Greymouth Mighty Mud Challenge

Greymouth mighty mud challenge

Mud mud glorious mud nothing quite like it for cooling the blood

what greymouth mud challenge

So follow me, follow, down to the hollow and there let us wallow in glorious mud

girl power greymouth mighty mud challenge

Well if mud cools the blood like “The Hippopotamus by Flanders and Swann’s” song says, then there was plenty of blood being cooled with the Greymouth Mighty Mud Challenge held at On Yer Bike.  Perfect location, perfect conditions.  WET AND MUDDY!

all smiles greymouth mighty mud challenge

in the creek greymouth mud challenge

Much rain had fallen overnight ensuring all the mud holes were nice and muddy and lots of water where water was needed to be.  This was going to be exciting!

starting line greymouth mighty mud challenge

Great turn out of over 160 entrants – most just competing for fun and to help raise money for Breast Cancer Research.  Plenty of fancy dress which added to the hilarity of the morning.

leading man greymouth mud challenge

colourful greymouth mud challenge

Starting gun sounded and everyone was off.  First couple of holes and little hills – they were ok but then the fun began in earnest.  Hidden mud holes, sink holes, deeper than they looked holes – it was brilliant.  Of course we can say that we were spectators.

splash might mud challenge greymouth

muddy good fun Greymouth mighty mud challenge

No-one seemed put off by the obstacles along the way, tarps over water holes to clamber under, tyres to squeeze through to then end up in a water hole, mud slides, water being thrown to make them more wet or more muddy…. the list goes on.

out from the deep greymouth mud challenge

The muddier the better -

in the drink greymouth mud challenge

the wetter the better.

fun on the barrel greymouth mud challenge

There were barrels to clamber over in water holes.  Some looked for tactics to keep them out of the water……..

face planting greymouth mud challenge

others made a meal of it.  Hey why not – you’re already muddy and wet and it is only going to get worse! It was a course filled with continual surprises.

smiles greymouth mud challenge

Thing that stood out the most for me though would be the smiles and the laughter.  This was for a great cause and it looked like great fun.  Nothing better than having an excuse to get down and dirty.

fun greymouth mighty mud challenge

enjoying the Greymouth Mighty Mud Challenge

With the finish line in site, the smiles continued and I’m sure people had never been so pleased to be hosed down.

Huge congratulations to On Yer Bike Greymouth for the venue and to Greymouth Seaside Top 10 Holiday Park for organising this outstanding event to raise money for Breast Cancer Research.  Biggest congratulations though to all the competitors – muddy good fun!

greymouth might mud challenge fun

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  West Coast has been named one of the top ten regions to visit in the world by Lonely Planet.  Make sure you add it to your itinerary – and at 500kms long make sure you take your time to take it all in!

 

 

 

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West Coast Wilderness Trail – Upper Arahura Valley to Kumara

Another magical winter’s day on the West Coast – perfect for our guests Jules from Auckland and her son Max and his girlfriend Lauren from Melbourne.  They are doing a road trip, complete with bikes and skies so lots of adventures along the way – great way to see the country.

Jules, Max and Lauren wcwt

During their stay with us they wanted to experience some of the West Coast Wilderness Trail.  With it not 100% complete and limited time we wanted to ensure they saw the most scenic part without having to do any road riding.

guests leaving theatre royal hotel WCWT bike ride

Our Plan – ride it too!  Take two cars – leave our car at Kumara – Jules, Max and Lauren start their ride while we drive to the other end in the Upper Arahura Valley and leave their car there.  We would pass somewhere on the track and be able to swap keys.  This plan ensured Jules and family rode as much as the track as possible without having to do any doubling back.  Jules was also interested in the gold mining history of the region thanks to reading Eleanor Catton’s Luminaries – so this way they would drive through Kaniere and into Hokitika – lots of gold mining history to soak up.

