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Where to Start

Westport is the base for The Old Ghost Road, however a number of other important ‘gateways’ exist.  These include:

  • Wellington (connect via Sounds Air to Westport);
  • Christchurch (connect to Westport via East West Coaches);
  • Nelson (connect to The Old Ghost Road via Trek Express);
  • Reefton (visit Reefton iSite for more information); and
  • Murchison (call the Murchison iSite on 03 523 9350 for more information).
The Old Ghost Road’s trail heads are two hours drive apart – or 2-3 days ride or 4-5 days tramp!
Start from the South: Lyell Historic Reserve/DoC Campground

Due to The Old Ghost Road’s elevation profile, Lyell is strongly recommended as the starting point for mountain bikers tackling the whole trail (the direction of travel is less sensitive for trampers). 1200m elevation is gained via a steady climb past the Lyell Saddle Hut and up to Ghost Lake, while the descent to Stern Valley from Ghost Lake is steep and technical and therefore best attempted in a downhill direction. Riders and trampers can enjoy day and overnight trips from this end, which features lush beech forest, historic artifacts, and in the Lyell Saddle to Ghost Lake section, sweeping views.

The Lyell Historic Reserve has ample parking, a Department of Conservation Campground, water and toilet facilities and an insect-screened shelter to make all your final preparations from.

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The Lyell Historic Reserve is 62km east of Westport, 15km east of Inangahua, 49km from Reefton, or 35km south of Murchison on State Highway 6 in the Upper Buller Gorge.

Grid reference: NZTM2000, E1520990-N5372328
Latitude: -41.79697466, Longitude: 172.04899791

Start from the North: Welcome Bay/Mokihinui Gorge near Seddonville

The official northern trail head is 4km inland from the town of Seddonville along the Mokihinui Road next to the Rough and Tumble Bush Lodge that offers a bush shower for track users and accommodation, meals, drinks and cafe services (book ahead and/or check for operating hours to avoid disappointment). Once you reach Burke Creek, travel another 700m (heed the directional signage) and you will reach the carpark and trailhead.

Seddonville has a campground with full facilities and the Seddonville Hotel which provides motel accommodation and a small shop. Seddonville is 50km north of Westport and 54km south of Karamea.

Transportation Options

Our Official Partners, Buller AdventuresHike n Bike Shuttle and Trek Express and the Heaphy Bus Company provide a range of Old Ghost Road transportation and end-to-end shuttle options.

Public transportation is limited but InterCity runs a service leaving Westport at 3:50pm for Nelson (via Lyell) and similarly, its service from Nelson to Westport enables a mid morning drop off at Lyell. NOTE: The Intercity service is not an official provider of Old Ghost Road transportation and we cannot guarantee what days and times these services operate. We recommend you contact them in advance for information and reservations.