biking

Heaphy Track

A serious adventure for intrepid mountain bikers in the stunningly wild Kahurangi National Park. This is an awesome biking experience and undoubtedly one of the most challenging and rewarding multi-day rides in New Zealand.

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Activity in brief

Distance:
78 km
Duration:
3 days
Start - End:
Brown Hut (Golden Bay) - Kohaihai (West Coast)
Transport:
Plane and Shuttle Bus

Terrain: Moderate to advanced. Track is generally well formed and maintained, but can be muddy and slippery in the colder months. Steep

Accommodation: Designated Great Walk Huts

Nearest Town: Takaka, Karamea

Activity Overview


The Heaphy Track is currently partially closed until further notice

Recent heavy rain has caused extensive damage to three bridges on the Heaphy Track. The track is now closed between Heaphy Hut and James Mackay Hut. Through trips will not be possible until further notice.

The track between Brown Hut and James Mackay Hut is in good condition and remains open. Visitors can book return trips from the Golden Bay side, using Perry Saddle, Gouland Downs, Saxon and James Mackay huts. 

Please contact us directly for more information.

The Heaphy Track is only open to mountain bikers from May to the end of November. 

The Kahurangi National Park is a truly enormous area of jagged mountains, fast flowing rivers and dense forest. This great wilderness stretches all the way to the primeval west coast of the South Island with its deserted beaches and stands of ancient nikau palms. The Heaphy Track takes you on a journey through all of this incredible terrain.

The track started out as part of a network of routes Maori used to reach the west coast for collecting the highly prized “pounamu” or greenstone. These trails were later used by Europeans searching for gold and pastoral land.

The trail climbs through forest that is bursting with native plants and wildlife, some very rare and strange like the giant land snail (not to be run over!). You are then out onto great areas of rolling tussock-land and past strange limestone caves and arches. Eventually you will descend to the wild west coast, which can be the trickiest section of track with more rutted and eroded terrain.

Itineraries

Personalised Itineraries

Personalise your Heaphy Track Ride:

If you are looking to bike the Heaphy we can help organise it for you: choose which direction you want to ride it and how many days you want to take and we can take care of the details.

There are also a variety of transport options - for example:

  • Direct flights from Wellington to Takaka, then return from Karamea to Wellington, are available if you are travelling from the North Island.
  • The standard bus/plane transport package can also be swapped for a vehicle relocation service if that works better for you.

Contact us to find out more!


Include the Heaphy Track in your unique Multi-Activity Trip:

You can combine this ride with any other activity on this website to create your own unique itinerary.

When you develop your own tailor-made itinerary with us, it's fully customised with your choice of activities, accommodation and transport around New Zealand - Click here for more information about Multi-Activity Trips or Enquire Now to get started.

 

OR SIMPLY BOOK this activity now...
Three Day Ride
  • Accommodation in huts on trail included.
  • All your transportation taken care of with shuttle bus from Takaka to the start point and return plane ride from the end.

Day One: Brown Hut to Perry Saddle Hut (17.5km). In the morning you meet your shuttle bus at Takaka Airport and get taken through to the start of the track at Brown Hut. The first day is short but mostly uphill. The track starts with a gradual climb, following a route once surveyed for a road. At the Aorere shelter there are excellent views extending north along the valley and on clear days it is possible to see Mt Taranaki/Egmont on the North Island. Some more strenuous uphill leads to the viewpoint at Flanagans Corner: At 915 m, this is the highest point on the track. It's not much further from here to the brand new Perry Saddle Hut for your first night's stop. Near the hut in Gorge Creek is a deep but cold pool, popular for swimming.

Day Two: Perry Saddle to Heaphy Hut (45km). Your second day on the trail comprises a long, spectacular ride across the tops and then a descent to the wild west coast. From Perry Saddle the valley widens and the tussocky Gouland Downs is revealed stretching out to the west. The track passes a limestone outcrop and crosses one of several limestone arches, which are the remnants of old caves. The vegetation is alternately tussock field and shrub-fringed patches of beech forest and the pink granite sparkles and crunches beneath your wheels. At James Mackay Hut the Tasman Sea and Heaphy River mouth can be seen 15 km to the west and 750 m below. From here you start your descent. Soon the dense rainforest typical of the West Coast becomes dominant. You cross the Heaphy River, via a 148.4 metre suspended deck suspension bridge. Towards the river mouth, nikau palms become more common and the sea’s incessant roaring grows louder. The Heaphy Hut is situated back from the sea where it's more sheltered - this is your last night on the trail.

Day Three: Heaphy Hut to Kohaihai River Mouth or Karamea (30km). The Heaphy River mouth is an exhilarating place of surging waves and tide - definitely not the place for a swim though. Heading south along this spectacular and wild coastline you pass though forest of rata, karaka trees, vines and groves of nikau palms. Scotts Beach is a good spot to rest before climbing over Kohaihai Saddle and down to Kohaihai carpark, then keep riding an easy 14km down the sealed road to the Karamea Aerodrome to meet your plane back to Takaka.

Pricing: Three Day Ride

From NZD$400 per person. Includes 2 nights hut accommodation and all transportation with bikes.

The Heaphy Track is only open to mountain bikers from May to the end of November. 

Book Now

Activity Planning

When to go
The Heaphy Track is only open to mountain bikers from May to the end of November. 

You should always be prepared with the right clothing for cold and wet weather on the Heaphy at any time pf year, but especially if you are biking in the cooler months. You may even find snow at the high points of the track (up to 915 metres) during the winter season.

What to bring

Bike - Good quality mountain bike with suspension and knobbly tires, helmet, waterproof bags, spares etc.

Light waterproof hiking shoes or biking shoes

Gloves

Light waterproof jacket

Bidon (Water bottle)

Sunscreen

Insect repellant

First-aid kit

Torch

Communication device

Sleeping bag

All your food, gas cooker, plates, bowls, utensils etc.

Accommodation
Accommodation On The Trail

 

Huts

Your accommodation for this walk will be in the excellent Department of Conservation Great Walk Huts along the track, some of which are brand new. They feature flush toilets, gas stoves, fresh water, mattresses, tables, benches and heating.

For more information about backcountry huts in New Zealand please checkout our accommodation guide here.

 

Accommodation In Golden Bay

We can organise your accommodation in the Golden Bay region for before and after your ride if you wish. Please let us know what sort of accommodation you are looking for when you make your booking for this activity, and we can discuss the options with you.

Transportation
Shuttle Bus & Plane

One of the features of the Heaphy is the vast distance between the two road ends at the start and finish of the track, which is no less than 463km!

We can arrange a nice simple transportation solution for you: jump on a shuttle bus from Takaka airfield to the track start point at Brown Hut, and then board a plane back from Karamea at the other end. Bike transportation is included in the price. This is way quicker than catching a bus and the scenery along the way will be epic!

VEHICLE Relocation

If you want to continue south along the West Coast a great alternative option is to leave your vehicle at Brown Hut and we can organise for it to be transferred to the end of the track at Kohaihai while you are riding. It will then be waiting for you when you finish your ride. If you are driving south from here and have rented a bike in Takaka, then we arrange for it to be returned from the end of the track.

Route Map
Get in touch

For more information about us or our services contact us on
+ 64 3 390 1584
or email us at [email protected]

Enquire Now