The Rameka Track is a classic intermediate plus level single track mountain bike ride beginning from Canaan Downs on the top of Takaka Hill, which is about 1 1/2 hours drive from Nelson City.
This ride is special, being situated in the very popular Abel Tasman National Park, which is normally off limits to mountain bikers, and features some stunning scenery and native bush. The reason for the access to the track is that (on paper) it is a legal road.
The Canaan area is mountain country, and has been a location for filming parts of the Lord of the Rings movies. The start area for the Rameka Track is also the access point to Harwoods Hole, a spectacular 300 metre deep, 50 metre wide hole leading to a cave system deep under the mountain. The surroundings are picturesque, with awesome views, native bush, caves and sink holes in the karst (limestone & marble) landscape.
The ride ends in Takaka, a boutique and arty village in Golden Bay.
From the Canaan car park a new loop track meanders across the landscape. This is a very scenic and fun recreational ride that suits a variety of riders. While the main track is recreational in grade, there are lots of side loops, ramps, drops and log rides to keep more advanced riders happy too. About 1.5 – 2 hours of riding that does require a little bit of fitness and endurance at times. You can choose to do this track or part of it before tackling the Rameka as it joins the Rameka where it enters the native bush.
If you choose to go straight into the Rameka, it’s a 10 minute uphill ride before the single track begins, heading into thick native forest, and the beginning of an undulating, sidling trail and then all downhill to the valley floor 700 metres (2600ft) below.
The first 40 minutes or so through beautiful native bush has numerous challenges such as boulders, loose rocks, tree roots, fallen logs and twisting single track to distract your attention from the view. This section is 90% rideable and you should generally only have to get off for a few creek crossings, if you have single track experience.
There is a final short steep descent at the end of the bush track which you can walk, before eventually the track emerges into open hill farmland with glorious views of Golden Bay and the Takaka Valley . Shortly after this we can divert onto the Rameka Project Great Expectations Trail through the Rameka Gorge, some interesting single track built by volunteers on land owned by one the Kennett brothers (elder statesmen of NZ mountain biking) and his partner.
At the end of this section our vehicle will be waiting, or you can continue on into the funky little village of Takaka.
Collection from your accommodation in Nelson/Motueka area and travel to Takaka Hill/Canaan plus return from Golden Bay.
Giant Trance dual suspension bikes, helmets, gloves.
How difficult is the ride?
It is graded intermediate track, with lots of roots, rocks and creek crossings plus a very short, steep section which can be walked. Any competent single track rider will enjoy it, but if you have never ridden single track, it’s not for you. It’s generally downhill, with only a short climb at the beginning.