The South Island's newest mountain biking adventure park opens this Thursday, set against the stunning backdrop of Glendhu Bay, Wanaka.
Bike Glendhu will feature 35km of pedal-powered trails twisting and turning through 1000 hectares of terrain on the beautiful Glendhu Station, a 13-minute drive from downtown Wanaka.
The eco-conscious park, a collaboration between keen local rider John Wilson and station owners John and Emily McRae, is designed for riders of all abilities, from families looking for an uplifting Sunday ride to hardcore shredders.
It opens to the public on Thursday, but season pass holders will be given an exclusive preview of the trails on Wednesday as a thank you for their support.
"We're beyond delighted to finally be able to share our vision and work with the people of Wanaka and visitors to the region," says Bike Glendhu managing director Charlie Cochrane.
"Our amazing trail crews have spent 12 months working tirelessly to build our network. They’re all riders themselves, so every turn, every berm, every jump, dynamic downhill and honest climb has been designed and crafted to be as epic as possible."
The trails were designed and built by Tom Hey and his Queenstown-based company Elevate Trail Building, with the support of Wanaka-based crew Dirt Dynamics. Tom and his team have crafted many of the region's popular mountain biking trails and he is a leading light of the local scene.
The park features a 10km scenic family loop, a 22km back country loop that descends 450m over 8km, plus multiple descent options that include technical enduro, jump and flow trails.
Some 35km of trails will open this week, with the remaining 15km being built in the near future. Work on the base buildings, landscaping and pump track will also continue.
"The trails have been built as sympathetically as possible to the natural topography, all the buildings are positioned sensitively within the landscape and we've made sustainability a major focus of the project," Charlie says.
More than 4000 native trees and shrubs have been planted and the site is powered exclusively by the sun, with Wanaka Solar providing a 100 per cent off-grid system.
There will be wastewater capture and composting on site, natural cleaning products used and the facility will be SUP free – no cups. People are encouraged to bring their own water bottles.
"We are custodians of this land and it means so much to my family," says John McRae, a third-generation farmer at Glendhu Station.
"So, we’re proud to be involved in a venture that is sustainable and sympathetic, while also diversifying income streams and providing something spectacular for the community and visitors."
Bike Glendhu, which will be open 10 months a year, features a communal hub with cafe where riders can buy tickets, hire bikes and swap stories.
All staff are pre-hospital emergency trained – they are all first responders. "We’re so lucky to have an awesome crew of passionate and talented individuals working here," says Charlie.
"Everyone is really excited about welcoming bikers out to Bike Glendhu to experience this incredible playground."