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The Great Rides and Cycle Trails of New Zealand

Kirwans and Waitahu Valley Tracks

Regional Ride

West Coast, South Island

Rated as one of the most enjoyable hardcore rides in the country, this track initially follows an old dray road through rich beech forest. After about 1.5km from the road's end, take time to enjoy the Caples Creek Tunnel and swing bridge. In not too much time you will reach the well benched historic miners’ track that steadily winds its way up through the bush. It is a solid grind from this point, with a fairly consistent gradient to the top. Occasional flat sections will provide relief, while tricky switchbacks and rough sections will involve a walk and carry approach. The last few hundred meters to the hut are unrideable, but the views are great.

It is a thank-goodness feeling when you finally pop out of the bush to a majestic view and find the hut. If you plan on staying the night in this charming hut, be sure to listen out for the RoaRoa. The main track continues to the remains of the old Kirwans Reward Mine site where fascinating relics for the aerial ropeway remain. This track continues down the rough track to the Lord Brassey Stamper Battery and the Waitahu Valley. Follow this for an adventure ride or return the way you came to enjoy the megatechnical long downhill you spent such an effort biking up and emerge from the forest triumphant.

Kirwans knob is also priceless option for prospectors keen on a bit mountain gold riding. After a breather at the hut, ride, push, and carry your bike for the sunset, then glide back down this ridgeline tussock trail. But do to take a head torch to find your way back to the hut through the bush.


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