For those who like a challenging mix of off-road climbing and technical descents across all types of terrain this epic 3-day mountain biking itinerary takes you to three of Southlands most exhilarating cycle trails: Motupōhue Bluff Hill Mountain Bike Park, Dolamore Park Mountain Bike Trail and Perenuka Mountain Bike Park.
Bluff Hill/Motupōhue Mountain Bike Park
Day 1 starts off from the capital of Southland, Invercargill. Whether you stayed the night at one of our many accommodation options or have just driven into the region from Dunedin or Queenstown, grab your supplies and take the short 20-minute drive South along State Highway 1 to Bluff. This harbour town is the southernmost settlement on mainland New Zealand. Home to the iconic Bluff Oyster, hidden away on the hillside is a lesser-known gem, the Bluff Hill/Motupōhue Mountain Bike Park.
Turn right when you see the sign for Bluff Hill/Motupōhue Lookout until you reach the top. Bluff Hill/Motupōhue offers excellent views of Foveaux Strait and the Southland Plains, as well as a well-established walking route network, a mountain bike park, a car park, and interpretive panels for visitors to the region. The area's natural wonders include original native bush, wind-battered coasts, and scrub-covered slopes.
This Mountain Bike Park has single-track cross-country and access routes, as well as a downhill path for more experienced riders. You’ll journey through native bush with intense gravity-fed downhill paths and epic seascapes before you take the thrilling 2km downhill run back down to the road. Downhill trails are accessible from the eastern side of Flagstaff Road, Bluff while the cross-country trails can be accessed from the car park on Pearce Street, Bluff.
Click here for the map from Invercargill to Bluff Hill/Motupōhue.
While you are in the area don’t forget to take a photo at the iconic yellow road sign that shows the start of Highway 1. If you love seafood, then follow the stairs up to Oyster Cove and dine on Bluff Oysters paired with a local white wine or if you want to make the most of Southland’s epic beaches grab some fish and chips from Galley Takeaways and head out to one of the many golden sandy bays in the area and enjoy the sunset before you head to your accommodation for the night. Ascot Park offers a vast array of hotel accommodation and facilities or if you are looking for something a bit more boutique, head to The Lodges at Transport World that offers unique, spacious accommodation packed full of supreme comfort.
Perenuka Mountain Bike Park
Start you day off right with a cooked breakfast from The Batch or a coffee from Black Shag. Hit the road heading out of Invercargill towards Riverton. Travel along the Southern Scenic Route to the coast and then up through rolling farmland to Te Anau, where you'll discover Perenuka Mountain Bike Park, just a short 2 hour drive away. Located on a working farm this trail is now a must do mountain biking destination.
Click here for the map from Invercargill to Perenuka Mountain Bike Park.
The Perenuka Mountain Bike Park is located on the edge of the Fiordland National Park, tucked amid rural hillsides. This mountain biker's paradise lies 6 kilometres from Te Anau's central business district, near the intersection of Sinclair Road. The Park winds its way through a meadow with spectacular views of Lake Te Anau and the Fiordland mountains. Rattle Ya Dags! is a path that winds through the trees and out into the pasture. Other paths include the breathtaking Ewe Turn, which leads to the hill's peak. Take Wazzamatagauri up the ridge and down the valley to Elastrator, then back up the hill to the Wuffler for your next downhill ride. Auger is a nice track to ride, but Woolly Jumper is top notch for getting some air. Although the course is more difficult, you get to ride on top of a car which is pretty epic. The Pork Pie track, which is named after a popular New Zealand film, also includes a car incorporated into the trail.
A lot of effort has gone into repurposing old farm machinery and transforming the land into a mountain biker's paradise, complete with unique barriers and hurdles for feats.
After a hard day’s biking, head into Te Anau and check out Redcliffs Café for dinner. The Café is a popular hangout for residents and visitors alike, set in an early settler’s home with local artefacts from Milford Sound, Fiordland, Lord of the Rings, and Te Anau, the vibe is enhanced with the live music, award-winning cuisine, and a range of Central Otago and other New Zealand wines, making for a memorable evening!
Spend the night at Dunluce Boutique B&B for panoramic lake and mountain views or book in at Fiordland Lodge with all luxury guest rooms providing all the amenities (even a spa!) to get you rested and ready for the next day.
Croydon Bush/Dolamore Park Mountain Bike Trails
Before you leave Te Anau make sure you pop into the Sandfly Cafe for an early morning breakfast or grab an award-winning pie for the road from Miles Better Pies. Travel via State Highway 94 towards Gore – on your way you will pass part of the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail. Mossburn is a great spot to stop for an early lunch or if you are looking for something a bit quirky head through to Lumsden and check out Route 6 Café. This American themed dinner offers great burgers and the locally roasted ROAR coffee.
Continue along State Highway 94, through Mandeville and turning right onto Kingdon Road until you reach Pope Road, roughly 1.5 hours away. Starting at the car park take your bike onto the new 6km Hokonui Water Race Trail which can be ridden in either direction. The Water Race Trail winds through pristine native bush throughout its entire length and is suited for experienced riders (grade 2-3) and is expected to be extend into Dolamore Park in the future. From the Pope Road car park, there is around two kilometres of single-track riding for the more experienced cyclist (grade 4).
Click here for the map from Te Anau to the Hokonui Water Race Trail.
t's only a short drive from Croydon Bush back to Gore where you'll discover a variety of different activities, restaurant and accommodation options. Home to the giant Brown Trout statue, the town is renowned for its fly fishing, moonshine and country music. To the unassuming, Gore might be mistaken for a slow placed holiday destination. But for those who love the small-town vibe and friendly locals, Gore has plenty to offer. Why not head to the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and Distillery for a whiskey tasting, call up a local fishing guide and catch a mighty brown trout or head to The Thomas Green for dinner and savour some paddock to plate lamb. After a long day cycling and exploring the area, turn in to one of Gore’s many B&B’s such as Hokonui B&B or Wentworth Heights where you can have a more personalised experience.
Put the bikes on the back of the car and make your way to Southland and be enthralled by everything it has to offer - spectacular landscapes, friendly locals, and awesome mountain bike trails just waiting to be discovered. Explore the majestic wilderness of Fiordland, the bright lights of Invercargill, the rural farmlands of Gore and be captivated at every turn. Embrace an unforgettable journey across the stunning, dramatic landscapes that shape this unspoilt region, and we promise you are going to love every moment of this treasured piece of New Zealand.
If you want to check out more mountain bike rides in Southland click here.