A chairlift assisted bike park filled with amazing descending trails only 25min from an international airport, it's Christchurch Adventure Park!
Words: Ryan Walsch Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith
The Christchurch Adventure Park is only 25 minutes from the International Airport and can be seen looking across the city and descending from the Thomson Park Scenic Reserve. Opened in early 2017, the park was ravaged by fires soon afterwards, robbing Christchurch of the chairlift assisted park they had just got a taste of. But Christchurch might just be the most resilient city on the map – and like the rest of the town, the Adventure Park has been rebuilding.
It's hard to not be excited rolling into the carpark, looking up you can see the chairlift straight up some pretty steep terrain with Zip lines going back and forth between the two ridgelines the park is built on. There is a dense pine forest leading from the Park grounds up to the left and a stream of riders popping out of the trees, kids on the pump track and beers in the hands of those sitting on the huge timber deck of the Handle Bar and Cafe.
The right-hand ridgeline has been cleared after the wildfires that ravaged the park and signs of fresh growth and flowing berms and jump lines snake down in all directions. Large excavators, compacting machines and building teams in high vis draw our attention to new developments in the park.
CAP has an extensive fleet of Giant Reign’s and Glory demo bikes making riders passing through or not wishing to travel with a bike to hire a quality bike that’s kept running mint by the fully-fledged bike shop on site. The bike shop stocks all the usual offerings you would expect, wheel builds, tubeless tyre setups and suspension servicing look like popular choices here.
Once you have your pass collected and have signed on it's time to hit the 430m vertical climb of the chairlift. From the chairlift riders will have a great vantage point to see “Handle the Jandle”, “Airtearoa” and “Lord of the Possums” directly below and Sections of “Choir Boy” as it snakes parallel to the Dyers Pass Road which follows the ridgeline above the park.
From the top of the park heading down the left ridge takes riders to the green and flow trails like “Duncan’s Donuts” and “Lord of the Possums” or black jump lines such as “Double Overhead Cam”
These trails are hard packed, well maintained and fast. Take time to scope out the lines before going all out as on the expert lines there are blind drops and jumps and the occasional wind gusts that come up from the valley as these obstacles come up fast and often in quick succession.
Heading right takes riders along some seriously fast sections that traverse parallel to Dyers Pass Road with some rocky features and switchbacks with epic view back across Christchurch. Once reaching Pioneer’s Hub its back into the trees for arguably the best trails in the park. “Loess Rider” is a blue graded trail that can be enjoyed by all levels of rider while “Shredzilla” and “Karma Sutra” showcase the rocky and root covered chutes that we associate with New Zealand. If you want to buzz those shorts on the rear tyre, these trails are for you.
When maximum levels of stoke have been attained and you physically can’t hold onto the bars, it is time to head to the Handle Bar and café and use the last remaining strength to down a pint or two. The food available at the Handle Bar is way above average in terms of bar food, with local events and functions being held here the kitchen is well equipped to cater for the simple needs of weary mountain bikers. As the sun goes down, sit back and relax on the deck and talk of a day to remember.
CAP is located around 17kms from Christchurch International Airport and takes 25mins to get there. There are plenty of vans to hire in Christchurch, taxis and shuttles can also be arranged.
CAP is well suited to ALL levels of rider, from pumptracks and mellow flow lines to HUGE slopestyle trails and wooded and rock strewn steeps.
Lift day passes are $80 and CAP has all the gear you need available for hire. We would recommend you take season appropriate riding gear, shoes and helmet with you.
If you are bringing your own bike it's important to remember this is a gravity fuelled park and XC bikes are not going to cut the mustard. A dropper post equipped trail/enduro bike or Downhill bike is required here.
From the top of the park, head right and aim for “Choir Boy” and its possible to achieve up to 7kms of fun.
The pine forest just above the bike shop and café has some very fine trails for the intermediate to advanced rider. We highly recommend the long yet very scenic Choir Boy to the Pioneer Hub. From there find your flow on Loess Rider with its superb berms and rolling rhythms or if you’re after a challenge, there are some super steep shutes on both Shredzilla and Karma Sutra.
BEST TIME OF YEAR
CAP is a 365 day park with masterfully built sustainable trail features that can be ridden all year round. Being said, weather can get wet, cold or hot and dusty at the flick of a switch so be sure to check out their website for live weather and trail updates.
WHILE IN THE AREA
A pedal out the top of the park through Victoria’s park will lead to the Thomson Park Scenic Reserve with awesome views of Lyttleton Harbour and Quail island. Jump back onto “Flying Nun” for some high speed back to the Handle Bar.
LOCAL BIKE SHOPS
With a Bike shop situated on site, you can spend days here without having to worry about where to go is you get a little over zealous in the woods...
Christchurch Adventure Park's website is up to date with ALL upcoming events, be sure to check before booking flights so you can align your trip with or without one. Posters for upcoming gravity events such as Chainless, DH and Enduro meets show that there is an always something cool going down here.
Drinking Water: Yes
Parking: Yes free
Trails Signposted: Yes, very well signposted with maps and trail features.
Mobile Reception: Yes, Spark and Vodafone
BBQ Facilities: No, but there is a classy Bar
Accomodation: No, but lots in Christchurch
Fitness level: 1/5