Lake Kaniere reflections

Dressed for winter riding – it is the first frost for us at home and there is plenty of snow on the mountain tops so we know this ride will be cold.  It is an early start and passing by Lake Kaniere we have a compulsory stop for photographs.  Picture perfect and Stephen couldn’t resist.

mountain biking Upper Arahua Valley

biking Upper Arahua Valley WCWT

cowboy paradise WCWT mountain bike ride

Following Milltown Road to the Upper Arahura Valley car park we’re ready to head off.  It sure is beautiful up this valley.  The trail slowly winds it way up the hill-side heading towards Cowboy Paradise.  The views are magnificent – surrounded by snow-capped mountains, the beautiful blue of the river and gorgeous lush farmland.  This is farmland we’re biking through – and yes there are farm animals – big beautiful healthy looking cows.  Unfortunately can’t quite see them in the photos but they were mighty specimens and totally oblivious to us biking past them.

Mawhera Reserve west coast wilderness trail

MacPherson Creek suspension bridge west coast wilderness trail

On through a small section of forest – the Mawhera Reserve and this is like biking through Jurassic Park.  I love to let me imagination run wild, all the moss coating the trees and ferns hanging down – fantastic.  Then we’re onto the wonderful MacPherson Creek swingbridge – am impressive bridge over a deep ravine or gorge – beautiful what ever it is.  Yes that is frost you can see on the boards of the bridge!

biking along river west coast wilderness trail

We’ve then got quite a bit of 4WD road to follow.  Not a used road or well used road anyway and lovely being surrounded by all the snow-capped mountains.  Eventually we end up back on single track in the Kawhaka forest and following the Kawhaka river.  This is where we meet back up with Jules, Max and Lauren.  They are enjoying their experience and blown away with the trail – loving the amazing scenery and wilderness – perfect, just what we want to hear.

On a bit further and we choose this for our lunch spot.  Again organised today with a packed lunch – but we have a reward waiting for us back at the Theatre Royal Hotel in Kumara come the end of our ride…….. (you know you can count on me!)

reflections kawhaka water race west coast wilderness trail

Onwards – can’t stop for too long as it is jolly chilly.  The trail now winds its way following the Kawhaka water race for about 5kms.  Since leaving Cowboy Paradise we’ve had high cloud but now some patches of blue are coming back and pockets of sunshine to help warm us up a bit.  The water race gives some great, moody reflections.

boardwalk west coast wilderness trail

Another 4WD bush section, before we cross a winding boardwalk across the Loopline Road wetland and then we’re riding around the Kapitea reservoir lakes.  Gorgeous around here and with the cloud breaking up we are again afforded some amazing and dramatic winter reflections.

mountain reflections west coast wilderness trail

Not much further to go now – thank goodness as the legs are starting to get rather lethargic, it has been a long day in the saddle – well seems like it anyway and been incredibly cold.  Trust us to pick the coldest day so far this winter to go for a long bike ride!

mountain bikes outside theatre royal hotel kumara

All good though we soon enter the little historic gold mining town of Kumara – making a bee-line for the Theatre Royal Hotel, the end of our ride – hot chocolate and muffin most definitely in order. A near perfect day out in the saddle and great to experience more of the West Coast Wilderness Trail and better still to share it with our guests.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. Keen mountain bikers and hikers and with Stephen a photographer, they enjoy getting out and about and exploring the West Coast.  The West Coast named one of the top ten regions to visit in the world by Lonely Planet – make sure you add it to your list of places to visit and check out the West Coast Wilderness Trail.

 

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Walking the beaches of Ross

Well as promised in my last blog we headed back down south to Ross in Westland to explore the local beaches. Talk about a super magic day.

mountain views ross beach walk

Waking to a stunning winter West Coast morning we couldn’t have asked for better weather, with clear blue sunny skies and snow-capped mountains. Bit of a chill in the air with all the snow on the mountain tops but if it means a nice day we’ll take it thanks!

views of southern alps ross beach walk

Can’t believe the views here – well actually I can – it is the West Coast after-all.  This region has it all – mountains, native bush, lakes, rivers, sea….. need I say more – is there any more? It is one of the things I love about the West Coast – it’s range of diversity and sometimes all in one area.

