Tag Archives: NZ mountain biking

Waitangi Mountain Bike Park new trails

We were lucky enough to ride at the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park soon after it opened at the end of 2016 so imagine my delight when I saw that Zone 3 was open, which must have added about 10 more new rides. We happened to be heading up to Paihia for a big family catch up with my in-laws ( with all of those Aunties to babysit surely I could get out for a kid-free ride with my husband ) so the timing was perfect.

And so it was that after arriving on a Saturday afternoon and catching up with the rellies, we mentioned that we might pop out for a ride the next morning while our kids played with their cousins. Love it when a plan comes together and we were at the bike park brigh and early the next morning and it was awesome to see the mountain bike car park overflowing.

Even though Cyclone Cook had passed through a little over a week earlier, the trails were in great shape. I think this is a testament to the dedicated volunteers who had been out during the week clearing the tracks and laying gravel on the tracks in some sticky places.

To start off we rode up Hua Link and Taanes Climb to get to the high ground and after sharing cycling adventures with some American tourists we headed off to check out the new trails in Zone 3. First up was Magic Carpet, nice and flowy and an awesome downhill. We then rode Te Rangi Hononga back up to the top of the next mountain. There are lots of options from here with about 6 downhill tracks to choose from. We decided a long ride was in order so did Waaraki which was another great flowing track. So pumped with this ride so we decided another climb was in order to do it again. We took On The Up and Taanes Climb back up to the top at which point we thought we have better head back home to catch up with the family. So we blasted for home going down Ruarangi which reminded me of the awesome Kaiteriteri trails. All in all an awesome 20km loop.

The next day after a full on morning of fun at Adventure World with the kids, (a park for climbing, swinging, sliding, trapeze acrobatics and lots of bombing onto airbags) we were tempted to have a relaxing afternoon, but that mountain bike park was calling our name so we decided to head up with the kids for a ‘little ride’.

We did a 12 km loop with the kids taking in some of the new tracks we hadn’t done the previous day, even managing to climb Te Raawhiti which is a killer near the top.

The weather was better the second day and as the sun sunk low in the sky, the views out over the Bay Of Islands were magic. Every trail on the hill seems to offer views in different directions from Opua to Cape Brett.

The mountain bike park now offers more than enough rides to keep us all entertained whenever we are in the area and I think we will make an effort to be in the area more because of the mountain bike park.

Read about the first time we rode at Waitangi and other rides in the area.

Shout out to the sponsors:

Waitangi Mountain Bike Park, Northland, New Zealand
Waitangi Mountain Bike Park, Northland, New Zealand

Queenstown cycle trails

There is lots to do in Queenstown and lots to spend your money on, especially when you factor kids in as well. Thankfully once you have invested in your bike gear mountain biking is a relatively low cost activity.

So with four days to spend ( as little money as possible ) in Queenstown we decided to mountain bike. There are lots of different options depending on your need for speed and again how much money you want to spend. There is the Skyline Gondala tracks, a mountain bike park at 7 Mile Bay and a range of trail rides between Queenstown, Arrowtown & Gibston Valley Winery.

The team at Round the Basin Bike Tours were super helpful and as we were riding with the kids and wanted it to be a fun experience for them (and us) we decided to ride out to the Kawerau Bungy Jumping bridge, about 25km from Queenstown. We booked the pickup and hoped for fine weather the next day.

The day dawned bright and sunny , we probably would have ridden in the rain but is always nice to enjoy the views in the sunshine. We drove out to Frankton and parked there to cut a few kilometers off the trail for the kids and avoid having to cross roads etc getting out of town. Where we joined the trail gave us stunning views of the Remarkables for the adults and adorable Shetland Ponies for the kids. In fact the kids had so much fun patting the Shetland ponies and I was enjoying the views so much it was hard to get started.

As luck would have it the views continued to deliver along the trails but the only other wildlife we saw were rabbits. Wow, I knew they were a problem in the South Island but it felt like they were taking over as they sat in fields not concerned at all by our passing.

Anyhow back to the trail; the track is very well made and mostly downhill with three relatively small hills to climb. There was a bit of bike pushing for the kids, well make that bike pushing for the adults but nothing too major.

Some highlights from the part of the trail that we rode include; riding over the old restored Shotover river bridge, riding through farmland alongside Kawerau River and watching the jetboats go past and the Arrow River suspension bridge (it’s a long way down to the river ).

