This mountain bike guide will help new riders and people new to Christchurch know where to ride.
New MTB Riders
You'll probably want to start at McLean's Island (super easy) or Bottle Lake (easy). As you progress, check out Halswell Quarry which will add some climbing and intermediate trails. From there, the Port Hills will add even more climbing and technical riding. When you can competently ride most of Vic Park, you're doing pretty well and can confidently venture out and try anything.
Also, spend some time in the Christchurch Adventure Park. Your technical skills progress super fast when can do multiple laps in a day without all the climbing.
New to Christchurch
If you're an experienced rider, but new to Christchurch, you'll be right into Victoria Park and the Christchurch Adventure Park. You'll also definitely want to ride Craigieburn in the summer, it's epic riding out there.
Check out the summaries and TrailFork links below to get started riding in Christchurch. Let us know if you have any questions, too.
TrailForks is your best friend! Not only does it have detailed info of trails nearby, it has a really useful "Routes" feature that shows you how to link them up for a single ride. Download the app for your phone to navigate while out riding.
Christchurch MTB Rides
Halswell is a really fun little trail system that's easy/intermediate skill overall. Short and sweet, you climb up the C2 trail (or Crocodile), blast down Deviation or another one-way DH trail and climb back up for another lap. It's well maintained by the Christchurch Singletrack Club, which also has a good map of here.
Christchurch's classic DH trails. Intermediate+ skills required. The typical trail ride routes you up Rapaki, along Bowenvale Traverse to Vic Park where you descend to Bowenvale Ave. Once in Vic Park, you can mix it up in there with different trails, add the Flying Nun trail or even drop into the Christchurch Adventure Park (only during open hours). Gravity Canterbury does good work in Vic Park.
There are great views and riding out here when you have more time. A typical way to access Godley is to climb Rapaki and turn left to head East. Traverse along Summit Rd and go up Broadleaf Lane to the start of Greenwood. Greenwood to Capt. Thomas is the single longest descent in the Port Hills and it's awesome. You can continue further to ride Anaconda that ends in Taylors Mistake, but you'll have to climb out of Taylors. Most people will ride the Main Rd out of Sumner back to town.
The Christchurch Adventure Park is a chair-lift assisted trail network with a range of machine built flow trails to handbuilt techy singletrack. Everything from beginner trails to proper gnar, the bike park is a real good place to just hang out with family or progress your skills. The lift is open year-round. Check their website to see what trails are open or closed that day.
Outside of Christchurch
Hanmer is a cool little alpine town just 2 hours from Christchurch. Famous for the hot pools, the riding is fun, too. Its trail system isn't very intuitive to ride, but think of it as having an East/West side. On the West side (behind Conical hill), you can lap each trail and always end up at that central hub. The East trails are a more traditional climb/descend loop. The Western Link trail connects the two sides.
This little gem is within 2 hours from Christchurch. There's an easy green loop, some sweet singletrack and real techy black trails. They're well maintained, it really is some excellent riding. The "Cross Country Loop" is a fun intermediate loop and can be done in less than an hour. Check the routes feature on TrailForks to see how to ride it.
Craigieburn is epic backcountry singletrack just 1.5 hours from Christchurch. It's a full day out, but it is the best mountain biking in Canterbury. The trails are intermediate overall (The Luge is a must-ride) with some super good DH black tracks (Cockayne Alley gets steeeep). There are different ways to ride or shuttle it, contact us for help.
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