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Short but sweet experience in Wanaka (NZ)

ae93gti's picture

By ae93gti - Posted on 12 January 2011

Spent 3 nights in Wanaka last week (missed the Rodeo 2nd Jan, was pouring with rain) and while I really didn't think I could fit any mtbing in, I managed to wangle a couple of unexpected hours on Tues 4th.

Kids splashing about in the lake, wife and I walking along the shops about 4pm and what do I see on the door of Racers Edge? A ride notice, MTB ride tonight 6 - 8pm that night (there were other rides other nights, at least one road ride) meet out front.

Had a quick chat with Lucy there, she said her hubby Hamish would be taking it that night, no cost, just a cruise round some of the local trails. Lucy told me to hop next door (part of the same shop) to see if there was a dually for hire. Sure enough, nice Giant Trance (I think, had XT and Juicy gear) all ready to rock and roll.

Usually hired out on a 1/2 or whole day basis, but Lucy thought we could do a couple of hour hire on this, sweet.

So, get back there a bit earlier as I don't have any gear with me, but managed to scrounge up all but a set of gloves, bit the bullet and bought a pair, always handy I told the wife......

So, at 6pm, meet up with a guy called Chris and Hamish and this looks to be it. By this time, I have had 2 weeks of eating and drinking in NZ with little exercise (after doing a minor hammy a few weeks before) so am a little apprehensive about fitness.

Hamish asks if we were worried about hills, before I can state my apprehension, Chris says no problems and that's that. Off up Mount Iron we go...... I had a good shot, but did have to hop off a couple of times before I revisited my lunch. Awesome views from the top, and awesome open single track for the short ride back down.
Along Aubrey Road a bit into the Hikuwai Conservation Area for some more great single track experience. We wiggle our way down towards the Clutha river and then head back towards The Plantation. The Plantation has a number of different areas including a small forest called Sticky Forest. There are all sorts of single track fun in through these bits, easy, intermediate and advanced. There is a map of the trails, but we just followed along behind Hamish and there were trails going off left right and centre. It was fantastic. I think we spent almost an hour travelling around in here. You could probably ride most of it in a day, but the stuff we did (Hamish mentioned the Hub and Venus Landing) were awesome and I would have no problem re-visiting nearly all of the trails in just the Plantation multiple times. I think it was the Venus Landing track where there were some super berms to ride through, while I'm not much good at them, there were enough in just the one run to get some sort of confidence up.

Anyway, all good things must come to an end so we headed back into town and I couldn't thank Hamish enough.

It was a blast and if you find yourself in Wanaka with a few hours, I'd highly recommend hiring a bike, grabbing a map and heading out as it's all an easy ride from town. One track I had recommended to me was Dean's Bank which is on the other side of the Clutha river.

garyinoz's picture

I spent a week in Wanaka at the end of Nov and sticky forest has a lot of great tracks, I only spent a short time in there but racked up 5hrs on the bike that day. There's an article in one of the bike mags at the moment too. I hired a Giant from the same shop too, they seem well setup but I'd have preferred to be clipped in.

craked's picture

so next time, sneak some pedals and shoes into your luggage,just in case Eye-wink

garyinoz's picture

Will next time, riding in trainers and normal pedals really put me off, hopefully I'll get back to Wanaka in the not too distant future.

ae93gti's picture

I could see that might be a bit off putting, but clearly didn't bother too much as 5 hours worth of riding proves Smiling

It's much easier for me to ride with flats as I have never ridden with clips and shoes because of this

Keen enough to go that way, but because of the build up I'd need on the right shoe, it might make walking (up steep hills and the like) quite uncomfortable, still haven't ruled it out.

I love the place (and have done since the early 80s) and since discovering MTBing a year or so ago, well, that's just made it that bit more special........ if only I could get a well paying job there......

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