The Hike ‘n Bike Journals: Across the Pisa Range

For chapter two in our Hike 'n Bike series we decided to check out the 25km route from the top of the Crown Range, over to Tuohys gully, down to highway, and back along to Cardrona Village.

After the previous week’s warmup trip up the Grandview Track, this seemed like a fairly easy undertaking when we checked out the maps. Little did I know!

I had previously journeyed up to to Rock Peak by foot, which is a nice hour or two stroll from the carpark at the top of the Crown Range, so I knew there was a fairly substantial climb to kick off the route. Tracks seem to suddenly get much steeper when you’re pedalling your bike up them however.

Checking out the view over the Pisa Range

Checking out the view over the Pisa Range

Starting from the top of the Crown Range (a pleasant altitude of about 1055m) and descending down to the Cardrona Village (at around 500m), you can easily be lulled into a false sense of security… bit of climb, a nice cruise along the ridge, followed by a fun downhill, right? Not quite!

The numbers are a little different (courtesy of Google Earth)… 1014m elevation gain, 30 degrees at it’s steepest, 22kms from the carpark back to the highway (another few kms along to Cardrona Village itself).

Elevation gain stats for Pisa Range bike route, courtesy of Google Earth

You may notice that the screenshot above shows the steepest downhill pitch is 43.5 degrees. We either plotted the way points incorrectly or Google Earth is trying to make us feel like heros… either way, it certainly wasn’t that steep coming down. But the length of the descent way pretty epic!

Most of the route is a 4WD track, with a few narrower sections and lots of loose rocks just where you want them (watch out on those descents).

It’s no epic single track, but it is a fun mission to tick off with some challenging climbs, pleasing views and a long descent to put a smile on your face. Enjoying a local brew at the Cardrona Pub is the icing on the cake!

Pisa Range mountain bike route

Pisa Range mountain bike route courtesy of Google Earth

Descents on pisa range mountain biking

One of the longer descents on the route

mountain biking pisa range, queenstown and wanaka

The boys holding on a top speed

Check out the Pisa Range Conservation Area on the Department of Conservation’s website, for more info on mountain biking routes in this area.

Keith @360

The founding member of the 360nz team, Keith is the editor here at 360qw.

Writer / photographer / web designer, Keith dabbles in many different digital medias, while still finding the time to enjoy the Wanaka playground on his snowboard and mountain bike.

Outside of 360, Keith is a Trainer for Snowboard Instruction New Zealand and an Ambassador for NZ Shred snowboard shop in Queenstown.

View posts by Keith here on 360qw, or check out his personal portfolio website.

mountain biking pisa range, queenstown and wanaka

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