Mountain Biking in Reefton, West Coast – Day 100
Mountain Biking in Reefton
Today we are hitting the mountain biking trails of Reefton on the West Coast thanks to recommendations from the friendly locals.
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It’s day 100! We have spent 100 days on the road can you believe how much we’ve done so far? I mean, looking back at it it’s incredible. And where better to celebrate than Reefton? Where the hell’s Reefton? It’s on the West Coast of New Zealand on the South Island. And you may laugh, because you’ve probably never heard of Reefton but actually after the day we’re going to have we are pretty happy to spend it here. It is full of epicness and and enjoyment.
Before we hit the mountain bike trails today we are being shown around the town of Reefton by our host at The Breadshop Backpackers. Trevor is showing us around the historical sites of Reefton because Reefton actually used to be a thriving mining town back in the day. At the i-SITE there are some old mining machinery to have a look at as well. And did you know that Reefton actually used to be the first town in the Southern Hemisphere which distributed electricity to the public?
Trevor also finds the time introduce us to quite a few locals and this is basically how we write backpackerguide.nz when we do not know anything about a town like Reefton we just ask around. So we meet Paul which is the owner of this lovely cafe which has amazing treats, awesome hot chocolate and yummy cakes, and we just ask him what he likes to do in Reefton and what he thinks Reefton should be famous for. And all he’s talking about is mountain biking. He tells us that Reefton has some of the best mountain biking tracks in the country and some of the best landscapes in the country as well. They are accessible and stunning so he invites us to join him into a mountain biking trip. So we head to the Reefton Sports Centre where we are able to hire mountain bikes as well as helmets which are mandatory in New Zealand and we are on our way. We are meeting back with Paul in town and the first section of the ride is just a short road section which leads us to the track. It’s a very short road section that lead us to a really awesome track.
The track has been made through forestry land as well as old mining land and it is engulfed with heaps of history that Paul is really keen to share with us.
The first section goes through a massive pine forestry area which is the industry that has taken over from mining in the Reefton area.
Then it’s quickly up tot he fun part. Because this track is wide it’s considered a beginners track but it’s pretty rough and it goes uphill and honestly we are huffing and puffing our way up. This is quite a challenge for not really experienced mountain bikers like us.
There are sections of this track where it’s so rocky that it sort of shaking our arms out of our shoulders. The name of this track is the Lookout Track because well, I’m guessing it’s going to take us to a lookout any time now after we’ve done this steady uphill climb.
But it’s a good feeling when we reach the top of the lookout track we get these awesome views of Reefton and the famous river that passes through which is famous for trout fishing. I think the river is called the Ingahua but I’m not quite sure how to pronounce it. Paul’s also taking the time to show us other mountain biking tracks that we can see from up here as well as the main sites of Reefton.
For the way down I’m going to do something quite fun just to show you guys how rough the track was and how much fun we had. I’m not going to be using the stabiliser I’m just going to show you exactly how it felt. The downhill section is speedy rocky and challenging it takes all of us to kind of maneuver the bike around the rocks and the loose areas. It’s really fun. Laura and I are really having a lot of fun. Despite the fact that we are beginners and this is something we’re not really used to. I would definitely recommend people to try mountain biking on an easy and wide track like this one at the first time just because oh my God I cannot believe doing that on a very very narrow path is something that people do for the first time. I just can’t. This section of the track is called the zigzag track and we can see exactly why as it zigs and zags it’s way down the mountain. There is quite few interesting things to see around us. So we are in between native bush as well as pine forest which is used for forestry but there is also a lot of gorse which is a tree that produces really bright yellow flowers. Actually it’s more of a bush than a tree and this was imported here in New Zealand by the early settlers. They were using this bush as natural fences for sheep paddocks.
And I feel like most of this gorse is hitting me on the face on the way down. It’s my first time doing downhill mountain biking and it really is challenging it’s super rocky I am a bit scared of some of the bigger boulders down here and of course the plants hitting me in the face but I do start to get the hang of it and actually have a really awesome time.
After having experienced the thrill of downhill mountain biking we are finally getting out of the forest and getting on with our journey. The first stop is one of the main sites of Reefton which is an old mining site and there is some really awesome displays where you can look through them to see what was here back in the day. Then we are off tot he massive swingbridge of Reefton which well is not that massive but man it is really narrow so it makes it for quite a challenging crossing on the mountain bike.
And soon enough we are back in town with the sun coming down.
And tonight we are joining our hosts from the Breadshop Backpackers for a pub quiz night along with some more people staying at the hostel as well and after the pub quiz I insist that we go to check out one of the main sites of Reefton. This is the earliest street light right here which was the Southern Hemisphere’s first street light and first electricity experience.
Wait a minute, I’ve run into a Frenchman here, who’s gonna speak in French for you and tell you how the Buller team is going.