It’s just one hour’s ride along a reasonably pleasant stretch of country road to bridge the gap between Westport and the Old Ghost Road Roundabout, and in turn the Old Ghost Road.
Although just a link ride, the relatively quiet highway north of Westport actually threads through some pleasant countryside with the vast Kahurangi and Paparoa Ranges a pretty awesome backdrop to the north and south.
Be sure to give the locals a smile and a nod – someone may throw your bike in the back of their ute and give you a lift.
A growing hub for mountain biking in the stunning northwest corner of the South Island, Westport is also home to the Old Ghost Road headquarters where you can get all sorts of useful information and advice on local riding.
This road link leads to Waimangaroa at the foot of the big climb up to the Denniston Plateau, part of the Old Ghost Road Roundable that links onward to the Old Ghost Road to form a challenging loop.
As for the route itself: you can’t really miss it. From the centre of Westport (corner of Palmerston and Brougham Street), head northeast on Brougham Street, which also calls itself SH67.
Cross the long Orowaiti River bridge just north of town, the turn left down Utopia Road and then right down Garveys Road. This eliminates a few kilometres of highway riding.
At SH67, turn left and continue northwest to Waimangaroa, 17km from town. There is a coffee cart selling delicious homemade pies and muffins set back from the intersection in the middle of Waimangaroa – the point at which this ride terminates and joins with the Old Ghost Roundabout.
Waimangaroa is a key location in the must-read local historical-fiction trilogy, The Denniston Rose. (This area has some seriously fascinating history, and these books certainly bring it to life!)
Need to Know
FITNESS & SKILLS
This is a flat and easy road ride, so if you’re heading into Old Ghost Road territory you should hardly raise a sweat. Note, though, that there is a reasonable amount of local traffic along here, so due caution is therefore advised.
TYPE OF BIKE
Making an assumption that you are tackling the area’s off-tracks, we'll assume you're already on a ship-shape mountain bike with all necessary spares and tools.
MAPS & NAVIGATION
New Zealand’s country roads are well signposted, but a map will prevent wrong turns, help you time your ride, and identify points of interest along the way.
The West Coast is infamous for its weather, but be assured that the rain falls mainly in big drops and mainly at night. As with any ride, check the forecast and take appropriate clothing and equipment for all possible conditions.
GETTING HERE & AROUND
ACCOMMODATION, FOOD & WATER
Westport is the area’s primary hub and has everything you need including a helpful bike shop with mechanical workshop. There is also accommodation scattered along the route north towards the Old Ghost Road. The coffee cart at Waimangaroa is an excellent source of delicious homemade food and coffee.
There is reliable cellphone coverage most of the way to Waimangaroa; it gets patchy and then non-existent as you head inland on the Old Ghost Road Roundabout itself.
There are public toilets in Westport and Waimangaroa.