The businesses and residents of Karamea welcome all Heaphy Track mountain bikers to our fair community. During the winter months of May, June, July, August and September a three year trial of dual-use (trampers and mountain bikers) is in effect on the Heaphy Track. The townships of Karamea and Little Wanganui are adjusting to this new influx of winter tourists and hope to provide all the amenities and basic necessities that mountain bikers require.
The track is well-formed all-weather track and has seven well-appointed Department of Conservation huts along the way. The huts are warm, dry and comfortable with bunk beds, wood-fired heaters, rainwater tanks, toilets and five have gas-cooking facilities. All rivers and major streams along the track have suspension bridges, but there may be some small creeks and watercourses that will require fording, please take care when crossing the bridges and water crossings. It is necessary to book huts, to do so, please visit the DOC Heaphy Track Web site (booking.doc.govt.nz) or regional i-Sites or visitor centres.
Along the way, riders and trampers pass through a diverse range of spectacular scenery from lush beech forest up to 950 metres to Perry Saddle Hut, through the expansive tussock plains of the Gouland Downs and down again along the Heaphy River and on to the stunning nikau palm groves where the West Coast meets the roaring Tasman Sea.
Riders should be well prepared for inclement weather conditions as the region is known for sudden storms, associated floods, occasional snow falls and strong winds, as well as for sunshine, clear blue skies and warm, calm days. Please carry wet weather gear and warm clothing as well as sun protection, first-aid kits, plenty of water, food supplies as well as spare parts, puncture repair kits etc. Be prepared for all eventualities, as it is a long way from the middle of the track if help is required and it is important that riders take responsibility for their own safety and wellbeing.
Most trampers travel from the Collingwood end and finish the track in Karamea and riders will likely do the same, but there is no rule as to which way the track is travelled. Several transport services can deliver riders to the beginning of the track from Collingwood and then from the Kohaihai Shelter at the end of the track to Karamea where a hot showers, cold beer, great food and a comfortable beds await riders and trampers alike after conquering the Heaphy. (Please see transport section of the Web site)
The Heaphy Track will be a dual-use facility open to both mountain bikers and trampers during the winter months, so please respect the rights of each group to utilise the track and enjoy the facilities, experience and adventure. Please refer to the Mountain Bikers Code.
Buller to become "the mountain bike capital of South Island"!
Pat McManus, Mayor of the Buller District, is enthusiastic about the current and future development of a range of cycling opportunities in the Buller. He sees the opening of the Heaphy Track to mountain biking over the winter months from May 1 to September 30 as an exciting opportunity for Karamea and the wider district.
"Together with the existing tracks on the Denniston plateau, in the Reefton area, and the developing Old Ghost Trail [Mokihinui to Lyell], Buller is positioned to become the mountain bike capital of the South Island."
Additional Articles and Resources:
Heaphy Tracker | Mouthpiece of the Heaphy Mountain Bike Trial
Mountain Bikers Code
A Letter of Support from Shaun Barnett
History of Cycling the Heaphy | Article by Guy Wynn-Williams
An Ill-founded Monopoly: Walkers' Exclusive Possession of All the Tracks in New Zealand's National Parks
Pete McDonald's submission to the Draft General Policy National Parks Act of August 2003.
Heaphy Track Mountain Bike Trial | Article by Paul Murray
Heaphy Track - Great Walk – Great Ride – Great News | Press Release from Kevin Hague
Heaphy Mountain Biking | Article by Damien O’Connor
List of Transport Operators in the Karamea Area