Wow what a magic day out on the bike in Reefton biking the Blacks Point to Waitahu loop.
We had been wanting to do this track for sometime but with so many options when it comes to hiking and biking we never seemed to quite make it. Got close back in February but while we had our bikes we managed to somehow leave the rest of our riding gear at home – I know, don’t ask!
Anyway today was our day. Reefton is about an hour’s drive inland from Greymouth, a nice drive up through the valley through some lovely farmland. It was an overcast morning but not cold and not a breath of wind – near perfect riding conditions.
The trail starts just outside of Reefton at Blacks Point so we parked in Reefton and biked the short road section – about 3kms to the trail head. Good to start in Reefton as the road section was a nice little warm up for our legs given what was about to come…….
I made that sound ominous didn’t I! Actually it isn’t that bad. We’re starting out with the Murray’s Creek track – an old historic road that climbs up to the Waitahu Saddle, following the creek and leading us past old coal mines to the Waitahu Junction. It is a pretty gentle climb for around 4kms with a couple of nasty sharp pinches but overall quite manageable. Enough to get the heart rate pumping but gentle enough to enjoy the beautiful bush clad scenery as we climb.
Reaching the saddle it is time to catch our breath and have a bite to eat before we tackle the more advanced benched single track down the other side into the Waitahu Valley.
This section is pure magic. There are some rather steep sections that as much as we’d like to try to tackle, there are no heroes amongst us as we don’t fancy a trip over the handle bars so staying within the boundaries of our abilities and wanting to make it safely to the end, we proceed with caution. In saying that Stephen nails it – he was on fire for this ride.
The track sidled down and around almost a ridgeline with some rather big drop-offs to the side. It is quite narrow in places and steep in others – aptly named “Devils Tail” as it swings around and down towards the forest floor.
It is super impressive in the bush though – gorgeous big Rimu and Matai trees looming up from the forest floor, mosses hanging off some of the trees and of course plenty of beautiful big ferns and green as green grasses.
At the base of single track we reach the impressive Clematis swing-bridge the crosses the Waitahu River. A relatively new addition to the trail to give safe access across the river. She is an impressive structure and we gingerly cross one by one to the other side.
With the bridge safely negotiated we have around a 7km ride along-side the banks of the river to reach the Gannons Road end. It is beautiful through here – an undulating 4WD track that is easy-going in places and a bit rougher in others.
Once at Gannons Road we “pose” for one last photo before the completion of the final leg of our ride – a nice gentle road section back into Reefton. It is a nice way to end the ride, reminiscing at the adventure and the beauty.
Back in Reefton we captured these beauties as we were heading out of town – not something you see every day but nice to see others making the most of their weekend.
For us our ride wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Broadway Tearooms and Bakery for some coffee and cake – now that’s what I call a good day out in the saddle. Absolutely gorgeous scenery, great company and seriously good fun.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and about and exploring the many things there are to see and do on the West Coast.