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trails

Ride, learn and re-charge

Biking Welcome Rock and Roaring Lion Trail

By Richie

This was about to be my first overnight bike trip with my partner and novice biker Ashley… Maybe I was a little bit nervous. I figured as long as her tyres were pumped, seat at the correct height and I was carrying most of the gear, we would be just fine! 

We left Wanaka around noon and made out way toward Lake Wakatipu. After a quick dip in the fresh waters somewhere near Garston, we drove up the Nevis road and made our last minute checks next to an old ski hut. 

Richie Johnston Welcome Rock, Roaring Lion Trail 

This was the second time on this trail for me and I was itching to share the experience with another while embracing the wilderness, history and serenity. While riding the trail, I started to imagine what it must have been like for the Gold Miners including the many Chinese who spent their days on this very trail. Often we would see large steel water pipes alongside the trail which were a reminder of the hard work and effort they went through for the nuggets of gold. My mind wandered again, thinking of the nuggets of Chocolate I had buried deep within my pack. 

Roaring Lion trail Richie Outside Sports NZ

As we rode toward the Mud Hut, I instantly noticed the upgrades along the way, including some widening, berms to assist cornering and Information panels. The wider track provided many opportunities to pull over and read some of the area’s history. After riding around 7km we puled up to the famous Mud Hut and prepared the outdoor bathtub. It was such a treat to know we were the only people in the valley that night, sleeping in such a historical area. The clouds cleared and the stars seemed much brighter that night as we finished off the last of the Pinot. 

Roaring Lion trail Richie Outside Sports NZ

We took our time the following day making the time to snack, read the placards and shoot some video along the way. It was great to see Ashley take the corners like a champ and ride the trail well! This day would be the longest trail-ride she’s ever completed, fueled by mixed nuts, chocolate and plenty of encouragement of course. 

Richie Johnston Welcome Rock, Roaring Lion Trail

Roaring Lion trail Richie Outside Sports NZ

The last 5km stretch involved a well maintained gravel road, which a shuttle could easily pick you up from if pre-arranged. We climbed one of the massive rocks off to the side of the road and enjoyed a picnic lunch, before making our way back to the truck… Even with most of our food gone, I had to make sure I was still carrying most of the gear. Mission success, we’ll be back for sure!

#WhereAdventuresBegin

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