Date: 24 May 2013
If you haven't already biked the 78 km Heaphy Track, you have until 30 September 2013 to take up the opportunity. A great deal of track work and new facilities will impress those riders heading out in this third and final season of the three year mountain biking trial.
"The best it's been yet", is how Department of Conservation Buller Area project manager Eric de Boer describes the recently upgraded track and facilities.
"Compared to the first year the track opened to mountain bikers on a trial basis, riders will notice huge improvements. Major work undertaken includes some track re-surfacing, two new modern huts at Heaphy and Perry Saddle and new suspension bridges that are ride-on, ride-off. The 147 m long suspension bridge over the Heaphy River is a real stunner," says Mr de Boer.
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Sharon Renwick of Westport riding across the new Heaphy suspension bridge
The Heaphy Track is hard to beat for the variety of beautiful landscapes. Riders enjoy a track which winds past palm tree lined beaches, pristine forested river valleys and mountain tussock fields. A trip in to the new hut at the Heaphy River mouth is proving to be a popular 'weekender' with many Heaphy Hut nights in May being fully booked out.
Department of Conservation Golden Bay Area Manager John Mason reminds riders that a full traverse of the Heaphy Track sees bikers heading through terrain that 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.
"Riding is not permitted on the track at night 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." Mr Mason said.
Mountain biking on the Heaphy Track will be reviewed at the end of this year and the Department is keen to capture what track users think. All track users are encouraged to participate in the trial’s ultimate review by submitting their comments on their track experience direct to: firstname.lastname@example.org. So if you haven't already, get out there and make the most of this last year of the trial.
Eric de Boer, DOC Buller Area project Manager
Ph: + 64 33 788 8011
John Mason, DOC Golden Bay Area Manager
Ph: +64 3 525 8026
Trish Grant, DOC Nelson Marlborough communications advisor
Ph: +64 3 546 3146