Welcome Rock

Brew Chop Day

Date: 25 Feb 2023
Grade: 4

Welcome Rock is a private trail around a peak south of Garston, Southland. It starts at the old Garston Ski Hut and quickly enters the “nationally protected 200 hectare high country hill station” – https://www.welcomerock.co.nz/ – owned by 4th generation farmers Tom and Katie

It usually a $20 fee, so I called Tom the day before we came here to check in and to see if we would be able to drive the Egg to the old ski hut, the starting point up the hill. He advised us not to try so we said “No worries, we’ll bike up”, whereupon he told us that tomorrow was going to be the annual Brew Chop Day, and we could join in. It used to be an annual event but it got too big so it’s now more something that he sets up by request, and he had 10 or so people booked in for it so we could join in. It starts from his farm house at the bottom of the hill, not far in from Garston, and the deal was that instead of the usual $20 fee, all we had to do was bring a cold chop and a warm beer, and at the end of the ride we would get a hot chop and a cold beer.

It starts with Up, and Up and more Up for more than 700m in 7km with no relief. Then it’s mostly flat around the contour line but most of that is on a very narrow and dished single track that traces the edge of an old water race winding in and out of steep valleys, fine if you fall to the left where, in my experience, you roll gently onto your back under your bike, to the right, however, is a near vertical pastureland with nothing to stop you tumbling to the valley floor. The rest of the gung ho real MTBers took off ahead of us and we slowly walked and rode and stopped to enjoy the view – a lot.

And we arrived back at the farm after a very well deserved rapid descent down a gravel road just as the chops were being served, with the other very well rested riders promising us that they had arrived only 10 minutes before us, bless them. I still don’t enjoy grade 4 though


Total distance: 47 km
Max elevation: 1121 m
Min elevation: 361 m
Total climbing: 1428 m
Total descent: -1392 m
Total time: 06:47:34
Download file: Welcome_Rock.gpx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *