Updated February 2008
This is a quick guide for anyone heading in to Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park for the first time.
1. How to get there
First print yourself a copy of the current track map.
From downtown Wellington head to the northern end of Lambton Quay (where the Beehive/Parliament is) and turn west onto Bowen Street. Overhead you'll notice some trolley bus wires. Follow those all the way (about 5km) through Karori till they end at South Karori Road.
Here's a copy of the bus route map (switch your printer to landscape mode before printing it).
The carpark entrance to the Park is 1km down South Karori Road, on the right (stream side).
2. When to ride
All the single tracks can be soft and slushy during and after rain. It's best to wait two or three days after heavy rain before hitting the single track trails.
There are about 8km's of solid 4WD track which will be fine to ride even when wet.
3. What to ride
A mountain bike. We're assuming you have a fat tyred bike with some low gears for the hills. Suspension is optional. Big-suspension single-chainring downhill bikes should try out Trickle Falls.
4. What to expect
There are currently 8km of 4WD track and 24km ofAM custom built single track. The single track routes have been designed for a wide range of abilities - from beginner to expert.
The southern half of the park is covered in regenerating native bush, mostly over 3 metres tall. The single tracks are sheltered but slow to dry out.
The northern and higher half of the park is dominated by gorse and barberry. The tracks are exposed to all winds, but dry out faster after rain.
5. Where to start: the Koru
From the carpark ride up the Koru to the Skills Area.
The Koru has two start options. If you want to keep your feet dry cross the bridge and take the left fork. The wet route starts to the left just before the carpark bridge - just behind the notice board. Take care as the ford can be deep at times.
Follow the Koru downstream and gently uphill to the Skills Area. The Koru has an average slope of only 3 degrees all the way up so that beginners should be able to ride it.
Gravel has been laid on almost all of the Koru track.
6. First stop: Skills Area
The right hand turn-off to the Skills Area is signpostedAM part way along the Koru track. Once you reach the Skills Area you can play around on the various humps, bumps, logs and other obstacles. There's a picnic table if you want to have a lunch stop.
From here you have several options:
7. Next up: Sally Alley
From the Skills Area head 150m back down to the Koru and turn right continuing to the Sally Alley and Lazy Fern junction - turn left.
Sally Alley sidles around the hillside all the way to Missing Link. It requires slightly more skill than the Koru.
8. Next up: Missing Link
Sally Alley ends directly across a 4WD track from the start of Missing Link.
From this point you can look over Nikau Valley to Pylon 16 - the other end of Missing Link and the start/end of another 4WD access road. The Missing Link track is designed for riders with "intermediate" skills. However there are one or two spots where the track is narrow and the drop off the side is steep - some riders find this a bit nerve-wracking.
You'll find out what "intermediate" means by riding this track.
From the other end of Missing Link you can:
9. All the way: Makara Peak
There are three ways to reach Makara Peak (412m):
All routes require riding uphill - the Snake Charmer is the easiest of the three options. Once you get there, 90% of your work-out is done for the day and the views (on a good day) are awesome. The Peak is very exposed to winds from every direction.
10. What next?
Future tracks in the making include an easy track linking Allington Road and St Albans road and a technical uphill track for experienced riders between the tops of Vertigo and Trickle Falls – try riding the funky Skinks Back.
11. How to help?
Glad you asked - come along to a work party one Sunday (the timetable has details) and from Wellington bike shops. We do track maintenance all year round and in summer we focus on building tracks and in winter we plant native trees. We also do possum and goat control year round.
Join the Makara Peak Supporters Group. Either email firstname.lastname@example.org , ph 04 499-6376AM, or download a membership form (23KB pdf file) and send it to Makara Peak Supporters (Inc), PO Box 17-095, Karori, Wellington.
Enjoy the park and tell your friends.
12. More questions?