Mountain Biking In Christchurch

Nestled beside the sprawling Canterbury plains and at the foot of the rolling Port Hills, Christchurch is overflowing with tracks and trails for mountain bikers of all ages and abilities.

Year round, enjoy the fresh air and stunning scenery while experiencing the steep climbs, sharp drops, and the thrill of the downhill on Christchurch’s Port Hills. Or for a slightly easier run take off on the flat and experience parts of the Canterbury countryside not normally seen when travelling by car.

Top 6 Port Hills Mountain Bike Tracks

Test the skills (and the legs!) with our top 6 mountain biking tracks up on the Port Hills.

1. Bridle Path

Beginning at the base of the Gondola, this (rather steep) path goes up to the Summit Road and can even finish in Lyttelton, depending on your stamina and whether you want to make it a round trip.

The Bridle Path track is very well maintained and well-formed so those with less intrepid bikes should be able to manage it without problem – just make sure your brakes are up to the task! Be aware this is a very popular track for both walkers and cyclists, so you need to take care at all times.

  • Grade Intermediate
  • Distance 1.4 km

2. Rapaki Track

Starting from Rapaki Road, this track offers a gentle but steady gradient that’s perfect for building up stamina up hills if you aren’t used to it. It’s technically very straight going; however you will definitely put your gears to the test with the 250m height gain.

The Rapaki Track is extremely popular with walkers, especially on weekends, so you need to be cautious and generous with other users – especially other cyclists coming downhill at speed.

  • Grade Easy
  • Distance 3.5 km

rapaki_track

3. Anaconda

One for all the dedicated downhillers out there, the Anaconda (as its name suggests) is full of twists and turns with great cornering and a few jumps here and there to top it all off.

Park up at the Godley Head Carpark and use the shared path (hang a left) that follows along adjacent to the Summit Road until you reach the sign for the Anaconda then let it rip! You will finish up at the Taylors Mistake Carpark down the bottom of the hill.

  • Grade Intermediate
  • Distance 4 km

4. Lava Flow Track

One for the experts only, the Lava Flow has some serious drops and is one of the best technical downhill tracks in the Port Hills. Take care, this track has the reputation for punctures and broken bones – you have been warned!

For this one you can start off at the same place as the Bowenvale Down Hill (see below) track but keep going a little further along the track as it runs adjacent to the Summit Road, the turn off to the Lava Flow is roughly 450 metres along.

  • Grade Advanced
  • Distance 1.4 km

5. Bowenvale Down Hill

A good intermediate downhill ride with a bit of everything thrown in. The Bowenvale Down Hill starts off easy and gets trickier as you go, watch out for the signs and be careful not to miss the turn off at the airstrip.

Park up on the side of the road where the Huntsbury Track meets the Summit Road and head down the track for about 650 metres and take the turn off to you left. You will finish up at the Bowenvale Ave car park.

  • Grade Intermediate
  • Distance 3.2 km

6. The Christchurch Adventure Park

Don’t want to make the uphill journey? The Christchurch Adventure Park is the place for you, think chairlift ski-style but for mountain bikes! This commercial adventure bike park takes the hassle out of going up by using a chairlift to access the top of the trails – it is going to cost you though. Ticket prices range from $29 for a single lift pass, $75 for an all day pass and upwards of $150 for a three day pass. 

Access to the Christchurch Adventure Park is off Worsleys Road,Christchurch. The lift and trails are open from 10am until 8 pm daily. Check the website for daily Park Status updates. Mountain bike hire and gear rental is available on site.

  • Grade – Easy, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert
  • Distance – Various

6 Best Mountain Bike Tracks Christchurch

Prefer mountain bike trails that are slightly less of a strain on the brakes? Then here are our top 6 tracks across Christchurch.

1. Bottle Lake Forest

This large forest park has two main tracks the Family Loop ride at approximately 7km, and the slightly longer 10 km loop – the Coastal ride to Spencer Park. Both tracks can be started (and finished) from the Bottle Lake Forest entrance car park on Waitikiri Drive.

There are wide, flat trails intersecting the entire park which are perfect for novice riders and families, or those just wanting to enjoy the fresh air and the pine forest. However for those looking for more technical courses, there are many smaller paths with drops, hills, jumps, bank curves and more.

  • Grade Easy
  • Distance 7 km and 10 km

2. McCleans Island

There are three loop tracks at Mcleans Island Forest Park for mountain bikers, two trails catering for all levels and abilities and the River Loop which is a dirt trail with very little maintenance. All of the tracks are one-way, but can be interlinked to form a distance of 17 km.

There is a large carpark at the entrance which is off McLeans Island Road; the gates are open 7am to 10pm year round.

  • Grade Easy
  • Distances 10 km, 5 km, 2km and a total of 17 km

3. Little River Railtrail

Covering a total distance of 44 km, the Little River Railtrail is a great one for the whole family. Enjoy passing by natural, cultural and historical points of interest and keep an eye out for some of our fascinating birdlife along the banks of Lake Ellesmere.

The trail is wide, flat and well maintained and you can get off (or on) anywhere along the way, be aware at times the trail requires you to ride on public roads. For the most part the Little River Railtrail follows the old route of a 19th century railway line between Hornby and Little River.

  • Grade Easiest
  • Distance 44 km

4. Kennedys Bush Track

Starting at the Halswell Quarry and combining in the Crocodile Track, or starting at the tip of Kennedys Bush Road, the Kennedys Bush Track is a long and steady climb finishing up at the Kennedys Bush Car Park off Summit Road.

A good work out for the legs, the track is sign posted at each end and does have some steeper bits along with a few rough sections. This track crosses farmland and is best avoided during the months of August and September due to the lambing season.

  • Grade Intermediate
  • Distance 5.3 km (+ 2.3 km if accessing via the Crocodile Track)

5. Crocodile XC MTB Park

A privately maintained bike park in Halswell, this series of tracks are located on private land and all tracks are primarily for bikers, walkers must give way. The tracks are maintained by volunteers from the Christchurch Singletrack Club and include a good mix of easy, intermediate, advanced and expert level rides.

Access is from within the Halswell Quarry Park, there are a number of different routes and options for mountain bikers of all levels of fitness and ability. Some tracks are one-way only, others are both ways so take care when travelling at speed.

  • Grades – Easy, intermediate, advanced and expert.
  • Distance – From approximately 3 km through to shorter 1 km runs.

6. McHugh’s Forest Park

A 43 hectare plantation forest park open to the public with various tracks and trails. For mountain bikers there is only one route through the trees, and it is a good one. Perfect on a hot summers day, the McHugh’s Forest Park offers a good loop track with plenty of shade and shelter.

Beginning at the carpark off Horndon Street, Darfield (45 minutes’ drive from Christchurch), the track loops through the trees and back to finish at the car park again. This track is flat and the trail is well-formed.

  • Grade Easy
  • Distance 3.9 km

Christchurch Mountain Bike Track Status

Always check individual track conditions before setting off, sometimes tracks may be closed due to weather conditions, rock falls or maintenance especially during the winter months.

The Christchurch City Council has a handy Track Status Tool which helps walkers and mountain bikers out with information of track closures, distances, map and even a Port Hills webcam. See the Christchurch Mountain Bike Track Status information here.

Christchurch offers great opportunities for bikers, ranging from challenging uphill-downhill courses to more gentle rolls through well maintained forest tracks. There are tracks for every skill level, and all are easily accessed by car. See here for more information on reliable car hire in Christchurch or here for more on the ins and outs of affordable bike rack hire in NZ.

View more New Zealand biking information

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