Taking the grind out of mountain biking, Skyline Rotorua’s gondola transports riders and their bikes up to a series of sweet downhill trails.
New Zealand’s only year-round, gondola-access mountain bike park, Skyline Gravity Park has won plaudits from riders all over the world. It is among the primary reasons why Rotorua was awarded gold-level ride centre status by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) – one of only six centres in the world. The popular mountain biking park is also a venue for Crankworx, the world’s most thrilling mountain biking festival. Sound exciting? It sure is!
Skyline’s popular tourist gondola transports riders and their bikes 200 m up Mt Ngongotaha, from where there are panoramic views across Rotorua, its lake, and surrounding countryside. From here riders can choose from 14 trails, expertly cut through varying terrain, that swoop, swerve and meander back down to the bottom of the hill.
There’s something for everyone at this mountain biking park. Around half the trails are suitable for riders up to intermediate level, with the super-mellow flow of La Dee Da and Hipster a great place to start. The beautiful berms and step downs of Sprint Warrior will push the limits out from there. Advanced riders, meanwhile, will revel in the steep, technical terrain of Ten Fifty One and the off-camber trickiness and gnarly jumps of Moss Piglet.
Competitive types can race a buddy on Dual Speed and Style, described by Crankworx champ Martin Soderstrom as the best dual course he’d ever ridden. Less ambitious riders can also compete against their friends on the easy-grade pump track built by local legends, Empire of Dirt. Located at the bottom of the gondola, it’s a good place to get the blood pumping in readiness for some more serious stuff at the top.
For an extra injection of adrenaline, riders can race on the luge, zoom down the zipline or scream themselves silly on the pendulous Skyswing, all located at the Skyline complex where restaurants and bars also keep energy levels high. If you're mountain biking in Rotorua, don't miss this star!