Wānaka is just one of those places that has a lot going for it. Kind of like the popular kid in school who’s smart, down to earth, genuinely a nice person, and extremely good-looking. Needless to say, we’re pretty chuffed to call this place home, and we want to share some of the mountain biking must-hits while you’re in town.
From long windy gravel tracks to gnarly technical features hidden in the hills, there is no shortage of epic pedal-powered things to do here.
The Hikuwai Loop is a 9km intermediate track that loops through native manuka along the Clutha River. It’s a single track, best done in a clockwise direction and has some jaw-dropping views of Wānaka’s northern landscapes. It’s not particularly technical, but does include the odd wooden structures over fences and uphill pinches – just to keep you on your toes.
Deans Bank is fast, flowing single-track loop for beginner to intermediate mountain bikers partnered with some breathtaking views of the Clutha River and the Southern Apls. This crowd-pleasing track takes around an hour to complete… Unless you decide to picnic along the way at one of the many Instagram-worthy picnic spots.
There’s enough tight corners, berms and banks to appeal to intermediate riders, all with easy regression options for those who are new to mountain biking. It’s the perfect feel-good ride to book end a busy day with your friends and fam.
This is where Wānaka turns up the heat with a great network of mountain bike tracks for intermediate to advanced riders.
With over 20 single tracks to choose from, all woven within a majestic pine forest, Sticky is designed to be enjoyed by riders who like things a little spicy. From the technical switchbacks of Stumpy and Yumpts, to the beautiful berms of Venus, there’s something to get you going in this forest of treasures.
Sticky Forest also connects with the Hikuwai Loop track to make for a great half-day of mountain biking and sightseeing.
Millenium Track: A stunning riding and walking multi-trail along the cliff edges of Lake Wanaka. Starting at Waterfall Creek and ending up in Glendhu Bay, this undulating gravel track is spotted with pristine beaches, natives, and epic views. As this is a popular multi-track it’s important to be mindful of its non-pedal-powered users like Te Araoa Hikers, kids, and dogs.
The Millenium Track is around 15 km each way.
Hawea River Track: It’s safe to assume that anything done outdoors in this town is going to be S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G. The Hawea River track is no exception. Living up to its name, this user-friendly gravel track follows along the Hawea River between Hawea and the Albert Town swing bridge. This track is great for beginners as there is little elevation and no major features to navigate along the way. Be sure to check out the iconic Hawea Wave on your way! Wānaka’s purpose-built river break for all those avid surfers – who said you can’t have it all?
The Hawea River Track is around 10 km each way.
Upper Clutha: Ride for a couple of hours or a couple of days on this classic, easy-going trail network starting at the Albert Town Bridge and spanning across central Otago. Cut off at the Luggate Red Bridge and loop back toward town on the Newcastle trail for the perfect afternoon loop. Autumn is a particularly pretty time to do it with all of the deciduous poplar trees. Don’t forget to bring a book to read on the trail-side hammocks and your swimmers for a dip at one of the many swimming holes along the way!
The Upper Clutha – Newcastle Loop is around 30 km return.
Lismore Jump Park
The newly restored Lismore Jump Park is a dirt-jumping dream, packed with jumps of all sizes to make for easy progression. Well-maintained by the local community of riders, as well as the legends at Bike Wanaka, Lismore Jump Park should be your first port-of-call for smooth dirt tabletops, wooden features and fast, technical trails.
Gunn Road Skills Park
A small network of kid-friendly pump tracks and flow lines in Albert Town that were freshly upgraded in 2022.23 thanks to Bike Wanaka. The Gunn Road Skills Park connects onto the Hikuwai Loop and then Sticky Forest if you and the youngins’ are really feeling energized. Located next to the Clutha-River and suitable for all ages, it’s a great spot for a family day out.
Hawea Skills Park
Another small, kid-friendly community park that’s packed with jump lines, flow lines, jump progressions, and a small pump track. Slightly more technical than the Gunn Road Park, with more options for progression as young riders start to feel more confident. Super popular with the locals and a great place to get some practice in.
Cardrona Alpine Resort is home to New Zealand’s highest mountain bike park. Just a short drive from Queenstown or Wanaka and sporting some of the highest and longest descents in New Zealand. With rugged, rocky, and exposed terrain, Cardrona is a competent rider’s dream. Visit the iconic Cardrona Hotel on your way down for a pint and some pub food to really tick off some kiwi classics while you’re in town.
Check out their rental fleet, lift passes and what else is on offer here.
We saved the best for last. Nestled amongst the tranquil waters of Glendhu Bay and Mount Aspiring National Park, Bike Glendhu was born to be shared by riders of all skill levels with over 40 km of (mostly) pedal-powered rides.
Newbies can develop their skills on introductory loops. XC bikers race each other on the ups and test themselves on the dynamic downs. Enduro fiends are heard whopping from the Summit and the downhillers tear up berms and huck whips off our tabletops.
A truly all-level bike park on one of the most pristine pieces of land of the planet (we’re not biased at all). Pop into our on-site apres cafe, Velo Cafe & Beer Garden and chillax at Base 334 for a full day of epic fun with family and friends.
Come on over to our bookings page to book a bike, Can-Am, or choose from an array of pass options.
For more mountain biking insights, pop over to our blog to learn about progression tips, stretching, performance and more.