ross beach walk with views to southern alps

Waitaha River mouth

Our walk starts at the end of Beach Road, a turn-off just before the Waitaha River, passing through the little settlement of Kakapotahi and coming out at the river mouth of the Waitaha River.  The views from the river mouth are breathtaking – the Southern Alps caked in snow and Mt Cook and Mt Tasman – New Zealand’s two tallest mountains looming to the south.

playtime with nico ross beach walk

playtime with ziggy ross beach walk

The boys are super excited and love the feeling of sand “between their toes”.  To expel some energy from them we play some games before we start our walk proper.  Not sure who was having more fun – or at least who was making the bigger dick of themselves….. no comment really necessary thanks!

jan, nico and ziggy enjoying beach walk with mountain views

The beach heads north back towards Ross and we want to get to the end of the headland.  Stephen thought there was a good surf break around this area and wouldn’t mind checking it out.   The start of the headland is quite a way off in the distance so we drive down the beach 4WD track to get a little bit closer.  Only a little bit, we’ve probably still got a good 3km walk ahead of us each way at least!

views for cows Ross beach

Parked up, I make the comment to Stephen – views for the cows really sucks!

Off we head.  Timed it perfectly for the tides this weekend – currently low tide but even high tide isn’t particularly high so we’ve got plenty of beach to walk on without worrying about incoming tides and getting  caught out.  The sand is lovely to walk on but really soft so is actually quite hard going – a good work out for the legs.  The dogs are happy enough having already had their play, just to walk beside us.

Seal enjoying sunshine Ross beach

It would seem it isn’t just us making the most of the sunshine.  We come across three seals as various stages of the walk enjoying basking in the sun.  I manage to spot at least another two frolicking in the surf and catching the odd wave – maybe this is the surf break Stephen thought of after-all ha-ha.

fossilised rock on ross beach walk

fossilized rock on Ross beach walk

Looming is a wonderful rock formation.  On closer inspection it seems to be fossilized.  Don’t know if that is the right description but it is certainly not a rock formation like I’ve ever seen before.  Almost alive with tentacles and small crevices – I’d say it would be a geologists dream to investigate.  I unfortunately don’t know enough about rock to tell you anything more than it looked seriously cool!

lunch log Ross beach walk

Lunch stop.  Time to refuel – no bakery stop today, I’m super organised and have packed a homemade lunch – darn delicious too if I do say so myself.  This log looks inviting and no a bad place to hang out for a few minutes.

walking ross beach

Off again and we make our way to the end of the headland – can actually see a car parked way off in the distance at the Ross end of the beach.  This is the end of the headland we wanted to access though so this is far enough for us – we still have to walk back yet!  It is lovely to hear the birds chirping away in the bush from the cliffs beside us.

views mt cook and mt tasman ross beach walk

The walk back is probably even better than the walk out – as we come around the side of the headland we are once again afforded the fabulous views of the snow-capped Southern Alps with Mt Cook and Mt Tasman in all their magnificent glory.

My feet are getting a tad sore now though so off with the shoes.  Now it is my turn to enjoy the feeling of sand between my toes.

Tasman Sea and Ross beach

With one final stop to soak up the views – look back to where we’re come and reflect on our afternoon, it is time to head for home.  The drive back out the country farm track is jaw dropping but as lovely as it is I’m already thinking about which ice cream flavour to choose when we pass through Hokitika.  All about priorities!

country road views ross

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth.  Together with their two faithful companions Nico and Ziggy they enjoy getting out and exploring the West Coast.  The West Coast has been named by Lonely Planet as one of the top ten regions in the world to visit.  Come and see why.

 

 

 

 

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Town born from Gold – Ross

Historic Miners Cottage Ross

Ross is a town born from gold – from the West Coast gold rush of the 1860s. Ross is most famous in NZ for being the home where New Zealand’s largest ever gold nugget was found – known fondly as the “Roddy Nugget”, it weighed a hefty 3.1kgs.

historic water wheel ross goldfields town

sluicing gear ross goldfields town

It was the choice of destination for our latest adventure. South of Greymouth we had about a one hour drive to get there – lovely drive following the coastline. Parking behind the Ross Goldfield Information Centre and Museum we began our walk. Pretty easy one this time round, following the old water race and coming out at the old historic cemetery. Starting at the Historic Ross Goldfields village round past the alluvial lake with some information boards and relics explaining the art of the water wheel and sluicing, the track then climbs gradually up through the native bush meandering up and around with the water race.

