Hitting the trails

Olympian Kashi Leuchs shares his favourite Wanaka mountain bike rides.

High above Lake Wanaka. Kashi Leuchs rides YETI bikes: www.yeti.co.nz.

The Outlet Track to Albert Town was one of the first tracks in Wanaka to be opened up to mountain bikers and call me patriotic, but in my opinion it is one of the most enjoyable little mountain bike rides in world. Only problem is that these days it can be busy with walkers, which means you require some patience. If this is not your virtue, then luckily there is a good supply of lovely new trails in and around Wanaka for all levels of riders.

Without a doubt the most stunning views will be found on the Millennium trail heading from Wanaka to Glendhu Bay. This track is smooth and zig zags up the hills to make for a reasonably gentle ride. Each corner opens up a new stunning view to marvel at. When you reach the end, jump into the bay then head back the way you rode!

For those with a desire to pedal further, there are now some great cycle paths connecting the Outlet Track with Luggate and Lake Hawea as well. These tracks are very smooth and technically easy, but great to work on the endurance.

Are you a more hard-core rider looking for some technical trails to satisfy your adrenalin addiction? I know just the places for you! The best-known is Sticky Forest, just a few minutes ride from the centre of town. This is a small hill with a maze of trails that all interconnect. It’s a lot of fun with plenty of playful tracks full of berms and jumps.  The only drawback is that the descents in Sticky Forest just seem to go by too quickly.

For bona fide downhillers, there is only one option: head to Snow Park, up the Cardrona Valley. You will need to have a driver to shuttle you, and the DH track will push the limits of the best downhillers. This infamous track has hosted many national cups and super-star riders in international MTB films such as Follow Me.

Finally, there is Dean’s Bank. This great new trail built by the Wanaka MTB Club is definitely the new ‘must do’ trail in town. It flows beautifully, berm after berm along the river, parallel to the Outlet Track, but on the other side. It loops back again, creating a fantastic circuit that would be achievable by most people in under one hour.

With all these outstanding trails, there is no excuse not to get on your bike and ride when you are in Wanaka. So get out there and enjoy it!


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