1. Heli-biking on the Pisa Range

So, you’ve been to Colorado and rode dust on probably the best known MTB trails in the U.S. This farm trail is so epic, it gives the legendary rides of Colorado mountain biking and Utah MTB trails a run for their money. Prepare to be amazed all over again. At 6,500 feet, you’ll be staring down the Pisa Mountain Range, home to one of New Zealand’s highest mountain-biking trails.

You start off at the top at Lake McKay Station, looking down at the 25 kilometers of trail in front of you. It’s all downhill from there, but in the best way possible. The whole experience is catered to the taste of the biker, the main one we do is set in these smooth, rolling hills. We’ll just stop to catch our breath, and sheep will approach us to see if we’ve got any food. The local animals are just as friendly as the people. It takes about five hours to complete with plenty of breaks for sights so beautiful you’ll need to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. 

Southern Alps are a must for heli-biking on New Zealand’s South Island

If the previous option sounds too vanilla for you, the Southern Alps is the largest mountain range stretching across the South Island. The Alps are thrilling, hardcore trails. No matter your desired difficulty, heli-biking in Wanaka is a must.

Give your muscles a bit of R’n’R and grab a bite to eat, drink a beer and check out the party scene. My favorite place for refilling my batteries is The Hook, located in Wanaka. It’s this lake to plate restaurant, where you have the opportunity to catch your own salmon and eat it, too.

About the author

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Matt Kirke

Kiwi, mountain biker and owner of Wanaka Bike Tours and JustMTB

Matt is a born and raised Kiwi. He started riding practically after taking his first steps, being exposed to the outdoors and mountains. Today, owns Wanaka Bike Tours dealing with all things MTB — from guided tours, bike hires and shuttle drop-offs. Matt is also the co-owner of JustMTB.

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