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Level: Advanced
Length: 25 mi (40.2 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: One-way
Elevation: +617/1 ft
Total: 8 riders
 

Mountain Biking Rameka Track

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*****   Add a review
#206 of 415 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#1084 in the world

This amazingly varied one day back-country ride starts way up in the Takaka Hills goes down through forest and scrub to the village of Takaka some 800 metres (2600 feet) below. It is the best ride of its type in the upper South Island. Most riders start it from the Takaka Hill Road and that's where my GPS trace starts.

I left my car at the Golden Bay Coachlines yard in Takaka, caught the Nelson bus and got off just over the top of the Takaka Hill at Canaan Road. It cost $30 including bike. (http://goldenbaycoachlines.co.nz) The trail comes out near Takaka so it was a short road ride back to the car at the end.

The ride up Canaan road is a good warm up if nothing else. After about 8 or 9 kilometres you arrive at Canaan Downs, a large area of pasture. Part way through the pastures at a cattle stop you'll come to a sign pointing to the "Canaan Loop". Take it. It's a gem of a little ride that will take you to the car park at the end of the road where you'll find two toilets, a tap with water and a map board.

At the map you'll see that the Canaan Loop is a large intermediate loop that continues on and goes past the start of the Rameka Track. There is another loop there that is also quite pleasant called the Gold Loop. It is easy and takes less than an hour.

To find the Rameka Track and your way back to Takaka go through the gate beyond the car park where the sign says, "Canaan Loop". It takes you up a four wheel track where you'll soon see the sign pointing left to the Rameka Track.

Immediately you'll find yourself on nice singletrack in beech forest. It's awesome! Challenging at some of the bouldery creeks but generally mild although technical enough to keep you alert most of the way. You don't often get singletrack this good through native forest. Before long you're going down-slope, in places quite steep.

After perhaps an hour you come to a sign "Pack Track" as you emerge from the beech forest. Things get even more interesting. The Pack Track is great, initially fast and airy, then more technical, then wow! exposure on the left - but only for a while.

By now you'll be smiling from ear to ear and thinking it can't get any better. Well, it doesn't, but it doesn't get any worse either. It changes again as you enter the area called the Rameka Project. Soon you're on a sweet, sweet track called Great Expectations through a pine forest. It's fast and flowy. And goes on and on; down and down.

Eventually you'll reach the gravel road - Rameka Valley Road - but the fun starts all over again... This time with a couple of really neat singletracks that run down beside the road, called the Clicks. The first one is really technical but not savage; the second one is quite rocky - almost like Moab - and it's fun too.

But there's more... Another track beside the road. At one point you have to make the hard decision between a branch called Jazz and a branch called Rock 'n' Roll. Not being a jazz fan, I took Rock 'n' Roll. Actually, it didn't rock; nor did it roll, but it was a minor symphony. Finally... no more singletrack.

Takaka is only a few cruisy kilometers away on gravel, and then sealed roads. Don't go past the dairy opposite the supermarket without stopping for an icecream. They're good. But after riding the Rameka track nothing could be bad. The whole package was amazingly varied. Exactly what a back-country ride should be.

Before you go
  • Drinking water
  • No E-bikes permitted
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter
  • No Fee required
  • No Lift service
  • No Night riding allowed
  • No Pump track
  • Restrooms
Getting there
It's usual to start at corner of the Canaan Road near the top of Takaka Hill between Motueka and Takaka.
Alternatively, you can drive the 12km down the gravel Canaan Road to its end and start there if you have a driver to take your car back down to Takaka where the track comes out.
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(Feb 12, 2015)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Motueka, New Zealand

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Intermediate | 10 mi

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  • Desperado
    *****

    This is my favourite one day back-country ride in the world. It's mainly down hill after the initial ride up a gravel road. The shuttle is a doodle. There is great variety, great scenery and loads of fun. Very well described here on singletracks. Awesome!!!

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  • Jim Cummings
    *****

    This is the best one day back-country intermediate ride in this part of New Zealand. You have to shuttle it but that's no problem. The Golden Bay Coachlines are set up to shuttle riders and they run a bus over the Takaka Hill every day, leaving the Takaka i-site at 12:15. Easy! And it means you get a head start of over 800 verticle metres without turning a pedal.

    Some amazing features of this ride... It's challenging enough to keep you awake all the way without being savage. It's amazingly varied. It's almost all downhill after you get to the top of Canaan Road. It's scenic and the scenery keeps changing - just like the trail. This is a superb ride.

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