Biking Welcome Rock and Roaring Lion TrailBy Richie
This was about to be my first overnight bike trip with my partner and novice biker Ashley… Maybe I was a little bit nervous. I figured as long as her tyres were pumped, seat at the correct height and I was carrying most of the gear, we would be just fine!........ READ MORE FROM RICHIE HERE!
Thank you to Robin & Laura for including Welcome Rock Trails in their Back Packer Guide tour of NZ and for their great insight into the trail and photos........ CLICK HERE TO READ!
This trail is hand built by 4th generation landowner Tom O’Brian. It’s a 27Km cross country loop around the top of the Slate mountain range. The trail winds it’s through Welcome Rock itself (a cool rocky outcrop) and along the historic Roaring Lion Water Races (features left behind from the Gold Mining era). The trail is generally quite narrow with a good collection of berms, with exposed sections and a really fun downhill. Plus fantastic views ALL the way!.......read more here!
'The original plan was to head straight back to Wanaka as soon as we finished the Mt Burke shoot, then hightail it to Garston where we’d ride into the Welcome Rock Trail system as far as the Mud Hut and spend the night. That was now off the cards. Fortunately for us, Tom from Welcome Rock Trails had come up with a ‘plan B’. Demonstrating genuine southern hospitality he hooked us up with a place to stay on the family farm. With the lure of a home cooked meal, some cold beers, and an open fire inside the farmhouse, we were back on the road with the prospect of clear skies and good dirt awaiting us'.......... Read on and see the the great images here on Pinkbike!
Thank you to Geoff for visiting Welcome Rock Trails in August 2015.
Welcome Rock Trails features in Octobers North and South Magazine. A great read thanks to Jill Herron.
Matthew Pike deputy editor of Wilderness Magazine checks out Welcome Rock Trails, his article ' Warm Welcome' is a great read. Thanks Matthew from all at Welcome Rock Trails
Kathmandu recently spent some time at Welcome Rock Trails filming for their Easter Feature. Check out this awesome You Tube Clip paying special attention to the biking and orange truck sections which were filmed at WRT.........
A Welcome Rock Trails returning local visitor rode the trail for the second time, this is what she had to say............
' Awesome ride yesterday thanks - the changes to the track are fantastic, especially the muddy stuff after Mud Hut - very impressed in the stone work and to see the mud completely gone! Love the new berms too :) We took care coming down from Welcome Rock as the track was pretty wet and slippery in places, but heaps of fun and nice to see the spectacular views this time.'
The Mud Hut Features in Rodd & Gunns 2015 Winter Collection Catalogue.
Welcome Rock Trails famous and much loved Mud Hut features this month on the front page of Rodd & Gunn's 2015 Winter Collection catalogue, large photos can be found in most Rodd & Gunn shops throughout the country.
As you flick through the online or in store catalogue photos of the Mud Hut and the area surrounding Welcome Rock Trails are in abundance.
Thanks to everyone involved in this great shoot at Welcome Rock Trails.
Welcome Rock Trails is hosting a Race on 17 May 2015
5KM, 15KM & 27KM loops available.
Runners and Walkers welcome
Bookings are essential
This is a great read from Dave Fahey at Ultimate Queenstown following his ride at Welcome Rock Trails in February 2015.
Last Saturday I loaded the bike onto the back of the Subaru and burst out of the Queenstown bubble – Destination Garston. It’s not often you say that your heading for Gaston but now finally there is a legitimate reason to visit.
In December of last year Tom and Katie O’Brien opened Welcome Rock Trails on the Nevis - Gaston Road, departing from the historic Gaston Ski Hut. At this point it’s worth noting that the current 27km of trail is completely hand built – these guys are nuts! Most trails these days are blazed through the landscape in a timely manner with a digger and a team of guys. This one on the other hand was produced entirely by hand by Tom and his team of volunteers through the often brutal Southland winter. For some reason I always enjoy a trail like this more, every inch of the trail is built with hard yacka and has that nice tight single track feel, rather that the mountain top version of a city sidewalk................
Read More Here.........
A great write up from a Queentown Pedaller - Kim
Wow! Firstly I was so impressed as we arrived at Garston for a pre-ride coffee at Trailer Sixty6. It was like something right out of the USA, big shiny bullet-like trailer/caravan that made good coffee, and by the look of the menu board we would be back later for some nosh.
