Wanaka Wonderland

Vortex_opener1Motorbike trail riders have a rare opportunity to explore tracks of private high country farmland near Wanaka next month and help raise funds for two local schools.

The inaugural Wanaka Trail Ride takes place on Sunday 26 April during the Anzac Holiday weekend and is expected to attract enthusiasts from across the South Island. All proceeds will be split equally between the Montessori Children’s House Wanaka pre-school and Wanaka Primary School. Parents from both schools formed a partnership last year to pool resources and ensure all money raised from the ride would directly benefit local school children.

The specially designed course includes family, intermediate and expert loops taking in Deep Creek, Long Gully and Lindis Peaks Stations between Tarras and Wanaka. Landowners Denis Nyhon and Barbara Annan are providing special access for the event. In addition to the main loops there will also be a ‘pee wee’ track for junior riders just starting out in the sport.

With places limited, organisers strongly encourage anyone interested in taking part to pre-register before Friday 17 April via the event website www.wanakatrailride.co.nz. Pre-registration also comes at a discounted rate of $45 adults and $65 family (two adults with up to three children aged 16 and younger). On the day entries cost $50 and $70 respectively.

Nicolle Masters, Chair of the Wanaka Primary School Parents’ Forum, said similar charity trail rides around New Zealand raise thousands of dollars for good causes and she hoped the event would become an annual fundraiser for both schools. “Our goal is to attract 300 entrants. We’ve been busy spreading the word amongst local riders and South Island clubs so we’re optimistic about raising a good total and giving entrants an amazing experience,” she said. “Motorbike trail riders are always keen to access new territory. Thanks to the support and generosity of Denis and Barb plus our key sponsors Stonewood Homes and PGG Wrightson we’re giving people a unique chance to experience a glorious stretch of the Upper Clutha with fantastic views over Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea towards Mount Aspiring National Park.”

All tracks start from a base paddock off Jolly Road. There will be signs directing entrants to the event from Tarras and the Red Bridge at Luggate. Sign-in and scrutineering takes place from 8.00-9.45am with a compulsory safety briefing at 9.45am and the track opening at 10am. Food and non-alcoholic drinks will be on sale at the start from 8.00am. Riders can begin loops up until 4.00pm. The ‘pee wee’ track is open from 11.00am to 3.00pm and all riders on this track must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times.

Riders need to have the following items with them: approved safety helmet, spark arrester (compulsory and available for purchase at sign-in), clothing for all weather conditions, sturdy boots (motorbike boots preferred), extra fuel, water bottle and fire extinguisher (optional).

Anyone wanting more information should visit www.wanakatrailride.co.nz.