Good news, dirt lovers one of the South Island’s best trail riding events is confirmed for 2021. The Wanaka Trail Ride is locked in for Saturday, March 27, 2021, and pre-registration will be opening soon. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s event.

We know 2020 hasn’t exactly been bursting with good news, but as we turn our backs on one of the most extraordinary years ever, we’re excited to bring you some good news (finally).

The Wanaka Trail Ride is set to run its sixth event on March 27, 2021. The location is locked in, the courses team are out setting trails, and pre-registration will be open from Monday, February 1, 2021.

Lock March 27, 2021 into your diary and start fine-tuning the bike.

riders at wanaka trail ride

Six years of Wanaka Trail Ride

We can’t wait to get back on the trails after missing 2020’s event (thanks, Covid). As always, the event is run by volunteers to raise funds for Wanaka Primary School and Montessori Children’s House, Wanaka. We couldn’t do the event without the incredible team of volunteers as well as the station owners at Deep Creek, Long Gully and Lindis Peak who so kindly open their gates to hundreds of trail riders each year.

The 2021 Course

The dedicated trails team have had the tough job of heading out on the bikes and fine-tuning the course. With over 100 kilometres of tracks, we will have something for everyone from peewees to technical single trails for advanced riders.

As in previous years, the event provides a range of courses to keep riders of all abilities happy. The family and intermediate trails are ideal for beginners, young riders or novice riders looking to move up a notch from beginner trails. The advanced and expert trails are ideal for experienced riders who want to get off the main tracks and feature single-track hill climbs, descents and trails through steep tussock country.

A peewee track for junior riders will run throughout the day, giving the grommets a chance to have a go under supervision from a parent.

junior riders wanaka trail ride

Here’s how the tracks are shaping up

> Family trail – approximately 15 kms of trails. You can combine this with the intermediate trail, approximately 45kms.

> Intermediate trail – approximately 20 – 45kms in total. At the top station (halfway) you can choose to continue on or loop back to the family trail.

> Advanced and expert trail – approximately 35kms in total, consisting of 7 trails approximately 5kms each.

Wanaka Trail Ride 2021: What’s new, what’s the same?

As in previous years, we’re keeping the focus on creating a family-friendly event where young riders have the chance to cut their teeth, and expert riders can enjoy challenging single trails. On exclusive backcountry terrain, riders have options ranging from fun green runs for family riding to intermediate and advanced runs, as well as our enduro-style expert trails. Find out more about the trails here.

The big change this year is no side-by-side vehicles will be allowed to enter the event.

This means no Can-Am style vehicles. With so many young riders, the speeds that side-by-side vehicles are able to reach potentially becomes a safety issue. As in previous years, quad bikes are allowed to enter the Wanaka Trail Ride.

wanaka trail ride bike rider

Continuing to support our community

Your support of the Wanaka Trail Ride goes directly to fundraising for Wanaka Primary School and Montessori Children’s House, Wanaka. Over $140,000 has been raised over the last five years, enabling the two schools to improve facilities and access wonderful new learning resources. We’re thrilled to have Tarras School back on board who will be taking care of parking on the day and helping to raise funds for their school. We are continuing to acknowledge this as an ANZAC event, so $1 from every entry is donated to the local RSA.


The Wanaka Trail Ride event is a 100% volunteer-driven event and has been a part of the Wanaka community since 2015. It is thanks to the commitment of over 100 passionate volunteers that an event like this is possible. Parents, trail riders and friends come along to donate their time and energy to their local community.

In a nutshell, this is a great event to support, and we welcome you to join up and become a volunteer.

Some roles require technical riding skills but others require no knowledge of trail rides whatsoever! If you can help out with baking, registration, catering, track marking and signage, bike marshalling or comms we’d love to hear from you. If you have a family member riding on the day, spending some time helping out as a volunteer is a great way to meet new friends and pass the time.

peewee riders

Here’s what you need to know for the 6th annual Wanaka Trail Ride

This year, the Wanaka Trail Ride will be open to motorbikes and quad bikes, no side-by-side vehicles.

Online registrations open: February 1 2021.

Rider packs available for anyone who has pre-registered online: March 26th 2021, Wanaka Primary School

Register at Wanaka Primary School: You can also register at Wanaka Primary School 4-7 pm on Friday, March 26.

Wanaka Trail Ride: March 27 2021

Registration on the day:  Available at Base Paddock from 7:30 am, March 27.


Become a volunteer here

About Wanaka Trail Ride

Once a year, the Wanaka Trail Ride has exclusive access onto private high country farmland at Deep Creek, Long Gully and Lindis Peak Stations for spectacular all-abilities trail riding. The event caters to all levels of riders, and all funds go back to our community. Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date for our next South Island trail riding event.

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