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Fly up a New Zealand mountain, before flying down on two wheels

Heli-mountain biking, Otago, New Zealand

Darryl Leniuk

What's the deal?

Bike down a mountain (but let the helicopter fly you to the top).

Where's it at?

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Downhill mountain biking is all about making the most out of gravity. The only problem is you have to get up a mountain first, and that usually means a rough 4x4 road or a long, gruelling pedal. For the well-heeled rider, there's a better way: Grab your bike and hop on a helicopter.

A beautiful destination for this is Queenstown, an outdoor adventure hot spot on New Zealand's South Island. Book a tour with Fat Tyre Adventures: You'll have five mountains and a dozen trails to choose from, depending on the conditions and your ability. All rides are in the central Otago region, a remote and arid place where scenes from The Lord of the Rings trilogy were filmed. When you land on a treeless, moss-covered peak strewn with giant granite tors (or outcrop), you will feel like you're mountain biking in Middle-earth. Leave the 360-degree views and descend about 1,700 metres, over the next several hours, on loose rocky trails and sheep tracks. Strong riders will find big lines and natural jumps, but beware of the vegetation: Spear grass, a spiky plant that can puncture tires and limbs is everywhere.

Who's it for?

Those who like riding down and can afford not to pedal up. A half-day heli-mountain bike ride with Fat Tyre Adventures costs $320. fat-tyre.co.nz



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