Winter is just around the corner, and with it’s arrival the sun is soon to set on your two-wheel excursions. But before you park your bike in its shed, consider the bounty of a backcountry adventure most people never get to experience.

Against a backdrop of remote high country wilderness, Wanaka Trail Ride 2017 is fast looming as the last good ride for a while, says trail director Grant Cagney.

“After Anzac weekend it starts to freeze up or get wet if you’re in the lower country, so it’s the last real ride of the season around here.”


Backcountry Bounty

High and exposed in places, Wanaka Trail Ride ride offers some great scenery over Deep Creek, Long Gully and Lindis Peak Stations. “A lot of people never get that opportunity to see out back of a high country farm,” says Grant, a veteran rider who has overseen all three editions of Wanaka Trail Ride.

“On the bike is a great way to get to that country without having to have a huge walk,” he says. “You’ve got the freedom of being able to ride out there on your own and have a look.”

But be sure to bring a warm jacket. Some riders from more coastal areas of the country may be surprised with how cold it gets at the top of these remote Central Otago trails.


A Trail for Every Rider

The Wanaka Trail Ride is an all-abilities trail bike ride. The tracks include family, intermediate, advanced and expert trails, as well as a pee-wee track.

With more than a hundred kilometres of trail, it’s a big ride with a trail for every rider, Grant says. While much of the trail will be familiar to returning riders, those prepared to tackle a tougher ride can expect some new territory. “The main family loops and intermediate loops will remain the same, but the advanced trail will feature some new terrain.”

In its first two editions, Wanaka Trail Ride has already been a hit with a broad cross-section of the riding community.

“It’s interesting to watch the different types. You see the families, girls and boys, mums and the dads.”

“You get your young, keen types. They often give it heaps, go out early, ride quite hard for a couple of hours. They’re often done by lunchtime, I think they’re probably worn out.”

“You see lots of families who are just ticking along quite quietly.”

Heading off in different directions at a pace to suit the individual rider, the groups are well spread out, Grant says. “Even with 700 riders it’s not that busy. There’s enough trail so it doesn’t get too cluttered.”

Laying Down the Challenge

Among the fantastic feedback Wanaka Trail Ride has received for its two previous events, it’s a bit of a sticking point that some of last year’s riders say they missed the challenge they were looking for.

Keen to set the record straight, Wanaka Trail Ride organisers are urging all riders to study the trail maps to avoid overlooking some of the more challenging loops. “We’ve got John Melville who’s really good at going out and finding the challenging tracks,” says Grant.

“There’s one ride that goes right from the bottom to the top and it’s not really a track. It involves riding through rock and scrub and it’s pretty challenging. I don’t think ten bikes got to the top of it last year.”

“There’s not many people who could ride the whole track more than once,” Grant says. “A friend of mine who is a fast rider rode every trail and had to really push to be able to ride all of the track in one day.”

“If you can ride all of the available track in one day, you’re pretty good.”

But if you’re thinking of giving your kids their first experience of the intermediate or advanced loops, Grant recommends riding the trail yourself first especially if you’re unsure of their ability.

“The intermediate loops are quite big and if you get them up there, it’s a long, rough climb to the top and if they can’t handle it, you can’t go backwards.”


Wanaka Trail Ride, 23rd April 2017 – Pre-register Today to Save Money and Time on the Day!

We’re just two weeks out from our 2017 trail ride so here’s a further reminder for you to pre-register online to take advantage of our discounted entry fees.

Click on the link to take you straight to our registration page, easy as!

Need another reason to pre-register?

Here’s one:

  • Ride price on the day is $65 (adult) and $20 (child) excluding lunch, or $80 (adult) and $34 (child) including lunch (burger, drink and chocolate bar).
  • But, pre-register online today and pay for your ride with lunch for only $65 (adult) and $20 (child). Save !$$!

Here’s another:

  • If you pre-register, you automatically are entered our prize pool for some great giveaways!

And another:

  • All pre-registered riders have the opportunity to pick up their registration packs from Wanaka Primary School between 4 to 7 pm on Saturday 22nd April.
  • How good would it be to just turn up Sunday morning, jump on your bike and be ready to head out the gates on the go!


  • If you can’t pick up your registration pack on the Saturday, your pack will be pre-labelled for easy collection on the day at the separate fast-track registration tent set up beside the base paddock.

The cut-off for pre-registrations is Wednesday 19 April so get in now to pre-register.

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