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Sophie Melville

Wanaka Trail Ride by the Numbers

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859: The record number of riders who took part in WTR 2017!

Event organisers were thrilled to receive a record 859 registrations this year, easily eclipsing the previous two editions of the ride which is now in its third year.

“When the Wanaka Trail Ride started, we set a goal of 300 registrations,” says WTR organising committee member Hamish McLean. “Now in the third year, we’ve hit 850! Thank you to all the riders for their support, we hope you’ve had a great time.”

Rider feedback has again been positive, with several veteran riders quick to comment that the views from the trail summits are some of the most stunning of all trail rides they’ve been on.

Riders of all abilities came from around the South Island to enjoy the family friendly atmosphere of this annual fundraiser for Wanaka Primary School and Montessori Children’s House Wanaka.


113: The number of roles filled by 102 volunteers

Volunteer manager Gillian White wishes to express her sincere thanks to all the volunteers who generously gave up their time to ensure the success of the event. “We couldn’t put the event on without our volunteers,” she says. “We strive to ensure they have an amazing experience too.”

“Everything ran so smoothly,” she says. “That’s down to lots of preparation from our core crew and each and every volunteer out there who all brought so much to the event.”

Gillian was also quick to offer her thanks to those volunteers who helped out despite not having any connections to either Wanaka Primary School or Montessori Children’s House.


100+: The number of kilometres of trail over 3 stations

Over 100 kilometres of trails were opened to riders by the generous landowners of Deep Creek, Long Gully and Lindis Peak Stations. A special thanks to the Nyhon and Annan families without whose incredible support this event would not be possible.

This year this stunning Central Otago trail bike ride had more advanced and expert trails, as well as continuing with its popular ‘peewee’ course for beginner riders.

The result was a diverse bunch of riders with a range of skill levels from novice through to hard-core riders who enjoyed an extensive trail network that extended almost to the Lindis Pass.

Landowner Lucy Annan was happy to be out with her family taking in the atmosphere of the event. “It’s great to have so many people here exploring this unique area that they wouldn’t normally get to see,” she says. “There’s an incredibly diverse group of people here and I love getting an insight to the culture of trail bike riders.”


19: The number of Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors of our event

The WTR organising committee sincerely thanks the 19 sponsors whose support helped to make the event such a great success.

And just so you know who they are:

Gold sponsors

  • Maungatua Contracting
  • Stonewood Homes

Silver sponsors

  • Aspiring Helicopters
  • Ecco Landscapes
  • Four Square Wanaka
  • Hirepool Wanaka
  • Jodie Rainsford Photography
  • Mistyflip Web Development & Advice
  • Pukka Signs, Design, Print & Web
  • Rotorworx
  • Wireless Rentals

Bronze sponsors

  • Alpine Auto Centre
  • Challenge Wanaka
  • ClubHub
  • Custom Digital
  • Lakeside Property Services
  • Puzzling World
  • TyreLand
  • Wanaka Marine & Sport

The WTR organising committee would further like to thank the following supporters:

Amigos – Bayleys Wanaka – BP Wanaka – Caltex Wanaka – Cardrona Alpine Resort – Davidson Honda – Double Black Café – The Good Spot – Highlands Motorsport Park – Infinity Investment Group – Kai Whaka Pai – Lake Bar – Lakeside Appartments – Mitre 10 – Moto South – Patagonia – Soul Food – Southfuels – Subway – The Green Room Flower Company – The Spice Room – Torpedo 7 – Treble Cone – Trout Bar – Upper Clutha Messenger – Vice Food Company – Volunteering Central – Wanaka Auto Repairs – Wanaka Motorcycle Centre – Wanaka Wastebusters – Wanaka Helicopters


10: The number of letters in ‘Safety First’

Despite the large turnout of riders, everything went smoothly on the day, with no major incidents. “The Wanaka Trail Ride is renowned for the systems we have in place,” says Incident Control Manager Brent Arthur. “Riders know they will be looked after personally and we are there for them.”

