Cycling & Mountain Biking in and around Westport
Big new initiatives have seen many new mountainbike tracks put in throughout Buller. They range from easy grades taking just a few hours, to challenging multi-day tracks which require staying in huts along the way. Most tracks make use of old logging, bullock and mining trails, naturally taking in heritage sites like old mines and workings as part of their routes.
Kawatiri River Trail
The Kawatiri River trail (KRT) is a walking and cycle trail that runs alongside the Buller-Kawatiri River, before linking the town with the nearby North Beach.
The Kawatiri River Trail starts under the Buller River Bridge as you drive into town. The trail heads towards town through beautiful bush alongside the river, providing users with a unique perspective on the town’s major waterway. It exits the bush at the start of the wharves, and at this point heads across the railway lines to Palmerston Street (the main shopping street). Keep heading north along Palmerston St to the fishing wharves, from where the Floating Basin Boardwalk can be seen across the harbour. Head to the end of the wharves, drop down into the carpark / picnic area, and access the boardwalk behind the old Yacht Club sheds.
Once across the floating basin there is a short circuit (Harbour Loop) which provides stunning views of the town, river and mountains and some great photography opportunities. For those wanting to go further afield, turn right off the boardwalk and head alongside the Lost Lagoon to Shingles Beach, a small sand beach on the Buller River. The trail continues from here towards the beach, the river mouth, and the meandering tracks of Kawatiri Beach Reserve. Stop for a swim before heading back to town the way you came.
Charming Creek Walkway
This trail is rated one of the top five day walks in the South Island. We know you’ll love it. It has it all – amazing scenery and the story of the Watson Brothers, two early Scottish settlers, who carved out the private railway the track is built on. Their coal and timber operations ran from 1914 to 1958. Their memories are buried in the mining and railway relics along the way, with a swing bridge and two short tunnels thrown in for excitement and a sense of mystery.
Time: 3 hours one way walking
Distance: 6.8 km
Mountain biking: Intermediate, Grade 3
Accessible from Ngakawau or behind Seddonville, an old railway formation passes through an area packed with botanic and geological interest. Historic features include tunnels, sawmill and coal mine remains. A scenic highlight is a suspension bridge giving an unfolding view of the Mangatini Falls. There are shorter walking options from both ends.
More detailed information and maps can be found on the Department of Conservation website.
Denniston Plateau – 9 tracks!
Denniston is the perfect location for mountain biking, offering 9 exciting rides.
Track surfaces vary from gravel roads to rocky tracks and some short walking sections. All circuits have sections of track that range from Grade 2 (easy) up to Grade 3 (intermediate).
With its unique environment situated 25 km east of Westport and 600 metres above sea level, the Denniston Plateau has a fragile ecosystem and a wealth of human history, providing an opportunity high in natural, historic and recreational values. Responsible mountain biking will ensure these areas are cared for and that access is maintained for all users.
- Denniston Quarry Circuit PDF
- Denniston Ropers Hotel Circuit PDF
- Denniston Miners Circuit PDF
- Denniston Drill Track Circuit PDF
- Denniston Pig Route Circuit PDF
- Denniston Sullivans Circuit PDF
- Denniston Whareatea Circuit PDF
- Denniston Mt Rochfort PDF
- Mackley Road Guide PDF
- Denniston MTB Overview PDF
- Denniston MTB Combinations PDF
The Old Ghost Road
Mountain bikers and trampers in search of the ultimate back-country adventure need look no further than The Old Ghost Road.
Quickly becoming known as a ‘bucket-list’ attraction, New Zealand’s longest single-track resurrects an old gold miners’ route between the ghost town of Lyell in the Buller Gorge and Seddonville on the West Coast. With expertly cut track and comfortable sleeping huts in an environment dominated by ancient rainforest, rocky mountain tops and a rugged river gorge, this is a premier multi-day backcountry experience.
While not for the faint-of-heart or inexperienced, if you match your capability and prepare appropriately, The Old Ghost Road will reward the fit and experienced adventurer with an other-worldly experience.
To broaden the audience and to make The Old Ghost Road more accessible to a wider range of appetites, a set of new exciting packages – Old Ghost Adventures – has been created. Old Ghost Adventures include such options as helicopter assists to the astounding alpine tops, helicopter luggage assists, rustic luxury accommodation to start or end your journey, end-to-end transport shuttles, heli-biking or heli-hiking and even rafting the Mokihinui Gorge as the final leg of your journey. More information can be found on The Old Ghost Road website.
Heaphy Track Mountain Biking
You can mountain bike the the Heaphy Track in the winter season from 1 May to 30 September. The Heaphy Track is a tough ride and you need to be prepared.
The Heaphy Track offers the only multi-day cycle course through a national park in New Zealand. The track is 82 kilometres long and traverses the Kahurangi National Park from Collingwood in the north of the South Island to Karamea on the West Coast. The track is well-formed all-weather track and has seven well-appointed Department of Conservation huts along the way. The huts are warm, dry and comfortable with bunk beds, wood-fired heaters, rainwater tanks, toilets and five have gas-cooking facilities.
All rivers and major streams along the track have suspension bridges, but there may be some small creeks and watercourses that will require fording, so please take care when crossing the bridges and water crossings. It is necessary to book huts, to do so, please visit the DOC Heaphy Track Web site or regional i-Sites or visitor centres. Along the way, riders and trampers pass through a diverse range of spectacular scenery from lush beech forest up to 950 metres to Perry Saddle Hut, through the expansive tussock plains of the Gouland Downs and down again along the Heaphy River and on to the stunning nikau palm groves where the West Coast meets the roaring Tasman Sea.
More detailed information can be found on the Department of Conservation website.