45.6 miles
7,779 ft
-8,199 ft
Avg time
Supporters, Builders, Maintainers & Land Managers of Heaphy Track Trail

Heaphy Track Details

  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T2 Mountain Hiking
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
  • Physical Rating
  • Trail Visibility
    Always easy to follow
  • Season
    1 May to 30 September ONLY
  • Alpine Trail
  • Dogs Allowed
  • TTFs on Trail
    Bridge, Rock Garden
  • Global Ranking
    #15220 in Mountain Biking
  • Local Popularity
    55 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking
  • Land Owner

You can mountain bike the the Heaphy Track in the winter season from 1 May to 31 November.

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/


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 multi-use trail trail
  • Altitude change
    -421 ft
  • Altitude max
    3,084 ft
  • Altitude start
    458 ft
  • Altitude end
    39 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    18 miles
  • Distance down
    23 miles
  • Distance flat
    5 miles
  • Avg time
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
on Aug 5, 2015
Avg: 4.55 (9 votes)
Your vote: 0

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Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Snow Cover Partial
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
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      Directions to heaphy-track trailhead (-40.847779, 172.449179)
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      Heaphy Track Trail Reports

      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 »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      6 Months
      • 12 rides
      • 63 miles avg distance
      • 141 rides
      • Last: Jun 2, 2024


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      89 |
      May 16, 2021 @ 7:11am
      May 16, 2021
      64 |
      May 16, 2021 @ 7:11am
      May 16, 2021
      68 |
      May 16, 2021 @ 7:11am
      May 16, 2021
      359 |
      Jan 2, 2020 @ 1:26pm
      Jan 2, 2020

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      more »
      Overnighter on the Heaphy Track - Mountain...
      5:05 | 1136 | Jul 10, 2018 , Takaka
      Hoofin through the Heaphy
      31:15 | 950 | Jun 3, 2018 , Takaka
      • By YogiNZ & contributors
      • #28455 - 10,074 views

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