The Heaphy Track
Mountain bikers can ride the Heaphy Track between 1 May and 30 September. It’s an 80km route through the Kahurangi National Park, in the northwest corner of the South Island. Along the way, you’ll encounter dense beech forests, limestone cliffs and white sandy beaches. Also keep an eye out for the giant and rare land snail Powelliphanta, which can be spotted on certain parts of the track during the day, particularly after rain.
The Heaphy is a tough ride (Grade 4-5), suitable for those with advanced riding skills only. Most riders complete it in two days and hut accommodation is available at a number of spots along the route. Riders can travel in either direction, but most choose to start in Collingwood and finish in Karamea.
For more information on riding the Heaphy, and to check hut availability, head here.
The Queen Charlotte Track
Biking is permitted on the track all year round except for the section between Ship Cove and Kenepuru Saddle, which is closed to bikes from 1 December to 28 February each year. It’s a beautiful ride through native bush, that offers stunning views across the Marlborough Sounds.
Allow two to three days to ride the entire 70km track. It’s classed as a Grade 3 ride, which means it’s suitable for intermediate riders. Be aware that there are several steep sections and the track can get slippery and muddy after rain. There are accommodation options to suit all budgets along the way – from basic DOC campsites to luxurious lodges.
For more information on riding the Queen Charlotte Track, head here.
Important: both these rides travel through remote areas, with no facilities for repairing bikes. Make sure you carry adequate tools and equipment and are competent to complete your own repairs.
Need mountain bike hire? We can help. Head here to check out our range of off-road warriers.
Image: Andy riding the Heaphy Track.