Base yourself in Wanaka and explore the lakeside. Flat and easy to begin with, the trail gradually becomes more challenging, climbing to high lookouts.
The lakefront in central Wanaka is the gateway to an extensive network of biking trails which connect the surrounding region and gives access to some spectacular riding and scenery. You can rent the latest model mountain bikes (hard tail and full suspension) from numerous bike shops in town, and then fuel up on great coffee at one of the lakefront cafes before your ride.
The trail heading east from the lakefront meanders gently around Eely Point, Bremner Bay and Beacon Point, with expansive lake views the whole way. It then joins the Outlet Track that rolls downstream beside the mighty Clutha/Mata-Au River – New Zealand’s second longest river, prized by anglers for its trout fishing.
The Outlet Trail finishes at the Albert Town bridge, 12km from Wanaka. Here, riders can cross the river to ride the fast, flowing single track of Deans Bank, or another option is to continue downstream along the Upper Clutha Trail to an historic gold mining site, near Luggate, known as Reko’s Point Conservation Area. It’s possible to return to Albert Town on the true left of the river via the Newcastle Trail, making a scenic 28km, grade 3-loop ride.
There’s more great riding west of the Wanaka township, starting with the leisurely Waterfall Creek Trail that winds around the lakeshore, passing a pretty picnic spot and Rippon Vineyard. At Waterfall Creek, about 3.5km from town, the more challenging Glendhu Bay Trail (grade 3) climbs up onto terraces for an elevated perspective over the lake and snow-capped peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park beyond. After dropping down to Damper Bay the trail traces the water’s edge to Glendhu Bay, finishing at the motor camp approximately 16km from Wanaka.
From Glendhu Bay, adventurous riders can push on further to Homestead Bay, the starting point for undulating Minaret Bay Trail through to Colquhouns Beach on the western shore of the lake.
To pick a trail that’s best for you, talk to the knowledgeable staff at one of Wanaka’s bike shops or check out the Wanaka Tracks App