Base yourself in Wanaka and explore the lakeside. Flat and easy to begin with, the trail gradually becomes more challenging, climbing to high lookouts.
Mountain bikers who fancy a side-serving of resort-town indulgence need to look no further than Wanaka’s Lakeside Trails that lead off in both directions from the town centre’s waterfront reserve. Fuel up and saddle up, then enjoy awesome trails and stunning scenery before heading back to town for some well-earned refreshment. Perfect!
The trail heading east meanders on the flat around Ealy Point, Bremner Bay and Breacon Point, with splendid lake views the whole way. It then joins the Outlet Trail that rolls downstream beside the mighty Clutha/Mata-Au River – New Zealand’s second longest river, prized by anglers for its wild brown and rainbow trout.
The Outlet Trail finishes at the Albert Town bridge, 12km from Wanaka. Here, riders can cross the river to ride the fast, flowing Deans Bank Trail. 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 Wanaka township, starting with the leisurely Waterfall Creek Trail that winds around the lakeshore, passing a pretty picnic spot and Rippon Vineyard along the way. At Waterfall Creek, about 3.5km from town, the more challenging Glendhu Bay Trail (grade 3) climbs up onto replanted terraces for an elevated perspective over the lake and peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park beyond. After dipping down to Damper Bay the trail traces the water’s edge to Glendhu Bay, finishing at the motor camp approximately 16km from Wanaka lakefront.
Adventurous riders can push on further to Homestead Bay, the starting point for undulating Minaret Bay Trail through to Colquhouns Bay.