The Coppermine Trail
- Cycle Trails & Mountainbike Parks
The Coppermine Trail follows the path of New Zealand’s first railway route, making it one of the country’s most accessible alpine rides. As a New Zealand Great Ride, the full loop (38km) of The Coppermine is best suited to confident grade 4 mountain-bikers and takes approximately 4-6 hours to complete.
A steep climb up the Dun Mountain, one of Nelson Tasman’s most distinctive mountains due to its unique geology, will take you to Third House. Bordering the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, you’ll be treated to the glorious sound of native birds including weka, bellbird and tui. As you exit native beech forest and traverse the stunted scrub cover of Nelson’s mineral belt, broad panoramas of Tasman Bay and the Richmond Ranges will be revealed as you continue on your journey to the summit.
The Coppermine Saddle is the highest point (878m above sea level) and is the perfect place to stop for lunch and enjoy the view. From the saddle, the track descends on a steep, zigzagging, flowy mountain-bike track that is technically challenging, and those less confident may opt to take a U-turn at Coppermine Saddle and head back the way they came. The final section of the trail back to Brook Street follows the path of Nelson’s water pipeline to the Maitai Dam, offering the option to continue along the banks of the Maitai River if you wish.
How to get there: The Coppermine Trail starts at the entrance to Brook Street and finishes at the Maitai Dam, both of which are just minutes from the Nelson City centre.
Photo credits: Virginia Woolf Photography.