The Golden Bay Mountain Bike Club received $500 in 2013 from Trail Fund NZ in support of its work on the Rameka Pack Track in Golden Bay, New Zealand.
This track is the original “Pack Track” that was formed at the beginning of last century to allow access to Golden Bay by both horse and foot from Motueka. More recently the old bench was reopened by members of the Golden Bay Mountain Bike Club in 2010. The team isn’t quite sure who built the track originally as the identities of the builders have been lost over time.
The Pack Track was reopened to connect the Historic Rameka Track to the Project Rameka track network and is approximately 3kms in length. It is Grade 3 and has been kept to the standard of the Rameka track which is also Grade 3. The team tells us that the most challenging parts to build were the sections that went through Karst/Marble rock and involved lots of rock which needed to be moved and then the trail needed to be leveled. It seems that the initial scoping of the track bench crawling through gorse wasn’t much fun either!
The inspiration for the Club for the build / re-opening of the track was that it would be part of a track network that would include 16 kms of mainly downhill trail, which starts at 820 metres elevation and descends to about 50 metres elevation and includes everything from rooty/rocky tech singletrack to Grade 2 buff Pine Forest and everything in between. The idea is that the track would be enjoyed by the average rider who is comfortable riding Grade 3. In fact, we are told that the 8 year old son of one of the trail builders has ridden the whole thing from start to finish and loves it.
The team found they way through many issues over the course of building the trail including the process of seeking the land owner’s permission. They were lucky to have such supportive land owners however which is unfortunately not always the case. The other lesson learned was to not have too high expectations with trail builders or amount of work needed to get done. As with most trail building, it is usually a small dedicated core group who does most of the work. Getting the trail slope angle sorted to avoid damage by erosion is pretty important as well.
The result? The Golden Bay community now has a world class track network 5 minutes from town and visitors to Golden Bay also enjoy riding these trails. The best bits for many of the locals are the tech rocky / rooty sections through the native bush and the stunning views you get looking down into Golden Bay when you ride this track.
We’ve quizzed the team on future plans and the assure us they would like to build more in the future but everything is under wraps at the moment. Exciting stuff.
Word to the wise on the track too, apparently the Karst/Marble Rock is super slippery in the wet so you need to have your wits about you. The team also suggested that riders keep an eye out for the classic Golden Bay touch on the trail marking, including tomos and cow skulls!
Finally, a thank you from the Club: “A big shout out to everyone who has helped make this such an awesome track. You know who you are and I encourage everyone out there that rides to put some time back into trail building and maintenance. Also support groups like Trail Fund.”