Following Ross water race track

viaduct remnants ross water race track

Ross water race track

You can see where the old viaducts used to be. There is minimal signage on this side until you come to the old miners hut in the bush. This is fantastic – possibly an inspiration for some of our original back country huts!

historic miners hut Ross water race track

The trail slowly meanders down and then enters into the historic Ross cemetery – perched high on the hill and affording fantastic views over the township and out to the Tasman Sea. We love visiting old cemeteries – they are both interesting, sad and serene all at the same time.

headstones historic Ross cemetery

views from Ross Cemetery

historic Ross cemetery

Stephen wanders around for quite some time taking photos. I take a seat….. lunch time and am watched with much hope by the dogs.

enjoying lunch historic Ross cemetery

Time to continue back to the car. A bit more bush track before we come out on the back streets of the town of Ross. Some wonderful old buildings back here and then another short bush walk that leads to the Goldfields Historic Village and car park again. Just two buildings here in the village – a beautifully restored miners cottage and a gaol. Great examples of yesteryear both inside and out.

Goldfields village Ross

historic miners cottage interior ross

Before heading home we decide to see if we can find access to the beach. For us Ross is a town we often pass through but don’t often have the opportunity or time to stop. We’ve seen the sign for beach – or at least a road sign “beach road” so assume it heads to the beach. Given that we could see the sea from the cemetery we knew it couldn’t be far away. Turns out it isn’t. Gorgeous beach – really sandy and lots of sand dunes. Reasonably high tide but we still have a short wander and the dogs get to have a decent run free from the confines of our controlled bush walk. I know we’re not supposed to project our thoughts into what our animals might be thinking but in this case I’m sure going by the looks on their faces they would be saying “wahoo, feel that sand in your toes – oooohhh lovely!” – or something like that.

Ross beach

Home time but we’ll be back sometime soon to spend some quality time exploring the beach – we see a headland to the south that definitely requires further investigation…… watch this space…….

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. Together with their faithful companions Nico and Ziggy they enjoy getting out and about and exploring the wonders that help make up The West Coast of The Southern Alps. Come join them on their next adventure.

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Riding through History – Denniston Plateau

sssshhhhh – the babies are sleeping. If it was possible I’d be typing this with a silence button although I don’t think it matters as the boys are well and truly out to the count after their adventure today. Actually Ziggy has a right snore on so no-one can hear anything over that! They’ll be dreaming though, twitching in their sleep, remembering all the history lessons of today while out running with us. Ha-ha they better be anyway cos there will be an exam tomorrow.

Denniston plateau mtb ride

With the promise of a reasonably fine day after a much rain of late, we headed north to Westport – compulsory bakery stop first to fuel up pre-ride and then on up to Denniston Plateau – high up in the mountains – today’s mountain bike destination. This place is filled with history – coal mining history. It was a full on working town late 1800s and into the next century through to the mid 1950s.

amongst the rocks denniston plateau

riding the rocks denniston plateau

mountain biking the chute denniston

Thanks to the dedicated local mountain bike community and with the assistance of DOC some great tracks have been carved using existing drilling trails and coal mining tracks. As such there are heaps of relics scattered about to discover as you bike along,, together with old mine entrances, tunnels, plaques and signs explaining some of the history or pointing out points of interest.

fan house track denniston plateau

mining relics denniston

historic fan house denniston

ziggy on the bridge denniston mtb ride

tunnel denniston plateau

It is a good all round ride – lots of climbing, rewarded with lots of fun downhill, technical rocky sections, chutes and drop-offs. Good to test our bag of tricks from our mountain bike skill repertoire.