Much of the success of the event is due to the planning, says event manager Nicolle Masters. “We owe a lot to the dedicated track and safety managers who make this event happen,” she says. “Putting in the hard yards in the lead up, arriving well before riders on the day and leaving long after they’ve gone home.”


2: The number of schools to benefit from fundraising

The money raised from WTR 2017 will be split between Wanaka Primary School and Montessori. “It’s important to have tangible outcomes from fundraising events,” says Duncan Stewart of Wanaka Montessori’s Board of Trustees.

“Last year the money raised funded a new kitchen for the Bambini class and this has had a hugely beneficial impact on children and teachers,” he says. “This year we are looking forward to redeveloping the outdoor area with the funds.”

Wanaka Primary School board member Hamish McLean says the school will be using the funds to develop their new outdoor ‘Fit Trail’.

Are You Ready to Brraaap?

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Last Days to Pre-Register, Save and Win!

The tracks are marked, marshals primed, catering organised, health & safety prioritised, signs raised, helicopter’s hovering…

Wanaka Trail Ride is ready for you…


Are You Ready for Us?

Here’s a quick check list to cover all the important pre-ride basics:

  • You’ve pre-registered. If not, you’re missing the chance to save and win
  • You’ve shown your bike you love her!
    • Check motor oil
    • Check air filter
    • Check coolant and brake levels
    • Check chain and sprocket, lubed the chain
    • Clean the contacts
    • Check for loose nuts, spokes, etc.
    • Check control levers
    • Set the sag
    • Check the frame and footpegs for cracks
    • Check tyre pressure
    • Bleed the forks
  • Gas!
  • Read “Hammer and Tongs”


Hammer and Tongs

Just to be sure you have a great time, WTR’s own Grant Cagney has some sage advice for anyone who needs to be back at work on Monday.

“You don’t want to go too hard too fast right from the start,” he says.

Not that Grant wants to put a cap on fun, his words are intended for the wise. Like many well seasoned riders, he’s probably learnt a thing or two from others’ experiences, as well as his own.

“When the gates are open, you’ve got this bunch of bikes already there. The riders are rearing to go like a stampede,” he says. “It becomes a bit of a race for some of them.”

But standing back from the stampede are many other riders who are happy to give away the holeshot, secure in the knowledge that WTR is an all-day adventure ride. “They don’t rush to the gate,” Grant says. “Tearing around like a mad thing all weekend, you’re quite likely not going to end up at work on Monday.”

“If you go hammer and tongs right from the start, you’re probably going to have a bad day,” he says. “You’re best to build your speed, get into the swing of it and get comfortable on the bike.”

We figure he’s got a point. After all, there’s more than one way to brraaap. And come Monday, we’ll all make it to work.


Perfect for Pee Wees

Rumour’s been spreading that WTR is host to arguably the best Pee Wee track in New Zealand. Just sayin’.


Not So Fast!

Before you consign this newsletter to your trash, a little housekeeping. Please keep your speed down when passing properties on the gravel road on the way to the event. Much respect to the local residents!


WTR Teams Up for Poppy Appeal

Wanaka Trail Ride has pledged its volunteer hours to Serve for NZ: Anzac Day. In fact, we’ve pledged 500+ hours over Anzac weekend from over 80 volunteers!

Your entry to WTR 2017 is not only supporting Wanaka Primary School and Montessori Children’s House Wanaka. Because the event falls on Anzac weekend, we’re going to donate $1 of every entry fee to the Upper Clutha RSA’s annual Poppy Appeal. Lest we forget.


That Was So Last Week

You might not have heard, but last week we hit 100 registrations! Which means two lucky winners each received motorbike oil from Southfuels.

Congratulations to Mark Evans and Toby McLeod.

And good luck to ALL other registered riders for the next prize pool!

Keep the registrations coming riders…Our next prize pool will be drawn when we hit 150 when we’ll be giving away a free registration and a bike helmet. When we get to 200, there’s a $50 Torpedo gift voucher up for grabs!

So remember to pre-register by Saturday 22nd April for your chance to win.

