Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • NZ South Island – Trail centres.
  • Dekerf853

    Hi all, four of us are spending 4 weeks in NZ South Island in March/April and looking for recommendations.

    Either super-scenic ‘Blue’ trails to do with the other halves.
    Or something a bit more challenging for us chaps on our own.

    What are the trails that we shouldn’t miss?



    Craigieburn, towards the north of the South island is a stunning place to ride, perhaps not the easiest trails or climbs but the trails are great if you dont mind pushing yourself.

    Deans bank near Wanaka is quite an easy blueish run from what i can remember.

    Queenstown also worth a visit. Salmon run is one of my standout trails of NZ along with Cheeseman DH in Craigieburn. Go on youtube and you can see what all the trails are like.

    Make sure you get a pie from the service stations, one of the things NZ is famous for, good pies.


    Not a trail centre but you could do the queen charlotte trail. Don’t have to do it all as there are plenty water taxis back to Picton, if you only have one or 2 days.

    Scenery is amazing and track isn’t too technical. It is a walking track but you use to be able to cycle along it at certain times of the year except in the summer (this was 18 years ago, so may have changed)


    Nelson – loads of great trails around
    Kaiteriteri – smallish trail centre 2 min ride from the beach
    St Arnaud’s – a couple of quite technical trails if you happen to be passing through
    Cragieburn – good trails, big climbs though.
    Hamner Springs – a few trails here, less technical, possibly some nice easy scenic ones too.
    Dunedin – signal hill. Some really good trails here. There’s a long green to the top where there is certainly a good view.
    Wanaka – Stickey forest. Also plenty of scenic stuff around the lake
    Queenstown – bike park obviously,also 7 mile too. Again plenty of scenic routes, like to Arrowtown.
    Cardrona – worth at least days visit,
    Te Anau – Scenic routes along the lake. There’s a few short trails at Perenuka just outside of town.

    Spent three months bikepacking NZ, last year,
    some South Island faves were Wanaka, the Hawea river trail
    to Albert town, and the fabulous Deans bank, flowy buff
    trails amazing views.Hamner Springs, one for the boys
    St James Track, you need a landrover 50 min drive to the
    start,local guy, then a proper out there wilderness 60k bike trail
    epic! , big climb, big descent,Dunn Mountain trail at Nelson.
    Queenstown, Rude Rock, just dont cycle to the top from Queenstown
    as i did, its a fooking long climb! some great xc stuff and cyclepaths
    around Queenstown to keep everyone happy.There are hundreds of miles
    of cyclepaths, routes on old railway lines all over which we used to
    bikepak around, so you wont be short of options, enjoy.

    Premier Icon steveh

    I’m currently touring around nz for 2 months for the third time. They don’t really have trail centres the way the Uk does but most of the mtb trails are purpose made for bikes.

    The South Island has lots of great spots. Nelson, Queenstown, Christchurch are probably the biggest centres but there are lots of other places with trails. Trailforks is a great resource in nz and shows most trails and grades etc.

    Craigieburn is my favourite place to ride in nz but there is nothing easy and nothing else in the area really, no shops even for food etc so it’s not an easy spot to visit.

    Premier Icon kiwijohn

    Wairoa Gorge.
    Google it.


    That’s some great information, thanks all, can’t wait now!

    Premier Icon stevious

    This was a work in progress when I was out there:


    Not sure if it would fit into your plans, but everyone I know whos’ done it said it’s incredible.


    Make sure you get a pie from the service stations, one of the things NZ is famous for, good pies.

    hmmmm, NZ Steak and Cheese pie…so good!

    I second the gorge… The second time I’ve seen a helicopter evac, Barney was a nice ropie.

    Roxborough/Clyde/Alexandra has some fantastic scenery riding available. Lots of stuff available on trailforks.

    Nelson was my favourite mtb destination of my entire trip and you could easily spend at least a week there and never ride the same trail. Not that it only has volume, I’d happily spend an entire week at the same spot ;).

    You can get Jimmy’s pies from the south island too!

    Let us not forget…


    > Wairoa Gorge.

    ^ This. One of the best places to ride on the planet.

    If you’re after an overnighter, the new Paparoa track is due to open 1st March – bookings essential though:


    Folks, going to need to hire bikes as well, do many of these places have decent bike rental?


    Premier Icon kiwijohn

    You can rent a Nomad in Nelson.


    there’s a brilliant little area to the east of wanaka, on the shores of wanaka lake, great swoopy, rolly trails, labelled as black but more like uk reds


    Bike rental is available everywhere in NZ – it’s also cheaper and easier than the UK. Show up to one of the numerous bike rental places, £40-50 and usually about 5 mins later you’ve a decent bike for the day.

    The difficulty of the trails is a bit inflated here.

    Harvey – you thinking of sticky woods?


    > do many of these places have decent bike rental

    As kiwijohn says, Gravity Nelson have a nice shiny Santa Cruz rentals.

    Plenty of choice in Queenstown: Vertigo Bikes sorted me out a few years ago.

    Christchurch Bike Park will also do you a bike for the day, and you can pedal out to Victoria Park from there too.

    Not quite so much choice elsewhere. If you’re thinking about more than a few days riding, consider bringing your own bikes out.

    > there’s a brilliant little area to the east of wanaka, on the shores of wanaka lake

    Sticky Forest:

    Premier Icon arogers

    I’d be a bit wary of the advice to just show up to a bike rental place on the day and expect a nice bike to be waiting. That’s probably fine if you’re medium sized and in Queenstown or Rotorua but less so places like Nelson or Christchurch.

    Gravity Nelson advertise having Santa Cruz bikes but I don’t think they actually rent them out anymore. I learned this the hard way a couple of months ago when I specifically booked a SC to ride for a day, mainly because I wanted to demo a SC, but was given a Transition with brakes that didn’t work and two flat tires instead..

    I’d second the advice to consider bringing your own bikes. Yes, you can rent something like a Giant Reign/Trance in Queenstown for £50 a day, but places like Gravity Nelson charge £80 per day. If you want to rent a Santa Cruz from Vertigo in Queenstown then you’re looking at £125/day. Then factor in that if you want to ride places like Craigieburn or Wairoa Gorge then you’re 1-2 hours drive from the nearest rental place, and they’ll only let you have the bike between 8am and 4pm. It quickly becomes a logistical PITA…

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