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Top 7 Must-Ride NZ Mountain Bike Parks

There’s no place like home. And we love nothing more than a sunny day on the tracks at Bike Glendhu, with a gentle lake breeze at our backs and stunning views over Wanaka, Aspiring Valley and the Motatapu River over our handlebars.

But BG is just one of many mountain bike parks that put New Zealand at the top of any international mountain biker’s riding bucket list. Here are a few of our favourites.

 

Whakarewarewa Forest (AKA The Redwoods)

Location: Rotorua, North Island

Access: Shuttle

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Just down the road from where Crankworx Rotorua hosts most of their festival events is the Whakarewarewa Forest, colloquially known as The Redwoods. Arguably one of the best known places to ride in New Zealand, the Redwoods are a loamy, volcanic soil playground set right on the edge of Rotorua. As the oldest MTB network in NZ, the Redwoods have aged like a fine wine with a massive range of trail types and difficulty set across a whopping 180km of track. Named for the omnipresence of towering Redwood giants, the forest is vast and shaded, featuring varying degrees of topography as well as epic scenery. An MTB trip to NZ is simple incomplete without a couple days tearing up the Whakarewarewa Forest.

The Wairoa Gorge

Location: Nelson, South Island

Access: Shuttle

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Moving to the South Island, The Gorge (as it’s more affectionately known) in Nelson is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Suitable for intermediate-to-expert riders, the Gorge is a bit of “bike park meets backcountry riding”. Accessible only by shuttle, the Gorge features 70km of trails, grade 2-5, vertically descending up to an incredible 1,000m. After all that, you’ll no doubt need a little cooling off at the natural swimming hole nearby.

Middle Hill MTB

Location: Kaikoura, South Island

Access: Shuttle

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Much like Bike Glendhu, Middle Hill MTB is situated on a high country station, however this one is home to a few thousand merino sheep, as well as 25km of MTB trails. Facing out towards the Pacific Ocean, Middle Hill MTB is where mountains meet the sea and it is absolutely stunning.

Middle Hill was ironically only made possible by the 2016 earthquake that famously hit this region. Due to years of roadworks and repairs, the park owners were able to secure a catering contract to feed the construction workers over that time. The profits of which went towards developing the park! This little gem is an absolute must-ride, but remember that forward bookings are essential!

Christchurch Adventure Park

Location: Christchurch, South Island

Access: Chairlift

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Talk about a multi-sport day: if you hit Christchurch at juuuust the right time of year, you could pack mountain biking, skiing and surfing all into one epic day!

Tucked into the Port Hills of Christchurch, Christchurch Adventure Park (or “CAP”) boasts NZ’s first and longest (1.8km) purpose-built MTB chairlift, giving riders access to 44 trails set on 358 hectares of privately-owned land. Rounded out with a village area for socialising, shopping, rentals, coaching and food & beverage, CAP truly has a bit of everything for everyone.

Queenstown Bike Park

Location: Queenstown, South Island

Access: Gondola

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The votes are in and the Queenstown Lakes Area is a must-visit for anyone hitting New Zealand on an MTB trip. Our final three selects are all within 1.5 hours of each other, representing a sort of “MTB corridor” through the Southern Alps.

First up, the Queenstown Bike Park, summer home to many elite Northern Hemisphere riders during the wintery months back home. As the first NZ bike park to make use of gondi access (via Skyline Gondola), the Queenstown Bike Park features some absolutely insane trails with next level views of Lake Whakatipu and the surrounding mountains. But don’t get too caught up staring, on this trail network, you have to keep your mind constantly engaged as you work your down world-famous jump lines and gnarly tech trails. And if you somehow get bored of the 30 trails accessible via gondi, try climbing up past the park to hit local favourites like Beached As, Squid Run and Salmon Run.

Cardrona Bike Park

Location: Cardrona, South Island

Access: Chairlift

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From Queenstown Bike Park, make your way over the Crown Range to head up Cardrona Bike Park, New Zealand’s highest mountain bike park. With alpine riding comes exposure, but the trail crew at Cardrona have managed to build a little something for every rider. With 21 trails that range from green to black, massive views of Cardrona Valley and the mountains, as well as rentals, food & beverage options, coaching and workshop, “Cardies” is perfect for the whole biking family.

Don’t forget to check out the Peak-To-Pub, a 10km trail with 1,270m of vertical descent down to the historic Cardrona Hotel on the valley floor. After over 30 minutes of descent, you’ll be well ready for bevy and some delicious fried chicken!

Bike Glendhu

Location: Wanaka, South Island

Access: Pedal & shuttle

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And that brings us right back home to Bike Glendhu. Just a ten minute drive from Wanaka to the shores of Glendhu Bay, Bike Glendhu was built on a portion of Glendhu Station, with the intent to share this beautiful place with riders from all over the globe. With over 39km of trail (and counting!) and a wide range of riding options to suit all skill levels, Bike Glendhu is the perfect place to discover a passion for MTBing or just to find a new favourite place to do it.

At Base 334, you can find our shop, ticketing, shuttle pick-up, workshop, coaching and cafe as well as our relaxing beer garden, complete with a sandbox and swing for the kids. We also welcome leashed dogs to the garden area!

To learn more about Bike Glendhu, visit our socials on Instagram or Facebook. Or make it easy on yourself and just continue browsing this website! We can’t wait for you to experience mountain biking in New Zealand, be it here or at any of the parks listed.

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