Sometime during 2017, word of a shuttle accessed bike park being built north of Wellington, New Zealand started circling. I first caught wind of it when I was still living in Squamish, BC, some friends visited the park and a few photos and a little video footage from their trip had popped up on social media. The content coming out was intriguing, to say the least. Over a year has passed since those past whispers and last weekend I finally got the chance to head up the Kapiti Coast and check out Dirt Farm NZ. Local Wellington Kona riders Elliot Smith and Jason Gurr both jumped at the chance of sampling the park before it officially opened. The drive from Wellington (New Zealand’s capital) is only an hour and pretty damn painless. If you’re coming from Palmerston North it’s only a 45-minute drive.
Meeting the owner and mastermind behind Dirt Farm is an experience in itself. After talking with Tim Browne for just minutes you get the feeling he could sell water to a drowning man. His passion for Dirt Farm (and biking in general) is infectious, and unlike many people who tell you what you want to hear, it’s abundantly clear that Tim gets shit done. It is most definitely not just talk. The 12 awesome trails, the accommodation, the roading, uplift vehicles and the general infrastructure at Dirt Farm are proof of that.
The weekend saw two open days, mainly so Tim and his crew could have a dress rehearsal of how things will shake down when the park was officially open. Saturday (the day before we arrived) was bone dry with just a little wind, Sunday, well she was a little drizzly (with no wind mind you). The 24 people there to test the trails did not care one bit though, and hysterical giggling could be heard throughout the whole valley. Whilst most of the trails were still rideable in the wet (some a little scary), if you plan on checking the place out you may want to wait for drier weather if jumping is your thing. The top of the jump trail, Green Room, was pretty slick, but we found that the trail Toilet Bowl dried the quickest and was the most resistant to the wet weather. With all that said and done the Kapiti Coast where the park is located gets a ton of sunshine and more often than not when it’s wet in the city it can be sunny and dry. The valley where Dirt Farm is located is also surprisingly sheltered from the wind.
We were so impressed with the terrain and the 12 trails that Tim had open that we had quickly made plans to return on a sunny day. With Australia’s heatwave heading over the Tasman Sea toward NZ, we booked in for a day of bone dry riding on the Thursday before the official opening this weekend.
After talking more with Tim on our repeat visit there seems to plenty more exciting developments happening in the future for Dirt Farm, he has an absolutely massive vision for this small slice of New Zealand and the attitude, determination, and passion to pull it off.
After a night of rain and a day of drizzle, Toilet Bowl dried up pretty quick.
Elliot Smith trying to clean the mud out of tires on Toilet Bowl.
It’s filled with lots of creative lines; to hit this near perfect step-down you have to first land a fun little step-up and then rail a berm.
Oh yeah, then there is the actual “Toilet Bowl”. Tricker than it looks, you need to land this drop, already cornering if you want to get round that tight 360 turn.
More berms await once you land it.
And even more.
If you like your jumps and drops on the large side, Dirt Farm has what you need. This drop is the run in for the parks massive Crabapple Hits size line, Sky Burial.
Jason gets sideways on one of the smaller gaps on Sky Burial.
While Elliot opts for loft.
Sky Burial isn’t the only option if you like air though. A quick lap down to the pick up zone on one of the more playful trails will soon have you dropping into Green Room.
I did say playfull eh? Jason chases Elliot down Squidge Ridge.
Once in the Green Room its time to get pitted. The A-Line-esque trail is filled top to bottom with a ton of jumps and a ton of options. Repeat runs and visits are going to be very much rewarded. Elliot finding the flow.
The small hill ensures there a lots of hips.
And some good old classic senders.
27.5″ and 29″ friendly too!
I did say playful right? to send this step-down you first have to clean a large table, then cleanly launch off a little step up on to the lily pad take off for this step-down. When you link it all together it just works.