All pre-registered riders can save time on event day by collecting your WTR packs from Wanaka primary school on Saturday 22nd April from 4–7 pm. We’ll also be taking new registrations and payments then as well.


Wanaka Trail Ride, 23rd April 2017 – Pre-register Today to Save Money and Time on the Day!

We’re just a few days out from our 2017 trail ride so here’s a final reminder for you to pre-register online to take advantage of our discounted entry fees.

Click on the link to take you straight to our registration page, easy as!

Need another reason to pre-register?

Here’s one:

Ride price on the day is $65 (adult) and $20 (child) excluding lunch, or $80 (adult) and $34 (child) including lunch (burger, drink and chocolate bar).

But, pre-register online today and pay for your ride with lunch for only $65 (adult) and $20 (child). Save !$$!

Here’s another:

If you pre-register, you automatically are entered our prize pool for some great giveaways!

And another:

All pre-registered riders have the opportunity to pick up their registration packs from Wanaka Primary School between 4 to 7 pm on Saturday 22nd April.

How good would it be to just turn up Sunday morning, jump on your bike and be ready to head out the gates on the go!


If you can’t pick up your registration pack on the Saturday, your pack will be pre-labelled for easy collection on the day at the separate fast-track registration tent set up beside the base paddock.

The cut-off for pre-registrations is Saturday 22 April so get in now to pre-register.



The Last Good Ride

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Winter is just around the corner, and with it’s arrival the sun is soon to set on your two-wheel excursions. But before you park your bike in its shed, consider the bounty of a backcountry adventure most people never get to experience.

Against a backdrop of remote high country wilderness, Wanaka Trail Ride 2017 is fast looming as the last good ride for a while, says trail director Grant Cagney.

“After Anzac weekend it starts to freeze up or get wet if you’re in the lower country, so it’s the last real ride of the season around here.”


Backcountry Bounty

High and exposed in places, Wanaka Trail Ride ride offers some great scenery over Deep Creek, Long Gully and Lindis Peak Stations. “A lot of people never get that opportunity to see out back of a high country farm,” says Grant, a veteran rider who has overseen all three editions of Wanaka Trail Ride.

“On the bike is a great way to get to that country without having to have a huge walk,” he says. “You’ve got the freedom of being able to ride out there on your own and have a look.”

But be sure to bring a warm jacket. Some riders from more coastal areas of the country may be surprised with how cold it gets at the top of these remote Central Otago trails.


A Trail for Every Rider

The Wanaka Trail Ride is an all-abilities trail bike ride. The tracks include family, intermediate, advanced and expert trails, as well as a pee-wee track.

With more than a hundred kilometres of trail, it’s a big ride with a trail for every rider, Grant says. While much of the trail will be familiar to returning riders, those prepared to tackle a tougher ride can expect some new territory. “The main family loops and intermediate loops will remain the same, but the advanced trail will feature some new terrain.”

In its first two editions, Wanaka Trail Ride has already been a hit with a broad cross-section of the riding community.

“It’s interesting to watch the different types. You see the families, girls and boys, mums and the dads.”

“You get your young, keen types. They often give it heaps, go out early, ride quite hard for a couple of hours. They’re often done by lunchtime, I think they’re probably worn out.”

“You see lots of families who are just ticking along quite quietly.”

Heading off in different directions at a pace to suit the individual rider, the groups are well spread out, Grant says. “Even with 700 riders it’s not that busy. There’s enough trail so it doesn’t get too cluttered.”

Laying Down the Challenge

Among the fantastic feedback Wanaka Trail Ride has received for its two previous events, it’s a bit of a sticking point that some of last year’s riders say they missed the challenge they were looking for.

Keen to set the record straight, Wanaka Trail Ride organisers are urging all riders to study the trail maps to avoid overlooking some of the more challenging loops. “We’ve got John Melville who’s really good at going out and finding the challenging tracks,” says Grant.

