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A Guide to Heli-Biking in Central Australia

A new way to experience mountain biking. 

Before traversing through the outback landscape on your mountain bike, there is now the option to see it from above. While you’re flying over in a helicopter, with the mountain bikes securely mounted, the Alice Springs mountain bike trails await you below. Heli-biking is the holy grail of mountain biking and the desert tracks surrounding Alice Springs are the perfect way to experience it.

 

What is Heli-Biking?

Heli-Biking is the hybrid activity of taking a helicopter flight (with your mountain bike attached to the side) to a drop site, where you then get to go mountain-biking. Heli-mountain biking enables quicker access to trailheads or otherwise hard-to-get-to mountain biking trails. The heli-biking phenomenon gets its idea from heli-skiing, a popular winter activity in New Zealand and Canada. 

In Alice Springs, you’ll take off from the airport and head to your chosen drop site. Along the way, take in the horizon-to-horizon views over the red dirt and ranges of Central Australia. 

Heli biking is a fun and challenging option for all riders, from the pros to those just getting in the mountain bike saddle. It is an activity best suited to adventurous types, adrenaline junkies, and nature lovers. 

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Loading up the helicopter

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Taking off

Heli-Mountain Biking Transfers

Alice Springs Helicopters operates heli-mountain biking transfers to three sites across the east and west sides of the Alice Springs mountain bike trail network. These are transfers only, so make sure you pack everything you will need to support yourself for the ride.

The helicopters can take two or four riders and their bikes at a time. Thrill-seekers will be blown away by the MacDonnell Ranges as your heli-biking transfer takes you across the top of them. There is plenty of singletrack around the Alice Springs network. While you’re never far from town, it will feel like you’re in the wild Outback.

Heli-Mountain Biking is only available through Alice Springs Helicopters. These flights operate in pairs/quads to keep an even weight on the helicopter (normal bikes can be up to 4pax, e-bikes have a limit of 2pax). The price is $385 per person.

Please advise desired landing site option when booking.

  • Hell Line drop off - Hell Line track
  • Bronco Yard drop off - Hell Line track
  • Road Train drop off - Road Train track

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Stunning views to enjoy along the transfer

Enjoy Mountain Biking

With some of the best singletrack in Australia, you will set off on an amazing adventure. Once you've touched back down onto a section of the trails, you can ride both clockwise or anticlockwise. Depending on the drop zone you choose you will connect either to the East Side trails or the West Side trails (Alice keeps it simple). 

The trails heading east take you along the Hell Line, followed by an optional ride up to the Road Train. At the peak of the Road Train trail there is a lovely bench overlooking the train line and Stuart Highway (if you get lucky or time it right, you may even see the Ghan going along the rail line). Then you continue on a fun downhill to the Geoff Moss Bridge and the iconic Larapinta Trail back to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. Hot tip: Don't miss the Trail Station Cafe for a piece of Vanilla Slice or one of their famous milkshakes to end your ride.

If you choose to head west, be prepared for some technical riding along 'The Bus' line (it is graded as a black track). One of the steepest most fun rides around Alice Springs, with two technical rock slabs, make sure you've double checked your breaks and helmet. If you're not keen on riding 'The Bus', you can ride back to Alice via Locomotive, a more comfortable yet still fun riding experience. The last section of track in the west, is a fun flowing 2kms of XC via the Atetherre that most will ride at a fast pace.

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Unloading the helicopter

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Riding off from drop site

Before you go

  • Know the trail – plan ahead and have a map with you - you can pick one up from the Visitor Information Centre beforehand.
  • A small first aid kit, plenty of water and sun protection are a must. Don’t let the cool temperatures in winter fool you.
  • Some trails around Alice Springs are shared with hikers or you may come across riders going in the other direction. Be polite and use common sense when giving way.
  • Respect the land and wildlife.
  • If you’re planning to ride at night, be sure you have lights for yourself and the bike.

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Heli-Biking FAQ

Heli-Biking is the fun, new, hybrid activity of taking a helicopter flight (with your mountain bike attached to the side) to a drop site, where you then get to go mountain-biking.
There is only one company who operate heli-biking transfers. Alice Springs Helicopters have three different drop sites around Alice Springs. The drop off site you choose is completely up to you and are all as equally fun and memorable.
Heli-biking is available in Alice Springs. The journey begins at Alice Springs Airport, roughly 15km south of town. The helicopter then lands on the outskirts of Alice Springs along a mountain biking trail where you ride back into town.
Click to open Alice Springs Mountain Biking Trail Map
You can also pickup a physical copy from the Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre, located in the Todd Mall.
Yes absolutely.
The helicopters can take two or four riders and their bikes at a time (normal bikes can be up to 4pax, e-bikes have a limit of 2pax).
Yes. There are also some well equipped hire options around Alice Springs. See your options here.
You need to provide the bike (whether your own or one you've hired), helmet and we recommend gloves.

Once you hit the ground you need to be self sufficient. Make sure you carry plenty of water, and some snacks, to suffice the distance you plan on riding.

The rocky and dry landscape lends itself to punctures, so make sure you’re set up prepares you for this with extra patches, tubes and tyre slime. Take a toolkit and small pump as well.

An emergency first aid kit could also prove handy in case of any accidents. Make sure you have sunscreen on and with you as well.

Some form of communication. Be aware that mobile phone reception is unreliable when out on these trails, but can often improve with higher elevation. Consider taking a sat phone with you for emergencies.

You should also carry our handy pocket trail map - visit the Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre to grab your copy.
Mountain bikers at all levels can give heli-biking a go, just remember to ride at your pace and for the level of the equipment you have. Check the map before you book so you know which route to go.

Book your Adventure

It’s time to venture out into the unknown – enjoy a heli biking experience which offers two experiences in one. A scenic flight over Alice Springs and then a heart-pounding immersion as you navigate the ridgelines, technical descents and switchback hill climbs you saw from the helicopter.

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