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Thread: Heaphy Track

  1. #1
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    Heaphy Track

    Hi!

    I'm coming to NZ with a 23mth visa this July. I'll likely be spending a fair bit of time in Queenstown, but plan to travel around as much as possible. One ride that I would love to do is the Heaphy Track. There was an excellent feature in Dirt magazine a few months back.

    Mountain Biking The Heaphy Track

    I'm more AM/DH than XC, but not afraid to pedal!

    Has anyone done this? Or can recommend similar 'adventure' rides?

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Hi BrokenZ. I have not done the Heaphy myself, but have enough friends that have done it and rave about it. So well worth it, I would say.

    As for general riding, you are going to the right area. Queenstown (and Central Otago) has a lot. From epic rides to gondola assisted riding in QT, you will be well sorted.

    I am based in Dunedin, but am often in Central. Let me know when you are here and I might be able to show you around a bit.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for you reply. I'll certainly drop you a message when I'm out there, I know a few people dotted around, one in Dunedin in fact, but most are more acquaintances than best friends. As I'm heading out alone It'll definitely be a case of meeting as many people as possible!

    I've done a fair bit of research on NZ, but I still have loads of questions. Can you recommend any other NZ MTB forums?

    Thanks

  4. #4
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    Not a problem. It is always good to catch up and ride with someone from MTBR! As I said, I am also often up in central (we have a house in Roxburgh too).

    General forum, try vorb (vorb.org.nz).

    Otherwise, just try the local clubs.
    Dunedin - Mountain Biking Otago
    Queenstown - Queenstown Mountainbike Club, New Zealand
    Wanaka - Bike Wanaka

    And local knowledge is, as always, the key. So just go to the LBS and ask - there is almost always someone going out for a ride.

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    Hi,
    I have done the Heaphy it's an amazing ride and very varied terrain and scenery. I posted up my experience and some helpful (or not things to consider) here Hanging out on the Heaphy - MTB Heaphy Track NZ - Silent Revolution MTB
    We rode it both directions to avoid the logistics of a point to point and would highly recommend this approach if you have time. The track has been upgraded as well as some of the huts since I went through and this is the last year of the trial so forget the groomed MTB parks and go do it. There are tons of great multi-day rides in NZ check out Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail for some other options.

    cheers

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    I walked/hiked the Heaphy 10 years ago. Beautiful trail with diverse scenery from native rainforest to mountain tussock to rugged coastal bush. I would jump at the opportunity to mountain bike the trail. Hiking it was a bit of a logistical nightmare as it is a long way from the start in Collingwood to the finish in Karamea. But biking you could always cycle both ways as tahic mentioned. Sounds brilliant.

    Definitely recommend from my hiking experience.

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    Thanks for your replies and sorry for my slow reply!

    I'm sold on the trip then. I didn't realise it was only on trial until September 30th!! I'd better get something booked up.
    I'm still trying to get my head around the seasons and the weather changes, I hear it rains quite a bit in that area through winter, do you think it would be fairly dry in September? Living in the UK I'm used to rain, but would prefer to ride it in fair conditions.

    Potentially looking to go with these guys: http://ridehousemartin.com/

    Thanks for all the links and the blog post. I do appreciate that Queenstown is fairly built up and definitely want to experience the rural side of NZ, so this is all helping a confused Brit!!!

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    Our winter is starting rather late here this year, so it might be rather wet then. However, the seasonal nature of that trail means you just ride it

    Sven and Anka are awesome. I would highly recommend using ridehousemartin.

    QT might be built up, but it is rather small. It is not difficult or time consuming to find yourself in the middle of nowhere rather quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shalom View Post
    Our winter is starting rather late here this year, so it might be rather wet then. However, the seasonal nature of that trail means you just ride it

    Sven and Anka are awesome. I would highly recommend using ridehousemartin.

    QT might be built up, but it is rather small. It is not difficult or time consuming to find yourself in the middle of nowhere rather quickly.
    This!!!

    If you are coming from the UK Queenstown is a tiny little village really. In NZ you''ll find you can get out into the country very quickly. Especially in the South Island. Don't be put off by the built up aspect. Maybe it is compared to 15-20 years ago but Queenstown is still absolutely beautiful and there is a lot of great mountain bike trails among many other great outdoor activities. September is early spring in NZ but it can still be pretty cold and/or wet. But the Heaphy is a lot further north than Queenstown and it's mostly at sea level so temperatures should be reasonably moderate.

    Have fun. I'm envious!

