A quick browse through MyRides, and you’ll see there’s a trail ride on just about every weekend somewhere around New Zealand. And you may have been to quite a few of them. But even if you consider yourself a seasoned event rider, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the safety rules again. Just like the airlines encourage you to watch the safety video every time you fly, we encourage you to take a moment to refresh your knowledge on the safety rules. After all, you can never be too safe.

Wanaka Trail Ride is a family-friendly event open to everyone from peewees on the peewee track to expert riders. There will be many riders at the event who are out having a go for the first time. We want to make sure everyone stays safe and has a whole lot of fun along the way. So, in the interests of having fun and staying safe, here is all the info on safety at Wanaka Trail Ride.

Know your skill level


Any trail bike riding involves some element of risk, and riders need to be realistic about their skill level when deciding what trails to hit. Bear in mind, there are always other factors to consider alongside how steep the terrain is – like track conditions, weather and other riders. So, before you hit Wanaka Trail Ride, make sure you’ve had a good look at the Trail Map and decided what you can and can’t do. And have a look at our FAQ page, where we explain our green, blue and black trail options.

Vehicle types allowed at Wanaka Trail Ride

Hopefully, by now, everyone has seen that side-by-side vehicles are not permitted at this year’s Wanaka Trail Ride. We have had them in the past, but with so many young riders on the tracks, the speeds that side-by-side vehicles can reach potentially become a safety issue. As in previous years, farm-style quad bikes are allowed to enter.


This year, side-by-side vehicles are NOT permitted at Wanaka Trail Ride

This year, you can enter with:

  • Any two-wheeled motorbike/trail bike
  • Farm-style quad bike (where the passenger sits behind the driver)

This year, you cannot enter with:

  • Four-wheel, side-by-side vehicle
  • Any high-powered Polaris or RZR-style four-wheeler (even if the passenger sits behind the driver)

Spark Arrestors

As with most trail ride events, you must have a spark arrestor to enter the Wanaka Trail Ride. Spark arrestors minimise the risk of fire caused by sparks from the exhaust. Make sure you’re all sorted and ready to ride on the day. But if you forget or need some parts, we will have materials available for purchase on the day if you arrive without a spark arrestor.

Safety Briefing


Another must-do before entering the Wanaka Trail Ride is to watch the Safety Briefing video. This is pretty easy to do, and we will have plenty of places where you can watch the video. If you are picking up your pack or registering at Wanaka Primary School, you can watch the safety briefing video there. There will also be a rolling safety briefing video set up at the registration tent on the day for riders to watch before they enter the trails.

On the day of the event, all riders will be provided with a briefing sheet which will have our safety briefing and a copy of the trail ride map when they sign in. The safety briefing video will play continuously throughout the day, giving any riders who haven’t watched it the chance to watch the video before they ride.

You can get a head start and watch the safety briefing video here.

Wanaka Trail Ride Safety Briefing Video


If there is a problem with your bike and you have to leave it on the course, we will use our best efforts to help you retrieve it. However, some areas are only accessible by helicopter. The cost of helicopter retrieval is $250 and must be paid before your bike is recovered from the course.


And a few more things…

  • Dogs, alcohol and smoking are prohibited at the event
  • All riders must wear a helmet
  • All riders are strongly advised to wear full protective armour/outerwear and footwear
  • Safety information will be clearly signposted at the entrance to each track.
  • Please bring cash to purchase food and drinks, no EFTPOS available

peewee-rider-wanaka-trail-rideWanaka Trail Ride is now in its sixth year, and we are proud of our safety record. While we do everything we can to set up a safety framework for the event, ultimately, it is the rider’s responsibility to adhere to Wanaka Trail Ride’s safety and riding rules and ensure that all equipment is in good working order.

If you have any questions or concerns about safety at Wanaka Trail Ride, please get in touch with our team, we’re happy to help. We’ll see you there.

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