In the North West corner of the South Island of New Zealand a ghost is awakening. A long-forgotten gold miners’ road is being revived as a mountain biking and tramping trail – connecting the old dray road in the Lyell (Upper Buller Gorge) to the mighty Mokihinui River in the north. The 85km-long Old Ghost Road will traverse majestic native forest, open tussock tops, river flats and forgotten valleys.
Working with the New Zealand Cycle Trail project, the volunteer-driven Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust is partnering with a range of entities to make The Old Ghost Road a reality. It’s almost as if the engineers from the 1870’s knew we were coming. The spirits of the old miners and track builders are inescapable. No less than five ghost towns populate the route. The Old Ghost Road is quite literally an 85km-long outdoor museum.
The Old Ghost Road is a work in progress (refer to our Trail Status page for updates).
Our volunteers and supporters know that each generation grows up in an increasingly urbanised environment. The connection to the land dims. Here, on The Old Ghost Road, heritage, wilderness, accessibility and storytelling come together in an unforgettable way.
This website – and the work of the Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust – focuses on the backcountry sectors currently under development. We invite you to join the journey.
We're running a short volunteer week after Easter - Monday 6th April to Friday 10th April 2015 inclusive and are calling for volunteers. Accommodation will be based at Ghost Lake hut. Food, supervision, equipment and helicopter transport (to and from) provided. Physically fit and keen candidates should apply to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Old Ghost Road will become NZ's longest continuous single track when complete. We need your help to 'Raise the Ghost'! Givealittle is the place to donate and fundraise for causes and charities onl...
Four weeks into our fundraising campaign to complete The Old Ghost Road and the tally continues to climb (having reached almost $45,000 at the timing of writing). Thank you to all who have contributed – some of you more than once! Fourteen generous donors are in the draw for the grand prize having donated $1000 or more. All donors are eligible for the general prize draw.
We are hoping to secure some significant pledges in the coming week – please stay tuned as we may need to reach a fundraising ‘threshold’ in order to convert these pledges into donations and we’re likely to need your help. And speaking of help, last week we kicked off a ‘spotlight series’ – a short feature on some of the heroes behind this project that have helped in some immeasurable way.
Track Spotlight: Rhys Bowen.
Compared to some, Rhys is a relative new-comer to The Old Ghost Road, having enlisted as a volunteer through the summer of 2013/14. Many of you who volunteered as part of that campaign or who have stayed at Ghost Lake may have met Rhys. Rhys made his mark with his tireless work ethic, his physical strength and prowess, his attention to detail and his overall commitment to the project.
Rhys has since become an essential part of The Old Ghost Road construction team, leading efforts on Skyline Ridge north of Ghost Lake, a unique section of technical single track that tip-toes its way through stunning and rugged sub-alpine terrain. It is here where Rhys will finish his work – leaving Team WestReef which is building south towards Rhys to join the trail and complete The Old Ghost Road.
As an avid outdoorsman and mountain biker, Rhys bikes the 30km/1200m climb to work each week (refer earlier comment about physical prowess…). He recently biked the entire Old Ghost Road in a day (with a fair amount of bike carrying in the unformed middle section). After these antics, he is as keen as anyone to see the trail completed and the bike carry eliminated.
Click on the video link below to meet Rhys and some of ‘Team WestReef’ and to understand just what your fundraising help is contributing to. As Rhys says in his final comment, “To get it across the line is going to be something pretty special.”
Comments from some of our steadfast donors over the past week:
"Have already walked the whole track in June 2014 and have ridden almost to the bush line at the Lyell end. Not local but a regular visitor to the area and love what the team is doing. A major challenge & vision & a lot of hard work. Well done!."
"As a visitor to this country, this was one of my first tramps and I have been back many times since. It is amazing what these individuals have done to make this possible for people like myself to see this beautiful part of the country! Thanks so much!" ... See MoreSee Less
I'm super impressed with your efforts and keen to get up to Lyell Saddle Hut on my hand crank electric assist trike with my family. It's no ordinary machine and would be capable so long as the width of the trail is suitable and there aren't too many obstacles to carry it over. (I went into Aspiring hut and also up to Packhorse Hut recently)
Are you able to tell me approximately how wide the trail is up to Lyell Saddle Hut and if there are any narrow sections that I might struggle with. My trike is 800mm at the widest.