A Guide to Crankworx Summer Series New Zealand
The ultimate mountain biking road trip is returning this March with Crankworx Summer Series New Zealand. The series will showcase four iconic Kiwi mountain biking destinations across the South Island: Alexandra, Wānaka, Cardrona, and Queenstown.
From February 28 to March 12, 2023 (full schedule here), local and up-and-coming riders will have the opportunity to race alongside national and international heroes, and spectators will be able to get amongst the action at all the events for the first time this year. Providing a stepping stone to potential Crankworx World Tour greatness, and an epic time in Aotearoa along the way, Crankworx Summer Series New Zealand is set to be the ultimate Southern Lakes and Central Otago roadie.
Registration for Pros, Open (amateur) and CWNEXT categories are open, and online registration will remain open until event training days, so jump online and register now! See details here.
Read on for everything you need to know about this epic slice of the world.
‘Alex’ as it is known by locals, is home to some of the region’s best biking, orchards and vineyards. Nestled on the banks of the Clutha River, Alex thrives on recreation and outdoor adventure.
Alex is known for its rocky, janky and challenging single track. Matangi Station MTB is the heart of the biking community, the result of a bunch of passionate bikers collaborating with farm owners to open up the country for epic riding. For stunning views and techy trails built by the local club, check out Flat Top Hill. For something a bit more low-key, but just as breath-taking, the 55km grade 2-3 Dunstan Trail runs alongside Lake Dunstan, the Kawarau River and the mighty Clutha River, linking Clyde (5 minute drive from Alex) and Cromwell. Stopping for a burger or coffee at Coffee Afloat is a must!
Alex sports an array of beaut places to eat, from wineries and cafes to bistros and breweries. Ferris Road Brewery or Monteiths Brew Bar are both great places for your post-ride beverage, but if it’s a baking fix you’re after, hit The Courthouse Café. You can’t go wrong!
Alex and Cromwell have great accommodation offerings with everything from campgrounds, to motels, to premium BnBs. Both are situated on the Central Otago Rail Trail, so many accommodation options are set up for bikes with wash areas and access to tools.
WHERE/HOW TO WATCH
This 5-stage enduro will take place at Matangi Station MTB from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm on the 1st of March.
The best viewing spots are at the bottom of Hazard/Fifth (stage 4), and at the bottom of Drainpipe (stage 5), where riders are expected to drop in to around 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm. To spectate the event, the best place to park is downtown, where there is a generous amount of parking around Rivers Street, Deel Street and Walton Street. You will then need to go by foot, or by bike, across the Shakey Bridge and along Graveyard Gulley Road to reach Matangi Station MTB.
Surrounded by the mountains of the Southern Alps, Wānaka sits at the southern end of the lake of the same name. With a genuine local feel, Wānaka is the best combination of hot summers, cold winters and small town hospitality. If you’ve got some to kill, take the time to experience the lake by paddleboard, kayak, or boat, or enjoy viewing it from the world’s highest waterfall climb.
Bike Glendhu, where the Dual Slalom will take place, boasts some of the best flow in the region coupled with some of the best views. Just 10 minutes around the lake from town, you’ll find trails for all, a sweet jump line, e-bikes, shuttle and Velo Café for all your re-fuelling needs! For trails close to town hit up Sticky Forest’s fun network of single track, or if it’s a bit of airtime you’re after, Lismore Jump Park is the one for you.
For the perfect post-ride or post-swim drink, head to B.Social Taproom and Eatery. With their own brewery on-site and the best poutine around, it’s a great spot to soak up the afternoon sun. Or with an interior inspired by back country hut adventures, Scroggin Café is the place to go for delicious coffee, hearty snacks and a killer all day menu. In the evening take a wander to the Brownston Street food truck market, and choose from a range of options to whet your appetite, in a sunny outdoor setting. With food trucks hidden away in almost every corner of Wānaka, the scene is alive and well in this town.
