PTR: Naseby Forest
Central Otago is renowned for its mountain biking. With oodles of trail, it has built a solid reputation as one of the country’s must-do mountain biking destinations. Tucked away in the foothills of the Mount Ida range, the Naseby Forest trails are a hidden gem in a region of mountain biking jewels. Just a short detour off the highway, add this to the itinerary if passing through the region. It’s a worthwhile inclusion if you’re in the area for the Otago Central rail trail or happen to be kicking about and in need of a singletrack fix. The trails have a very distinct feel thanks to being contained within a forest. This is a pleasant change as most of the other trails in the region are quite exposed to the elements. The entire trail system is built the old fashioned way, with hand tools by a small group of very passionate local riders. They have personality that is missing from the bigger machine built trails - they vary in width, there are roots and off camber lines that are fun because they are different. Liken it to the quirky uncle at the family gathering, fun in a slightly off kilter way. Being located in a working forest, trail builders work closely with forestry to reroute, add or close trails to accommodate the areas that are due to be felled. The trails range from easy routes along aqueducts, to steep lines with committing entries and exits. Naseby itself is a cool little town as well – somewhere plenty of people have a holiday home. The local pub does a good meal, and is a great place to warm up after a ride in the cooler months of the year.
Naseby is situated eight kilometres off State HWY85, a two-hour car journey east from Queenstown. Once in Naseby the trails are accessed from the end of Earne Street in the centre of town.
Pine forest vibes that are reminiscent of the older trails in Majura Pines, Canberra. There is lots of rolling terrain with fun corners, short technical descents, some roots and some rocks - all with multiple lines to make the area beginner friendly. Add speed into the mix and the trails take on a life that will keep more advanced riders engaged, tightening up the corners and creating cool gaps over the rises and roots. Not to be missed is the Sandpit trail, the oldest standing section and quintessential to the Naseby Forest experience. This section is absolutely dialled, using the natural fall of the land. It playfully uses all the drainages converting it into a natural rollercoaster that you ride all the way back into town.