In our new series ‘The Perfect Line’ we’ll take you on a guided trail tour of our country, starting with our hometown – Christchurch.
Nestled between the Port Hills, Pacific Ocean, Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps Christchurch offers a great variety of adventure, in fact, National Geographic magazine recently picked Canterbury as one of their favorite destinations for adventure, it’s easy to see why.
You can walk, hike, rock-climb or bike the hills – surf or relax on the beaches, jet boat or bungy jump rivers and get your snow fix at 9 ski areas in the Alps during the winter.
Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city and the South Islands largest with a population of 400,000. It’s easily accessible with an international airport only 20 minutes from the city centre and an unbelievably scenic five hour drive south, you will find Queenstown or four hours north Nelson.
In 2010 / 2011 devastating earthquakes struck the city, but in the years following it has risen like a phoenix and is modern, vibrant and very much alive.
After many years dreaming of chair lift access to our local trails, our wishes were finally fulfilled when CAP (Christchurch Adventure Park) opened their gates in December 2016 – featuring longest chairlift in New Zealand at 1.8km and 365 days a year trail access.
Unfortunately, the excitement was short-lived. Only 6 weeks after its opening park was in ruins, a fire had decimated 3/4 of the forest and with it, most of the trails. After an extensive 10 months of rebuilding trails and a new chairlift line, the park was reopened in December 2017.
Jump forward to January 2019 and there are now 21 trails with nearly 35km of riding and over 3500m descending – everything from mellow flow, winding single track, big jumps to steep technical rocks and roots.
So what can you do there? Mountain biking, zip lining, hiking, introduce the little ones to the pump track, scenic chairlift rides or chill in the cafe nestled between the trees and enjoy tasty coffee, local craft beers, & delicious food.
Ready to ride. Let’s head up!
Need a bike? Easy, drop into the rental shop for a great choice of Enduro & Downhill Bikes. OK sorted. Pass? Pop by the friendly admission crew. New to Park / Downhill Mountain Biking? Get a lesson, this way you’ll get guided down the trails and learn safely with an experienced instructor – trust us, it’s worth the money to start on the right foot.
Jump on the chairlift, it’s a high-speed 4-seater detachable with purpose-built bike racks – AKA fast, but easy load.
10 minutes later you will find yourself at nearly 450m above sea level.
Let’s start with a warm-up trail. New to biking? Go green. These trails have the least gradient, big but low angle berms and you get the longest trail in the bike park with the most open views.
Experienced? Then go blue. The best way to get that blood flowing, before an overload of adrenaline.
‘Lord of the Possums’ is a machine built flow trail – big berms, wide open with no trees so you can see what’s coming up – you can cruise or put the hammer down.
Something a little more tech? ‘Yeah Yeah Gnar’ is a hand built blue – tech flow, roots, and rocks but without the steep gradient/off camber of the black trails in the park.
You have 4 options to get back to the lift. New? Stick to the greens, try ‘Snake Obs’ if you want a little more challenge. Ready for some flow jumps? Head down ‘Handle The Jandal’ perfectly groomed flow with heaps of tabletop jumps.
Rough and ready? ‘Double Overhead Cam’, she’s a hard packed black trail full of pops, bumps, rocks & ruts! You can also spit from this track 1/3 the way down to find ‘Black Pearl’ – but be warned you’ll be walking the plank if your not experienced – she’s a tight, steep, off camber single track with a road gap under the lift to keep the peer pressure in check.
Ready to step it up a level? ‘Swinger Party’ is bermtacular – rail it at speed and watch you grin grow, but get ready for the second section, she’s got burly ruts, bomb holes, and slippery roots to keep you on your toes.
Continue down ‘Choir Boy’ this will take you to the newest trail in the park – ‘3rd Base’ and the 4th single track completed by the local legends of the volunteer trail crew – a true double black, tech, steep, rocky, drops & jumps – minimal B-Lines. For experts only.
Head a little further around ‘Choir Boy’ and you will find ‘Kama Sutra’ – one of my personal favorites, watch the POV below to see why, or drop into the single black ‘Shredzilla’ for a mixture of flow & tech.
Looking for lots of berms? Hard to go past #1 on Trail Forks for Christchurch – ‘Losses Rider’.
Not enough adrenaline for the day? Book yourself a for a zip line tour. Remember that flying fox as a kid?
Well, it’s the same idea except you traverse the valley a few hundred meters above the ground, going up to 70kph, not just once, but four times. Don’t worry, you’re safely secured to the line and if you knackered from all the riding it takes no effort to hold on as you are sitting in a harness.
Fancy some racing? Drop in on the Saturday 26th January 2019 for the annual Gravity Canterbury NZ Open Downhill Race and Saturday 16th February 2019 for the EWS Continental series finale
There are heaps more trails & activities in Christchurch, Canterbury, but we will save that for next time. We hope you enjoyed today’s episode – please hit that subscribe button, like & share with your mates – we’ll see you for more soon!
The Perfect Line are supported by: Worralls, GT Bicycles, Giro, SRAM, RockShox, and AllMountainStyle.com