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Level: Advanced
Length: 34 mi (54.7 km)
Surface: 4x4 Trail
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +251/ -65 ft
Total: 0 riders

Mountain Biking Godley Valley

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#211 of 387 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#10,747 in the world

The Godley Valley is a huge glacial valley with towering mountains on either side and a broad braided gravel floor.

The first thing you have to do on this one or two day adventure is cross the Macaulay River and that's dangerous in Spring and after heavy rain. But in late summer the river is generally only knee deep and not swift enough to wash away your bike if you hang on tight.

A four wheel drive track goes about 27km (17 miles) up the valley before surrendering to huge glacial outwash boulders. There is a little six bed hut at the 25km mark called Red Stag Hut, popular with hunters. You can overnight in the hut if you book ($5, nzdeerstalkerssc.org.nz) and that will give you time to ride then walk the extra 7km up to Lake Godley and the Godley Hut for a taste of a hardcore glacial environment surrounded by rugged peaks. It's stunning.

The trail starts out as a reasonable gravel road as it goes through a back country farm. But after just a few kilometres the surface becomes very coarse gravel - bouldery in places. It's very juddery all the way and there are 30 creek crossings deep enough to wet your feet - and 30 more on the way back! - not counting the Macaulay River. This adventure is all about the meaning of life rather than the cycling pleasure.

A similar trail that is slightly less challenging starts at the same place and goes 19km up the Macaulay River to New Zealand's fanciest back-country hut.

First added by Jim Cummings on Mar 25, 2017. Last updated May 11, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: yes
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Head east (towards Timaru) out of Tekapo and immediately turn left into Lilybank Road. Follow it for 38km as it winds its dusty way up the eastern shore of Lake Tekapo to the banks of the Macaulay River where there is a parking area on the grass.

Godley Valley Trail map

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Jim Cummings (on Mar 22, 2017)
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(on Mar 25, 2017)
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