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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.