mountain biking coal scree denniston

Ziggy and Nico running the mountain bike tracks denniston

double bums denniston plateua

The history up here is amazing though. Seeing the terrain and knowing how high up we are, the working and living conditions must have been dire at times. On a good day though it is pretty magical – almost hard to beat. But then we are pretty blessed on the West Coast and have lots of places we can say that about – no bias at all. The trails we’re biking today are on the wrong side to showcase the views but you can get views out over the Tasman Sea – looking south to Westport and north to Karamea. That’s the nice thing about biking up here – there are about 9 trails in total – half on one side of the road and half on the other. You can mix and match or just stay on one side interlinking those ones. Means you can come up time and time again and do something different each time – if you want.

scrub denniston plateau

mountain biking rock face denniston

The dogs are having an absolute blast – they love this country, this is their sort of trail – not too fast and not too slow. They are great trail dogs, hardly ever (ah hmm hardly ever LOL) getting in the way – maybe just photo bombing the odd photo or two much to the chagrin of Stephen.

mountain biking denniston plateau

biking the hills of denniston

Up, down, round, up, down, round and we’re heading back up towards the start. I love this bit as we can see over the back to where we’re been – the hill we climbed and feel ready good about our day’s effort in the saddle.

Stephen on the way down denniston plateau

Back to the car, loaded up and time for home – maybe just maybe a short stop on-route for our reward….. I’ll leave it up to you to see if you can guess what it might be…….

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. Together with their two faithful friends Nico and Ziggy, they enjoy getting out and about and exploring the West Coast. Check out their other blog posts or their Activities page for suggestions on things to see and do when you visit The West Coast of the Southern Alps.

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Stairway to Heaven – Progress Water Race Track

climbing stairs inangahua swingbridge

Climbing, climbing, climbing, up, up and up. They say what goes up must come down but what about going back up again and then back down, up, up, up and then down, down, down only to do it all again and again, oh my gosh and again!

Fantastic bush walk today out in the winter sun with hubby and the dogs. Happy, happy, happy dogs – doesn’t get much better than a bush walk – all those great smells, good leg stretch and freedom – I think they call it doggy heaven.

green path progress water race

I say out in the winter sun but when you’re doing a bush walk you’re not really in the sun but the light filtering through the trees adds to the atmosphere and showcases the lovely colours of the bush – something so simple that we often take for granted – it’s green – but is it? How green, what shade of green – perhaps you should take another look, I almost guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

One disadvantage to a winter walk in the bush though – a little tad chilly. Nevermind plenty of steps to climb so I’m sure we’ll soon warm up.

Did I say plenty of steps…….

Progress Water Race track

Today’s trail starts at the Inangahua Swingbridge and Picnic Area 11kms East of the village of Reefton. We’re checking out the Progress Water Race track – sign states 2 hours return but we hope to go a bit beyond there towards the Golden Lead Battery. We know we won’t make it that far as that is a 5 hour return hike – and a hike not a walk, getting into proper tramping territory and we don’t have enough light with the winter hours. Actually truth be told we weren’t organised as well as we should have been to get out hiking earlier (come on we had guests this morning to attend to!). We’ll see what the walk brings though.

First up before our hike is a compulsory stop at the Broadway Tearooms and Bakery in Reefton. Have to fuel up for the day’s adventure – and it is lunchtime after all. These guys do the best filled rolls – their bread is more like eating candy floss – yum, yum. Our aim is to finish at the Bakery also for a hot drink and sweet treat – our reward after today’s adventure.

Inangahua Swingbridge

Ok so back to our walk. We head across the swingbridge to start the trail. Growing up in NZ most of us are well used to swingbridges but boy oh boy this thing really moves. There are only two of us on it and it says load capacity of five pax – man she would be a full on sway going then. Classic.

dogs waiting Progress water race track

Nico Inangahua walk

Now let the climbing begin. The dogs love it – they are off and make it look super easy. Steps and stairwells, boardwalks and bridges – lot of effort been put in by DOC for this trail – very impressive. The bush goes steeply up the bank so naturally if you want to access it then the track has to go straight up too. It switchbacks a little bit but mainly to start with it is just up, up and up before it joins the old water race.

