Mount Rochfort Plateau

Denniston is an old coal mining town on New Zealand’s West Coast, near Westport. It’s a ghost town now, but there’s still a lot of mining nearby with New Zealand’s largest opencast mine, Stockton, just down the road. It’s on the Mount Rochfort Plateau and has a variety of 4wd track, singletrack and tons of stuff for the trials riders. It’s a rugged playground for anything off-road.

This place really suits fatbikes with lots of large, rocky bits and loose climbs. I aired down my tires to 6 and 8 psi (front/rear) and off we went.


Overlooking the hills on a nice day of many that week

Andrea’s uncle, Tony, has done a lot of trials riding out here and knows the trails well. He was showing us around on the quad. The MTB trails are well-marked and there’s lots of info online to help you get around, but I still feel lost when I’m riding somewhere new.

Tony showing us around

Tony showing us around


Found a cool rock to stop at for a snack

There are lots of abandoned coal mines in the area with remnants of fan houses, rail tracks and even a coal seam fire that’s been burning since the 50’s. We came across it and you’re basically standing on a cliff with a little bit of smoke coming out of a massive pile of rocks from below. There’s a large coal deposit down there and, somehow, it caught on fire and will burn until there’s no more fuel to burn. Apparently, they’re a pretty big problem all over the world and there’s not really a good way to stop them.

Here’s the Bear in its standard configuration, although I haven’t been running the front fender that much lately, thinking it’s just a big parachute for these weekly Wednesday night races. You don’t know how many times that frame bag gets me the question, “that thing gotta motor in it?”

The Bear

The Bear

I did have a problem with the rear tire loosing air after our snack break. It fell from 8 to 4 psi. I’m usually pretty careful about going too fast with low tire pressure as I’ve pinch flatted before. I had thought I had just gotten a thorn right before I parked the bike, allowing for it to slowly leak out before the tire could spin and let the Slime seal up the tube. I put more air in and it held fine.

Later on, I took the tire off and didn’t find anything except a bunch of Slime on the rim side of the tube. There’s even Slime showing through the rim cutouts as if the spoke bed is poking the tube. Seems possible, but I don’t see any damage to the tube. This has happened before and I still don’t really know what’s going on. It’s usually fixed by just adding air and letting it seal up by riding around.

Anywho, Denniston is a cool place to ride with well-established trails and lots of cool, rocky areas to go play on off the trail.


Sweet view