Wānaka Trail Ride is a family-friendly event open to everyone from the little groms on the pee wee track to expert riders up on the single tracks. There will be many riders at the event who are out having a go for the first time. We want to make sure everyone stays safe and has a whole lot of fun along the way. So, in the interests of having fun and staying safe, here is all the info on safety at Wānaka Trail Ride.

Know your skill level


Any trail bike riding involves some element of risk, and riders need to be realistic about their skill level when deciding what trails to hit. Bear in mind, there are always other factors to consider alongside how steep the terrain is – like track conditions, weather and other riders. So, before you hit Wānaka Trail Ride, make sure you’ve had a good look at the Trail Map and decided what you can and can’t do. And have a look at our FAQ page, where we explain our green, blue and black trail options.

Vehicle types allowed at Wānaka Trail Ride

Side-by-side vehicles are not permitted at Wānaka Trail Ride. We have had them in the past, but with so many young riders on the tracks, the speeds that side-by-side vehicles can reach potentially become a safety issue. As in previous years, farm-style quad bikes are allowed to enter.


This year, side-by-side vehicles are NOT permitted at Wānaka Trail Ride

This year, you can enter with:

  • Any two-wheeled motorbike/trail bike
  • Farm-style quad bike (where the passenger sits behind the driver)

This year, you cannot enter with:

  • Four-wheel, side-by-side vehicle
  • Any high-powered Polaris or RZR-style four-wheeler (even if the passenger sits behind the driver)

Spark Arrestors

You must have a spark arrestor to enter the Wānaka Trail Ride. Spark arrestors minimise the risk of fire caused by sparks from the exhaust. Make sure you’re all sorted and ready to ride on the day.

Fire Risk

We operate our trail ride on private farmland. After a hot summer, the conditions are often very dry. To protect our riders and the landowners, we strictly enforce all measures to minimise the risk of fire. All bikes must be fitted with a functioning spark arrester and all riders must be aware of the danger of laying a bike down in long grass. Additional to this, Wānaka Trail Ride is a strictly no-smoking event. All of these measures will be enforced by our volunteer marshalling team. Fire evacuation plans will be onsite during the day. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping everyone safe and respecting the environment that our landowners so generously let us use.

Safety Briefing


Another must-do before entering the Wānaka Trail Ride is to ensure you’ve done the safety briefing. A safety briefing is included in your rider pack and will also be on display at the registration tent on the day. Make sure you have met all safety requirements before entering the tracks. You can get a head start and watch the safety briefing video here.

Wanaka Trail Ride Safety Briefing Video

On the day of the event, all riders will be provided with a briefing sheet which will have our safety briefing and a copy of the trail ride map when they sign in.


If there is a problem with your bike and you have to leave it on the course, we will use our best efforts to help you retrieve it. However, some areas are only accessible by helicopter. The cost of helicopter retrieval is $250 and must be paid before your bike is recovered from the course.

And a few more things…

  • Dogs, alcohol and smoking are prohibited at the event
  • All riders must wear a helmet
  • All riders are strongly advised to wear full protective armour/outerwear and footwear
  • Safety information will be clearly signposted at the entrance to each track
  • Please BRING CASH to purchase food and drinks, no EFTPOS available

peewee-rider-wanaka-trail-rideWānaka Trail Ride is now in its seventh year, and we are proud of our safety record. While we do everything we can to set up a safety framework for the event, ultimately, it is the rider’s responsibility to adhere to Wānaka Trail Ride’s safety and riding rules and ensure that all equipment is in good working order.

If you have any questions or concerns about safety at Wānaka Trail Ride, please get in touch with our team, we’re happy to help. We’ll see you there.

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