For a small island country floating in the vast South Pacific, New Zealand packs a punch, a big punch. Think of squeezing the landscapes of the United States into the state of Oregon: glaciated peaks, steaming volcanoes, rolling green hills, sweeping beaches, wide-open plains, perfect lakes, rushing rivers, deep fjords and lush rainforests; this is New Zealand. And the people are amazing, straight up pumped on life and super passionate about riding mountain bikes. I'd had the pleasure of traveling and working in New Zealand in years past and when it came time to develop a New Zealand trip for Big Mountain Adventures
I knew that it had to be a one that if you were to go to NZ once in your lifetime, this would be the trip. Without hesitation I called my friend Dan McMullan, owner of FreerideNZ
and the planning began. The result is a 12-day road trip starting in Queenstown and ending in Auckland, and in-between lies a whole lot of singletrack, a helicopter, a boat, hot springs, some venison, spear fishing, a few local characters and a few cold beers. This is a two-part photo-essay from this epic road trip. Welcome to Aotearoa...the land of the long white cloud.
Photos Pure Pixel NZ
& Chris Winter.
Bikes packed on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown. Time to hit the road.
Helicopter drop on the summit of Mount Burke, a 4000 ft. descent and a short XC pedal straight to the Lookout Lodge for cold beer.
Seattle-based Andres Ruiz getting a taste of the scenery. Not bad.
Mid-heli drop descent stop to catch our breath and take in the sights.
That's right, postcard views. This is the view from our digs near Wanaka.
Trail riding in dusty semi-arid Alexandra where fragrant sage infuses the air.
The trusty van pulling into Lake Ohau. A few key scenes from Lord of the Rings were filmed in this area. Beauty place.
Robbie Davidson with the hammer down high above spectacular Lake Ohau. Go Robbie go!
When an old car and singletrack converge it gets all artsy.
Sometimes it's nice to just go fast!
Rider and farmer Tom Rowley showing the group his prized Merino wool. Tom's farm has over 100 years experience.
Andrew Knott doing what he loves on the slopes of Mount Hutt.
Most of the forest in the South Island was set ablaze by the Maori while hunting the now extinct Moa bird. In some places the forest has returned to its former glory.
Did you know that New Zealand ranks 19th in the world for beer consumption? Not bad. The Czech Republic blows everyone else out of the water.
Guide, hunter and architect of good living, Dan McMullan riding awesome Craigieburn singletrack.
The spectacular beach in Kaikoura on the northern east-coast of the South Island. A nice spot to chill.
From the ocean to your plate in a few hours. Fresh. Dinnertime.
After eating an award-winning pie in Springfield the crew met up with local mountain bike guide, Cantabrian Scott Walker.
Another great ride before hopping back in the van and continuing the journey north.
Stay tuned for part II of this road trip. Next instalment: the North Island. For more information on this trip click here.