Tina and Ben are currently travelling through New Zealand, constantly searching for the best trails. After they’ve introduced us to the Nydia Track recently, they are now taking us to Wanaka:
Wanaka and his unique „Sticky Forest“
We left our home in Switzerland in January 1st and for a month of skiing in Japan. After our short winter we were headed straight down into the Summer of New Zealand where we are spending 4 months on a roadtrip. We started this adventure in Auckland and are making our way slowly down south in our campervan called “Chröser”. So far we stopped and rode our bikes in Rotorua, Wellington and Nelson. After some Westcoast action we are now in Wanaka and get shown around by friends who live in the area.
Wanaka, famous for its beautiful lake and mountains, offers a lot of famous hiking options, Rob Roy glacier and Roys Peak come to mind. But there are some mountainbiking jewels as well that might get overshadowed by all the fame of Queenstown.
Lucky us, Flo a swiss friend who wo currently works in Wanaka, was able to sneak out of work and show us around in what became his home trails. Sticky Forest, which really is in the middle of Wanaka, has tons of trails built onto a very small hill. All of them are marked and added on Trailforks, but it can get tricky to navigate none the less.
Sticky Forest is a sacred place for mountainbikers in Wanaka and after our first session it became clear why. The biking community of Wanaka did an amazing job on those trails. I think I have never been in a trail center with a higher density of (quality) trails. Additionally most of the jump trails are reasonable sized and are perfectly shaped. So much fun riding them – personal favorites were “Pedal or Die” and “GBH”.
“Sticky forest” is a trail center we wish we had on our doorstep. Short uphills, trails for every kind of riding and taste, a great community around it and well, you can’t complain about the views either.
Some of the trails lead you down to the lake – in summer a great way to end the ride with a dip in the lake. Right now maybe not, though. The trails down to the lake resemble a bit of the “south of France” riding feeling. South exposed, dusty and some pinetrees in a wild mix of steep trails.
Wanaka backcountry adventure
We arrived on a Monday in beautiful Wanaka after a week of bad weather on the westcoast of New Zealand. After a bit of sight seeing (the walks at diamond lake turned out to be beautiful and far less crowded than Roys Peak) we got the chance to join a backcountry adventure involving a heli uplift and some of the best views over Wanaka country you could get.
For both of us it was the first time in a heli with our bikes hanging on the outside.
In the early morning of our heli backcountry adventure we met with the rest of the groupd and John, our guide from Wanaka Bike Tours at the airport. We quickly loaded the heli from Alpine Helicopter and then – after some prep talk – we took off towards the Mount Pisa Range.
Timing couldn’t have been better and we took of just a bit after sunrise (this might have been the plan all along but we didn’t know about it). The views around Wanaka are impressive, but from a birds eye perspective even better. I am sure the whole group would agree to that.
This will probably be the first time I am complaining about a quick uphill. But really. The flight only took about 15 minutes – enough to embrace the views but surely quite short.
Good thing about having a Photog with you: You get to turn an extra round around the peak for some pictures of the Heli with the bikes on. Thanks Alpine Heli and John for this.
After unloading the Heli quickly made its way home and left us at the top of the mountain with the civilization far away.
And so we started to make our way down. The ride felt a bit like cliché New Zealand MTB adventure. Amazing landscapes with a lake everywhere you look, that yellow/brownish grass everywhere and not much signs of civilization as far as you looked. And all of that concluded with some sweet trails – what more could you wish for??
Not so cliché was the wind because there was none – I guess it really was our lucky day.
One of the nicest spots of the downhill was this ridge, which sums up the day pretty neatly.
Besides the view of the lakes we saw some of the highest peaks of New Zealand, including Mt. Aspiring and Mt. Cook.
The ride is considered one of New Zealands longest, with a starting point of 6500 feet.
Last uphill and still a lot of downhill before us (we ended up in the flat you see in the background)
Last but not least, we did meet a couple of sheeps too.
For further Information head to: wanakabiketours.nz
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Words: Armin Ben Wurmser Photos: Tina Gerber, Armin Ben Wurmser