On Yer Bike is about 5 kilometres north of Greymouth. It is a tourist business which provides rides on quad bikes through some typical West Coast native forest. The business began in 1997 by Mike and Sue Roper. Prior to the business Mike Roper was a taxi driver around Greymouth. The adventure business is highly recommended by previous visitors as featured on tripadvisor.
The farm where the business is situated has been in the Roper family since 1917 when Micheal’s grandparents, Charles and Violet moved to the area. During the 1960s and 70s Micheal’s parents ran a chicken farm but this ended in 1978 when new regulations made the business non-viable. Cattle and sheep have always been part of the farm operations and still is, albeit a small part these days considering the success of the quad bike business.
During your adventure you will likely come across some of New Zealand’s native birds such as the Weka, Tui, Kereru (wood pigeon), Fantail, and Pukeko
Another sideline to On-Yer-Bike is the cafe where customers are able to drop in for a cuppa and just to add another string to her bow, Sue Roper does crochet and with her other commitments it all keeps her busy.
More than 100 years ago there was a school near the area. It was called “The Camp School,” the name of the district. No one knows how it got its name, but it is probably because the first sawmill on the West Coast was at Coal Creek and “The Cap” may have been referred to the men who were working at the saw mill.
Coal Creek is an area which is prone to flooding. The water sometimes comes over the road near On-Yer-Bike as the creek floods with the volume of water which comes down from the mountains.
Prior to the overhead bridge being built, traffic would have to cross the railway tracks and look each way for oncoming trains. As far as we know, there was a train/car accidents prior to the bridge being built. However, during the 1968 earthquake, a vehicle ran into the edge of the bridge as it moved up and down resulting in the death of the driver.
Just prior to Runanga is the Coultard/Hall Memorial. This was the scene of the Runanga Payroll Robbery 9th November 2017. The pay car left Greymouth that morning with the wages and salaries of the miners which totalled almost 4k. Just as the car was about to turn the corner it ran into an obstruction in the middle of the road. The driver Coultard got out of the car in order to remove the obstruction and at that moment a masked man appeared from the bush shouting, “Hands-Up” before firing at Coultard. He died at the scene. The robber then ran to the car and asked for the cash but Hall, who was the mine’s clerk refused to obey and fired two shots from a revolver he carried. The robber shot Hall from close range-so close that Hall’s clothes were on fire when he was tended to after the robbery. James was fired upon by the robber and was hit in the thigh and behind. The robber secured the money before making his escape across the railway lines and out of sight.
The township of Runanga was formed in 1904 as a coal mining town. Prior to forming of Runanga the area was covered in native bush but the houses which were built to house the mine workers were built with the timber of the trees which were felled to make way for the township. The town prospered with the opening of several coal mines in the area. A railway line between Greymouth and Runanga was built to transport the coal out of the area. The train also operated passenger services. Runanga had its own train station as did Rerenui which was close to where one of the mines was operating.