Wanaka MTB Track Guide
The weather is certainly warming up here in Wanaka, New Zealand (except for that massive snow storm on Monday!) which gets you thinking about packing in the skis and dusting off the bike. What better way to explore the region than off the beaten track, peddling at a pace that suits you and the great thing about biking in Wanaka, is that it caters for all.
- If you are looking for an easy, cruisy ride, Wanaka’s got it!
- If you are looking for some excitement but without the ‘extreme’, Wanaka’s got it!
- If you are looking for some gnarly downhill tracks, Wanaka’s got it!
Yep, this region has some of the best mountain biking in the country and it is all on your doorstep. Here are some tips to help you decide where to go and what to expect.
Wanaka Township to Waterfall Creek Track
From town, you can bike around the lake edge to Waterfall Creek. Head along the western side of the lake where an easy, flat track takes you past the infamous ‘Wanaka Tree’ and Wanaka Station Park. You will also head past Edgewater Resort, a great coffee or lunch stop and then Rippon Vineyard, before finishing up at Waterfall Creek.
Wanaka Township to Beacon Point
An easy, flat ride along the lakeside from the Dinosaur Park to Beacon Point beach, passing Wanaka Yacht Club, Eely Point and Bremner Bay. There are plenty of picnic, swimming and BBQ spots as well as endless photo opportunities.
Waterfall Creek to Glendhu Bay
“From Waterfall Creek, the track follows re-vegetated terraces above Lake Wanaka with spectacular views, to a small north-facing beach – Damper Bay – ideal for swimming in the summer. This first section of the track is quite hilly with some short, steep sections. From Damper Bay the track becomes easier until you finally reach Glendhu Bay and the motor camp. Don’t miss the spectacular views of Mount Aspiring from Glendhu Bay.”
Minaret Burn Track
“This well-formed track provides easy access to beautiful beaches along Wanaka’s western shore. From Homestead Bay carpark the track gently undulates towards small, sheltered, Colquhouns Beach; a popular swimming and picnic spot.” This track passes through native forest and bush, crossing streams and offers direct access to Lake Wanaka.
Upper Clutha River Track
“This track, from Lake Wanaka Outlet to Luggate, follows along the river bank offering views of the Clutha’s emerald-green water with the odd trout lurking in its shadows. Cyclists will enjoy shade in summer and shelter from the elements in winter. A loop option is possible when combined with the Newcastle Track, located on the true left of the river.”
Meg Hut Track
A high-country hike or mountain bike to an iconic back-country hut on the Pisa Range. A reasonable level of fitness is required for this track but you will be rewarded with the views and the feeling of isolation amongst the mountains.
“The Hikuwai Track is made up of two tracks which join onto each other to make about a 7-8 km circuit depending on where you finish the track. They are generally done in a clockwise direction and the easiest place to find it is either just above the car park at the up-river end of the Outlet Track or off Aubrey Road approx 1km east of Outlet Road. An intermediate single track that is not particularly technical but with some wooden structures over fences and uphill pinches. Follow the Hikuwai Loop markers at ground level.”
“A fantastic one-way cross-country mountain bike loop track. The flowing single-track weaves its way through typical Otago landscape featuring matagouri and tussock with great views of the Clutha River and the Southern Alps. A selection of banks, berms and tight corners appeal to intermediate mountain bikers, with easier riding options around rocks and other technical obstacles. All of the climbs are well-constructed switchbacks with nice flowing downhill sections.”
FUN (for all abilities)
When Cardrona shut their doors for the winter they open them up again for the summer. With numerous tracks all accessed by chairlifts, this has to be one of the most fun days out you will have on a bike. All levels are catered for in this biking playground with some of the longest vertical descents in the country.
Sticky Forest is a network of tracks from beginner to advanced. If you are looking for something fun and challenging, download the trail map and follow the green (beginner), blue (intermediate) or black (advanced) runs. With heaps of tracks and plenty of Gap Jumps and Table Tops, you will never get bored.