Pre-Winter Mountain Biking in Alexandra

It's May... Queenstown and Wanaka are getting colder but the ski resorts aren't open yet. Where's the best spot to head for your next one-day adventure?

At this time of year our local MTB tracks are usually a bit wet and slippy. Whilst a bit of muddy fun is always highly enjoyable, it’s a challenge to make a full day of it. Especially in May!

We could do the pre-season social thing and spend time catching up with those friends who have recently arrived back into town, talking with anticipation about the coming the winter and getting our freshly-waxed setups ready to slide.

Tom Burton taking a rocky line in Alexandra's rugged trails

Tom Burton taking a rocky line in Alexandra’s rugged trails, May 24th 2016!

Or, we can get that two-wheeled toy (which has probably begin to make its way towards the back of the garage by now) dusted off and head to warmer climates for a savoring mountain bike ride before winter really begins.

Warmer climates you say? And only one day away?

Yep… Alexandra!

Let it be known that Alex has the record for the hottest recorded temperature AND recorded coldest temperature, anywhere in New Zealand. It has an extremely dry, arid climate and the hills often resemble parts of Utah (on a much smaller scale of course). In the summer it’s frequently too hot to be out riding during the day, but at this time of year, it’s just perfect.

The mountain biking terrain in Alexandra is very different to that of Queenstown or Wanaka. It’s rocky, rugged and raw, with no real signage and VERY few people – we only spotted one other rider on our mid-week mission a few days ago. The trails have been formed from years and years of dedicated locals riding them over and over again, as opposed to a digger. It makes for super-variable tracks, that constantly keep you on your toes.

So when it’s looking a little stormy in Queenstown or Wanaka and you need a winter bike fix, Alex is the place to head!

Alexandra’s “Linger or Die” trail and beyond

Alexandra has a huge array of single track riding offering amazing flow and plenty of great technical climbing and descending. Park at the Shaky Bridge Cafe and follow the track up the valley behind it. Turn right at the gravel road, then keep riding to the top of the hill, taking the time to scope out all the tracks on your right hand side.

The Linger or Die trail itself heads off to the left at a gate. From here you just follow the trail with red markers until it meets up with the Otago Rail Trail near the river, at which point you hang a left and return to your car.

The trails on the other side of the road are more diverse but you really need to know where you’re going, as nothing is marked. Ask at the Alexandra bike shops for more info on these trails or find a local to take you out. Exploring here on your own is not a good idea!!!

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.

Tom Burton sending a big rock roll and making use of his suspension in the process

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