  10. #10
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    Thanks guys,

    Everything you've said is very reassuring. There's not many places in the U.K you can truly get lost nowadays. Having lived in London for the last few years I'm excited by the prospect of tents, sleeping bags, fresh air and actually seeing stars in the sky, let alone biking! I can't wait.

    I think you'll struggle to get rid of me!!

    Thanks again

  11. #11
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    Haha, happy to be of assistance! Let me know when you are here, and I would be more than happy to show you around (if you make it to Dunedin or other parts of Central Otago).

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    Thanks Shalom, I'll be in touch a little later this year!

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    I thought Anka spent NZ winters in Europe guiding?
    This company is another great alternative Mountain Bike Shuttles & Tours Nelson, NZ | Bike Shuttles Ltd Well worth checking out other top tracks in the area (Queen Charlotte, Nydia Bay, Wakamarina etc etc) that require shuttling

  14. #14
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    True, but I thought that due to Sven's injuries, they were spending most of the winter here this year....

    Either way, get in touch and see.

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    Looks like Anka has already escaped NZ, and is in Vernassal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenZ View Post
    Thanks guys,

    Everything you've said is very reassuring. There's not many places in the U.K you can truly get lost nowadays. Having lived in London for the last few years I'm excited by the prospect of tents, sleeping bags, fresh air and actually seeing stars in the sky, let alone biking! I can't wait.

    I think you'll struggle to get rid of me!!

    Thanks again
    I lived in London in the mid nineties then came back to NZ and travelled around with my then British girlfriend for a couple of months living out of a car with a small tent. We had a ball! Hiked several of the 'Great Walks' and free camped all over the South Island. You'll love it. Just watch out for the sand flies!

  17. #17
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    I've just sent an e-mail through. If she's not around, maybe I'll look into Nelson shuttles for Heaphy and Sven/Anka for a trip in Autumn 2014.

    Thanks for the link and updates!

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    I live in golden bay. If you get a chance, ride the rameka from canaan downs all the way down to takaka. Fantastic ride. An you will have a BALL in NZ. There's nobody here! There are 4 million people in an area the same size as the UK......

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    Quote Originally Posted by thelivo View Post
    I live in golden bay. If you get a chance, ride the rameka from canaan downs all the way down to takaka. Fantastic ride. An you will have a BALL in NZ. There's nobody here! There are 4 million people in an area the same size as the UK......
    Thanks for the tip.. I'll be checking this thread when summer comes round and getting to as many of these locations as possible.

    It's scary to think that London alone has a population of 8.2 million. You guys have the right idea with regards to border control!!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi_GR_Biker View Post
    I lived in London in the mid nineties then came back to NZ and travelled around with my then British girlfriend for a couple of months living out of a car with a small tent. We had a ball! Hiked several of the 'Great Walks' and free camped all over the South Island. You'll love it. Just watch out for the sand flies!
    I've heard of these sandmonsters! From what I understand the main defence is movement and sunlight haha. I also like the fact that they lick the blood instead of drink it. Any tips from you guys? Garlic!?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenZ View Post
    I've heard of these sandmonsters! From what I understand the main defence is movement and sunlight haha. I also like the fact that they lick the blood instead of drink it. Any tips from you guys? Garlic!?
    The sandflies are ferocious - take a pair of light trousers and a jacket to wear when you're around camp. Tights aren't much good, as the little buggers go through them to your skin.

    Last time I went through the Heaphy I took "tropical" strength (whatever that means) insect repellent, which seemed to help a little - but the main defence is just not having any bare skin.

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    If you spend any time at the top of the Sth Island, get in touch (I'm in Blenheim). Might be able to organise a couple of rides in area that are worth doing, but best done in a small group so you can shuttle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenZ View Post
    I've heard of these sandmonsters! From what I understand the main defence is movement and sunlight haha. I also like the fact that they lick the blood instead of drink it. Any tips from you guys? Garlic!?
    Yep movement is the main defence. While you're moving they're not a problem. When you stop to rest, have a drink or admire the scenery they give you about 30 seconds to a minute to launch their attack and then they're all over you in a nanosecond. So keep moving but if you have to stop then cover up. When I was hiking in hot weather we'd wear shorts and tee shirts but when we stopped for lunch I'd quickly put on trousers and a long sleeved hoodie. They're not really a problem at night.

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    I've both walked and ridden the Heaphy, all be it quite a few years ago. Imho it's much better walking trail. The only good bit was the downhill on the west coast side . The rest was , well a walking track. Riding walking tracks is like the riding trails 15 years.

    It's ok if you want a nostalgic experience.

  25. #25
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    The vast majority of people who ride the track rate it quite highly.

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