New Zealand Heaphy Track

P9090584 Heaphy Track A great ride 5 days over to the West Coast and back

The Heaphy Track is one of New Zealand's "Great Walks" and is open to mountain Biking (MTBing) in the off season which ends at the end of September. So hence we were in New Zealand in September with the aim of doing this "Great Walk" as a Great ride

Track Logs from Strava at the end.

Friday we set off from Collingwood and drove the 30km to the track start
Fabulous Weather after a light snow fall the night before.
We took a little long getting organised and didn’t set off until after 11am.
The first 15km were all up-hill about 800m of pretty much non-stop climbing.
Then some rolling downs of alpine grass and scrub.
We finally arrived at Mackay Hut at 6:30pm and although it was only 42km we had a full load (bike: 24kg and gear 20kg) and were pretty tired.

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The road to the start. The exposed rocky climb. Snow on the track towards the top

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great views. the highest point 915m. Then over the top on the undulating alpine downs.

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A knee deep "Big River" crossing, Annette took the suspension bridge. Another river crossing, note the snow.

DAY 2: Saturday 10th
The day was again perfect weather and we had done pretty much all the climbing.
We started with 12 km of fabulous downhill single-track.
Then there was about 12km along the Heaphy River and then down the west coast towards the road end.
WE didn’t stop long as although the weather was great the sand-flies were still very keen.
We rode along the road to stay the night in the Northern most town on the NZ West Coast: Karamea.
It was a much easier day and the scenery was great.

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The first river crossing along the coast. A huge strangler vine that has become a tree.

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reaching the beach. Along the coast. Our quaint cabin

Day 3 was Sunday and we didn’t leave our cabin in Karamea until midday as we only had 32km along the coast to ride as we were heading back to the beginning in 3 days.
Everything was familiar,  just in the opposite direction.
The first 16km along the bitumen coast road through lush farms on one side and the Tasman Sea on the other (left).
Then across the first river and a lovely coastal track to the Heaphy River and the newest Hut: Heaphy Hut.

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Kohaihai River, the first crossing on the Heaphy Track. Nettle Beach, the only beach walk, soon to be bypassed with a new high track. The Sunset view from Heaphy Hut overlooking the Heaphy River and then the Tasman Sea.

Day 4 was 5km of flat before 12km uphill but all pretty rideable  and good fun.
We ate lunch at McKay Hut at the top of the range before another 16 km of undulating ride to a small hut we had to ourselves.

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A fallen tree. MacKay Hut where we stopped for lunch.

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Saxon Hut, warming up after a fall in a creek.

Heaphy Day 5 Tuesday

We had spent the night alone in  Saxon Hut with a lovely warm coal stove.
A few km before arriving the night before we had toppled off in a creek crossing and as I was stuck under the bike my waterproof pack had taken in some water through the top opening.
It had collected in a pool at the bottom of the bag so fortunately the coal fire dried everything.
The day started with light rain but not too cold. I headed off fully rugged up but it was not long before we were both too hot and the weather got better and better.
On the way up I had been knee deep crossing a stream (Bid River) so we tried the suspension bridge which was a major challenge with a tandem.
After a few hour we reached Perry’s Saddle were we snacked before about 17km of mostly down.
It was quite treacherous with slippery rocks and a steep drop off so slow and steady was the way to go.
With about 2km to go we slipped on a steep rocky creek crossing and broke our timing chain which took quite a while fiddling with to get fixed but that was our only mechanical so a lucky trip.
Finally after about 5 hours (including breaks) (about 31km only) we were back at Raggedy Ann (our van) but the sand flies convinced us not to stop for a late lunch.

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leaving Saxon Hut, dressed for the wet wether. And a second. Gouland Downs in the background.

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battling over a suspension bridge to avoid knee deep water in Big River. A shot on an easy section. We made it!

Tonight we are Takaka about 50km from the Heaphy Track and planning to ride the Rameka Track tomorrow… a great downhill run we did last year and then I get to hitch back up to the start to get the car. 

Day 1 Strava Map etc

Day 2 Strava Map

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5