“There’s one ride that goes right from the bottom to the top and it’s not really a track. It involves riding through rock and scrub and it’s pretty challenging. I don’t think ten bikes got to the top of it last year.”

“There’s not many people who could ride the whole track more than once,” Grant says. “A friend of mine who is a fast rider rode every trail and had to really push to be able to ride all of the track in one day.”

“If you can ride all of the available track in one day, you’re pretty good.”

But if you’re thinking of giving your kids their first experience of the intermediate or advanced loops, Grant recommends riding the trail yourself first especially if you’re unsure of their ability.

“The intermediate loops are quite big and if you get them up there, it’s a long, rough climb to the top and if they can’t handle it, you can’t go backwards.”


Wanaka Trail Ride, 23rd April 2017 – Pre-register Today to Save Money and Time on the Day!

We’re just two weeks out from our 2017 trail ride so here’s a further reminder for you to pre-register online to take advantage of our discounted entry fees.

Click on the link to take you straight to our registration page, easy as!

Need another reason to pre-register?

Here’s one:

  • Ride price on the day is $65 (adult) and $20 (child) excluding lunch, or $80 (adult) and $34 (child) including lunch (burger, drink and chocolate bar).
  • But, pre-register online today and pay for your ride with lunch for only $65 (adult) and $20 (child). Save !$$!

Here’s another:

  • If you pre-register, you automatically are entered our prize pool for some great giveaways!

And another:

  • All pre-registered riders have the opportunity to pick up their registration packs from Wanaka Primary School between 4 to 7 pm on Saturday 22nd April.
  • How good would it be to just turn up Sunday morning, jump on your bike and be ready to head out the gates on the go!


  • If you can’t pick up your registration pack on the Saturday, your pack will be pre-labelled for easy collection on the day at the separate fast-track registration tent set up beside the base paddock.

The cut-off for pre-registrations is Wednesday 19 April so get in now to pre-register.

First Prize Pool Winners Announced! (Still More Chances to WIN)

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Fantastic news!

We have reached 50 online registrations and have drawn our first prize pool!

And the winners are:

  1. Bryce Shirtcliffe – registration fee refunded

  2. Michael Morris – a Cardrona Family Day pass

  3. Bryce Cleveland – a 1 year membership to Highlands Motorsport Park

Congratulations to these winners, we truly appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at MTR 2017.

Thank you to Cardrona Alpine Resort, and Highlands – Experience the Exceptional for these prizes.

Still more chances to WIN!

The next prize pool will be announced very soon, once registrations hit 100. So if you haven’t pre-registered yet, get online now and be in to WIN!






WTR 2017 Edition: What You Need to Know to Save and WIN

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Listen up riders (and friends)!

In this update:

  • Pre-register for WTR 2017 and WIN WIN WIN
  • Pay by credit card online (SAVE the hassle)
  • Wanaka Trail Ride entry fees (how to SAVE money)
  • Get your registration pack early (and SAVE time on the day)

Pre-register for WTR 2017

Pre-registrations are now open online. We have a great stash of PRIZES to inspire and motivate you to pre-register now!

1). Pre-registration refund – win the cost of your pre-registration BACK!

2). Cardrona Family Day Pass – win a voucher for a day’s sliding for one adult and one child!

3). Highlands Motorsport Park – win 1 year’s membership!


Be one of the first 50 to pre-register and go in the draw to WIN the cost of your pre-registration back. Pre-register early, and get more CHANCES to WIN!

That’s right, the earlier you pre-register, the more chances you have of winning the other prizes. There’s a pool of prizes so the sooner you pre-register, the more likely you are to WIN!

Pay by credit card online

New this year, you can now pay by credit card online.

As a sign of our commitment to the ongoing success of this event, we’ve upgraded our systems so you can pay by credit card online, no hassle! You can still pay by direct debit or cheque like last year, but this is 2017. Options are good!


Wanaka Trail Ride 2017 entry fees

Prices and rider definitions have changed this year. We no longer have the family pass, but we do have a LUNCH DEAL for all adults and children who pre-register.



