One of the main reason for visiting New Zealand stems from the rumor that they have a dense network of bike trails across the country.
It turns out this is no rumor and once we started biking, it soon became real that it was going to be quite a task to ride all the trails that came up in trail books and apres bike beer sessions.
We spent the majority of 3 months travelling the North Island venturing from bike park to bike park to backcountry trail, and ended in Wellington before the rain and cold temps began to settle in. Every place we visited to bike was so different in terms of trails and the way we went about doing vanlife in the community.
Wellington was easily the biggest city we had visited. After being in many small centers in the North, the big city traffic was not sitting well with us. It was loud, it was busy, the streets were chaotic to maneuver, and vanlife brought us some new challenges.
With all the big city shenanigans also presented a very extensive trail network amongst the many different suburbs surrounding the city. While here, we were able to ride 5 different areas within the 5 days visiting. While living for a majority of the summer in Rotorua, I met through my travels a Welly local, Mike Robertson who gave me the key to the world of biking around Wellington. I had also met another local while in Wellington, Bevan, who not only gave me tips, but guided me around some of the local network.
1. Makara Peak: Amazing up track and great views the whole way up. The down tracks were fitting for intermediate to expert riders. The terrain was quite rocky and entirely different in this aspect from the rest of the Norths trails. On reference from Mike I rode the local goods; North Face, Trickle Falls (Super gnarly DH track – Hold on!), and Live Wires.
2. Waiu Park: Definitely felt like we had to work to get up the mountain, but some amazing down tracks. After one day here, we knew we had to come back and do another. The trail system is relatively dense here and there are some amazing trails from beginner to expert. A must do is Freewheel as it offers some amazing views of the Wellington area, as well as some amazing rocky downhill. After Freewheel on the way down, Beeline is a great trail for those confident with steeps and rocks. There was also an optional new jump line built into the track. The second day I rode Spoonhill, which is quite a gnarly root and rock filled bumpy ride. The lady opted for a new and freshly groomed flow trail, Down Labrynth, which wasn’t even on the trail map yet and her reviews were quite highly recommended.
3. Wrights Hill: A hill in the middle of the city that you can drive right to the trail head. The trail, Deliverance is rated black and a fast trail one with some narrow sections. Being approximately 8 minutes of DH riding, this shuttle friendly trail should not be missed!
4. Belmont: A bike park that is in the process of rebuilding, as the majority of the trails were apart of a recent logging operation. This is the sad inevitability for most of the trail networks in New Zealand. The trails are slowly coming back to life out there. They built an amazing uptrack, 4 degrees, that will eventually access the many trails to come. We opted for the down track, Borderline, as suggested by Bevan. It’s a steeper, flowy, and mostly clay-rich trail that should be ridden with caution under wet conditions.
5. Victoria Mtn: Last, but not least! Victoria Mtn is primarily a sightseeing point for tourists. With a local it unveils a network of illegal trails going every which way down the mountain. The trails primarily are not marked very good and don’t always have ratings. It’s mostly steep, and you should expect to find debris all over the tracks. Some awesome old school trails!
Check out this first person view of the trails in WELLINGTON!
Posted by Mitch