This route follows a coastal trail (Climies Track) from Granville Harbour to Trial Harbour, but don't let that lull you into thinking this is an easy ride. Out and back you'll be climbing nearly 1000metres with pinches as steep as 15%. That said, this trail is a mountain biking mix-up nirvana for the fit and adventurous as you tackle sandy trails, flowing granite, rocky patches, mud and creeks, and of course the hills ... so many hills.
This is a remote area ride with very few users and no mobile coverage, so let some know where you’re going, gear up and be safe.
Out and back this is a 35km ride and will take an average rider about 4-6 hours.
There is a very cool little side trip down towards the coast just 850 metres into the ride from the southern trail head. This little side trip can be an adventure in itself (see details below) and includes some great rock formations and an old tunnel you can walk through to reach the coast.
For those who are doing a one-way car shuttle, then my advice is to ride the route south (Trial Harbour) to north (Granville Harbour) as the climbs are a lot less steep this way.
A third, easier, option to consider is to head in from the northern (Granville Harbour) end, and enjoy a great 14km return ride to Granite Creek, You'll still get a good taste of what the route has to offer, and your turn around point is above a lovely waterfall breaking down onto the rocky sea shore where you can take a dip on a hot day and enjoy your lunch. A magical place, though as the plaque for a family that got swept away shows, it can also be deadly, so treat it with respect.
If heading in from the northern end, then head out north west from Zeehan along the Heemskirk Road towards Granville Harbour. About 26km from Zeehan turn left onto the Granville Harbour Road, and carry on for 5kms until you come to a T junction, turn left (don't continue into Granville Harbour) and carry on for about2kms along this track (no problems for 2WDs). You will cross a river (Tasman River) on a bridge with a few shacks around you. Park just past the shacks in one of the little pullouts and get ready to ride.
If heading in from the southern end, head out towards Zeehan the same way as above, but about a kilometre out of town, swing left onto the Trial Harbour Road. 15.5kms from the road junction, look for the trail head sign on your right. If you miss it, don't stress continue on to Trial Harbour, reset the odo and go back about 2.3kms. There's 2 entrances into the route from this end about 350 metres apart.
The route follows a 4WD trail. From the Granville Harbour end you're straight into you first little climb (or push) before it quickly plunges back down again, setting a theme for the rest of the ride. You'll cross plenty of creeks, and inexperienced riders need to be careful as there's quite a few washouts and dangerous sections of tracks.
The trail climbs about 100 metres about 6kms from the start, before dropping back down to the coast at Granite Creek (7kms) which is a brilliant place for a break and explore, before the tough part starts. This is also the recommended turn around point if you're just out for a dawdle, as it gets a lot tougher past here.
From Granite creek it's a 2km, 150 metre climb, before dropping back down into the first of many creeks. The scenery is great, and the rides a great combination of technical and fun riding with route choice being all important (trust me). Keep your eyes up and pick your route well ahead. From the high point at 9kms you can actually see pretty much all of the remainder of the trail, but don't let that fool you, it's further than you think.
There are a few tracks that head off to the right or left, but just stick with what looks to be the main track and you'll have no problems. When you reach the Trial Harbour road, you can head down into Trial Harbour for a look around (it's a further 2.5kms) then turn around and head back the way you've come.
As noted in the Ride Options section, the climbs are much less steep, and much more enjoyable, heading south to north, so after your refuel, head back into it and enjoy.
Tunnel Side Trip
850 metres from the trail head on Trial Harbour road a track heads off towards the coast. Less fit riders, or those looking for a bit more of an adventure could spend several happy hours exploring this short detour.
Head down the track, noting a fork about 450 metres in.
The left fork heads down to the coast (and I haven't gotten all the way down yet as I got to distracted on the northern fork), but about 1.2kms from the main track junction, there is a turn off to the left which you can follow another 500 metres to a very obvious rock formation which is worth the side trip.
Continuing down the northern track follow this down towards the coast. The track branches in various locations as 4WDs have tried to seek les boggy ground, but mainly these forks come back together. There is a small loop at the end which is more enjoyable to ride in a counter-clockwise direction (it's steep technical riding down and then much more ridable on the way back up) This loop is about 1.5kms from the main track, and the track itself finishes about 2kms from the main track. The last section is pretty technical.
If you want to see the old mines, you have to walk from here, and it's not an easy walk so bring some shoes you can walk in. Basically just follow the footpad at the end of the track down to the creek (about 50-100 metres) and then, assuming it is safe to do so, you need to cross the creek. If you look across the creek you will actually see some old mine diggings on the other side. Have an explore here and you will find the tunnel going straight through the hill. obviously only do what you feel comforable doing, but I went through the tunnel (it's only 20-30 or so metres) and then I clambered down the very steep and slippery track on the other side and followed various tapes until I emerged out on the ocean shore. It was a bit of an adventure, but definitely worth it.
From there I scrambled back up the track (there's a cool little hill top you can climb up to if you go right just before going back through the tunnel to get some great views -it's only a 2 or 3 minute walk) and then retraced my steps to my bike and then finished the loop before heading back. All up, with exploring the area and just soaking it in I spent 2-3 hours just doing this little ride.