The views along this trail are simply stunning from mountains to rivers and amazing bridges. And if there wasn’t enough adrenalin on the trail you could always book in a bungee jump from the Kawerau Bridge. We just chose to watch but still a great end to an awesome ride.

Top tips

When we did the ride the distance wasn’t marked and after about what we hoped was half way we did feel like we were rushing to meet our pickup. As my very wise Aunt later told us – its always less stressful to be dropped off and ride ( or walk ) back to your car if possible.

If wineries are your thing you could carry on riding down river to the winery for a late lunch.

Waitangi Mountain Bike Park

Waitangi Mountain Bike Park where have you been all my life! My husband’s parents retired to Paihia about 15 years ago so it’s fair to say we have spent a few holidays in Pahia but sadly not had any where to ride. Apart from that time we bought our bikes and rode the forestry tracks which just isn’t that exciting. So it was with great excitement that we heard that Waitangi was getting its very own mountain bike park.

We were heading further North for part of our Northland adventure and sadly didn’t get a chance to ride our bikes anywhere in the Far North, so when we arrived in Waitangi I would have gone straight to the bike park. Lucky my husband is the voice of reason and pointed out it was a little hot so we decided to go first thing next morning…the day after New Year’s and we stayed in a campground. Lucky we love mountain biking tired or not ( notice I don’t mention hungover – we are too old for that )

So after a stop for coffee on the way and another read of the trail maps we were in to it. The trails we rode in on started off a little bumpy and stony, and unfortunately my daughter took a tumble. Lucky she is tough like her mother and got back on her bike or it could have been a very short ride indeed. We headed up Taane’s climb which was a relatively easy climb. Was a great view from the top and then a lovely flowing ride down Kiwi Flow.

As the park is quite new there are limited rides at this stage so it was up Taane’s climb again, only this time we didn’t go all the way to the top and rode down Kaokao Chaos.
All in all a great addition to the Bay of Islands. We thoroughly enjoyed our ride and can’t wait for future development of the park.

Top tips

It’s very dusty when the clay is dry so glasses would be handy.

It’s further out of town than we realised so we are pleased we didn’t ride out like we had thought we might.

At the moment the only way to pay is for a yearly pass which at $25 we figure is a good investment into further trail development and a reason to visit the in-laws.

And a shout out to the sponsors:

Waitangi Mountain Bike Park, Northland, New Zealand
Waitangi Mountain Bike Park, Northland, New Zealand

Twin Coast Trail, Opua to Kawakawa

We had ridden the Opua to ‘the bridge’ section of the Twin Coast Trails once before but we had heard the bridge was open for the summer so we were excited to be able ride over the bridge and make it to Kawakawa for a coffee.

It was predicted to be a 29 degree day so we set out early, OK early-ish we are on holiday after all. Opua harbour was looking stunning as we drove to the start of the ride. The carpark for the bike ride already had a few cars in which was good to see.

The tide was in and we were pretty much instantly treated to lovely views of the Kawakawa River. The ride is on gravel that has been put down over old train tracks and is relatively flat and an easy ride. When we are riding other trails with the children we stop to give them a rest every so often but the only reason we were stopping was to enjoy the stunning views.

Usually from the Opua end you can only get to the bridge before Kawakawa ( just short of a coffee stop ) but over the Summer period ( of 2017 ) the council has got the bridge to a safe standard for people and their bikes. Thanks Far North District Council!

Not only does this ride have a bridge, its got a tunnel as well. Just short enough that you can easily see all the way through.

Usually I don’t enjoy riding over bridges ( think Timber Trail suspension bridges and the Old Coach Rd viaduct ) but I really enjoyed riding over this one. Maybe it was the thrill of knowing that its only open for a short period of time.

From there it was a short ride to Kawakawa for a coffee and a refuel for the kids and as an added bonus we go to see the steam train going through town and coming back again. If you haven’t checked out the Hundertwasser Toilets they are well worth a visit as well.

The return ride was just as enjoyable and an easy 11km return ( we rode 22km in total ) without so many stops for photos.

Top tips

This is a great ride to do with kids or are enjoying holiday mode a little too much.

As we were leaving there were people about to do the rides with e-bikes.

Check if the bridge is open. We found out the bridge was open on the Bay of Island VIntage Railway website and at that stage it was open until the 8th of February 2017.