Starfish extension build

8 December update

Great progress with 20 keen men, women and children on the tools. Most of the digging was in the shade of a section of mature regenerating bush. Just a bit of benching and shaping with plenty of roots left in place to reflect the grade 4 conditions. 

Thanks to:
Ryan 1
Ryan 2

6 December update

A team from the Commerce Commission were on site this week donating some of their work time to help progress the Starfish build. With help from Ranger Frank from Wellington City Council, the team did a couple of hours of hard work roughing out another 10m of trail and clearing some trees - despite some damp weather. A huge thanks!

Makara Peak.jpg

1 December update

We got through another 25 hard fought metres on Saturday. We’re now back into some nice forest which provides more cover from the relentless Wellington summer sun (!).

A big thanks to Caerwyn, Wyatt, Phil, Rebeca, Miles and LLyod, Johnny, Ryan, Austin, Nick, Garth and Iain for putting in the hard yards so everyone can enjoy more advanced (grade 4) singletrack goodness at Makara Peak.

We’re back next Saturday from 10am. Only two more sessions to go in 2018 before a well-earned break over Christmas.

18 November update

Despite the weather gods continuing to not place nicely, good progress has been made on the new “Starfish Extension” line which starts at the end of Ridgeline Extension (so many extensions…).

We’ve cleared about 200 metres which is about the equivalent of the length of Big Tom’s Wheelie. We’re focussing on building it to complete standard before progressing on - there’s quite a lot of water run-off from SWIGG and Big Tom’s so we’re working hard to find the right balance of leaving roots and rocks while making the trail surface sustainable (i.e. not a bog).

27 October update

Quick dig today before the rain hit - the first berm is coming together nicely thanks to the large rocks provided by Horokiwi Quarry and delivered by Rapid Earthworks.

This section will get a rock garden added before the track is opened.

14 October 2018

We’re building some awesome new grade 4 single track from the end of Ridgeline Extension down to the start of Starfish. It will be a similar style to Ridgeline Extension with rollable drops and jumps, optional hard lines and plenty of stoke. 

We’ve scoped the line and it’s looking pretty sweet. Check out for a rough map and line.

Map showing roughly where the new Starfish will run from the end of Ridgeline Extension through to near the transmitter at the end of SWIGG/start of Starfish

Map showing roughly where the new Starfish will run from the end of Ridgeline Extension through to near the transmitter at the end of SWIGG/start of Starfish

Partial park closures confirmed for this summer

The shaded yellow area showing which tracks will be closed due to Transpower work for periods over summer 2018-19.

Transpower has begun work to replace the ageing power lines that travel through Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park to Wellington's Central Park substation. This means that several tracks at Makara Peak (and Polhill) will need to be closed for safety reasons during parts of summer 2018-19, as they pull the lines between towers. There will also be a lot more vehicle traffic in the park as they prepare for the work.

Rider safety

Transpower have put up signs asking vehicle drivers to slow and look out for bikes where tracks cross Snakecharmer and other 4WD roads in the park, but riders need to do their part and slow down when approaching a crossing as well.

For example, Upper Leaping Lizard crosses the 4WD track a couple of times, so it’s best to save your KOM attempts for the weekend or the evenings.

Tracks closed

Check out the map which shows which tracks will be closed.

But in summary - all the tracks in the south west corner of the park including Upper Leaping Lizard, Leaping Lizard, Nikau Valley, Possum Bait Line, Bailout, Missing Link, Aratihi, plus Upswing will be closed during work periods.

The big one is Koru which will be fully closed from the main entrance. We’ll be looking at alternatives including making Lazy Fern two way to provide an alternative climbing option.

Closure dates:

  • December 12-13th

  • February 12th-21st

  • February 26th

  • March 17th-21st

  • March 26th

  • March 28-30th

Simon O'Brien
Lizard survey coming to Makara Peak

Did you know that there are well over 100 lizard species endemic to New Zealand!?!

This summer we will be doing our first lizard survey at Makara Peak to see how many live in the park. The mosaic landscape of Makara Peak is ideal lizard habitat.

The setup for this summer’s lizard survey was finished off today thanks to Andrew, Jo, Jake, Paul, Simon, Evan, Cameron, and Trent. This included digging pit fall traps and creating artificial shelter on the ground and on the trees.

We will do the actual survey in March which will also include spot lighting at night.

This project is being run by Ecogecko and funded by WCC’s Conservation Fund. Thanks also to Conservation Volunteers who started the setup a few weeks ago.

Latest new trail build underway

2018 must be one of the busiest years in the park’s history in terms of new trail being built, and it’s not over yet! TGL are weaving their magic on our latest new trail, which will see Swigg extended across and down to near the bottom of Lazy Fern. 

The intermediate grade trail is being built in part by digger and part by hand and goes through some amazing native bush.  

This complements the new Advanced trail currently being built by the Supporters which goes from the end of Ridgeline Extension to Starfish. 

Upper Leaping Lizard rebuild complete

26 October update

The final piece of the Upper Leaping Lizard puzzle was tidied up this week by Ricky, who widened, tweaked, and finished off the short link between the new (upper upper?) and lower (original/lower upper) bits of track. So you can now avoid the pinch climb all the way up to the 4WD track.

