Whether it’s your first ride at Makara Peak, or your thousandth, check out the list below for some ideas on how to get the most our of your Makara Peak experience.

Kids and Beginners Loop

 

Starts/Ends: Allington Road Entrance
Trails: Rimu - Miro - Magic Carpet - Miro - Rimu
Technical difficulty: Easy
Fitness level required: Beginner
Estimated riding time (for beginners): Approximately 30-45 minutes
Trailforks link

This is the flattest and easiest loop at Makara Peak with mostly wide trails with good site lines and gentle gradients. It’s a great way to get into mountain biking without having to do much climbing - allowing riders to focus on bike handling and basic skills.

Starting at the entrance at the end of Allington Road, head along Rimu, turn right onto Miro and follow the signs pointing to Lazy Fern. Miro undulates along and up to the four wheel drive track, which you cross before heading along Big Tom’s Wheelie for 200m. Exit right onto the four wheel drive track at the intersection with SWIGG and head up to the start of Magic Carpet which loops back to the end of Big Tom’s Wheelie.

From there, head up the 4WD track parallel to Big Tom’s Wheelie to the container, were you go back down Miro to Rimu and exit onto Allington Road.

Try next:

  • Drop down through some great native bush on Lazy Fern to the main entrance on South Karori Road. This is also a great shuttle option for older kids not wanting to do too much climbing.

  • Do another loop of Magic Carpet!


 

Fern Loop

Starts/Ends: Main Entrance on South Karori Road
Trails: Koru and Lazy Fern
Technical difficulty: Beginner
Fitness level required: moderate
Estimated riding time (for beginners): Approx 30-45 minutes

The shortest and easiest loop from the main entrance on South Karori Road, the climb up Koru starts steadily before easing up a touch with some short descents to give your legs a break. From the end of Koru, head back down the fun and flowing Lazy Fern.

Try next: Add a loop of Magic Carpet when you finish Koru.


Mid-peak loop

Starts/Ends: Main Entrance on South Karori Road
Trails: Koru, Sally Alley, Three Brothers, Smokin, Lazy Fern
Technical difficulty: Intermediate
Fitness level required: moderate
Estimated riding time: Approx 45-60 minutes riding plus breaks

Starting and finishing at the main entrance on South Karori Road, climb at a steady gradient via Koru and Sally Alley to roughly half way up the peak, before traversing across on Three Brothers. From there you get to descend on fast and flowing Smokin and Lazy Fern.

These are all beginner or intermediate grade tracks that are mostly under the trees and offer protection and shelter from the sun, wind or rain. This loop is a good option if the weather's really bad, you don't feel like going all the way to the summit, or if you are short on time.

Try next: Add on a Magic Carpet loop before heading down Lazy Fern.


 

Lizard Loop

Starts/Ends: The summit of Makara Peak
Trails: Upper Leaping Lizard - Leaping Lizard - Supa Kanuka - Aratihi
Technical difficulty: Intermediate
Fitness level required: moderate
Estimated riding time: 45 - 60 minutes plus breaks
Trailforks link

This loop into the south west corner of the park is ideal for riders who are comfortable on Peak Flow and Smokin and are looking to extend their normal ride with something a bit new and different.

This largely intermediate (grade 3) loop descends from the summit down the recently extended and upgraded Upper Leaping Lizard. It starts off as a high-speed, machine built flow trail with perfectly sculpted berms, rollers and table tops, before getting progressively narrower and more natural.

From there it joins Leaping Lizard - don’t let the advanced grading put you off - the top section is a wide and fast farm track that’s easy to negotiate. After passing the intersection with Nikau Valley, look out for a left hand turn onto Supa Kanuka. You’ll then traverse on Supa Kanuka before climbing back to the summit via Aratihi.

Variations to this include stopping at the bottom of Upper Leaping Lizard and grinding back up the 4WD track to the summit.

 
 

Nikau Valley Loop

Starts: At the Upper Leaping Lizard sign on Aratihi (just after the end of Upswing)
Ends:
Summit
Trails: Upper Leaping Lizard - Leaping Lizard - Nikau Valley - Missing Link - Aratihi
Technical difficulty: Advanced
Fitness level required: moderate - high
Estimated riding time: 30-40 minutes

This is loop offers a bit of variety for advanced riders heading to the summit but wanting something that adds more challenge.

There’s a short climb and traverse along the south west ridge before descending down the lower section of Upper Leaping Lizard, and the fast double track of Leaping Lizard. After turning left onto the Nikau Valley trail, things get narrower, rougher and more exposed in this isolated and remote-feeling valley.

There’s a bit of technical climbing towards the end of Nikau to get the heart racing before settling in for a long climb to the summit.