For a mountain biker, Wellington offers kilometres of great trails accessible directly from the city. Many are no more than a ten minute ride away from central city accommodation, bars and cafes. Others are reached after a short train ride or ferry across the harbour.
With over 700 tracks to ride, we reckon Lonely Planet’s spot on to call Welly ‘the coolest little capital in the world’! Many tracks are very close to the CBD, including Makara Peak MTB Park - some of the world’s best single track, and Mount Victoria with spectacular 360° views. Further out, Belmont Regional Park attracts riders from all over NZ, and the 114km Rimutaka Cycle Trail loops between Wellington Harbour and the Wairarapa.
By Michael Jacques
Mountain biking in the Capital has been “a thing” since the early 1980s when “all terrain bikes” and “mountain cycles” first turned up down under. But while places and races like Makara Peak and the Karapoti Classic eventually became legend, some of the best riding back then was found on the ridges and creek valleys around Lower Hutt.
Wellington, it can be argued, is the cultural home of mountain biking. Yes, Rotorua is New Zealand’s mountain bike mecca. But in so many ways, mountain biking was born and raised in the Capital.
Picture this, Courtenay Place at 5pm on a Friday evening, most people are finishing work and looking for a place to have a drink. Enter Mr. Mountain Biker, heading down Courtenay Place on what appears to be a nice 5-6 travel enduro style mountain bike. He is muddy, and he has a massive smile on his face. I double checked, what was the deal here? We’re in the middle of Wellington.
The Wellington/Wairarapa region is also home to the Rimutaka Cycle Trail, one of the easiest of the Great Rides, which runs from the head of Wellington Harbour, through the Rimutaka Range to Ocean Beach. For this ride we followed the Rimutaka Trail as far as Lake Wairarapa and then detoured to discover some of the other delights of the region (hint: grapes are involved)!
By Maegan Robertson
There aren’t many cities in the world that are known for their coffee, culture and killer mountain bike tracks, but Wellington’s trifecta of treasures manages to merge these three and more.
Words & Images by Brett Irving
With winter upon us, and very little daylight to ride outside weekends, it’s no wonder the idea of a night ride stuck the right chord, and sparked a sense of an adventure worth chasing!