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Tags:
Level: Advanced
Length: 24 mi (38.6 km)
Surface: 4x4 Trail
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +487/159 ft
Total: 1 riders
 

Mountain Biking Macaulay Valley

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#237 of 381 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#10514 in the world

The Macaulay 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 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 19km (12 miles) up the valley to New Zealand's best alpine hut which is a popular base for deer hunters and mountain climbers, not to mention quad bikers, four wheel drivers and their families.

The trail surface is coarse gravel - bouldery in places. It's very jittery all the way and there are a dozen or so creek crossings deep enough to wet your feet - same on the way back! This adventure is about the awe of the rugged alpine environment rather than the cycling pleasure.

A similar trail that is more challenging and more stunning starts at the same place and goes 27km up the Godley River. The two trails can be added together and combined with some walking into a challenging two or more day alpine adventure.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • Restrooms 
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. This is also where you access the Godley Valley.
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Macaulay Valley Trail map

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Jim Cummings (on Mar 23, 2017)
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Good (on Mar 24, 2017)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Tekapo, New Zealand

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Intermediate | 12 mi

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  • Jim Cummings
    **

    It's a challenging ride up the Macaulay Valley but up ahead the mountains soar higher and higher, lifting your spirits as you stretch your muscles. The hut is a stunning place for lunch or an overnight stay. The ride back down is easier and faster but even more jittery on the coarse gravel! Apart from creeks, you cross braids of the Macaulay River a few times and those crossings tend to be bouldery and unrideable.

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