It may have world-class downhill tracks snaking down its flanks, but this hill overlooking the city is the perfect tonic for riders of all levels.
The city of Dunedin, on the southeast coast of the South Island, is not only a surfer’s paradise, but a mountain bike hub as well. Dunedin has five trail networks, four of which are accessible with an easy ride from The Octagon – that’s the centre of town – a bar and restaurant-laden strip where most rides start or finish. A seasonal influx of students to Otago Polytechnic and University of Otago ensure the character and energy is thriving and it's from this student end of the city that the 393m-tall Signal Hill peak beckons. This is where mountain bikers come to play.
Riding the trail
Signal Hill carries the mantle of having New Zealand’s best downhill track – a demanding beast with rock gardens, jump lines, ruts and steep sections to test the best. But it is The Big Easy trail that is opening up this terrain to more riders. The Big Easy is a 6.1km trail that is beautifully built allowing almost any rider to top out at the Signal Hill Lookout without even realising they’ve been climbing. The trail winds through native bush with glimpses across the city and eventually all the way to the beaches and Otago Harbour. It’s a two-way track and the descent is exhilarating. For those looking for an adrenaline rush, try Student Track, Magnatron or Treaty Track on the way back down.
Insider knowledge - Introducing someone to riding? Try the Wakari Creek Tracks - these easy, native bush-clad trails will have them smiling the whole way.