When summer arrives and Woodhill Forest evaporates into a collection of linked sand bunkers, it is Riverhead that local riders turn to for their weekly riding fix.
Riverhead is to clay what Woodhill is to sand, so it requires a good month of Auckland sun before the risk of sinking forever into an otherwise benevolent puddle of mud begins to dissipate. Once the clay hardens however, Riverhead offers a surprising selection of forest roads, fire breaks, motorcycle tracks and purpose built mountain bike trails.
As an active commercial forest, the landscape is constantly evolving as timber is milled and new trees are planted. With no commercial track maintenence or signposting, riding in Riverhead is all about getting out and exploring, with the usual seletion of dead-ends, surprise finds and hair raising finds. Sharing the forest with logging contractors, pig hunters and motorcycle riders adds to the experience.
Be warned that it is easy to get disoriented, and whilst never far from civilisation, you can easily find yourself a long way from your vehicle should you zig when you should have zagged.
A must do before visiting Riverhead is a drop-in to Riverhead’s LBS FreeRide’n’, located in Huapai. Besides the best coffee in a 30km radius, Ryan and team have a huge amount of local knowledge with up to date maps and track conditions.
So next time you are heading up to Woodhill through Huapai, consider taking a right hand detour and trying out the less structured, but highly rewarding Riverhead clay.