The Heaphy Track Mountain Biking season runs from May 1 to September 30 and the track offers some of the best mountain biking experiences in the world. The track is rated as an “Grade 3+” ride and is suitable for mountain bikers with intermediate level experience. (The track rating elevates to “Grade 4 Advanced” in inclement weather, which is possible in the winter biking season).
The 82-kilometer track through the Kahurangi National Park traverses dense beech forest, expansive alpine tussock country, nikau palm groves, mighty rivers and mountains and the spectacular coastal scenery of the Tasman Sea.
There are seven huts along the track and, while it is possible to ride it in one day, most riders take several days to enjoy the experience of being out in the wilds of the Kahurangi National Park.
Mountain Bikers Code:
- Stay in control. So you can safely avoid others and keep yourself intact. Make sure you can stop within the visible distance.
- Give way to walkers, runners, uphill riders and horses. If the track is narrow, stop and move off the track.
- Signal your approach and pass with care. Walkers don’t like being surprised by bikers. Use a bell or a friendly greeting.
- Ride shared-use tracks in small groups. Large groups of a dozen or so riders displace other users. 6–8, or less, is a better number.
Respect the rules
- Ride only where permitted — including those trails that are seasonally closed to protect the surface or minimise conflict with other users. Land managers are generally pretty reasonable so talk with them about issues or ideas you may have.
- Obtain permission from private land owners before you set out.
- Leave gates as you find them.
- Be prepared — take food, water, tools, First Aid and warm clothes. Plan for the unexpected — a change in the weather, an accident or getting lost and being late.
Respect the track
- Don’t skid, cut corners or make new lines. Skidding creates water channels that cause erosion. Use both brakes to slow down without skidding as you approach a corner. Cutting corners widens the trail and cuts up the terrain.
- Avoid riding in the mud and rain. Both bikes and walkers damage soft, wet tracks.
- Take rubbish home — like banana skins, old tubes and snack wrappers. Rubbish in the outdoors detracts from everyone’s experience.
- Clean your bike to prevent spreading weeds — like gorse and didymo.