“A short but stunning ride through lush, prehistoric rainforest and past spectacular limestone cliffs
— Alan Eskrick
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
From Lewis Hut, the track crosses the Heaphy River, via the new 148.4-metre suspension bridge. The track continues for 8 km along the left bank to the river mouth through a forest of kahikatea, rimu, and rata and past limestone cliffs to the modern 32-bunk Heaphy Hut.
There is still one of the older swing bridges on this section of track. If the river is low, it is easier to get wet feet and ford the stream rather than struggle across the bridge with bike and gear.
Several massive ancient rata trees grace the track, and the regions iconic nikau palms become more prevalent as you approach the warmer West Coast. At the Heaphy Hut, the Heaphy River meets the Tasman with a turbulent clash of freshwater and salty sea.