Mountain Bikers Gear Up To Ride Heaphy Track
The Heaphy Track is seeing growing popularity and with its mountain biking season getting underway on 1 May, the Department of Conservation is reminding people that for a safe and enjoyable trip they should plan ahead and be well prepared.
Mountain bikers can ride the Heaphy Track in Kahurangi National Park from 1 May to 30 November.
DOC Golden Bay Operations Manager Dave Winterburn says the Heaphy Track offers stunning mountains to sea landscapes but it’s a tough ride through remote backcountry and people tackling it should be fit, experienced and have good equipment.
“The weather on the Heaphy Track is changeable at any time of year and as the mountain biking season starts we go into colder winter months with the possibility of extremely cold temperatures, rain, wind and sometimes snow. People should carry warm and waterproof clothing and sufficient food.
“Mountain bikers should also carry equipment and spare parts for repairs and maintenance to bikes.
“Huts and campsites must be booked beforehand, and people should stay in the huts they’ve booked. We’ve had instances of people staying in different huts to those they booked and this can cause overcrowding.
“With growing numbers on the track, we’ll have hut wardens on the track more regularly during the May to September winter season to assist visitors and checking people have the required booking confirmation.”
Heaphy Track hut and campsite bookings show more people making and planning trips on the Great Walk. At the end of January this year, bednight bookings for the track in the 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 year were up 51% from the same time last year. At 31 January, 29,119 bednights were booked compared to 19,347 on 31 January last year. New Zealanders accounted for 95% of the bednight bookings.
The 78-kilometre track is a Grade 4/Advanced standard mountain biking track and is a 2-3 day ride, depending on riders’ experience.
Mountain bikers are asked to travel at safe speeds and show consideration for walkers. They also need to watch out for takahē and giant land snails on the track. Riding is not allowed at night to protect nocturnal wildlife including the snails and roa/great spotted kiwi.
The Lewis Hut on the track is closing from 27 April and will be removed and replaced with a shelter. The track’s six other huts are available for overnight stays.
People planning to mountain bike or walk the Heaphy Track are advised to read the detailed information about the trip on the DOC website www.doc.govt.nz so they know what to expect and what to take.