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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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.
This entry was posted in cycling, dogs, Mountain biking New Zealand, Nature, NZ flora and fauna, NZ history, outdoors, photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Riding through History – Denniston Plateau

  1. bulldog says:

    Firstly how nice to see a photo of Stephen on a bike, I was beginning to think he drove around in a vehicle and just took photos of you as you slugged it out…lol… It seems a beautiful area to bike and I once again stand in admiration of the fitness twins that undertake these routes so that we can share them… I’m talking about the dogs of course, you two can’t be fit, or are you?? LOL… I am amazed at some of the trails you two undertake and to think Stephen is riding with his camera as well, is he not worried about falling and damaging his photo equipment?? (nearly just said equipment but worried it might be taken the wrong way.)
    I think you are blessed to live where you do with all that is available, specially certain bakeries that seem to get in your way… maybe a photo of them would be in order Stephen, and then charge them for advertising on your blog… freebies for you two every time you pass there….

    • coastingnz says:

      ha-ha – you are right Rob, I had to get a photo of Stephen as people were starting to talk – thinking I had an imaginary hubby! Love your thoughts on the bakeries – might have to give that some more thought…. that has got the brain wurring (??) and a jigging….. Also Stephen says he’s never really given any thought to damaging his “equipment” should he fall – I think his plan is not to fall – uh oh, just saying that is asking for trouble now LOL

  2. ivonne90 says:

    Hmmmm …… I would reward me with a hot bath, not a shower, and then with a huge steak. For the night I would need an oxygen tent. to recharge the air, which I would have missed on the tour.
    Great story Jan
    Hugs Franz

    • coastingnz says:

      I’m sure you wouldn’t need the oxygen tent Franz – I’ve seen the photos from some of the places you go! Do like the sound of hot bath though and huge steak – now you’re talking! LOL Hugs back at ya!

  3. G&B says:

    Denniston, Denniston…… what more can I say ?? In the immortal words of Arnie …….. “I’ll be back!!” With bike in tow of course, now all I need is some guides who know the area well …………….

  4. joshi daniel says:

    the dogs add to the adventure 🙂

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