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Print yourself a copy of this map before you go: Current tracks map in PDF format - December 2007 (66k)
Also check out this very useful altitude profile of the "Grand Loop" at Makara. A big thanks to Erwan for creating this!
- How to get there
Ride or drive to the suburb of Karori; if you can find your way to the Beehive, at the end of Lambton Quay - then follow the overhead trolly bus wires above Bowen St - they lead all the way through Karori to Mud Cycles and South Karori Road (about 5km).
Head down South Karori Road for 1 km - you'll see the carpark and foot bridge on the right side of the road. Print yourself a copy of the tracks map (see above) before you go.
- Carpark and picnic area
- The main carpark and entrance to the park is 1km down South Karori Road. The easiest uphill ride is called the Koru and starts from here (see map above). It's always easy to end-up back at the carpark (via Lazy Fern, Live Wires or SWIGG / Starfish).
See also: First timers guide to Makara Peak
The tracks (listed in order of difficulty):
- Lazy Fern 1.3km, for all riders, downhill, one way
- This is the second half of the 'easy' loop that starts with the Koru uphill track. Lazy Fern has been design with a gentle gradient and is 1.2m wide with wide sweeping switch backs, making it suitable for less experienced mountain bikers but great fun for anyone. Lazy Fern starts across the 4WD track at the top of Koru and the track goes through some of the best bush that Makara Peak has to offer.
Built by Makara Peak volunteers, WCC contractors and staff during 2006-2008.
- The Koru 3.2km, for all riders, uphill, one way
- This is the main track into the park. It runs from the carpark on South Karori Road all the way up to either carry on along Sally Alley or cross the 4WD track to the top of SWIGG. You can exit the Koru about 2/3 along to get to the Skills Area. We've planned the route to be a gentle grade all the way - suitable for novice riders. For most riders it is an easy route up into the park. This is already the most popular ride in the park! If the weather is good then start by turning left before the bridge and ride across a small ford. If it is raining then cross the bridge, then take the left of the two tracks - this avoids the stream crossing.
Built by Makara Peak volunteers and WCC contractors in 1999/2000, and opened by the then Minister of Sport and Recreation, Tevor Mallard. The section between the skills area exit and Sally Alley was built by the Salvation Army Rimutaka Prison Conservation Corps in one week in May 2000.
- Rimu Trail Easy two way
- Starts from the end of Arllington Road and provides access to Ridgeline Extension (joining at the Picnic Area) and Snake Charmer (joining a few hundred meters up from the St Albans Ave entrance). A great way to get back in the Park after riding down Trickle Falls or Vertigo. Watch for walkers.
Built by Mark Kent, Local Residents, Makara Peak volunteers and AMP in 2007-2008.
- Magic Carpet 540m, beginner, flattish, one way (towards Skills Area)
- Starts from the top of Starfish and rolls along (east of the existing 4WD track) to the Skills Area.
Built by WCC contractors and Makara Peak Supporters late 1999. There are now three exits down to the Skills Area (southern end) - Easy, Average and Difficult.
- Sally Alley 1.4km, beginner/intermediate, flatish, one way (from Koru)
- Starts from the end of the Koru and rolls around the hillside to the start of Missing Link.
Note: In February 2006, the first section of Sally Alley was renamed to make it part of Koru.
Built by the Salvation Army and Makara Peak Supporters late 1999
- Snake Charmer 2km, intermediate, up and down, two way
- Starts from the end of St Albans Ave and heads all the way up to the top of Maraka Peak (next to the big transmitter tower). Watch out for vehicles and other riders and walkers.
- Missing Link 1.6km, intermediate, down then up, TWO WAY
- This is one of the most popular tracks in the Park and links the lower tracks to Aratihi, Leaping Lizard, Possum Track and Nikau Valley. It is narrow and has some nasty drop offs to be wary of. Most importantly Missing Link is a TWO WAY track so be careful on blind corners and ride like there is a walker / rider / elephant just around the corner.
Built by Makara Peak volunteers in 1998/1999.
- Aratihi Track 2.3km, intermediate, moderate gradient, two way (most traffic heads up!)
- This new single track starts at the far end of Missing Link and goes all the way up to the summit.
Built by Makara Peak volunteers from 2003-2006.
- Zac's Track 1.4km, intermediate, moderate gradient, two way
- This narrow track siddles from the top of Varley's Track to the Top of Makara Peak. It is a good climb or descent in calm weather.
