When we make the effort and take the time to go for a ride with kids, we want it to be an enjoyable experience. To have a ‘great day’ on the bike with kids there are simple things to think about, plan and do.

In this story we are riding in the – Hanmer Forest Mountain Bike Park (Whakarewa Forest) in Hanmer Springs on some of the beginner to intermediate tracks with Sam 11 yrs old and Hollie 9yrs old  and Mum and Dad. 
Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.

Where is it?

The main entry into the Hamner Forest Park is located 1km from the town of Hamner Springs on Jollies Pass Road.

There is parking options at the forest entrance though with its close location to town and the village many choose to ride along Jollies Pass road to the Forest Park. There are a couple of small tracks the run along the road side so the 1 km  journey to the Park is a combination of off road and on road.

The ride – is it doable for you?

This park has something for everyone. It is a matter of working out what will work best for your family.

Biking Distance? The length of this ride is entirely at your discretion you have a few kilometers  of, easy, intermediate, advanced and expert grade single track trails to choose from. With a larger proportion of the tracks being easy or intermediate it makes the Hamner Forest Park a great playground for families with kids of all ages. If they can ride a bike there is something here for them.

The Park is located on both sides of Jollies pass Road. If heading out of town the tracks on the right are relatively flat and where you will find the easy graded trails and the tracks on the left other than the ones close to the entrance are primarily intermediate and advanced trails.

Biking Surface/Biking Skills required/Level of biking fitness:  The surface, the level of skills required as well as your fitness requirement will depend on the level of difficulty of that particular trail. Match the trail to your requirements. Where you ride is totally dependant on your families or your skill level. Choose your ride by understanding and being able interrupt the signs/terminology on the maps. See online map here. The Hamner Forest Park is coded (yellow tracks = beginner/easy, blue tracks = intermediate, red tracks = advanced, black tracks= expert)… is it doable?
Remember the weather on the day will effect your ride. 

Can you ride with Kids Attached? There are rides that you will feel comfortable riding with kids attached. Understand your options of Mountain Biking with bike seats attached and towed

Some Trails that our Family Enjoyed.

EASY SUGGESTED ROUTES

From the forest entrance, on the right there is the 6.5km Easy Rider loop best ridden anticlockwise. This is a relatively flat ride,with some small pitches, trees and tree roots to negotiate. The ‘Easy Rider’ is  a perfect introduction to off road riding. You can vary the distance if 6.5km is too long. Ride a certain distance (maybe to the pump track) turn around and ride back or create a shorter loop with Alligator Alley. If they are have not mountain biked before they may not be able to negotiate everything on the track.. let them know it is OK to walk a section that is all part of the fun of mountain biking

If they enjoyed the easy rider and were comfortable with the skills needed to do the trail you could try Camp and Base Camp (this is a new track and currently not shown on the Mountain Bike Map at time of writing) located on the left and both graded easy.

MODERATE SUGGESTED ROUTE

To enter onto any of the other tracks in the park you will need some mountain biking skills.  Just be aware that the tracks will be narrower, have more challenging undulations, climbing sections and tighter corners so your kids should be riding a bike with gears and good brakes .  The biking surface in the park is varied but mainly compact dirt, pine needle sections, tree roots and rocks to contend with..

Suggested loops

1.Dog Stream(1.65km) / Mach 1(1.85km) and finish with Base Camp (1.6km). To make it a little longer at the top of Dog Stream add in The Fir Trail circuit (860m). We found this to be the easy of the 2 intermediate loops. This ride is not too much of a step up from the easy  graded rides. Mach 1 does offer more undulation, tighter corners and tree roots to negotiate. Hollie (9 year old girl) enjoyed following me down as she grew in confidence riding over tree roots and around some tight corners.

2. Swoop (2km)/Swamp (1.9km)via Western link ( 1.2km). There are options at the top to bike up Conical Hill or head out along Flax Gully (1.45km) to Clarence Valley road. This was a steeper track for both uphill and downhill riding and required more technical skills and fitness than the previous intermediate loop with steeper inclines and declines and tighter corners with tree roots and rocks to negotiate. This was Sam’s favourite especially the downhill of Swamp. Hollie was slightly out of her comfort zone, but happily walked on steep uphill section and a couple of the downhill section but she was proud of her acheivement. It was great to expose to what is required for the next level of riding

Both tracks can be ridden in both directions. This offers a different challenge for everyone. However you do need to be aware of bikers that may be traveling in the other direction to you.

Entrance and Map

Sign post with track names and grades

Hollie developing her Mountain Biking Skills

Kids enjoying riding trails to match their level

Be safe and comfortable when riding the Hamner Forest Mountain Bike Park.

How far you are venturing away from your base will determine the amount of gear you need to carry. It is always good to be prepared for any situation. Whether that be an injury,,energy and water requirements. The option of layers to ensure everyone is riding at a comfortable temperature. 

Enjoy the experience and have fun

Some things you could plan to discover at Hamner Forest Park – Biking with kids

  • Pump Track at picnic area located 1.5 – 2  km from the start of Easy Rider if riding in an anti-clockwise direction.  Pump tracks with changes in terrain offers a good introduction to balance and bike skills . Located at the pump track is a skills board showing you how to get the best out of a pump track and you could learn more about building your skills on these great safe tracks in our story –  The Ups of Pump Tracks.   The kids rode over and off things that initially looked scary to them – what a great confidence boost.  These types of bike skill obstacles create great learning environments – testing balance and decision making skills.  The whole idea is to play around and get used to the feel of your bike and body moving together.  Also to try things several times and watch what other people do.
  • Let the kids read the map.  Let them find the beginner tracks and work out what signs and names they should look for along the way.  The signs in this mountain bike park are really well done so are perfect for those new to map reading and navigating through a forest.  Forests can be very disorientating – every tree looks the same and the tracks twist and turn on themselves!
  • Relax under the shaded picnic table next to the skills area.  Munch on some well earned food and watch the kids go around the pump track one more time…
  • There is no better way than to end some time exercising than enjoying the hot pools, either on the day or maybe if you are enjoying the area on another day. It works as a great bribe as well. As we passed many other families during our riding can report I wasn’t the only Mum handing out that bribe.

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