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When you think Mid-Canterbury the first thought that comes to mind for many is skiing or snowboarding. The area is home to Mt Hutt, the largest commercial ski field in the Canterbury region, located within a one-hour drive from Christchurch.
But the small township of Methven also offers a wealth of mountain biking trails, utilising the resources that makes Methven and Ashburton so popular in the winter months.
Rides in the region include:
Mt Hutt Bike Park
Utilising one of the region's greatest assets, the bike park comprises 24 varying tracks with the lower slopes home to 15km of downhill free ride trails. There's good range of both cross country and downhill tracks designed for intermediate through to advanced riders, with several expert track options available.
Methven Walkway - 12.4km
The Methven Walkway also allows bikes. The track is an easy loop beginning/ending from the Methven i-SITE following grass verges alongside private farmland and the Rangitata Diversion (dual purpose irrigation and hydro-electric cannels). The 12.4km circuit encompasses the Methven Racecourse, A&P Showgrounds, Methven Recreational Reserve and Golf Club. The track can be extended at the Pudding Hill intersection by continuing along the Rangitata Diversion to the Ashburton River.
Lake Hood is 2,300m in length and over 1km wide encompassing an eight lane international rowing course, a separate water skiing area, a separate jet skiing area as well as room for sailing and kayaking. It’s also the perfect location to enjoy a family bike ride with a purpose-built dual access track taking riders along the banks of the Ashburton River to Lake Hood.
The Braided Waters/Lake Hood Trail – 7.4km
Beginning at the south end of the Ashburton River Bridge to the top lake, the track travels through plantation areas, vegetation and along the river bank. Taking up to one hour to complete, the cycleway is alive with the sound of bird calls and many species of birds can be spotted enroute.
Ashburton/Hakatere River Trail – 19km
An easy trail following the Ashburton River, one of Canterbury’s smaller braided rivers, from the Ashburton township to the coast at Hakatere. The trail travels through farmland areas thick with willows to the spectacular river mouth. The trail can be cycled in either direction and several trail access points allow flexibility to determine the length of the ride if you don’t have time to ride the whole 19km trail.
Braided Waters Cycle Trail – up to 145km
Currently under development, the Braided Waters Cycle Trail plans to provide a multi-day cycle option for the region. Once completed the cycleway will provide a combination of rides up to 145km. The track will follow braided rivers and canals before traversing the foothills looping to Mt Somers and finishing in Ashburton.