This track was built mostly by Zac (Ian Pearson) with help from the Makara Peak Supporters in 2000.
- Varley's Track 960m, intermediate, uphill, two way
- Goes from the top of Makara Hill Road up towards the Makara Peak highpoint. A strong rider will be able to ride up it - the corners are the hardest bits, but the Supporters started building berms on them in 2001. Named after Gareth Varley.
Built by J'Ville Cycles in 1998/1999.
- SWIGG 725m, intermediate, downhill only (west to east)
- The Swirly Whirly Green Goat Track is a neat single track with a good drop off at the start. It connects with the top of Starfish.
Built by the Victoria University Mountain Bike Club early 2000, and extended by 250 metres in 2001, top section replaced and old track incorporated into Lazy Fern in 2007 / 2008.
- Starfish 600m, intermediate, downhill only (west to east)
- The best way to start this track is by riding SWIGG. Starfish is a tight single track with switchbacks and drops - very slippery when wet.
Built by Makara Peak volunteers in 1998. Upgraded in 2000.
- Leaping Lizard 2.7km, intermediate, downhill only (north to south)
- Starts from near the top of Aratihi, changes from single track to old-4WD and back to single track again and takes you to the southern end of the park. Two options await you at the end of Leaping LIzard. Either head back up the Possum Track or head out via the steep short climb onto private land via the bulldozed track. This leads out to the southern end of South Karori Road.
Built by the Hutt Valley Mountain Bike Club in 1999. Upper Leaping Lizard extension built in 2003 by Makara Peak Supporters.
- Live Wires 425km, intermediate/expert, downhill only (west to east)
- Runs from the Skills Area down to the carpark. Half way down the track splits in two for a while. The right fork is average and the left fork is difficult.
Built by Makara Peak volunteers in 1998 and 1999. Most of it was originally called Pylon 19.
- Nikau Valley 1.7km, expert, mostly downhill, one way (southwest to northeast, from Leaping Lizard to Missing Link)
- This track winds through regenerating bush from about half way down Leaping Lizard to Missing Link. It is narrow and slippery in wet weather. Be carefull of the steep drop offs.
Built by Makara Peak Supporters in 2000/2001.
- Ridgeline 2.2km, expert for Ridgeline, intermediate for Ridgeline Extension downhill only (west to east)
- This was our first track and is also the most exposed to the wind. Starts from the top of Maraka Peak and pops out on Snake Charmer. An intermediate-grade extension of Ridgeline carrys on to the start of SWIGG. Recent upgrades and ongoing pixie work on the lower parts of upper Ridgeline courtesey of Don Mcleod.
Built by Mountain Bike volunteers in 1998. 2 long deviations were built in 2001 to lessen the gradient. Ridgeline Extension built in 2005 by NEC Global Volunteers and Makara Peak Supporters.
- Possum Track Advanced - one way up-hill only
- Starts from the end of Leaping Lizard and climbs up through challengine switch backs until it meets the Nikau Valley track. A work in progress and a labour of love.
Built by Grant Preston-Thomas & Friends, Don Macleod and Makara Peak volunteers 2006- .
- T3 1 km Difficult (Down) Expert (Up)
- The T3 track (Technical Torture Trail) links the top of Vertigo and the top of Trickle Falls. The track is two-way and is designed to be grade 5 techical downhill and a grade 5-6 technical uphill. The track will contain between 16 and 18 manmade and natural obstacles when completed. It is currently rideable from end-to-end but not all structures are in place yet. The track has been designed and built to enable riders to hone their skills and attack with the attitude of "I'll clear it this time".
Built by Murray Drake, Jonathan Kennett and Makara Peak volunteers 2007- .
- Vertigo 1km, expert/extreme, downhill only (north to south)
- Start from the top of Varleys Track and peels off down towards Trickle Falls. It's steep and gnarly, with a lot of tricky obsticles added to keep it interesting for expert/extreme riders. This is a dry weather track only.
Built by J'Ville Cycles, YMCA Conservation Corps and Wellington mountain bikers in 1999/2000.
- Trickle Falls 1.4km, extreme, downhill only
- From the summit head north down the 4WD track for 200m. Trickle Falls drops off the right over a big drop-off. If you cannot make this drop off with some confidence then please don't go any further as the rest is worse/better. Pops out at the bottom of the Allington Road playground (not far from the start of St Albans Road).
Built by Ricky "Slackboy" Pincott and friends 2002-2003.