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Level: Intermediate
Length: 28 mi (45.1 km)
Surface: 4x4 Trail
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: -
Total: 1 riders

Mountain Biking Manuherikia Headwaters

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#231 of 387 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#11,702 in the world

There are two challenging rides over the isolated back-country hills between Omarama and St Bathans. Both are on rough four wheel drive tracks with lots of river crossings and an altitude gain and then loss of about 600 metres (2000 feet). It's all open tussock country with rugged valleys and high rolling hills. The Hawkdun Range is to the east and the Saint Bathans Range to the West. The panoramas are stunning.

Both tracks start and finish together - the end of Broken Hut Road from Omarma and the top of Hawkdun Runs Road from Saint Bathans. In DOC's "Oteake Conservation Park" brochure they are called the West Manuherikia Track and the East Manuherikia Track.

The West Manuherikia Track is 25km long and the East Manuherikia Track is 19km long. You could ride them both in a loop from either end (if you're very fit and strong). You could also split the loop over two days by spending night in one of the two back country huts on the West Manuherikia Track. If you can organise a shuttle, the easiest option would be to ride the East Manuherikia Track from south to north, ie, from the Saint Bathans end. Another option from either end is ride up to one of the saddles, then go back the way you came.

It's a good idea to wear woollen sox and take some chain oil. These 4wd tracks get steep in places and you can expect to do some pushing. Don't plan this adventure ride after rain or during snow melt as the river crossings are challenging enough, even when low.

First added by Jim Cummings on May 27, 2017. Last updated Apr 20, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: yes
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
The north end of these tracks is 12km from Omarama. Head out of town on highway 8 towards the Lindis Pass. After about a kilometre turn left into Broken Hut Road and follow it the end where you'll see a car park and mapboard. The south end of these tracks is 18km from St Bathans. Take Loop Road then Hawkdun Runs Road which is gravel, has gates and a shallow creek crossing. There is a car park and mapboard near (the primitive) Homestead Camping Ground. (Awesome spot.) You are 55km from Naseby and 80km from Alexandra.
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Manuherikia Headwaters Trail map

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Good (on May 27, 2017)
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  • Jim Cummings

    These 4wd tracks are for mountain bikers who like to bike in the mountains. They're not jagged, alpine mountains - just big hills really. But they are awesome and you will get a top-of-the-world feeling and heaps of satisfaction from the challenge. Go with friends, take a picnic and your camera. It's an excellent back-country adventure for fit, intermediate riders.

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