Barron Flat Epic Ride

From the Motueka West Bank Rd turn up the Graham Valley road and drive up to the Flora Carpark. From here the track heads through bush a few hundred metres to Flora Saddle. From here it is all down hill, past Flora Hut on a 4wd track down Flora Stream. Keep and eye and ear out for the blue ducks. Past Gridiron shelter the track narrows to singletrack, and after 5 minutes forks. Take the right fork down to a swing bridge over Flora Stream. The track from here follows down the true right bank of the Takaka River with some small tecknical sections and the odd side creek that require carrying. After about 2km there is a turn off to the right which is easy to miss. If you come to a swingbridge you have gone too far.

The track now climbs steadily to Grecian Saddle, 1 to 1.5 hours from Flora. It is rideable most of the way but a boggy section near the top isn't usually rideable. The track now heads down with a few short bogs to skirt on foot before dropping down and crossing a small stream. After this there are a few holes with decayed bridge timbers still evident, but not rideable. After a few kms of pleasant riding Grecian Stream is crossed followed by a graded climb up to a plateau. There is quite a bit of pig rooting along this part of the track and often small branches that are great deraillieur breakers for the unwary.

The track now ducks in and out of creeks every kilometre or so with some small technical challenges every now and then to keep things interesting. Finally the track climbs up to meet a 4wd road on Barons Flat 3 to 4.5 hours from Flora. The 4wd road heads generally north with side tracks going in all directions. There are orange track marking arrows at critical intersections, so look out for them if in doubt. After undulating across Barons Flat the road eventually descends for several kms down to the valley. About 60 metres before a high deer proof gate turn sharp right (there are orange markers and a DoC sign) and drop to the valley floor and cross a creek. Climb a couple of terraces and come out on to the Cobb Valley Rd 1.5km from Upper Takaka.

A good way to organise transport is drop a vehicle at Riwaka on the way up to Flora, then arrange with Escape Adventures in Takaka to pick you up at Upper Takaka and take you to the top of the Takaka Hill from where it is all downhill to Riwaka.