$65 including lunch

$55 excluding lunch


$20 including lunch

$10 excluding lunch

On the day:

Adults: $65 excluding lunch

Junior: $20 excluding lunch


Get your registration pack early

So you’ve pre-registered for WTR 2017. Good for you!

But here’s a great tip if you want to avoid queuing for your registration pack on the day: we’ll be issuing registration packs at Wanaka Primary School on Sat 22 April from 4–7 pm.


Got a question?

It might already be answered on the FAQ page, but if not, leave us a comment below and we’ll be on it, ASAP!

Thanks from the WTR marketing team. Can’t wait to see you all on the day!

P.S. Remember to pre-register!

2017 ride – Sunday 23rd April

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The Montessori and Wanaka Primary School team are back planning this years trail ride and have confirmed the date for this year’s ride to be the same weekend as previous years, Anzac Weekend, Sunday 23rd April. As the ride is in it’s 3rd year the committee are feeling quite confident with the planning and systems put in place through hours of volunteer work the last couple of years that this year’s ride will be a great, fun, challenging but also safe ride for all!

An update from the Track Manager, John Melville is that the format, direction and trail pathway used last year worked incredibly well for riders and organisers so this year’s ride will be almost the same but with a few differing Advanced and Expert trails as well as the Base Paddock Prologue.  See last year’s Trail Map here. The Prologue was a late but exciting addition to the Expert section last year and was located to the right of the base paddock / car park area in the gully.  It is a short, technical course of natural obstacles and features such as logs and rocks and was definitely a welcome addition to those wanting an expert challenge at the end of the ride.  We’ll show you the video of last year’s Prologue in the lead up to this year’s event, hopefully in the next blog and newsletter.

Pre-registrations open 1st March!

If you pre-registered last year then thanks for being organised, we hope you do the same this year! We can promise you that we’ve upgraded our systems and there won’t be the long que for Pre-registrations compared to the que for on the day Registrations as last year.  It means we’ll be placing more pre-registration girls on the desks and this will ensure the lines flow easily and you don’t have to wait too long to get riding!

We’ll also be having lots of pre-registration giveaways over on Facebook and via the newsletter starting in March too.

2017 Entry Fees

Prices and rider definitions have changed this year. Sorry we no longer have the family pass.

$65 including lunch
$55 excluding lunch
$20 including lunch
$10 excluding lunch
On the day:
Adults    $65 excluding lunch
Junior    $20 excluding lunch






We’re excited to have Stonewood homes back supporting us as one of our Gold sponsors this year, together with Maungatua Contracting coming on board as another Gold Sponsor. We are incredibly grateful for their continued support of the Trail Ride and most importantly how it benefits the facilities for the children at Montessori Children’s House Wanaka and the Wanaka Primary School.

As always if you have any suggestions or feedback we’d love to hear from you, please message us via Facebook or email


Sophie, WTR Marketing



Hugely successful and widely enjoyed 2016 event

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Feedback pours in from riders with resounding applause for a well run and epic ride.


On a calm, crisp, autumn morning (Sunday 24th April 2016) over 600 riders from all over the South Island descended on Lindis Peaks and Long Gully stations for the second annual Wanaka Trail Ride.

Over 500 hundred volunteer hours from more than 80 volunteers were put into the fund raising event which raised over $30,000 for Wanaka Primary School and Montessori Children’s House Wanaka.


Clair Winslade volunteering in the Registration tent


‘It is a huge effort from our local community but it was a real buzz to see so many people having the time of their lives,” said Andrew “Howie” Howard, Wanaka Primary School Board Chairman. “This is becoming a landmark ride through some epic South Island high country. The organising committee saw their hard work pay off with a very well run and safe ride that every trail rider should be putting on their calendar.”


