With the sunny weather providing inspiration, we thought it was time to put together a post for mountainbikers visiting Christchurch.
One of the best pieces of news for experienced riders is that the new Christchurch Adventure Park opened on December 15, 2016 - full of trails and with chairlifts to take riders back to the top again with their bikes.
The park is already getting rave reviews - for the bike trails, zipline tours and the cafe and bar facilities (which are great as a viewing platform even if you don't want to get involved in the action yourself!) UPDATE - unfortunately, the park suffered badly in the Port Hills fires and is currently closed while work is done throughout the park, with the intention of re-opening in time for Summer 2017/18.
1. Bottle Lake Plantation
Perhaps the best known tracks on the flat are through this mature forest of pinus radiata. Tracks for all grades of riders, and we recommend you stick to daylight hours or else take a headlamp as well as one on your bike if you are possibly heading into the twilight. It gets dark in this forest super fast.
You are close to the beach here, so you can join the coastal track near Spencer Park, which gives some nice variety out of the trees. (Note: If you are sensitive to pollen, you might want to check seasonal conditions before choosing this track option.)
Most riders start from the carpark off Waitikiri Drive, but you can also enter the plantation from Bower Avenue or Spencer Park.
2. Tutaepatu Trail
Located just beyond the new township of Pegasus, north of Woodend, Tutaepatu Lagoon is part of the Tuhaitara Coastal Park. The park includes a mixed use cycle and walking trail that runs along the coast. You can view the aerial map of the Park and surrounds here.
This is a 5 kilometre all-weather walking and cycling trail running between Woodend Beach Road and Kiwi Avenue Waikuku. It can also be accessed from Tiritirimoana Drive, Pegasus Town. The trail has a viewing platform over the lagoon to view the many species of waterfowl and forest bird species and a seated area with views north to Maukatere Mount Grey.
3. Port Hills - Rapaki to Castle Rock
Any mountainbike track that heads along the city's Port Hills is pretty guaranteed to have great views across the Canterbuy Plains towards the Southern Alps, and this ride is no exception. From the car park at the top of Rapaki Track, the Summit Rd heading east is closed to cars. This road is used by runners, horse riders and farm vehicles as well as cyclists, so make sure you keep to the left - normal NZ road rules apply.
Ride around the barrier and along the road that climbs gently eastward before steepening a little to the saddle between Castle Rock and the Tors, the perfect place to stop and enjoy the view while you catch your breath. On a clear day, you can see across the plains to the Alps, and Tapuae-o-Uenuku in the Inland Kaikouras, to the north.
From the saddle, coast eastwards to the top of the Bridle Path, where you can see across Lyttelton Harbour to Quail Island and Mt Herbert. This 3.5km ride takes about 30 minutes.
From the top of the Bridle Path, head back along the Summit Rd to the Rapaki car park. You can bike down either side of the Bridle Path but it is very steep and rough, and loose in places, requiring good brakes. Be prepared to walk your bike in places.
If you are feeling adventurous, there's also a single intermediate grade track purpose-built for mountainbiking, narrow and rocky, which runs just below Summit Rd from the Castle Rock saddle to the top of the Bridle Path.
4. Port Hills - Sign of the Kiwi/Marley Hill Track
Park at the Sign of the Kiwi and bike about 2km south-west along Summit Road to Worsleys Road. The start is about 300 metres on the right and is signposted. A 400 metre climb up a 4WD track before connecting to a single use track on your right signposted ‘Flying Nun’.
The track more than likely gets its name for the amount of twists and turns on the downhill run and if you are able to look, the views of the Canterbury Plains and Lyttelton Harbour are spectacular on a clear day.
The track has alternate routes to make it even more exhilarating adding large berm corners and jumps, however you can take the easier lines beside the jumps. The track is designed as a downhill track and there are a couple of boulder/bedrock sections and wooden platforms which require you to watch your speed in order to navigate safely. The distance is about 2.3km and the trade grade is 3.
5. McLeans Island Track
McLeans Island is a popular area to the Northwest of Christchurch, not far from Christchurch International Airport and home to many different clubs and organisations, as well as some great family bike tracks. (Oh and - it's not actually an island.) You have a number of options from the 10km/ 30 minute ride around the Tresillian Loop, an extra 2km/ 8 minutes with the River Loop (which is a dirt trail and subject to flooding), and the 5km/15 minute Coringa Loop which extends your ride into a figure of 8.
For more information about McLeans Island trails and the Waimakariri River park, review the brochure provided by Environment Canterbury.
6. Kennedy's Bush Track, Halswell
Set above the Halswell Quarry (now a reserve with walks and picnic areas) this is not a manageable track for less experienced riders, offering a long ascent with gradual incline and straightforward riding. Best avoided during lambing season, August – September.
Track Distance 5.3km
Track Grade: 3
7. Useful sites for mountainbikers
If you are really keen on checking out the options and finding relevant maps and more information, the sites below will also prove useful guides.
8. Grab a bike from us!
If you're keen to do some riding but haven't brought your own bikes, check out our hire bikes during your stay at the Park. $20/$25 per half day or $30/$35 for a full day's hire.