat and gives you plenty of time to admire the views out to Ruby Island. For more of a challenge, take the track from Waterfall Creek and continue on to the Glendhu Bay Track (15km one way). There are several short, steep climbs as well as some exposed sections so a level of expertise is required on this track if you are riding, and it’s not recommended for young or inexperienced bikers. Return the same way or if riding you can head home along the road. For a longer ride you could continue on to West Wānaka and ride the Minaret Burn Track as well.

The Minaret Burn Track starts at the end of the West Wānaka Road and has stunning lake views towards town as well over Mou Waho Island. Apart from a short, steep section at the start the rest of the track to Colquhoun’s Beach is on a 4WD track.

Locals tip: Enjoy a wine and the scenery at Rippon Vineyard accessed from the Waterfall Creek Track. Cool off with a swim before heading back to town or arrange for a boat to come and pick you up.

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MTB loop tracks

Perhaps one of the most well-known is Deans Bank Track – a fast, flowing single track loop for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers. The track weaves its way through tussock, with great views of the Clutha River and Southern Alps. It starts and finishes at the Albert Town Camping Ground beside the Upper Clutha River.

On the other side of the Clutha river is Hikuwai Loop, a 9km one-way circuit above the Outlet Track. The track is not particularly technical, but there are some wooden bridges over fences and little bit of single track to negotiate, so it’s best for intermediate riders.

For a longer, more challenging ride, locals combine two tracks with a little bit of road to make a nice 26km circuit which starts and finishes at Albert Town. Start at the Hawea Swing Bridge and ride down the Newcastle Track (12km), at the end of this track you will need to ride a short distance on the road across the Red Bridge to the start of the Upper Clutha River Track (14km).

Locals tip: Finish your ride in Albert Town and stop for a coffee and refreshments at Pembroke Patisserie or Double Black Café.

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Bike parks

Bike Glendhu is Wānaka’s newest bike park and it is a gem. Quick, poppy and intuitive, Bike Glendhu’s 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).

Cardrona Bike Park has trails for all levels and is NZ’s highest bike park offering the ultimate alpine mountain biking experience for everyone. Cardrona Bike Park is serviced by a 4-seater express chairlift so you can lap all day without interruption.

Insider tips: Stay overnight at Cardrona Alpine Apartments for first access to the lift in the morning. And don’t forget to check out one of our four craft breweries.

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Casey Brown biking Glendhu, photo by Callum Wood

Overnight trips

Experience a classic Kiwi backcountry hut.

The easiest access to a hut is from Raspberry Creek to Aspiring Hut (DOC). This 10km track has a gradual up-hill gradient to the hut with only one steep rocky section and takes a little over an hour if riding and two hours if walking. The Aspiring Hut is well positioned to do some day great walks or just sit back, relax and admire the views.

Note: mountain biking beyond the hut in Mt Aspiring National Park is not permitted.

The Pisa Range also offers a number of tracks of varying difficulty and has a range of huts to choose from. One of the most popular is up Tuhoys Gulley to the iconic Meg Hut (DOC). From the Snow Farm base building, tracks lead to Meadow and Bob Lee Huts (managed by Snow Farm) and the Kirtle Burn and Deep Creek Huts (managed by DOC). The views from the top of the Pisa Range are phenomenal and worth the effort. Several tracks lead down off the Pisa Range and finish near Cromwell and in the Kawarau Gorge. For more information contact DOC.

Make sure you follow the 5 simple rules of the outdoor safety code.

Locals tip: Be sure to book ahead for your bunk as some huts are very popular.

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Remember when riding your bike please wear a helmet, respect other users and give way to walkers. Check out more information on MTB and walking tracks around Wānaka and remember you can also download our Wānaka Tracks app (available from Apple Store & Google Play). The Wānaka Tracks App will help you decide which track is the best one for you.

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