I have awoken like a jet lagged zombie back in the Global Dirty HQ hub, slowly starting to reflect on what was an insanely amazing week of mountain biking in the South Island… This reflection & appreciation no doubt aided by the concrete jungle vista that has replaced the epic mountain views that were a theme of the trip!
The summer tour got off to a great start in Perth, had an up and down middle, but the ending was one of the best MTB trips I have ever done. The riding, the crew, the locations, the weather, the bike and just the whole thing just came together into a massive lake of riding and traveling gold that I couldn’t have planned better if I had tried. Well, I didn’t really try and as such, most of the credit belongs to these two honestly:
To get every ride on the list ticked off with extreme ruthlessness as well as hitting a whole buffet of trails that exceeded expectations only tells half the South Island story. Its worth remembering that I didn’t even get to places like: Nelson, West Coast, Wanaka or even half the riding in Queenstown. In fact, you could almost take the whole of Feb off and just tour the South Island to all the killer spots and indeed, we did see signs of people doing that… Mainly Ze Germans who love a good MTB roadie even more than they love sharing a shower.
So, whilst my experience in the South is strictly limited, a few Dirty pointers that are worth mentioning in summary if you’re looking to head down there:
- There are limited flights into Queenstown, but its not all bad if you have to fly into Christchurch to start with, plenty of warm up riding to be done on the way down and some rather scenic driving to be done as well
- For all the riding here, Knowledge and planning is key – You need to do your homework if not riding with a local or guide, but there are awesome trail maps available from the bike shops, so head there to get started. Ideally you best tap someone to come with you who knows how it rolls and has done it before. No way this trip would have been as awesome without the M&M show
- Depending on your riding style, this is bigger bike territory… So bring the long travel weapon. Sure, there can be a lot of climbing, but that can be tackled ENDURO style, so leave the XC geekery at home. Ultimately I would bring a DH bike and Trail bike, but quite a cuntox if you’re coming from overseas. Renting a DH bike in Queenstown also a good option
- Shuttling is key – For a couple of reasons 1) you get to do the best trails in a practical manner 2) if you’re here for more than a week of riding, it massively saves your body and energy stores. Try and structure your trip and vehicle arrangement around how to shuttle. If its hard, in Queenstown get the details for Jono’s MTB shuttle taxi, pretty much everyone talks about him as being the go to man
- Check the Gondola action – Peak holidays it can be closed to MTB, so don’t get caught out. Also work out the break point between buying daily passes and a season pass. I think if you ride more than 10 days its worth getting a Season pass? To be honest, there is so much other insanely rad riding to do around the place that I would throw the odd Gondola day in here and there as opposed to just focusing all your energy in the one spot
- I would recommend the Pinewood lodge in Queenstown for Accom – Cheap and close to the action. If you’re in a group, ask to book out the whole floor of a house to make sure you don’t have to share the amenities with anyone else, sharing with strangers is weird
- The best months to hit the South are Feb and March generally, so aim for that… Book stuff ahead though, as its pretty feral with tourists (Ze Germans), but you will get the best weather. Its dry and rocky riding, so think about factoring in some rest days to do usual boring holiday shit like walking around and buying shit you don’t need or pretending to hang out with the family etc
- Take your armour – The riding can be full on, so best to be prepared for it. Take goggles as well, especially for the bike park, its a dusty mofo. Avoid doing what I did which was to leave your goggles out as the last item that didn’t fit or to not wear your pads when you plunged off a 10 meter + bank. Gimp
I’m sure I have a whole lot more rattling around in my MTB brain, but your attention span is slowly melting and I am jet lagged and have to unpack, so if you do want to head down South before snow arrives and fucks everything (a rare perspective I know), then its best to invite me along so I can show you first hand… Will provide guiding duties for payment in hamburgers, any kind as well.
I shall now be switching to a full video release chain of posts, turning DN into an MTB netflix type arrangement as I finally start to get some edits in. In the mean time, some limited evidence that I did actually ride some of the features properly and jumped off stuff, egged on by Mad “Its not really a big drop, sort of” Markus: