The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and the fall colours (or autumn as we say here in New Zealand) are everywhere you look. Across the country people are beginning to think about hanging up their bikes for the winter months ahead, so naturally we decide to go riding. What better time to explore new destinations than when the trails are quiet? Sam Blenkinsop, Conor Macfarlane, Elmo Cotter and I set out to discover the lesser known siblings of the famous New Zealand riding Mecca, Queenstown.
Our first destination was Queenstown’s little brother, Wanaka. Situated just a one hour drive over the a visually stunning Crown Range, Wanaka, like Queenstown, is positioned on the lake front, and is framed by rugged mountains. Unlike its bigger brother, Wanaka is smaller and has a much more chilled vibe to it, however with its growing popularity, I’m not sure that reputation will last.
We arrived in Wanaka following a string of perfect warm sunny days, only to be confronted by low cloud and high winds. Not ideal if you’re flying to the top of a mountain to try and shoot pictures on it. But with a tight scheduling window, we had to make the most of it and push on. First off we needed to get access to our desired ride; the Isthmus/Mt Burke trail. The logical choice was to recruit some local knowledge, which appeared in the form of Dan from Wanaka Bike Tours. Dan arranged a first-class express ticket to the top of the mountain, and even entrusted us with one of his top guides, John.
www.newzealand.comwww.monsroyale.comWanaka mountain biking trails.
|You know... If we built it up a little more, I could send it even further... - Elmo Cotter|