Have you tried the Old Ghost Road?

9th November 2022|5min

The Old Ghost Road, one of the Ngā Haerenga NZ Cycle Trail Great Rides, is a shared-use, multi-day mountain bike ride that climbs along the open tops of the Lyell Range, before descending into the valleys and following the river all the way out to Seddonville.   

Old Ghost Road, Lyell, Mokihinui River, Westport 85km one way | Advanced Tramping, Grade 4 Mountain Biking

The trail was once an old gold miners’ road that has since been made into a tramping and mountain biking track. To safely complete this track there are a few things to know before you go. In this video we show you a mountain bike ride-through of the track starting from Lyell and heading to Seddonville. This is also useful for those who wish to tramp/walk this track, outlining the key facilities, typical conditions and sections of track to be aware of.

Watch the video below

Key learnings in this video 
  • Choose a time of year where the conditions match your experience level, and always check the forecast before setting out. Aim to ride during a fine weather window, but pack for all conditions.  
  • Have a well-balanced and maintained bike and carry a repair kit. 
  • Carry a mobile phone and a distress beacon to ensure you can contact search and rescue if something goes wrong.  
  • Carry an emergency shelter and some extra food to get through an unplanned delay, you can find out more here.  
  • Understand your own and your group’s limits. Stay in control, and when encountering trampers signal your approach and give way when appropriate. Stick together as a group throughout your journey. 
  • Understand the facilities. There are four Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust huts, and two Department of Conservation (DOC huts) on the track, and the amenities they provide are quite different. You can find out more on the Old Ghost Road website.
Riders on the Old Ghost Road
Common questions answered
  • Can you take an ebike on the Old Ghost Road? Yes, if you are renting or using an ebike for any backcountry adventure, it is important to know the features of your bike and the batteries required. Be aware that a flat battery in the wrong place could make for a long, slow and exhausting ride out. 
  • Where can I rent a bike for the trip? You can find options on the Old Ghost Road website. 
  • How long is the Old Ghost Road? 85km one way, if you are fit and skilled enough, it should take 2-4 days on a bike, or 4-5 days tramping. Consider building in a day or two on either side of your journey to allow for changes to your plan due to rough weather. 
  • Can I tramp or walk the Old Ghost Road? Yes, but be aware this is a longer journey for those tramping. Learn more about what trampers/hikers should be aware of and make sure you are skilled in multiday backcountry tramping, we have basics on our website. 
  • Where can I find a map and elevation profile of the Old Ghost Road? As well as in the video where we showcase 3d mapping of the trail, there is a trail map on the Old Ghost Road website 
  • Do I need to book the Old Ghost Road? Yes. If you’re mountain biking, day walking or multi-day walking, you should book here. This also allows you to choose the huts you wish to add to your journey. As part of your planning, you may wish to consider transport (shuttles, heli-transport), accommodation, and rental equipment. You can also do a guided version of the track. 
  • What do I need to take on the Old Ghost Road? Watch the video to see the essentials you need to carry for your safety such as emergency beacon, repair kit, shelter etc. The Trust-run Huts are well-equipped, so consider what items and food you think you need. There is a great suggested list on the Old Ghost Road website, including what you’ll need in your bike repair kit. 
  • What is a shared use track? Learn more about Aotearoa’s shared use pathways with Herenga a Nuku Aotearoa 
If you’re new to mountain biking or this region
If you’re keen to do this track 
  • Learn about the history behind this trail, the info you need before you book and more on the Old Ghost Road website
  • Find this track in our Plan My Walk app to get weather, gear list and relevant alerts to build a plan for this track. You can also find track reviews from other users. 
  • Find a PLB Hire location for the Old Ghost Road 
  • Organise your shuttle/transport and accommodation for the track, you can find out more here 
  • Look for the equipment you need and chat to staff at your local bike or outdoor retailer, discussing the best options for your budget and activity objectives is always good idea. 
Made it back safely from your trip?  
  • Register and leave a track review in Plan My Walk app here, you can leave a review of the track, or the huts individually, loading in photos helps others see the conditions. 
  • Share this video with your friends, knowledge shared is powerful! Give us a tag on social media or email us to share your experience. 
A bit about this video

The video is a part of MSC’s award-winning Tramping Video Series showcasing 20 tracks that provide track-specific advice. Find more tracks near you to watch and prepare! 

Thanks to everyone involved in making this video possible: 

Quite Nice Films, Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust, Department of Conservation, Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails, NZ Police, LandSAR, MetService New Zealand  

*Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Ghost_Road#CITEREFBoatwright2016