The Heaphy is arguably New Zealand's premier multi-day mountain bike ride... 74 kilometres of benched singletrack winding through the backcountry from Golden Bay to Karamea and the nikau palm clad beaches of the West Coast. In 1996 North West Nelson Forest Park became Kahurangi National Park and mountain biking was no longer allowed on the Heaphy and a handful of other great tracks in the area. In May 2011 the NZ Conservation Authority approved the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan with a 3 year mountain bike trial on the Heaphy, Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and the Kill Devil tracks.
After a successful three year trial the Conservation Minister recently announced that the winter mountain bike season (1 May to 30 September) on the Heaphy is here to stay. In addition to the new huts and swing bridges built over the past two years, DOC will also construct three new road bridges at the Golden Bay end to improve all-weather access. It's all beer and skittles with increased visitor numbers, minimal social conflict, no increase in track damage compared to walking, and overwhelmingly positive vibes from mountain bikers, the local communities, and concessionaires.
As part of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan review in 2014/15 an extended season (1 March to 30 November, excluding Easter) will also be considered.
Year-round mountain biking has also been approved on two other Kahurangi National Park tracks the Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks.
Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced permanent approval of mountain biking on the Heaphy Track from 1 May to 30 September each year. Read all about it at DOC.
Find out all the nitty gritty of doing the ride here.
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