Spring riding in the Valleys


Stephen has a mountain bike event coming up at the end of the month (October) so he needed to get some miles under his belt.  We awoke this Sunday morning to stunning clear blue sunny skies so once brekky was over and the cleaning of the rooms complete, we loaded up the bikes and headed to the start of the Bundy ride, in the hills behind Greymouth.  No dogs today as this ride is too long for them and involves a little bit of road riding in the middle.

Mountain biking in the hills behind Greymouth, West Coast, NZ

We are doing a loop track involving predominately 4WD roads and I guess for naming purposes we’d call it the Bundy/Kumara loop.  First off we do the single track section of the Bundy ride but instead of turning off to head up Gordy’s mistake like usual, we carry on straight ahead to meet with Cape Terrace.  This whole area is forestry land so we are riding forestry roads.  Each time we come up here it has changed as more areas are being logged.  We take Cape Terrace all the way through to Boarding House Road.  This section always takes much longer than anticipated and is more hilly that we think also – not hilly per say, but quite undulating – ie way more climbing, the little climbs that really take it out of the legs – got to be good for you though eh!

mountain biking forestry roads in the hills behind Greymouth, West Coast, NZ

Finally we meet with Boarding House road and head off towards the back road to Mitchells and Lake Brunner.  Again this is a section of the ride that you think is going to be a cruisey meander but no, not to be – again ever so slightly a gentle incline.  It is incredibly pretty through this section – all native bush and the odd lagoon just to the side with plenty of bird life.  Listening to the call of the various native birds is very relaxing.

All of the riding today is pretty wet – it is a beautiful day, but we’ve had quite a bit of rain lately so there are heaps of rather large puddles to negotiate.  Most of the rain has come at night thankfully but it does make for some wet trails.  Half way along Boarding House road and we have a little ford to cross.  Stephen and I don’t remember this from the last time we were out here – we’re sure it was a bridge, but not now, so through we go.  It is a bit higher than it looks and that means wet feet.  I’ve got my new mountain bike shoes on though and they are great – my feet don’t even get cold.

Stephen and I slog along commenting to each other that this always seems longer than we remember.  Eventually we can see the road end in sight – again a slight optical illusion and it seems closer than it takes to get there.

Greenstone cemetery, back road Kumara-Mitchells, West Coast, NZ

This next section is probably the most prettiest – smooth dirt/gravel road to meet up with the Kumara-Inchbonnie back road and turnoff to the Taramakau Settlement.  It is all native bush in here and if we’d turned left instead of right, we’d have ended up at Mitchells, the backside of Lake Brunner.  But that isn’t the direction we’re headed, we’re heading towards Kumara but first stop is the Greenstone cemetery – our lunch stop for today.

The Greenstone cemetery is the oldest cemetery on the West Coast.  Last time we were here there was a friendly horse grazing but today we had it to ourselves – apart from the residents of course!  We find cemeteries very peaceful and it is nice to just sit here, catch our breath and enjoy our filled roll.

Gold mining relics back road Kumara-Mitchells, West Coast, NZ

Right, back to it, we’ve still got a way to go – only really half way through today’s ride.  The next section is all sealed road – the Kumara-Inchbonnie road.  It meanders along following the Hohonu creek, heading towards Kumara.  There are loads of old gold diggings hidden in the bush and some relics on the road side to remind us of yesteryear.

mountain biking across the ford on the Hohonu creek, West Coast, NZ

Eventually we meet back up with Cape Terrace and head off back onto gravel roads.  Not far along and we have to ford the Hohonu Creek – not so much a little creek anymore, I’d definitely be calling it a river!  There is quite a bit of water in it and I don’t think I’ve ever done this ride when there has actually been water flowing across the ford – a considerable amount of water I might add.  Kindly Stephen sends me first – what!!!  Great photo opportunity he tells me….. mmmm……  Thankfully I make it to the other side without incident but having a slight fear of water, it did get my heart rate pumping.

Now, if I was complaining about “hills” earlier, they were nothing compared to what was coming.  This next section is the hill climb out – the road climbs along and up for about 1/2 an hour.  Actually we are at the top before I know it – guess we must be more fit than I thought – well me I’m talking about really as hills never seem to be a problem for Stephen.

mountain biking in the hills behind Greymouth, West Coast, NZ

After a quick stop and a muesli bar we are off again with more undulations along Cape Terrace before the road meets back up with the Bundy road that we started on.  Stephen thinks given how wet the Bundy single track was coming in, that we would be best going down Gordy’s Mistake and out to the car along the bottom road.  Sounds like a good idea – saves a bit of wear and tear on our bikes – but, oh yeah, you have to climb Gordy’s mistake before you come down the other side – drat!  It is probably the slowest I have ever gone up this section of our ride.  My legs had zoned out after the last hill thinking that WAS the last hill!  Nevermind – again it all has to be good for you eh……

Climbing up Gordy’s, does mean we get the fun downhill and since it has been cleared recently by the loggers it is a quick blast to the bottom before the cruisey peddle back to the car.

All in all a great afternoon out.  My fitness isn’t as bad as I thought so I’m generally pretty happy with my efforts and Stephen is happy to have had a good workout in preparation for his upcoming race.

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About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
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