“A trail with spectacular coastal scenery and luxuriant bush right down to the beaches.”
— Alan Eskrick
Open for mountain bikes May 1st to September 30th only. No night riding. Maximum group size six. Hut bookings required in advance through doc.govt.nz/heaphytrack
The Heaphy River mouth is an exciting place. The river surges out through a narrow gap into the sea; incoming waves halt the flow and the churning of salt and fresh waters is spectacular.
The 16.2 km of track south to Kohaihai is through forest although beach walking is possible in some places. Some of the small streams are not bridged and can be dangerous after heavy rain. The forest has rata and karaka trees, many vines, and groves of nikau palms. Be careful of the stinging nettle that grows in some places.
Just beyond Katipo Creek is Crayfish (Koura) Point. There is no high tide track over the point and where the track follows the top of the beach can be impassable two hours or so either side of high tide when sea conditions are rough. Check tide tables in the Heaphy Hut or Kohaihai Shelter before proceeding over this section.
From Scotts Beach the track begins climbing over Kohaihai Saddle and down through wind-blasted shrubs to a bridge across the Kohaihai River. The track follows the riverbank for 400m to Kohaihai carpark where there is a shelter and phone.
DOC has put a lot of work into upgrading the track surface so it is not now difficult riding, however, it is a ride that should be on everyone's bucket list for the scenery.