There’s no better feeling than flying through the air and landing the perfect jump. And if you’ve never tried it, then there’s no better time to try it than now. The weather is beautiful, the trails are operating (many are closed during the winter due to unfavourable conditions) and New Zealand has some of the most idyllic BMX jump parks in the world. A word of caution for the newbie: jump parks are made by hand, and most often by dedicated local volunteers. So, consider offering to help build and repair jumps before or after you ride.
We’ve put together a list of our top four favourite trails for you to try out this summer. The skill range is mixed and best of all, some of them are free, so there’s no excuses.
1. Gorge Road Jump Park – Queenstown
The Gorge Road Jump Park is a venerable contender for the top jump park in the Southern Hemisphere. Not only is the setting stunning, but the jumps have been described as a work of art. Some of the world’s top BMXers choose to train there, but the park is suitable for anyone from beginner to pro. It’s open 7 days and there are 40 jumps to attempt.
2. Rotoz Dirt Jump Park – Taranaki
Rotoz dirt jump park is located close to Lake Rotomanu to the southwest of New Plymouth. It’s a paradise for BMXers, with over 60 jumps to attempt and with a vast range of different skill levels from first time beginner to pro. The park is the brainchild of a few dedicated locals, so if you’re wanting to ride, make sure you take your shovel and be willing to patch a jump up if you case it.
3. PMP Trails – Auckland
The name of these trails comes from the three guys who started building them in 2004 – Pete, Mike and Pom. The trails are not for the faint hearted – and even if you are willing to give them a try, you may find them difficult to locate. The park is hidden in a native bush reserve in West Auckland and the local riders work tirelessly to perfect the sculptural clay lines.
4. Franklin Farm – Waikato
If you want to get good enough to hit some big jumps then getting rider coaching at Franklin Farm could be your pathway to success. Pro riders Jed Mildon and Paul Langlands are regulars and there are a range of jumps from beginner to pro, including foam pits for perfecting tricks.