Part two of the South Island bikepacking adventure
Route & Info
After finishing the trip to Red Hills Hut (read here if you haven't already) we had one night left on the South Island and the consensus was that everyone would rather stay in a hut in the bush than a hostel in Blenheim. I had done a bit of research before we left and discovered that there was a road that went most of the way to Lake Chalice, followed by a short descent down to the Lake Chalice hut. This seemed like the perfect way to squeeze in an extra ride and enjoy another night out in the Richmond Ranges.
Looking down at Lake Chalice from the road.
Lake Chalice carpark
After a long drive up a slow windy gravel road we made it to the Lake Chalice carpark. From here we loaded up the bikes with gourmet meals knowing there was no pedalling down to the hut, Tom's Pear and Blue cheese Gnochi being the winner of the night. The descent to the hut only took around ten minutes. If you follow this route, just watch for walkers as we did see a few.
A quick ride down to the hut
Lake Chalice Hut - Richmond Forest Park
Sunset at Lake Chalice
Lake Chalice night sky
Lake Chalice Night Sky
Lake Chalice Hut
After a long breakfast we packed up and headed back up the hill. The track back to the carpark is fairly steep and for most of us wasn't rideable for much of the way.
The climb back out to the carpark is short and sharp.
Playing on the rocks on the way back up.
All in all this route is a great option if you are looking for a quick overnighter on your bike. Alternatively, if you would like to make this into a longer ride you could start from Blenheim, ride the South Bank road, and then follow the gravel road up to the carpark. This would make an ideal training ride for the Tour Aotearoa.
Once back at the cars we decided to venture further along the road to Mt Patriach, seeing how far we could get. The views were sensational with vistas spreading right back to Blenheim, up the Rainbow Valley and deep into the Richmond Ranges. The road is easily drivable in a car until you come to the last downhill before Mt Patriach, here you would need a 4WD to go any further.
Mt Patriach Road
Mt Patriach Track
Mt Patriach 4WD Route, this is where it gets too gnarly for a car.
Lake Chalice in the distance.