A modern mountain-biking classic famous the world over, the Old Ghost Road Cycle Trail is an epic wilderness adventure through remote mountain ranges and backcountry.
The Old Ghost Road Cycle Trail is New Zealand’s longest singletrack and a must-do for experienced mountain bikers in search of the ultimate backcountry cycle journey. Winding up and over the mountains, it follows the footsteps of old gold miners’ on two rediscovered trails now linked by a flowing track. This Ngā Haeranga Great Ride of New Zealand(opens in new window) has a unique history, flourishing birdlife and memorable overnight stops in simple huts.
Completely off the beaten track, the Old Ghost Road Cycle Trail(opens in new window) winds over the ranges between the Buller Gorge highway and the small, rural of Seddonville on the West Coast.
The trail is best ridden from the southern end at the old ‘ghost town’ of Lyell from where it climbs steadily through young forest to reach the first of six backcountry huts(opens in new window). Faraway views open up as the trail emerges above the bush line and passes its highpoint (1280m) before reaching the superbly situated Ghost Lake and its namesake hut.
Highlights of the journey onward include the 11 kilometre (km) downhill into Stern Valley, and flowing trail beside the beautiful Mokihinui River and through its remote gorge. Up close, The Old Ghost Road will wow you with natural wonders such as the endangered whio (blue duck)(opens in new window), lush podocarp forest and spectacular rock forms.
The trail can be completed in full over two days, but you will need to be extremely fit and experienced. It is recommended that to enjoy the cycle trail more cyclists should allow 3-4 days – especially as staying overnight in the trail’s huts and campsites(opens in new window) is such unique experience. Day rides can also be enjoyed from either end.
A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.
It’s a 1 hour 45 min drive between the two ends of the trail. Around halfway between them is the main trail town of Westport which is the main base for tour companies and shuttles. Businesses offering transportation, equipment hire, heli-biking, and guided tours can be found on the Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window) and official Old Ghost Road(opens in new window) websites.
There are four basic huts on The Old Ghost Road Cycle Trail and they must be booked in advance through The Old Ghost Road website, each with mattresses, water supply and toilets. The Department of Conservation operates two further huts, and a campsite at the Lyell trailhead.
There’s accommodation right at the northern trailhead in the magical Rough and Tumble Bush Lodge and plenty more in Westport and the surrounding countryside. Accommodation providers partnered with the trail are listed on the Great Rides of New Zealand and Old Ghost Road websites.
Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails(opens in new window)
The Old Ghost Road(opens in new window)