Excited about the ride ahead we drove up to the Nevis Ski Hut. At that very moment it was obvious it was going to be a challenge to keep our eyes off that incredible scenery and focus on the track we were riding; it’s breathtaking up there. Now it had been snowing a few days before, so the first five or so km were more about tackling the mud than anything else.
By the time we reached Welcome Rock I think we all felt we had just biked 10 km. Nah …wrong answer! It was only three and a half. No one could believe it. At this point I was thinking, ‘where is the short cut back, I can’t make 23 and a half more km on this kind of cycle trail’.
Anyway, within a few km Peter got a puncture, I fell into a rock…. Ouch, and the other amazing people on the ride made me feel a little more confident that I wasn’t alone in feeling incredibly challenged only 5 km in. At this point I turned to Tom O’Brien who is the creator of the trail and just the nicest guy, to ask, ‘where can I take another safer, shorter route back to base camp?’ Tom encouraged me to carry on to the Mud Hut; I could head up and back over the hill from there.
By the time we made it to the Mud Hut, which is pretty cool and has a great history, I was looking inside for a bottle of whiskey to calm my nerves. Oh for sure the scenery was just breathtaking and the trail was well done and Oh… my… stars, I like to have my comfort zone challenged but I felt like I was out into the twilight zone. I was terrified the whole time and by this point had won the trifecta with falls off my bike.
Little did I know that Tom, who had been riding behind me for quite a way had said to Peter, “she’s more capable than she thinks she is”. So on that note I want to say to all you Pedallers out there that if you can ride on what is like a rabbit track only wider, but with more twists and turns, with a mountain on one side, and a drop off on the other, with a continuous technical challenge, and have the ability to dodge hazards on the track you can do this. I watched the guys fly through and none of them seemed to be afraid.
Let me give you a little insight before I sign off…. This is no ordinary ride and I would recommend it, but if you have a fear of heights I would really consider it differently. I don’t fear heights but I had so much fear and adrenaline pumping through my veins I didn’t know if I was exhausted because of the ride or the latter. After each fall I chose to take courage, because you can’t lose confidence in your own ability to ride the course. I missed the final point where I could take the easier shortcut back so I had absolute determination to ride this course and never quit till the end. The concentration needed is 100%, the only way you can take in the scenery and feel the history is by stopping. And believe me you’ll want to, it’s stunning!
This ride is just as much about your mind as it is about your riding skill. If you have anything weighing heavy on your mind or a problem to solve before you start this ride – believe me it will be sorted by the end of it. My personal experience taught me that, and after about 18 km when I couldn’t see anyone ahead or behind me due to the winding track I took my fear by the throat and said,’ just imagine you are fearless Lara Croft’. (Please tell me you know who adventure woman Lara Croft is?) Anyway, next minute I seemed to hit the express button on my overdrive and flew around the track to the end. James Bond would be proud.
I saw a few of the guys sitting at the end of the track and just yelled out “pop the champagne boys, I made it”. I meant it too – the fear I personally overcame to do this was massive, but then again with half the things we do in life we start by being afraid.
The funniest part was when Peter said to me looking at the dirt road back to the Ski Hut, “It’s only a short ride up there and then it’s all downhill”. Well Peter you get the laugh here cos it must have been about 4 km uphill before there was any downhill happening….
Let me leave you with this thought – I did pop the champagne later that night, I do believe if you can ride Jacks Point track and can handle heights with concentration and trust yourself to do it you can ride this trail, and you should. It’s flipping amazing out there. Don’t miss out but be aware – you will be challenged!
Oh, and yes, we did end up at Trailer Sixty6 in Garston again and the consensus was – good burgers and coffee!
Over and out, Kim
Welcome Rock got the front page of the Summer Times section of the ODT in the weekend! It is a good read about the past 100 years of landuse at Blackmore Station from sheep to recreation trails.
'It was only on the first day that Tom O'Brien questioned whether digging a 28km mountain bike trail by hand was a good idea ... "There was probably a half hour period when I stopped and thought what the hell am I doing?"'
To read more if you did not feast your eyes on it, you can see it online here!
Welcome Rock Trails is now officially open. We had a very successful opening weekend on the 6 & 7 December with around 160 people riding, walking or supporting the trail.
Hon Bill English opened the trail and helped cut the tape in true Southland style with blade shears (used for shearing sheep)!
We have received some fantastic feedback and photos, thank you to everyone who has supported Welcome Rock Trails. We had riders completing the loop in about 3-4hrs with a few speedy ones racing round in 1hr 45mins.
We will be launching a season pass in the next few weeks and details will shortly follow regarding events at Welcome Rock Trails.