New Zealand’s South Is­land won’t be shown up by the bike parks of the North Is­land. Ni­cole Grimm-He­witt went from North to south and back again to find some epic trails in wild ter­rain.

Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents - Words And PICS By Ni­cole Grimm-he­witt

It’s no se­cret that New Zealand is an adventure play­ground. And for moun­tain bik­ers it’s pretty much Nir­vana. The fact that it’s only a 3hr flight from the east coast of Australia makes it even more ap­peal­ing! The big­gest dilemma is whether to do the North or South Is­land. Ei­ther way, you’re a win­ner… With 12 days to spare my hus­band and I chose to em­bark upon a mission to ride what we thought were the best trails on the South Is­land. Given a time re­straint and a de­sire to take our own bikes, we thought mo­tor hom­ing it was our best op­tion. With New Zealand’s *Free­dom Camp­ing pol­icy, this meant that we could vir­tu­ally drive to the start of a trail, have an awe­some time, ride back to our house on wheels and plan the next ride. Head­ing off to the right, we climbed a bit fur­ther on the Bowen­vale tra­verse, a nar­row sin­gle­track that had sheep scat­ter­ing from left to right. this fun lit­tle trail ends up in Vic­to­ria Park, a des­ig­nated MtB area with heaps of trails. I highly rec­om­mend a bit more climb­ing from here as the de­scent on the ‘Fly­ing Nun’ is well worth the ef­fort. Wind­ing its way down the hill, this fast, flow­ing trail had me grin­ning from ear to ear. Af­ter a small taste of the Port Hills, I set out the next day with am­ple wa­ter and snacks. Climb­ing ra­paki again, I took the left op­tion up Witch Hill re­serve to­wards Crater rim. Sum­mit road is mostly sealed and has sev­eral well sign­posted sin­gle­track op­tions that break off to the left and

right. Crater Rim Track tra­verses an ex­tinct vol­cano and the ex­posed rock makes it a pretty tech­ni­cal climb. The views from the top to Lyt­tel­ton are spec­tac­u­lar, but it’s re­ally hard to take them in and ride safely at the same time. I rec­om­mend stop­ping to soak up the mo­ment ev­ery now and then. Af­ter Crater Rim, jump on the Bri­dle path past the Gon­dola, and then onto Green­wood track. At the end of this you have an­other de­ci­sion to make. I chose to head down ‘Cap­tain Thomas’ to­wards the town of Sum­ner. From here it’s a 13km coastal road ride back into town. If you’re af­ter a longer ride you can head out along God­ley Head, down Ana­conda Track, which brings you out at Tay­lors Mis­take. This ride is a full body ex­pe­ri­ence with sen­sory over­load. It has some long and fast flowy sec­tions where adrenalin got the bet­ter of me and re­sulted in a few scary mo­ments.

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