We were in the van about to head over the hill to our next destination after a hectic day of shooting with the boys up Mt Burke
in super strong winds and up against a tight schedule, when the call came through from the owner of said next destination. “Boys, the weather has turned to custard on us, it’s wet and there’s no light… you might wanna look at plan B
”. All well and good, except we didn’t have a ‘plan B’.
The original plan was to head straight back to Wanaka as soon as we finished the Mt Burke shoot, then hightail it to Garston where we’d ride into the Welcome Rock Trail system as far as the Mud Hut and spend the night. That was now off the cards. Fortunately for us, Tom from Welcome Rock Trails had come up with a ‘plan B’. Demonstrating genuine southern hospitality he hooked us up with a place to stay on the family farm. With the lure of a home cooked meal, some cold beers, and an open fire inside the farmhouse, we were back on the road with the prospect of clear skies and good dirt awaiting us.
Welcome Rock, twelve regal stones,
Weather snow and storm,
Autumn cool a regal stag,
Is inclined to bugle,
Stand tall, roar,
Cycling humans, snake, zigzag,
These wonderful people are in their pink! - Des O'Brien
The Welcome Rock Trails were news to me, Conor suggested I check it out as a place to explore as none of us had ever ridden there. There are 27km of hand built single track, with views across the Nevis Range and down onto Garston and Nokomai. The trails are flowy, and could be ridden by most with a reasonable level of fitness, but what makes this place different is the opportunity to stay the night in one of their backcountry huts. This allows you to take it all in and you can stop at any of the nine different historical and ecological interpretation points along the way, which gives the faster ones something to read as the others (read: me) catch up. There are plans to extend the trail network into the 200 hectares of Beech forest they have here, and create even more opportunities for adventure.
Wanaka mountain biking trailswww.newzealand.com
|My vision for Welcome Rock is to have an experience where less is more in terms of small numbers of people enjoying a large untouched environment. To experience a unique pioneering story dating back 130 years. My dream is to build a network of trails that are sensitive to native high country with beautiful design principles. I want Welcome Rock to be a truly kiwi hiking and biking destination. - Tom O'Brien|
See part one here