Introduction

Mountain bikers can enjoy a second winter season of riding the Heaphy Track from Tuesday 1 May through to Sunday 30 September.

Date:  23 April 2012

Mountain bikers can enjoy a second winter season of riding the Heaphy Track from Tuesday 1 May through to Sunday 30 September.

The 78-kilometre Kahurangi National Park track can be biked over the five months in a three-year winter-season mountain biking trial. It is estimated more than 1700 mountain bikers took a ride on the Heaphy during last year’s trial period.

Winter-season mountain biking also resumes on 1 May on the 10-kilometre Gibbs Hill Track between Wainui and Totaranui in nearby Abel Tasman National Park, running through to 1 October.

Gibbs Hill mountain biking

Department of Conservation Golden Bay Area Manager John Mason says the Heaphy Track traverses beautiful, diverse terrain but it is remote backcountry and mountain bikers should expect a tougher ride than on some other popular multi-day rides.

‘The Heaphy Track requires advanced mountain biking skills, being ranked Grade 4, rising to Grade 5/expert in wet or otherwise difficult riding conditions. Riders should be fit and well equipped, including carrying bike maintenance gear and some spare parts.

‘It is a 2-3 day ride depending on fitness, skills and conditions. People should not attempt to bike the track in one day and should allow plenty of time to get to their expected destination before dark. Some riders last winter underestimated the difficulty of the track and their journey times, and did not make their intended stop for the night.

‘Riding is not permitted on the track during darkness to protect nocturnal giant Powelliphanta snails and great spotted kiwi.

‘Bike riders are reminded they are sharing the track with walkers so must travel at safe speeds. All track users must show care and consideration for others on the track.’

Huts must be booked. Bookings can be made online:

Online booking

For more information on what to expect and what to take when biking the Heaphy Track:

Heaphy Track mountain bike trial

DOC is monitoring the winter-season mountain biking trial on the Heaphy and also year-round mountain biking trials on two other Kahurangi tracks, the Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks, which all run until the end of 2013. This will be used to assess whether mountain biking should continue on the tracks. Feedback is invited from all users and can be emailed to mbtrialsnm@doc.govt.nz

Contact

Bob Dickson, DOC Buller-Kawatiri Area Manager, phone +64 3 788 8009.

John Mason, DOC Golden Bay Area Manager, phone +64 3 525 8026.

Trish Grant, DOC Nelson Marlborough communications advisor, phone +64 3 546 3146.

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