Young local riders; Left to Right: Angus Cagney, Olly Prince, Daniel O’Donnell, Shae Barrett-Corrigan, Thomas Masters


There were over 90kms of trails ranging from a ‘peewee track’ for the young children, through family and intermediate trails, to advanced and expert trails and hill climbs as well as an enduro cross section. There was a focus this year of increasing the range of advanced and expert trails for the experienced riders and the feedback was that it was definitely challenging terrain for them. It was also noticed that a lot of riders enjoyed it even more as it was the last trail ride on the calendar for the lower South Island and one that the organisers anticipate with the ongoing support of the landowners will continue to be a yearly event.

Nicolle Masters head of the Wanaka Primary School parent forum said ‘All of the riders, no matter what condition they or their bikes were in by the end of the day seemed pretty happy and we received many wide smiles of thanks. That was all attributed to the crew of dedicated marshals who planned and looked after the trails.’

Local landowners Denis Nyhon and Lucy Annan have been extremely generous in allowing this event on their properties and letting people see some spectacular back country. “Without them none of this would be possible” said Howard.

There were volunteers from St John’s, Search and Rescue, and Fire Service as well as local parents and community volunteers. The event was also generously supported by major sponsors Stonewood Homes, Hirepool, Maungatua Contracting, Aspiring Helicopters, Mitre 10, Mistyflip Web Development, Ecco Landscapes, Wanaka Helicopters, Nadine Cagney Photography, Universal Group, Four Square, as well as many others as seen on the Supporters page.

The winner of the fantastic raffle including a 1 hour helicopter lesson from Wanaka Helicopters, Trout Bar voucher, Torpedo 7 Voucher, Treble Cone day pass, Helmets from Wanaka Marine and caps and beanies from Davidson Honda was Chris Stirling, seen here with Sophie Melville, Marketing Manager for the trail ride.



Photos by Nadine Cagney

2016 Trail Map

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Here is the newly updated 2016 trail map.

It now has 7 advanced trails with 2 expert. (last year there was 1 Advanced trail!)

Please note:

The family trail has changed to now include going to the top station. Our Trails Team thought that the younger guys and girls would be able to manage getting to the top as it is a 4WD track.

Any questions? email  Attention: sophie,


Trail ride is this Sunday!

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Nearly all of the track is marked out, the trail map is very close to being finished and then we’re ready for you! The forecast is looking good for Sunday, partly cloudy and light winds and a high of 16 but we’ll have up to date forecasts later in the week via Facebook

Important information

Where is the Wanaka Trail Ride?

The trail ride starts in the base paddock located on Long Gully Station, off Jolly Road, Tarras. Jolly Road is a loop road and the entrance points will be clearly sign-posted from SH8/SH8a turn-off, close to Tarras and also at the Red Bridge, Luggate.

See the Google map

What time will tracks be opening / closing this year?

Tracks are opening at the earlier time of 8:30am this year.

Gates will be closed at 3:30pm.

What time will rider registration/sign in start?

Rider registration will commence at 7:30am onwards.

There is no cutoff time for rider registration – you can register at any time during the day.

What time are the safety briefings?

We have two safety briefings. One will be at 8am with a second briefing to be held at 9:30am.

All riders are required to attend a safety briefing. If you register after the second briefing you will be required to read and acknowledge you understand the briefing as part of the registration process.

Video: Another new advanced hill climb, Lindis Peaks

Last April newsletter video 1

Last weekend’s final advanced trail exploration and marking out on Lindis Peaks. It’s steep in parts and goes through a bit of scrub but you’re rewarded at the top with a pretty scenic view!


Scenic gully looking down on Camp Creek

WINNERS of the pre-registration giveaways

Thanks for pre-registering, please email to claim your prize

Torpedo 7 online voucher

Ricky Ruffell

Lake Bar $50 voucher

Logan Zwies

Thank you to our sponsors and supporters

We would like to say a huge thank you and acknowledge these businesses that have generously donated money, resources and their expertise.

aspiring helicopters






Reminder: CASH only event

Last year we had eftpos, but not this year sorry, the phone service wasn’t reliable enough for us to offer this service again.

So don’t forget to bring money for your entry, coffee and lunch! Or just pre-register now!



Yes, you can register on the day but pre-registering now will save you $5 and TIME on the day!!

Register here