46.2 miles
Distance
13,955 ft
Climb
-14,315 ft
Descent
3,125 ft
High Point

Heaphy Track Details

  • Difficulty rating
    Advanced
  • Trail type
    Singletrack
  • Bike type
    XC
  • Trail Usage
    Multi-use
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
    Blue
  • Physical rating
    Moderate
  • Season
    1 May to 30 September ONLY
  • Land Manager

You can mountain bike the the Heaphy Track in the winter season from 1 May to 30 September.

Most people ride the trail from east to west as the Mackay-Lewis downhill is more fun. See Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides (South Island) by the Kennett Brothers for a good mountain bikers description of the trail and what to expect.

There are plenty of shuttle options for either end of the trail. To find them, a quick internet search or contact the Nelson, Golden Bay or Westport Information Centres. Some will no doubt be listed below in the links section.

The Heaphy Track is a tough ride and you need to be prepared. See the Department of Conservations Heaphy Track webpage for more info: http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/nelson-tasman/places/kahurangi-national-park/things-to-do/tracks/heaphy-track/

BROWN HUT TO PERRY SADDLE HUT:

Time: 2 hr 30 min–3 hr 30 min
Distance: 17.5 km

The ride starts with a gentle steady climb, passing Aorere Shelter and winding up to 890 metres through beech forest to Perry Saddle Hut.

PERRY SADDLE HUT TO SAXON HUT:

Time: 2–3 hr
Distance: 12.4 km

A mainly downhill ride to Gouland Downs on a wide, well formed track. Initially the track is quite steep with technical stony sections and deep streams.

Roughly halfway is Gouland Downs Hut; from here it’s 5.4 km to Saxon Hut.

SAXON HUT TO JAMES MACKAY HUT:

Time: 2–3 hr
Distance: 11.8 km

Boardwalks and a well formed single track climb to James Mackay Hut with its spectacular view of the Heaphy River and West Coast. Look out for Powelliphanta snails on this section.

JAMES MACKAY HUT TO LEWIS HUT:

Time: 1–2 hr
Distance: 12.5 km

This section is technical but an invigorating descent to Lewis Hut.

The track is rocky, rutted and soft in places; get off your bike and walk these soft, muddy sections to avoid damage to the track or yourself.

Control your speed and be aware of people approaching.

LEWIS HUT TO HEAPHY HUT:

Time: 1.5 hr–2.5 hr
Distance: 8 km

There are a number of suspension and swing bridges on this section.

The suspension bridges are ride-able, or alternatively use the approved MTB swing bridge crossing method: flip your bike on its back with the rear wheel angled away from you at 45 degrees; with the stem in one hand move yourself by gripping the top wire with your other hand.

Flooding occurs over the track in the lower Heaphy Valley and can reach up to 1.5 m depth. Be prepared to wait or return to Lewis Hut until it’s safe to continue.

Avoid further damage to this part of the track by walking your bike through the muddy sections.

Look out for Powelliphanta snails in the Heaphy Valley and around Heaphy Hut.

HEAPHY HUT TO KOHAIHAI SHELTER:

Time: 3–4 hr
Distance: 16.2 km

This spectacular coastal section of track weaves in and out of nīkau palms and native bush on one side and the roaring Tasman Sea on the other; it’s a highlight of the Heaphy Track and a great way to finish the ride.

Look out for Powelliphanta snails on the track around Katipo Creek.

Access Info

This is one of the few trails within New Zealand's National Park's network that mountain bikers are allowed. You must book huts through DOC's online hut booking system or else you'll be out in the rain. Don't attempt to ride this track outside of the mountain biking season (1 May to 30 Sep) as you will be caught by the DOC Rangers on track.

From Nelson head over to Takaka in Golden Bay (100km's, 2 hours). Head north on State Highway 60 to within 1km of Collingwood, then turn left on to Collingwood-Bainham Main Rd (turns into Aorere Valley Rd after the Langford Store). Follow the road until the Heaphy Track car park.

On the West Coast side, travel through Karamea for 16km's to the road end.

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Heaphy Track mountain bike trail
  • Altitude change
    -360 ft
  • Altitude start
    419 ft
  • Altitude end
    58 ft
  • Grade max
    -73.597%
  • Grade min
    96.938%
  • Distance climb
    17.9 miles
  • Distance down
    20.9 miles
  • Distance flat
    7.4 miles
  • view trail stats
Status:
on Aug 5, 2015
Variable
Avg: 4.65 (3 votes)

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Heaphy Track Trail Reports

datedescription
Aug 5, 2015 @ 5:52pm
Aug 5, 2015
Coastal parts of the Heaphy Track have been damaged by high tides and storm events. The affected areas are sections of the track at Koura Beach,...
view all reports »

Photos

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123 |
Jan 18, 2016 @ 1:44pm
Jan 18, 2016
Heaphy Track, Rangiora
294 |
Oct 18, 2014 @ 10:13pm
Oct 18, 2014
Heaphy Track, Nelson

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