The thing about camping is you are pretty much up as soon as the birds start to chirp and the sun comes up… which means around 6am. We had a bit to eat and then headed off on the first ride of the day – Lewis Daniels, it is more of a cross country/single track trail. It wasn’t overally long, maybe 2 hours but it was a good warm up for the day. The trail goes to a DOC hut on lake Daniels, which is pretty amazing! The amount of amazing DOC huts in NZ is crazy!!
After the Lake Daniels track we packed up our tents and headed further west to Reefton. Reefton is small town on the west coast of the south island that has a real sleepy feel. From what Ive read, Reefton is the mountain bike hub on the west coast, so we were in the right spot. What is also amazing about Reefton is their skate park. This park had 2 different bowls, rollers, steps, rails.. pretty much everything. Im no skater, but if I were it would have been heaven. It was definitely the best skate park I have ever seen. After checking out the skate park we hit up a tea room for some coffee and then hit the local grocer to get some food for the evening.
Our next ride of the day was Kirwans Track. This is considered one of the most enjoyable hardcore rides in New Zealand. It is rated a Grade 5 (expert) and it about 4 hours of up and then one hour of technical downhill! Before we started the ride we waited for one of Marks mates, Purple to join us. We had a bit of a cook out at the trailhead while we waited. Once Purple arrived we geared up and started the trek up. At pretty much the beginning you have to cross a suspension bridge that was made of chain fence. We crossed heaps suspension bridges over this trip, many we could ride across, but this one was tight – 1.5 feet wide so it was definitely a challenge to get the bike across. Once across we were able to get ride for the first bit, but it was soon ‘hike a bike’. It was basically 4 hours of pushing, but it was in native forest so the scenery was a good distraction. We ran in to another group of riders on the way up and later found out that took a heli ride, instead of pushing, lucky bastards!
The view from the top was amazing! You could see for miles and once again there was an amazing DOC hut there. It would be great to hike up one day, stay the night and ride down the next day! Even if you are not into mountain biking you can hike this track and stay in the hut, which I would totally recommend.
After catching our breath, taking in the views and having a feed it was time for the downhill! It was steep, fast, rooty and rocky.. what more could anyone want! You could just open it up and huss it! The ride down of course went by way to fast, but it did make the march up worth it! The ride down was an hour of adrenaline!
When we rocked back to the car it was time for a beer and then off to Purples place for the night. Purple lives in Westport in a housetruck.. it was cool as! He built it himself and it had a lounge, kitchen, bedroom and shower… I now want a house truck! We celebrated out ride with more than a couple of beers and then it was off to bed!
Day 2.. amazing! Kirwans Track has to be one of the best rides I have ever done. It was so much fun I would actually go back and hike another 4 hours to ride it again.. that says a lot!