Christchurch Adventure Park 'awesome'
"It's been a bloody good day," said one of the first riders to try the new mountain bike trails at Christchurch's Adventure Park.
The long-awaited $20 million park opened to hundreds of early-bird pass holders on Saturday, all eager to try the network of advanced, intermediate and beginner trails on 358 hectares of land between Dyers Pass, Summit and Worsleys roads.
Christchurch local John Fulton said the park was "just incredible".
"It's just the best thing for Christchurch. It's a world-class facility. We could be overseas, we could be in Canada. And it's so close to home.
"It's what Christchurch needed."
Fulton, who enjoyed the "technical, steep stuff" and the easy access offered by the chairlift. "It's incredible to be part of it.
"It's been a bloody good day."
Grinning from ear-to-ear rider Nik Dimock said he had just finished "one of the coolest rides I've had in Christchurch.
"There are some awesome trails here.
"Big ups to Christchurch Adventure Park."
George Tutton, also of Christchurch, said the tracks were "awesome". "It's a great set-up for mountain biking."
Tutton said the trails were smoother and more varied than he had seen in Queenstown and he was likely to return for rides after work and most weekends.
Rights to the first ride up the 1.8-kilometre chairlift – the longest of its kind in New Zealand – was bought at a Kaikoura quake-fundraising auction for $5000.
The anonymous buyer then donated the ride to a group of young cyclists who helped design the kids' pump track.
An excited Ava Brown and Daniella Ekekwe were thrilled at the chance to take the first trip and said "a big thank you" to their mystery donor.
They thought the ride was "cool" and described the view from the top as "amazing" and "mind-blowing".
The public will get their first look at the chairlift, ziplines and 50km of trails on Wednesday. The park also offers a cafe, bike hire and private lessons.
A day pass to the chairlift will cost $75 while a one-year 'Hauling Ass Pass' is $1199.
Zipline tours through the forest range from $80 for youths to $295 for a family pass.
Five lodges and 14 cottages, accommodating 252 people, and a mountain coaster will be built within two or three years.
Funding has come from a variety of sources, including $2m from the Christchurch City Council, $2m from the Government and $2m from Christchurch-based New Urban Group. Several individuals from across New Zealand also have a stake in the park.