When it comes to mountain biking in the South Island of New Zealand, the options are as diverse as the landscapes themselves. For starters you've got Nelson, Christchurch and Queenstown (all world class riding destinations in their own right)
... just to name a few rider favourites on the menu - but in this writeup we're taking a detour to give you a taste of some kiwi backcountry wilderness, a whole 85km of it!
We're taking you to the North West corner of the South Island, where there's a beast of a singletrack ride waiting to be added to (or ticked off) your wishlist. 'Old Ghost Road' stands as the rugged remains of an 85km gold miner's trail, stretching from the 'old dray road' at Lyell in the South to the Mokihinui River in the North. Born from a vision in 2007, this multi-use trail came to life in 2013, thanks to the efforts of passionate volunteers, backed by the New Zealand Cycle Trail project.
The early bird gets the sunrise - be like the bird (and Todd Couper pictured above) to get an early start and hopefully witness the morning light creeping into the surrounding valleys and native bush.
Knock knock knockin' on Heaven's Door - the top of a big climb on the first day of the Old Ghost Road. Hours can tick by slowly on big mountain rides through the dense bush, with each kilometre being crossed off by the rhythmic cadence of each pedal stroke. While this track can be ridden year-round, be ready for the unpredictable mountain weather which includes snowfall and icy sections. You'll want to pack that rain shell, merino layers and extra socks, as the track encounters roughly 190 days of rainfall annually. In the gritty world of mountain biking, adaptability is key – so gear up and embrace the adventure!
The journey wraps up in Seddonville. Here you'll find Seddonville Hotel, an obligatory stop for the Old Ghost Road survivors, and let's be real, after conquering the 85km ride, it's not just the only business in town; it's your sanctuary, your reward, and your official pitstop for that well-deserved post-ride brew n' burger!
If you're a fan of this trail, any donations to our buddies at Buller Cycling Club go a long way in fuelling the ongoing development and maintenance of their trails, ensuring it stays in prime condition for all users. (Bonus: earn Trail Karma while you're at it)!
You can add this trail to your Trailforks Wishlist - click here to find out how!
For more details on the trail and booking accommodation in the huts, check out the Old Ghost Road website
odinwoods, peakleaders, Todd Couper, Agata Bulska, HI-Adventures, deaneparkernz