The Rameka Track is a classic Nelson single track trail that combines some spectacular terrain with stunning views of the Abel Tasman National Park - it's an absolute must-do if you're in the Nelson region.
Situated on Takaka Hill, one and a half hours drive west of Nelson, the start of the Rameka track is from the Harwood's Hole car park. Take the Caanan Road turn at the top of Takaka Hill and follow it 11km to the car park. Here you can find toilets and a track to Harwood's Hole - a vertical hole in the hill. It's the deepest 'straight' drop in New Zealand and well worth a 45 minute detour.
From the western end of the car park follow the 4WD track for 10 -15 minutes until you reach the sign posted start of the Rameka Track.
Once off the 4WD track you enter lush native bush and for the next hour you'll enjoy the rush of a fantastic single track. A mix of boulders, loose rocks and tree roots make for some challenging sections enough to test the skills of well practiced riders. There are a few Creek crossings that will probably result in you hopping off the saddle and walking. and you have all the elements of a great ride. The final steep bush descent is supurb and all too soon you break the canopy opening into lush farmland.
At the top of the Rameka Road you will see the newly opened Pack Track, which follows the original line of the old road for the next 2.5 km. Initially technical, then fast and open, the Pack Track offers spectacular views of Golden Bay and the Abel Tasman National Park. After crossing the road twice you enter Project Rameka, 3.5 kms of rolling switchbacks through pine forest and regenerating bush. Once across the creek at the bottom, look out for the Klicks, some fun tracks that parallel the road to the bottom of the gorge.
Following the farm track to the right you'll cruise further into the Rameka Gorge and from here onto East Takaka Road. This part of the ride offers spectacular views of Golden Bay and the Abel Tasman National Park, but be cautious, the farm track descent is challenging, with a loose surface and tight corners, which can easily catch those with a wandering eye off guard!
Once onto the tar-seal, follow signs for Takaka where you will find heaps of cafes and shops. Have a rest, enjoy a coffee and take in the buzz of what surely was a bloody great ride.
As the track runs through the Abel Tasman National Park, it would typically be off limits to bikers. Yet as it follows an old pack route it is still classed as a legal road. The track is around 20km long and is a dual access area so please give way and be considerate to other users.
After your rest in Takaka you'll have to either pedal back 2 - 3hrs via Caanan Road, or pack your second car and return to Harwood's Hole car park - we suspect you might be keen to ride it again!
Thanks to Brian at Escape Adventures for providing some of the photos. Escape Adventures offers mountain bike hire and guided trips in the Nelson Area.