8 km (1 – 2 hours walk)
A short, but stunning 8-kilometre flat ride/walk beside the Heaphy River through lush, prehistoric rainforest and past spectacular limestone cliffs.
You’ll encounter several large swing bridges, including the longest swing bridge in New Zealand, which spans the confluence of the Lewis and Heaphy rivers. It is possible to ride across the larger swing bridges, but it is recommended that riders walk their bikes across the narrower bridges. Flip your bike up onto the back wheel at about 45°, grip the stem with one hand and the top wire of the swing bridge with the other and coax your steed across the river.
Several massive ancient rata trees grace the track and the region’s iconic nikau palms become more prevalent as you approach the warmer West Coast. At the Heaphy Hut, the Heaphy River meets the Tasman with a turbulent clash of freshwater and salty sea.