This post is about our mountain bike adventure riding in the South Island of New Zealand. In March, 2015, I rode in the Motatapu race in the Queenstown/Wanaka area and then toured both islands with my lovely wife and had been itching to come back and have another go at the race and to do more riding. After some prodding, I convinced Dale Buscaino, my best “mate”, to accompany me this time.
We planned to ride in the race and then do as many rides in as many areas as we could handle in the following days. Here’s our itinerary with the posts associated with each day. Click on the links to find more about each ride.
Bike Check and Ride Around Wanaka
Dean’s Bank Track
Motatapu Race Day
Queenstown Bike Park
Coronet Peak and Rude Rock
Old Ghost Road
West Coast Wilderness Trail
Craigieburn Ski Area
Port Hills Tracks and Godly Head
We wanted a wide variety of rides with different views and terrain and to see as much as New Zealand could offer in the short time we had available. I don’t think we should have changed much from what we did, unless it was to have added time to the trip for a little more rest. 😉
The map above (click for a larger view) shows our driving route. Queenstown (arrival) –> Wanaka –> Deans Bank–> Wanaka –> Queenstown–> Coronet Peak –> Greymouth –> Westport –> Greymouth–> Craigieburn–> Christchurch (depart). According to Google, we drove 1150 kilometers.
We’ve got awesome friends that live in Wanaka so we had a great place to stay for the days before and after the Motatapu Race. Ian planned to ride in the race with us and his wife Angie was our ride to the race and our shuttle home from Arrowtown where the race ends. Angie is a strong rider herself. She rode the Motatapu last year, but she was planning to sit this year out.
Once we decided to go, it became an excuse to ride like a madman to train. I wasn’t going to win, but I wanted to finish with some of the old fast guys. New Zealand guys are crazy fit and the 50-59 year old category was competitive.
We arrived in Queenstown about 11a on Thursday and got our rental van, a beater Toyota that would hold our luggage and assembled bikes. We loaded up, made sure we knew which side of the road to drive on, grabbed some lunch in Queenstown and then headed for Wanaka.