Downhill Mountain Biking Thrills in New Zealand

Heli-Biking Mountain Bike Trip on the Remarkables, Queenstown NZ

Take the ultimate downhill mountain bike tour via helicopter to a high peak on the Remarkables in Queenstown, then descend 1600m as fast as possible to the valley below.

Heli-biking is not a cheap activity but it is fast becoming a must-do item for avid mountain bikers visiting New Zealand. Whilst taking a ride to the top of a mountain might be perceived as lazy, the thrill of both the helicopter ride and the subsequent exhilarating descent is sure to eliminate all feelings of guilt.

New Sport of Heli-Biking

In recent years, heli-biking has become something of an extreme sport for adventure-seeking mountain bikers looking to ride virgin trails. Fuelled by the success of heli-skiing, helicopter companies now offer trips for both private clients and tour companies wanting a true wilderness experience through heli-hiking and heli-biking tours.

Whilst a drop zone in a remote location with no obvious trail is best left to extreme sport enthusiasts, New Zealand offers heli-biking trips for riders of all abilities. Queenstown, the adventure capital of South Island, is the obvious choice for mountain bikers looking to add heli-biking to their list of achievements.

Heli-Biking on the Remarkables

Several companies in Queenstown advertise mountain bike tours via helicopter. The downhill mountain bike trip from Vertigo bikes offers 18km of continuous descending and a total drop of 1600m or 5248 feet. Whilst not advisable for complete beginners, most intermediate level riders can easily cope with the big, beautiful but non-scary descent.

Highlights of the trip include:

Exhilarating helicopter ride over the Remarkable Mountains to the summit of Ben Cruachan at 2000m.
Awesome 360-degree summit views.
Testing first twenty minutes over rock-covered scree slopes.
Fast flowing varied terrain including open ridgeline, single track and 4WD trails.
Burning wrists after three hours of constant descending.
Big grins on reaching the vineyards in the Gibbston valley which mark the end of the trip.

Body protection is provided for nervous riders but the professional guides, members of the New Zealand Mountain Guides Association, ensure that all riders descend the mountain confidently and above all safely.

Cost of Heli-Biking in NZ

Prices in New Zealand start from NZ $349 based on a minimum number to fill the helicopter. Smaller groups can be accommodated but at a higher price.

Best Time to Heli-Bike in NZ

Heli-biking trips only run in warmer months which in the Southern Hemisphere is from November to April. Even in summer, warm layers are required on the summit to cope with the wind chill at 5500 feet.
Most Memorable Mountain Bike Trail

Vertigo advertises their memorable heli-biking trip as one of the “top 50 things to do before you die.” Real die-hard riders may want to combine the trip with a descent of Skippers Canyon, another must-do item on any MTB trip to New Zealand.

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