walking in the beech forest progress water race

tunnel of light progress water race track

Following now a bed of green in amongst the towering Beech forest the trail winds it way around the side of the hill. Fantastic boardwalks and bridges and the water race occasionally disappears into the hillside only to pop back out as we round the corner. A couple of times you can see right through and could possible walk through if you wanted. We’ll leave it for today though.

heading down steps progress water race

Now we’re going down – hang on just a minute – what was with all those steps I climbed to get up here. Seems like we’re going all the way to the bottom again. Easy does it as they are a little slippery. Down, down, down. Laughing now cos you guessed it we’re soon going back up, up, up.

climbing steps progress water race track

bird watching progress water race track

Talk about a stairway to heaven – don’t look ahead they seem to go on forever. Definitely an advantage to having a husband into photography – lots of excuses for stopping. Nothing at all to do with catching ones breath! While waiting a little bush robin comes to check us out. Soon his friend arrives. The dogs are intrigued – we must look silly, we’re looking at them and they seem just as intrigued with us – certainly not shy as they come right up close. Super cute but unfortunately couldn’t capture them with the camera for you all to see so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

Beech forest progress water race

Ok – one more lot of down – far out really! This lot brings us back down to road level – the confluence of the Inangahua River and Deep Creek. This is officially the end of the Progress water race track and now becomes the Inangahua/Big River track and will eventually turn into a tramping track rather than walking track so won’t be in as good condition as what we’ve been doing. As mentioned early we don’t have enough daylight to go too much further anyway. It’s that funny old thing though isn’t, it never seems to take as long to go back the way you came as what it did to come in – well feels like it anyway. We stop here at the junction for a snack and meander along the bottom of the continuation of the track. It’s getting pretty boggy so we decide enough is enough and turn around. Back to the steps….. oh no…….

progress water race track bridges

It isn’t that bad really – I’m making it sound worse than it is. I’m sure it would be hard for some people but for us young, fit, fine-tuned, endurance athletes….. yeah right! Snap out of the dream and get up those steps!!!! Our little friend the bush robin is back with his buddy – can’t believe how friendly and unafraid these little fellas are – so cute.

bridges progress water race track

Doesn’t take long and the trail looks real familiar with the little water race tunnels and curved bridges. Nearly back and my calf muscles can have a rest. Few more steps first though – down this time. Easy does it, don’t want to trip up just before the end – how much of a disaster would that be!

steps down Inangahua swingbridge trail

Yay! Mission complete – now back to that double dipping mentioned earlier – the Broadway Tearooms for hot chocolate and cake. Makes it all worth while……

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They love to get out and explore the many wonders of the West Coast with their two dogs Nico and Ziggy – the great explorers. Check out their other blog posts for suggestions on things to see and do on the West Coast.

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A Pub Crawl with a Difference

greymouth west coast wilderness trail section

The wheels on the bike go round and round, round and round, round and round. Wheels on the bike go round and round all day long……

The wheels certainly turned a lot on our latest ride or do I mean our peddles. It was what I’d call a “peddley” ride – if that’s such a word. My definition of involving lots of peddling and not much free-wheeling. Fun all the same though and nice to cover some new ground. There was a rumor that more of the West Coast Wilderness Trail was nearly completed and rideable making the ride from Greymouth out to the historic Gold Mining town of Kumara a little more interesting than along the road as it currently stands. Our mission should we choose to accept it was to check it out for ourselves. Hard to resist so we’re off. We have our friend Matthew with us today – sharing a new adventure incorporated with a couple of our favourite haunts.

Parked up at Paroa Pub on the outskirts of Greymouth three of us headed out along the trail following the edge of SH6 to the Taramakau River road/rail bridge.

Greymouth to Taramakau River west coast wilderness trail

I’ve chucked a photo in here from another ride so you can see for yourself….. yep, a railway line running down the middle of the bridge – a one lane bridge that is also the road bridge!

