Exploring the Best Bike Trails in Wanaka

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With its stunning landscapes, diverse trail options for all skill levels, and a thriving cycling community, Wanaka is a paradise for cycling enthusiasts.  Whether you're a mountain biking veteran or a beginner, there's a suitable Wanaka bike trail waitinng for you.

We've put together a guide to help you explore the best bike trails Wanaka has to offer.

The Allure of Wanaka's Bike Trails

Wanaka's bike trails are set amidst some of the most beautiful landscapes in New Zealand.  As you cycle through the trails, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and forests.  But it's not just about the scenery.  The trails themselves are a testament to the ingenuity and skill of Wanaka's trail builders.  From flowy descents to technical drops, there's a trail here that's sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

Stunning Bike Trail Scenery 

Wanaka's bike trails pass through some of the most beautiful natural landscapes you'll ever see.  Take, for instance, the Fern Burn Track. The trail twists and turns through lush forests and valleys, offering stunning views of the surrounding peaks.  Similarly, the Hikuwai Loop takes you through a delicate alpine ecosystem, with stunning vistas of the Matukituki Valley.

And then there's the Deans Bank Track, which follows the Clutha River.  As you cycle through the trail, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the river and its surroundings.  Keep an eye out for the native birds and fauna that call this place home.  The Lake Wanaka Outlet Track is another must-ride trail for those looking for scenery.  As the name suggests, the track takes you along the edge of Lake Wanaka, offering magnificent views of its turquoise waters.

Top Bike Trails in Wanaka:

Here are some of the top trails in Wanaka that you definitely don't want to miss.

Sticky Forest
The Sticky Forest trails are a beginner's paradise.  The trails provide a great introduction to mountain biking, with gentle gradients and easy-flowing corners.  Riders of all skill levels will enjoy the flow of these trails, which feature swooping berms and well-designed jumps.  The trails are well-maintained, with signage making it easy for beginners to navigate.

Lake Wanaka Outlet Track
The Lake Wanaka Outlet Track takes you along the edge of the magnificent Lake Wanaka.  As you cycle through the trail, you'll be treated to stunning vistas of its turquoise waters.  The trail offers a mix of gentle climbs and flowy descents, making it perfect for riders of all skill levels.

Deans Bank Track
The Deans Bank Track is a classic Wanaka trail that features technical sections, steep descents, and tight switchbacks.  It offers stunning views of the Clutha River and its surroundings.  Keep an eye out for the native birds and fauna that call this place home.  The trail is not for the faint-hearted, but experienced riders will find it a thrilling challenge.

Glendhu Bay Track
This 1 - 2 hour return trail follows the shoreline of Lake Wanaka.  From Waterfall Creek the track follows re-vegetated terraces above Lake Wanaka with spectacular views, to a small north-facing beach, Damper Bay.  The first section of the trail is quite hilly with some short, steep sections.  From Damper Bay the track becomes gentler until you finally reach Glendhu Bay and the motor camp.  Start from Ruby Island Road Car Park (Wanaka end), or Mt Aspiring Lookout Car Park / Glendhu Bay Campground (Glendhu Bay end).

Hikuwai Loop
The Hikuwai Loop takes you through a delicate alpine ecosystem, offering stunning vistas of the Matukituki Valley.  The trail is well-designed and maintained, with a mix of flowing singletrack and technical sections to keep you on your toes.  Experienced riders will enjoy the technical challenges, while beginners will appreciate the breathtaking scenery.

Clutha River Track
The Clutha River Track is one of the most scenic trails in Wanaka.  It follows the Clutha River, offering breathtaking views of the river and its surroundings.  The trail features technical sections, steep descents, and tight switchbacks, making it a challenging ride.  But the stunning scenery is well worth the effort.

Hawea River Track  
 
Lake Hawea is a short drive from Wanaka and covers 141 square kilometres, with calm, flat water reflecting the mountain peaks that surround it.  The 12km Hawea River Track is great for cyclists linking Albert Town to Lake Hawea.  The track starts from Albert Town Recreational Reserve and finishes at Domain Road in Hawea.  Along the way you’ll cross over the beautiful Hāwea River swing bridge then ride along a meandering track through kānuka shrubland and open flats before joining the riverside and following it upstream all the way to Domain Road.

Bike Rentals

Wanaka Bike Tours offers mountain biking options for all budgets and abilities, all year-round.  Enjoy stunning scenery and varied terrain at your own pace with Bike & Shuttle, E-Bike Hire, or Mountain Bike Hire options.  Or, put yourself in the hands of one of the experienced guides to really make the most of the outstanding Wanaka scenery, or be adventurous with a heli bike trip.

Bike Shops

If you don't have your bike, don't worry. Wanaka has plenty of bike shops that offer rentals and repairs.  The staff at these shops are knowledgeable and can help you choose the right bike for your needs.  Some good options include Outside Sports, Racers Edge and Bike Lounge.

Tips for Biking in Wanaka

If you're planning to cycle in Wanaka, here are some tips to keep in mind.
 
  • Choosing the Right Bike - Wanaka's trails can be demanding, so make sure you choose a bike that's suitable for your skill level.  If you're a beginner, a hardtail mountain bike is a good choice.  If you're more experienced and looking for technical challenges, a full-suspension bike may be more suitable.
  • Safety and Trail Etiquette -  When cycling in Wanaka, always wear a helmet and any other protective gear you may need. Respect other trail users, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Yield to uphill riders, and always ride within your limits. Remember to leave no trace, and take your rubbish with you.
  • Best Times to Ride - The best time to ride in Wanaka is during the summer months (December to February).  But even during the shoulder seasons, Wanaka's trails are still open and enjoyable.

With its stunning landscapes, diverse trail options, and a thriving cycling community, Wanaka is a world-class mountain biking destination. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider, there's no shortage of trails here to test and challenge you.  Get on your bike, explore Wanaka's trails, and discover the beauty of this amazing town.

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Queenstown Car Hire:

If you need to hire a car to reach any of the trails, check our My Guide Car Rental Comparison Tool for the best deals on the market.