If it’s the biking you’re here for, you’ll find Glendhu Bay Motor Camp right across the road on the edge of Glendhu Bay. With tent sites, cabins and lodge accommodation there’s something for all budgets. Back in Wānaka you’ll find a plethora of options with everything from hotels, motels, backpackers, apartments and BnB’s, and of course a range of bike-friendly spots.
WHERE/HOW TO WATCH
To make the most of riding while also not missing out on any of the action, it is definitely worth purchasing a 2-day Crankworx Trail Pass for the weekend of the Wānaka Dual Slalom. Spend Saturday afternoon exploring the trails at Bike Glendhu, then come back for more the next morning, before settling in (with a beer or a booch) to watch the CWNEXT, Open and pros battle it out for the win!
Situated at the foot of New Zealand’s highest driveable mountain pass, the Crown Range, Cardrona links Wānaka and Queenstown. A bustling little village with the Cardrona Pub at its heart, it’s the gateway to the iconic Cardrona Alpine Resort.
Welcome to Cardrona Alpine Resort, New Zealand’s highest mountain bike park. With an extensive trail network and uplift, plus an on-site café, rentals, and coaching, it’s a heck of an adventurous day out. The resort also has mountain carting, the only place in NZ that runs these 3 wheeled carts, which is definitely one for the bucket list. Check out their opening hours before you head out, they are closed Tuesday/Wednesday currently, BUT Whitestar Chairlift will be open to riders on Wednesday the 8th of March (though mountain carting will not be available on this day).
Finish the day with the Peak to Pub, which takes you all the way from the top of the ski field to the valley floor where you can enjoy a drink and a meal at the iconic Cardrona Pub. Cardona also offers on-mountain eats at the Lounge café, or head back to Cardrona’s in-town spot, Après Wānaka
There are various BnB’s for rent in the Cardrona Valley, plus the Cardrona Hotel also takes accommodation bookings. And of course, Wānaka is just 20 mins along the road; check out the above links for all Wānaka accommodation options.
WHERE/HOW TO WATCH
To spectate, park at Valley View Carpark right next to the event village. From the event village, make your way up from the bottom of the track where there is amazing spectator viewing all along the track.
Queenstown is a place to celebrate the outdoors and the stunning scenery that greets you at every turn. Forever a magnet for adventurers and fun-seekers, Queenstown is the perfect base to come back to after exploring everything the area has to offer; walking, biking, climbing, or enjoying the stunning Lake Whakatipu.
Queenstown is the mecca for all things mountain bike. With lift-assisted parks, gravity-fed goodness, jump parks, flow, tech, back-country and home to the iconic dream track, there really, REALLY is something for everyone. Queenstown’s biking culture is unique and the stoke is contagious. Built over time by passionate locals and talented trail builders, backed by an awesome club, QMTBC, it’s the ideal place to spend a summer… and like many before you, probably never leave.
Your best bet for a post-ride beer is Atlas Beer Café. Huge supporters of the mountain biking culture, you’ll see everyone you know at this lakeside hot spot. After a Rude Rock or Hot Rod session, you can pop into Cargo Brewery at the bottom of the Coronet Road for a beverage and a snack in their garden bar, or if you’re heading back to town there is a massive range of restaurants and lakeside quick eats to keep you going.
Queenstown has a huge range of accommodation from hostel bunks to luxury lodges and everything in between. There are loads of central options which means you’re a stones through away from Queenstown Bike Park access or a quick pedal to Wynyard. The Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview has become a favourite among the Crankworx crew and mountain bike athletes for its bike friendly accommodations and absolutely stunning lakefront views.
WHERE/HOW TO WATCH
There is very limited parking around Kerry Drive, so it is worth making the short walk from town to the event. It should take approximately 15-20 minutes on foot from downtown to all the action! And by all the action, we mean ALL the action!!
There’s still time to register in the Pro, CWNEXT and Open categories for Crankworx Summer Series New Zealand. Come onnnnnn all your friends are doing it! Check out full athlete registration details here.
Be sure to follow @CrankworxRotorua Instagram for updates and highlights throughout the series. It should be an epic time for both spectators and athletes – you won’t want to miss it!