Route Overview

General Overview
The MCGB (Mid-Canterbury Gravel Blaster) Exploration Route is a full day ride that includes some of the best public gravel roads in the mid-Canterbury area. The route leads you right up to the High Country offering epic views over streams, lakes and High Country valleys.

While the route has to include some tarmac to link everything up, the majority of this route is made up of gravel roads that are great fun to ride. If you are looking for a full day ride departing from Christchurch and an epic High Country valley to stop for lunch then this Exploration Route is a perfect option.

This Exploration Route is best ridden in good weather as the views on a clear day are outstanding.
Start/Finish Point
While this Exploration Route can be started at any point along the route, the natural start/finish point is Christchurch. At this location there is a fuel station to fuel up for the day. The GPX files and route information supplied for this Exploration Route start and finish at Christchurch.
Terrain includes
This route aims to have as many gravel roads as possible and while there are still a reasonable number of tarmac stretches, the volume of gravel roads will please any gravel seeking rider. All the gravel roads included in this route are Grade 1 and Grade 2. There are a number of small streams to ford but nothing that poses any challenge when the streams are running at normal flow rates. Most will be running around 2 to 6 inches deep.

There is an extra option for a short Grade 3 track on Leg 1. This extra route is supplied in the downloads section.
345 km.
Max Fuel Leg
164 km.
Ride Time
This is a full day ride. The actual time taken will depend on how long you spend at some of the natural stopping points such as the lookouts, lakes, rivers etc. The average seat time for the entire route is 6.5 hours. It is recommended to start this route early in the morning so that you are not rushing later in the day.
While this route is intended as a day ride there is a campsite as an option for camping. It is a fairly basic campsite and doesn't have the greatest scenic appeal however the option is there if you choose. This is detailed in the Leg 1 route notes.
Access Permission
No permission is needed to access the routes in this Exploration Route however please note that some of the gravel roads pass through private property. While it is legal to pass through these areas it is important to stick to the road, leave gates as you find them and ride carefully around stock or farming operations.
Access Limitations
This Exploration Route is recommended for fine weather. If there has been recent heavy rain then a few days should be waited before setting off. The main reason is that some of the normally small and shallow fords can become deep, rushy and potentially unfordable at times of heavy rain. Ideally you'll want to ride this route when the visibility is good as the views are outstanding on a clear blue sky day.
Preparation and Safety
While this is not considered a technical route it does include a few semi-remote areas so it is recommended to ride this as a group with typical adventure riding equipment including bike tools, spares and a PLB or emergency beacon.

Other route cautions are provided in the route notes of each leg.

Legs in this Exploration Route

Leg 1 <span>(22 photos)</span>
Leg 1 (22 photos)
Leg 2 <span>(20 photos)</span>
Leg 2 (20 photos)

Riders that have completed this Exploration Route