Murray Creek / Konini Track LoopIntermediate
Submitted by Isaac Burwell
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From the carpark take the lower track, and head up the old "Murray Creek Road", which was used in the old mining days. After 200m a narrow track drops off to the right - ignore that and stick to the main track. The grade is gentle and consistent for the majority and continues to ascend alongside Murray Creek which is on your right for the first 1.6km. You cross over a swing bridge, with another track joining from the right which leads to Energetic Mine Site - do not follow that track, and stick to the left hand track continuing up Murray Creek. At 2.6km you find another junction, this time a short track heads off to the right to Cement Town. Cross the bridge to the left-hand side of Murray Creek at this junction and keep ascending. At 4km, Chandler Open Pit Coal Mine is found and continue following the track through this area. Not a lot can be seen of this more recent mine. At 4.3km, the top of the valley is reached at Waitahu Saddle. Take the left hand track which continues to climb up, maintaining the similar, gentle gradient for a further 1km before the track becomes much steeper and rockier in parts. Continue past a side track leading to Inglewood Mine (which heads off to the right). At approx 5.6km, the track leaves the wide mining tracks and follows more traditional and technical single track trail. Continue through the historic Ajax Mine and Stamper Battery until the junction between the 'Konini Track' and the "Machine Track" is reached at the 8km mark. Take the right hand track ('Konini Track'), leading into the bush. This is a relatively recent addition, and requires particular concentration as it contains many small manuka trees which have been cut down, but have their small stumps poking out of the ground just enough to trip you up multiple times. Atleast the landing is soft, with moss covering the majority of the forest floor. This section can be very boggy in wet weather. After a while the track becomes friendlier with some good zigzags built by the mountain biking guys before popping out onto a 4wd track at approx. 9.3km below a radio mast (I think?). Follow this for 1km before the 4wd track passes through a locked gate with the walking track heading off to the left. After a further 1km an excellent view of Reefton can be seen before the track drops very steeply down towards the town. At the bottom of this track, SH7 is reached. Turn left and follow the main road for approx 1.5km until you will complete the loop back to the Murray Creek carpark.
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Features of interest
mine workings, tramways, winches, open shafts, native forest
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 20%
Moderate Single Track: 20%
Easy Single Track: 40%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 7%
Gravel Road: 0%
Sealed Road: 13%
Start is from the Murray Creek carpark in Blacks Point, 2km east of Reefton on SH7 (towards Christchurch).
There is a decent sized carpark at the start. No public transport.
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the RunHunters app on your phone. View on RunHunters .
The track is well marked, with only 2 points on the route with the potential to cause any issues. There are multiple track junctions to navigate but on the majority these are very well marked and should not cause any issues. The 2 points where caution is required are:
1: When the track leaves the wide mining roads and enters the more traditional single track is the first point (at ~5.6km). The mining road does continue, but the condition becomes very poor very quickly. There are signs directing you onto the single track, but they're a little small. The disused mining road is taped off with danger tape as well, but I don't know how regularly this is maintained.
2: The junction of the "Machine Track" and "Konini Track" is the second potential area for confusion (at 8km). The '"Konini Track" is a relatively recent construction, so the more clearly defined track is not the one you want to take in this instance. There are signs, but again, they're a little small. If this junction is missed, the "Machine Track" goes directly back to the carpark, so there is no danger, only a substantially shorter run.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Cellphone, Map.
Because of the old mine workings in the area I wouldn't advise on drinking any water from the creeks. It may be perfectly safe, and I don't recall seeing any notices about the drinkability of the water, but I personally wouldn't drink the water.
It is in a high rainfall area so the majority of the track performs very well in all conditions. The only exception to this is the first part of the "Konini Track" which can be very boggy in wet weather.
A number of old mine workings along the route, with open shafts in several places. These are fenced off, but care is required.
The last 1.5km travels along SH7, so care is required running along this section. The road is not particularly busy, but it is narrow in places with very little shoulder.
GPS signal can be lost up Murray Creek with the thick canopy and steep sided gully.
Post run indulgence
Broadway Tearooms & Bakery
31 Broadway, Reefton
Decent cafe fare.
59 Broadway, Reefton
Some of the best pie's I have ever eaten. Perfect for post-run fueling!
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