14 October update

TGL have been busy upgrading the lower section of Upper Leaping Lizard over the last few weeks, which has been paid for by WCC. They’ve been widening some narrow sections, removing ruts, improving the drainage, berming up some corners, and building an intermediate bypass of the advanced steep rocky section - which is being kept open for those who prefer a steeper line. The best of both worlds!

They’ve done a great job retaining as much of the natural, rugged feel of the track, while giving it an update as it hasn’t seen any major maintenance in quite a few years. This is a key section of track that all riders will use to access the south west corner of the park, where we’ll be building a lot of new intermediate and advanced grade tracks. So getting it back to intermediate grade was a priority.

There are some great views from the track over Cook Strait and the South Island, plus looking back to the swing bridge and the Peak. Once it’s complete, there’s going to be a great intermediate loop in the South West from the summit down Upper Leaping Lizard, into the easy section of Leaping Lizard and then back along Supa Kanuka and Aratihi. Advanced riders have got a bit more choice with Nikau Valley or Leaping Lizard into Bail Out or back up via Possum.

We’ll post something on Facebook as soon as it’s open - only a couple of weeks of finishing and surfacing to go.

It's releasing season

After another successful planting season, we’ve a little bit of work to do to ensure the seedlings survive their first few months in the ground. We call it 'releasing', and it's usually just pulling back grass from around the seedlings to make sure they don't get swamped.

We provide gloves and a snack - you provide some muscle. It usually takes about an hour (a bit longer if there's a walk into the planting site).

Don't forget: once you've done three work parties this year, you get a pair of top notch Makara Peak riding gloves.

Wednesday 17 October at 6pm: Meet at Hazelwood Green next to the overflow car park

Wednesday 24 October at 6pm: Meet at the entrance to Bailout, then head into the Leaping Lizard goat exclosure

Wednesday 31 October at 6pm: Meet in the main carpark and picnic area

Wednesday 7 November at 6pm: Meet at the end of Magic Carpet/Koru

Wednesday 14 November at 6pm: meet at the container before heading into Ridgeline Extension and Miro

Tweaks made to bottom corner on Ridgeline.

Ricky, Scotty and Red Dawg made some tweaks to the bottom corner on Ridgeline on the weekend. The big ruts are gone, now replaced with some rock ledges which provide hard or harder lines. If you haven’t ridden Ridgeline recently - get into it. It’s pretty sweet at the moment.

Upper Leaping Lizard bypass underway

There was a good trail building session on the Upper Leaping Lizard bypass on Saturday, with about 30 metres scratched out by a keen group of volunteers.

This short section of new trail will bypass that nasty pinch climb and create better flow between the new section of Upper Leaping Lizard and the old bit (which is currently being upgraded).

One more session this Saturday and we should have it completed.

Spotted some Puawhananga in flower as well.

ULL bypass 1.jpg
ULL bypass 3.jpg
Ridgeline Extension rebuild continues

Ricky has been tweaking, rock breaking and armouring on the top (older) section of Ridgeline Extension. It’s looking pretty mint! Designed to improve flow and drainage, we’ll continue to increase the fun factor and incorporate new features.

Volunteers, TracksSimon O'Brien
Makara Peak tree of the week - the Sally Alley Rimu
Tree of the Week - Rimu.jpg

This is one of just four rimu that existed in Makara Peak at the time it became a MTB park. It's about 10-12m tall, and lives 10m above Sally Alley, about 80% of the way along the track.

We’ve planted hundreds of rimu in the park over the last 20 years - 80-odd we know have reached sapling height.
— Simon Kennett

Rimu can grow to well over 35m tall in their 800-900 year lifespan, and are an important food source for many native birds.

Kennett Brothers inducted into Mountain Bike Hall of Fame

The legendary Kennett Bro's have taken their rightful place in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame!

Their list of achievements covers everything from being a pioneer of the sport in NZ, competing on the world stage, publishing, thinking up and organizing events (the Karapoti Classic and Tour Aotearoa ring bell?!) and, of course, being the driving force behind the establishment of Makara Peak and its development over the 20 years since. From the get go, they have mixed mountain biking with a strong conservation ethos which now a common theme throughout NZ.

They are a modest bunch - but the "Three Brothers" track name is a tip of the hat in their direction. That is the most they have let us do.

Here is the write up:

Awesome work Paul, Simon and Jonathan!

Somes/Matiu Island visit

Tane, God of the Forest, looked over the Makara Peak plant care crew (Evan, Jamie, Sarah, Peter, Andrew, Simon and Don) as they joined ecologist Pete Russell on Somes/Matiu Island today. Pete gave a workshop on the art of releasing podocarp saplings from common, fast growing trees. 

The Supporters aim to get all the native podocarp species - rimu, kahikatea, matai, miro and totara - well established in the park, and we're now at the stage where looking after the ones we've planted is even more important than planting more.

If you'd like to join the crew and adopt an area of saplings, please flick us a Facebook message or email