The Helibike Nelson Coppermine loop can be done as either a Grade 2 ride of 40Km up and then back down the Historic and scenic Dun Mountain Railway, or a Grade 3+ ride of 40km up the Historic Dun Mountain Railway and then down the exciting and fun South Branch Track, the choice is yours! Both options are outlined below.
Both trips start with a 20km ride up the old Dun Mountain Railway track. This is a nice gentle gradient winding its way up to Third House where we stop for a break and a bite to eat. We then carry on up out of the bush into the true alpine environment with stunning views out over the Mount Richmond Forest Park. Once we arrive at the Coppermine Saddle, there is time to rest, eat and explore the historic mining history before you have your photo taken at the old Coppermine sign. then we choose which way we want to go down.
The Dun Mountain Railway option
The easier Dun Mountain Railway option returns to Nelson via scenic and historic Dun Mountain Railway that you have just ridden up! We return top Nelson with another stop at Third House for a bit of a break before our final leg down through the Codgers MTB Park (yes we can have a we play here if you like) and back to Nelson where we will debrief at one of the local watering holes.
The riding is predominantly easy with a constant grading that makes for easy going that will suit a wide range of riders. There are a small number of creek crossings with rocky entry and exits that may require some more novice riders to walk, though these are few.
The South Branch Track option
The more technical South Branch Track option gives riders with a little more skill the option to enjoy a long fun ride down the recently upgraded South Branch track. Starting off at the Coppermine Saddle this track meanders its way down through “Boulder Gully” so named for the rounded river bed like rocks that make up the mainstay of this area. The result is a mixture of riding surfaces that keep things interesting. Toward the bottom of this long run the terrain flattens out and becomes wider and faster down to the big wooden bridge over the River where we stop to catch our breath and regroup together. The following sections of track through the lower native beach are magical and we end up out on a 4X4 road which we follow down to the Maitai Dam. Now we have a fun run alongside the Water Pipeline before a final fun descent to Smiths Ford where we join the Maitai road that we follow back into town. IF anyone is up for a nice cool dip in the river there are plenty of swimming holes on the way back to town.
Price: $195.00 per person | 3/4 Day | Minimum two persons
Price: $125.00 per person | 3/4 Day | Minimum four persons
* Prices can be reduced further for larger groups
Distance: 40KM +
Skill level: Easy for Dun Option Intermediate+ for Southbranch option
Fitness: Good fitness required