The Hanmer Mountain Bike club have worked harder than almost any similar club in New Zealand to create an almost mountain bikers heaven in the Matariki Forests right on the edge of Hanmer Springs Village. Add to it the Hot Springs to soak after a day of riding and you do have heaven!
The easiest way to find you way around the maze of trails (and support the ongoing efforts of the club) is to buy a map from one of the bike shops or the iSite. Or check out the online directory here.
One of the most popular starter tracks is the combination of Dog Stream Track and the Jolliffe Saddle Track.
To get to this head out of town on Jollies Pass Road and turn left onto the gravel Mcintyre Rd which you follow all the way to the picnic spot. At the picnic area cross the bridge to where the start of Dog Stream Track is. Dog Stream Track is an easy ride that follows the stream in and out of the forest. Cross Jolliffe Road and follow the track along beside Menzies Road before turning left into Jolliffee Saddle Track.
Almost as soon as you hit Jolliffe Saddle Track the gradient gets a lot harder. It is not too far to the saddle and you are more than likely to have to do some pushing. But once at the top you are rewarded with stunning view of the Hanmer Region and a great downhill. There are some easier flowing sections and a few technical areas that some newer riders might struggle with - but all in all it is still a great introductory intermediate ride.
At the bottom the options are to head onto Red Rock Track or to pick up Timberlands Track to return you to the start at Pawsons Road.
The ride will take you about an hour.
Other popular rides are simply exploring the Forest Cruiser and linking track which can provides hours of fun for beginner riders in the Heritage Block of the forest, an intermediate link round the back of Conical Hill combining Flax Gulley, Swoop and Majuba, and for the advanced mountain biker the 5 minute Detox downhill or the New Yankee Zephyr and Tank Track combination or the Yankee Zephyr and Red Rock Combo both also for experts.
Don't forget to check to see if any of these tracks are closed due to logging, and get a map to show your support.