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The course for The Pioneer, the first seven day mountain bike stage race ever held in New Zealand, will include trails never before opened to the public.

Today’s course announcement reveals the seven day event will see competitors snake their way from Christchurch to Queenstown through spectacular scenery and following some of the journeys of New Zealand’s early pioneers.  Competitors will enjoy traditional Kiwi hospitality at each stopover in the event villages set up daily in breath-taking locations.

“To ensure this race was true to our vision of extraordinary scenery and unique Kiwi hospitality experiences, we needed access through privately owned land which is usually closed to the public. After an extensive consulting and collaboration programme, we are thrilled to reveal the course of The Pioneer 2016,” said Dave Beeche, CEO of event company, Lagardere Oceania Unlimited.

“From private property owners to conservation guardians of this spectacular terrain, all have been really accommodating and are looking forward to working with us to deliver a hugely successful event,” said Beeche.


Lose yourself in the stunning Southern Alps day after day.


Enjoy the legendary hospitality of the South.


Through backcountry New Zealand that is accessible only on this event.


With pleasure comes pain.

As well as two stunning New Zealand Cycle Trails (Alps to Ocean Trail and the Queenstown Trail), competitors will be racing through more than 30 privately-owned properties, gaining access to parts of the country few have had the privilege to explore.

The Rowley family own around 6000 hectares in Hawea and are one of several private property owners to embrace The Pioneer and provide exclusive access through their land, not just for racing but also the location for riders’ accommodation, offering a unique farm stay experience to the event.

“We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country and are happy to open our gates on this special occasion to provide access for this extraordinary race and offer true Kiwi hospitality to the competitors,” said one family member.

The Pioneer launches from the Port Hills in Christchurch on Sunday 31 January 2016, where riders will set off on the 546km journey, traversing the Southern Alps and culminating on Day Seven (Waitangi Day – 6 February) in Queenstown – having travelled through Geraldine, Fairlie, Lake Tekapo, Lake Ohau, Hawea and Snow Farm on the way.

“The stage race is not limited to hard-core mountain bike riders requiring extreme technical skill to take part. The route is a combination of New Zealand Cycle trails, well graded tracks and exciting off-the-grid pathways, all of which will be achievable for a range of endurance athletes,” said race ambassador, New Zealand multi-sport and adventure race legend, Steve Gurney.

“This race will take your breath away – not just because your lungs will be screaming and your legs burning, but because the spectacular scenery of our great nation will leave riders breathless – whether you are a Kiwi or overseas visitor, you will never have experienced a race like this one.”

With a total elevation of 15,057m to be climbed, the riders (racing in teams of two) will be grateful for our famous Kiwi hospitality found in the eight host towns they pass through, not to mention having their transport, freshly cooked local cuisine and accommodation requirements all taken care of during this full service event.

“We want the competitors to focus on the challenge of the ride, the awe-inspiring scenery and the much needed welcome and recovery they will enjoy throughout their journey – everything else, we’ll take care of,” said Beeche.

In order for as many people as possible to get a taste of The Pioneer, the race will open and close with participation races of varying lengths for social riders of all age groups – first in Christchurch and wrapping up in Queenstown.

For full course details of The Pioneer, visit Competitor numbers are limited so enter early to avoid disappointment. 

The Pioneer thanks New Zealand Major Events, Christchurch City Council and Queenstown Lakes District Council for their support.



Course Stage Information

Stage 1 – Christchurch Prologue: Distance 37km Elevation 870m

Stage 2 – Geraldine to Fairlie: Distance 106km Elevation 2480m

Stage 3 – Fairlie to Lake Tekapo: Distance 74km Elevation 2486m

Stage 4 – Lake Tekapo to Lake Ohau: Distance 111km Elevation 1863m

Stage 5 – Lake Ohau to Hawea: Distance 107km Elevation 3824m

Stage 6 – Hawea to Snow Farm: Distance 60km Elevation 1984m

Stage 7 – Snow Farm to Queenstown: Distance 52km Elevation 1550m


Course Terrain Information

Farm Track/4WD – 52%

Gravel Road – 20%

Single Track/Cycle Trail – 19%

Sealed Road 9%

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