The Old Ghost Road Trail is now part of Nga Haerenga, The New Zealand Cycle Trail project.
The 80km trail is a joint initiative of the Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust, a Charitable Trust of recreational enthusiasts from Buller, the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the New Zealand Cycle Trail project which donated $2 million towards its construction.
Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust spokesperson Phil Rossiter said the trail will pass through numerous ghost towns and old gold mining sites.
“You don’t even have to leave the trail to connect with a major part of the region’s history,” Rossiter said. “Much of the heritage is just there, lying where it was abandoned more than a century ago. It will provide local people with a first class recreational and heritage amenity”
The first 8.5km of trail from Lyell to Eight Mile Creek has already been largely finalised and when fully completed it will be a grade 3 mountain biking trail suitable for intermediate and advanced riders.
As well as attracting more trampers and mountain bikers, it will create lasting job opportunities, Rossiter added.
“It will complement other visitor attractions in the Buller region, and be something for the community to be justifiably proud of.”
New Zealand Cycle Trail programme manager John Dunn agreed and said The Old Ghost Road Trail would resurrect a long forgotten 19th century gold miner’s road connecting the “once thriving town of Lyell” with Mokihinui on the northern West Coast.
“Starting and finishing 45 minutes from Westport, this picturesque trail passes through native forest and traverses open tussock ridges,” Dunn said.
Rossiter said the success of the Old Ghost Road Trail was due to the considerable work volunteers and members of the Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust had undertaken.
“Without these organisations and over 50 volunteers that have helped us over the last few years, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he said.
For more information on The Old Ghost Road Trail, visit www.oldghostroad.org.nz