Taramakau Road-rail bridge

Soon turning off where we knew the old tram track was and assuming this was part of the cycleway our assumptions were soon gratified and the new trail started. Not officially operational yet there was a warning regarding possible hazards and machinery working. Most bikers though are illiterate when it comes to the possibility of discovering new ground…. oops did I say that out loud….sorry……

through the trees west coast wilderness trail

Bumping our way along with the surface not yet finished to standard – not that that matters to us, we’re mountain bikers after all. Scenery though was fantastic and this is certainly going to be a great addition to the overall ride experience of the finished West Coast Wilderness Trail. The old tram track cuts straight through some beautiful beach forest – an avenue really. Felt like I was in a Robin Hood film set just waiting on Friar Tuck to come along in his wagon. Rather him than Robin and his merry men, not that we had anything to hand over unless they wanted my honey sandwich – which is pretty yummy after all.

kumara tramline through the trees west coast wilderness trail

kumara tramline mtb track west coast wilderness trail

Ok, so back to our ride….. The trail eventually headed back towards the main Kumara highway along the edge of a farmers paddock. We thought it continued back into the bush – kind of a dog leg but soon discovered we’d come to the end of the road so to speak. Nothing that a bridge won’t fix but in the meantime it was impassable as was a deep ravine. We were hoping we could perhaps just clamber down and walk our bikes across the creek and rejoin the trail but yep, deep ravine puts paid to that thought. There were plenty of little fantails – not sure if they were laughing at us or trying to show us the way “follow us guys, just flap your wings” – yeah right, alright for you to say little ones!

kumara straight west coast wilderness trail

Doubling back and after a short section actually on the road side we come to the little village of Kumara. Our lunch stop – or drinks break anyway. Rewarding the first half of our ride with a comfortable seat, hot drink and treat of savoury scone and muffin – not to mention that yummy homemade honey sandwich – that’s the real energy booster.

lunch break kumara theatre royal hotel

Time to get back on our bikes and continue our journey, we’ve still got quite a way to go yet and a couple of hill climbs to come too. Leaving the village we turn off the main highway riding along the back road to Lake Brunner for a short distance, first crossing back over the Taramakau River. Another one lane bridge but don’t have to share it with a possible train this time round.

kumara back road

We’re doing a loop – pub to pub so eventually turn off this road also and onto forestry tracks to bring us back to the main highway out of Greymouth. It is a gravel 4WD road – quite hard packed as used by the logging trucks and gold miners. There is a ford to cross first and thankfully we haven’t had too much rain of late so it is pretty shallow keeping our feet dry.

crossing the ford cape terrace loop mtb ride

A gentle climb and the track leads through some farm land before back into the plantation forest and the real climbing begins. Gradually up, up, up and a little bit more up. Head down grinding away to reach the plateau. Now while the plateau is reached the road still gently climbs more with undulations or annoying little short sharp pinches. Stephen and I comment we’d rather have an honest climb than those pinches as at least you know what you’re in for and can pace yourself according.

farmhouse mtb ride forestry roads greymouth

cape terrace mtb ride greymouth

One more true climb and we are finally rewarded with a quick downhill before the fun single track starts through what is known locally as “the Bundy”. The Bundy itself is a good ride for the locals so it has been nice to add it into this longer loop.

bundy loop mtb ride greymouth

bundy mtb ride greymouth

After winding our way down and around and plenty of whoop whooping we’re back on the main SH6 and back onto the Greymouth section of the West Coast Wilderness Trail. It’s nice to be off the main road and out of the traffic but after over 3 hours in the saddle the legs were well tired and this section seemed to go on and on. I’m sure it wasn’t as far as it felt but we were all pretty happy to come out of the bush and see the Paroa Pub car park entrance in front of us.

kumara tramline west coast wildness trail

Pub crawl with a difference – no drinking involved unless you count the hot drinks in Kumara. Fantastic day out, mission ride with a bit of everything, some new, some old combined to make a great loop. Bikes loaded and I’m checking the glove box…… I’m sure there is a chocolate bar hidden in here somewhere……

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and about and exploring the West Coast. Check out their other blog postings or activities page on their website for suggestions on things to see and do should you be visiting the West Coast of the Southern Alps.

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