Sharing Heaphy with MTBs (May 2019)
Hi there I booked my Heaphy trip for the first week of May. This is the only time I can get time off work, so I bought flights and booked huts the day I confirmed the dates with my boss. Yaaaaaay! I am a little worried about the mountain biking season starting at the same time in May. Can anyone give me some idea on what sharing the track with cyclists is like please? Is there anything I should do differently? Any other tips on the logistics around Heaphy would also be appreciated! Our tentative plan at this stage is to fly to Nelson, shuttle to the start of the trek, then fly back to Nelson at the end. We might spend a night in Karamea if it's easy to do. Thanks in advance Puku
Can't help you about the track in Winter. But 'The Last Resort' might be worth a stay in Karamea ?. Good bar, coffee & restaurant I recall. Some people like 'Rongo's'. If you're exploring the CBD, looks like the coffee guy has moved out of his yurts into the place he was refurbishing across the road from the 4 Square. Let me know what you think of 'Vinnies' ?. The Summer I did it, there was no running water on the 1st day hike up to Perry Saddle Hut.
Hi Puku, I've walked the Heaphy when bikes have been there, we had no problems at all. The bikers all seemed friendly and considerate (a couple needed reminders about leaving their stuff lying around in the hut vestibule tho'). Generally the bikers got going relatively early and we never saw any until they got into a hut in the evening. Karamea is a great place, stay the night if you can. Have a great trip! Morris
A mate and I walked the Heaphy in winter just a few seasons back and saw very few cyclists or trampers about. One hut (Perry Saddle) we had to ourselves and at the second (Lewis) there was just one other person besides ourselves staying. We found that now the track has been adapted for cyclists the surface is tough on the feet when frosted. Also they have diverted the track away from easy low tide beach walking south of the Heaphy. Luckily we remembered some beach short cuts that reduced walking time and got us off freshly rocked sections of new track that would have been tough on the feet. There is a camping ground at Karamea but you may prefer something more up market? There are plenty of interesting short walks from or near Karamea.
Cycled through over 2 days midweek in July last year and met sot a soul on the whole track. Except a few Takahe! Owing to the stoney track surface there seemed very few places except maybe the descent to the roadend from Perry Saddle at the north end where cyclists could pick up enough speed to be a danger. Might be a bit busier in May.
Just to echo the previous experiences, I went through over Queens Birthday several years ago. Saw no trampers, had Mackay Hut to ourselves. Did see a couple of groups of mountain bikers but had no issues.
Thanks for all your replies! It's given me more confidence, and we're looking at accommodation in Karamea - seems like a place with a bit of character? (Yurt?) I think the Routeburn coloured my expectations. There were lots of people and we often had to drop our packs and stand aside when we met a group coming from the other side. Which we didn't mind and we had great company at the huts in the evenings (including one legendary gentleman who cooked bacon while the rest of us died a little inside), but I thought it might be dangerous if there were bikes hurtling towards us.
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