Open for mountain bikes May 1st to September 30th only. No night riding. Maximum group size six. Hut bookings required in advance throughdoc.govt.nz/heaphytrack
Beyond James Mackay Hut, a gradual 12.5km descent to the Heaphy River begins. The track is through beech forest at first, but richer and taller forest typical of the West Coast become dominant.
There are some rough creek crossings which may be wiser to walk, but otherwise DOC have done a great job of reinstating the water tables, graveling the surface, and draining boggy sections.
Occasional tantalising glimpses of the Heaphy River are seen through the forest. The 20 bunk Lewis Hut appears at the junction of the Heaphy River with the smaller Lewis River, along with the first nikau palms.