DOC and the Buller Cycling Club have, in partnership, created opportunities for mountain biking on Denniston Plateau.

Track overview

3 km - 27 km loop

Mountain biking

20 min - 8 hr Easy: Grade 2
Intermediate: Grade 3

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


Denniston Plateau is a unique environment situated 25 km east of Westport and 600 m above sea level. Responsible mountain biking will ensure these areas are cared for, and maintain access for all users.

The mountain biking tracks are not for use by other recreational vehicles.

Track information

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) to Grade 3 (intermediate).

Some of the more technical/hazardous sections of track are marked on the ground by yellow signs; e.g. Miners Track circuit has 4 marked technical sections.

Tracks can be ridden in any direction. Where there is a predominant direction this is noted on the map by direction arrow.

River crossings are denoted on the map with a blue dot. In normal flow most of these crossings are rideable. In flood conditions they should be avoided.

  • Times are for a round trip starting and finishing at the museum.
  • Times are for an average intermediate-grade rider.
  • Times are for the predominant travel direction and do not include rest stops— so allow additional time for sightseeing.

Quarry circuit

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 3 km
Time: 20 minutes

This track is a quick and gentle introduction to the type of terrain found elsewhere at Denniston. You should be comfortable riding this track if you want to enjoy riding any of the others. Follow the red way-point track markers.

Ropers Hotel circuit

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 5 km
Time: 30 minutes

This track has one marked technical section. Follow the orange way-point track markers.

Note: Between point 2.1 and 2.2 is walking only - NO mountain biking on this section.

Miners Track circuit

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 7 km
Time: 45 minutes

This track has four marked technical sections. Follow the purple way-point track markers.

Drill Track circuit

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 8 km
Time: 1 hour

This track has eight marked technical sections. Follow the navy blue way-point track markers.

Pig Route circuit

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 5 km
Time: 45 minutes

This track has six marked technical sections. Follow the blue way-point track markers.

Sullivans circuit

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 9 km
Time: 1 hour

This track has three marked technical sections. Follow the green way-point track markers.

Whareatea circuit - Section 7.4 Closed

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 11 km
Time: 1 hour

This track has three marked technical sections. Follow the yellow way-point track markers.

Mt Rochfort Road

Distance: 17 km
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes up and 45 minutes down.

This road is a 500 m vertical climb.

To Mt William - Mackley River - Buller Gorge

Distance: 27 km
Time: 4-8 hours via Cedar Creek Road.

This route is unmarked and because of the river crossings crossings must not be attempted during, or immediately after, rain. Refer Topomap sheet BR21 and route description ‘the Denniston Short Cut’ in Classic NZ Mountain Bike Rides by the Kennetts.

This route passes through private land at the Inangahua end. The current status of the gate is that it is unlocked.

Other routes

These may not be marked on the ground. For more detailed track information see Buller Cycle Club website.

Getting there

Denniston is 18 km northeast of Westport. From Westport, follow SH67 north for 15 km. Turn right at Waimangaroa onto the road to Denniston. 

Know before you go

  • Check weather conditions.
  • Ensure you carry a map with you (in a waterproof cover). A compass is also advisable.
  • Ensure you carry all necessary tools and spare equipment.
  • A cell phone can be helpful in the event of an accident.
  • Leave intentions— Denniston is isolated and if you break down it could be a long walk to help.
  • Ensure your bike is ready for the trip.
  • Ensure you are carrying appropriate food, drink and clothing. A survival blanket is advisable in case of an emergency.

Mountain biking and the environment

Used irresponsibly, a mountain bike can be unkind to the landscape, as well as our animals, birds and fish.

It is essential to minimise the environmental impact of mountain bikes and 4WD vehicles. We ask every rider to behave responsibly and respect the fragility of the natural environment and the needs and rights of others. If you abuse it you may lose it.


Safety is your responsibility

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoor Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details of your trip. 

  • Know your riding limitations.
  • Be aware of other users—walkers, four wheel drivers and motor bikes. Main roads are also used by large coal trucks.
  • Ride only where permitted and stay on the track. Do not make your own shortcuts or tracks. Do not stray into active coal mining areas. (Blasting may occur at any time in active mining areas).
  • Do not enter any mine tunnels. Keep well clear of any smoke from underground mine fires. (Mine tunnels may collapse and fires emit hazardous gases).

These mountain biking tracks can be ridden in most weather conditions, but poor conditions create extra challenges that require a higher level of navigation skill and outdoor experience. The plateau is an alpine region and is subject to very different weather from that at sea level. It frequently sits in dense mist making visibility poor. It is also subject to snow in winter while rain storms and high winds can occur at any time of year.

Do not attempt to cross flooded rivers. Rivers in this area rise extremely quickly. Use alternate routes to avoid flooded river crossings.

Useful websites


Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 731 1895
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   4294 Coast Road
RD 1
Runanga 7873
Postal Address:   4294 Coast Road
RD 1
Runanga 7873
Kawatiri / Westport Office
Phone:   +64 3 788 8008
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Russell Street
Westport 7825
Postal Address:   PO Box 357
Westport 7866
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