One of the headline events of the Queenstown Bike Festival, The New World Tour de Wakatipu continues to be a showcase for the freshly completed Queenstown Trails.
Held for the 5th year, and with upwards of 800 riders of all abilities competing, this off road race and fun ride has grown to become one of the best loved mountain biking events in New Zealand.
Starting from the beautiful surroundings of Millbrook Resort, the course charts a path across the Wakatipu basin, adding in an optional lap of Lake Hayes, before crossing the Kawarau River at Frankton.
Once across the river the course follows farm tracks that are normally off-limits to riders along the Kawarau River, all the way to the spectacular finish at Chard Farm Winery.
Sponsor John Thompson, from New World Wakatipu is a keen mountain biker and has competed the event since its inception. He says it has fantastic variety.
"I love the start at Millbrook and throughout the ride there are some great views. What I particularly like is that the course makes use of some of the tracks prepared by the Queenstown Trails Trust and people will be able to experience all the good work that has gone on over the last few years round this part of the district."
While the course is primarily off-road, this race is accessible to most mountain bikers with few true technical challenges. This makes the event achievable for families and riders of all ages.
Riders can opt to ride in the recreational division and enjoy a fun day of riding. This division takes a direct path across the basin and is a very achievable 36km in total.
Those seeking a bigger challenge or with racing on their minds can enter the sport or elite divisions where a loop of Lake Hayes is added in, bringing the total to 45km.
New this year is a run option, where for the first time competitors can run the final 12.5 km from the Kawarau bridge to Chard Farm along the Kawarau River.
Starting from the bottom of the Remarkables, the exclusive run course makes it way to almost Kawarau River level, and from then on rolls up and over the river terraces, crosses the Rastus Burn, and climbs to the finish line at Chard Farm.
"Who says you need to be a cyclist to take part in the bike festival? No matter what your flavour is, the privilege to ride or run on the untouched wild side of the Kawarau River is a rare pleasure." Race Director Geoff Hunt says.
"The scenery along the river at that time of the year is simply stunning, and finishing at Chard Farm is most certainly a highlight. The opportunity to lounge in the afternoon sun, listen to some music entertainment and sip some award winning Pinot Noir is tough to beat".
Entries for the race are open now and can be found on the dedicated Tour de Wakatipu website TourdeWakatipu.co.nz.
Entries close on Wednesday 5th April.
The New World Tour de Wakatipu is part of the Queenstown Bike Festival, which runs from the 22nd March to 1st April 2013.
The Queenstown Bike Festival, "It's all about the bike…and more", is a ten day festival combining more than 25 events featuring all type of bikes, be it mountain bikes, downhill, cross-country, or road bikes through a diversity of events that you participate in, support or just watch.