It's official, we've found e-Bike paradise!
It sounds like a dream.
Flowing bike trails, perfectly-sculpted berms, rock gardens, jump trails, singletrack, and even a mellow uphill that somehow leads you to an elevation of 750m where it’s the view - a stunning 360-degree panorama taking in mountains, rivers and a lake – that takes your breath away, not the climb. It sounds like a dream. A daydream two years in the making while you waited for the borders to re-open and holidays and adventures to start over. That place I just described, it’s not from a dream, but it is a kind of paradise.
Welcome to Bike Glendhu. Opened in January 2020, this new kind of mountain bike heaven is to be found 10 minutes’ drive from Wanaka in New Zealand’s South Island, at the heart of the Southern Alps and only an hour’s drive from Queenstown’s international airport. With 30 kilometres of trails graded from green through to black including a family loop, a scenic cross-country loop, challenging singletrack as well as a jump line, it’s a mountain bike park for all types of riders from hardcore to newbie, weekend warrior to seasoned campaigner, young and old. And it’s all even better if you’re on an eBike. In fact, you’d be pretty hard pressed on a weekend to spot a muscle bike in these parts. Nor did that happen by chance. This wasn’t a case of building a cool bike park, realising eBiking was getting popular and then deciding to ride that wave. Right from the start, and four years in the planning, this place was designed with eBikes in mind. If you’re already a fan of Tasmania’s Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails, you’ll find a similar vibe at Bike Glendhu.
“I spent quite some time exploring other trail developments and was really impressed by Blue Derby in Tasmania,” explains Bike Glendhu co-founder John Wilson. “I loved the way you can build one trail that many levels of rider can enjoy.”
The spectacular view is one of many things that makes Bike Glendhu special. From the top of the park, you look out across idyllic Glendhu Bay and over Lake Wanaka. But first you have to get to the top and, here’s the thing: there’s no lift. And there I was telling you how Bike Glendhu is the type of bike park everyone can enjoy. Bear with me.
“I wanted a site that had some elevation, where people could see a view,” says Wilson. “That got me talking with John McRae, who’s the landowner here. I knocked on John’s door and asked if this was a place we could ride and get a view. It certainly had that. The existing track was too steep though, so we started looking at putting in a climbing trail, and before you know it, we were planning a bike park.”
Specialist trail builder Tom Hey was brought on board to help plan and design the trails. The handyman behind some of the world's most famous trails and features, including the Crankworx slopestyle course, Tom is a big-picture thinker who demonstrates that the art of trail building is just as much about the climbs as it is about the descents.