As there is a general discussion going on now around the Wellington region about this epic back country loop and the possibility of improvements being made to some of the more difficult sections, I thought I would dig out some of the photos I’ve taken over the past 10 years or so since I first tackled this ride way back in 1998… then I took along a Super 8 movie camera and recorded the whole thing to magnetic tape! Might try and digitise that sometime.
In 2007 the first shot at the church was taken at just before 8am and the last photo at 4:30pm with around an hour left to ride, return time to the vehicles was after 5pm I recall making this ride a more than 9 hour church outing!
Some of the puddles on the four-wheel drive section get to be pretty deep but that doesn’t stop some (Don, Bill!)
The main track that climbs up to 800m at Renata Saddle gets some occasional use from 4WD vehicles and remains in pretty good condition.
After the saddle the tracks turns a bit wilder on the long descent down to Waiotauru Hut… long descent… 6km of uninterrupted downhill losing 550m, that’s nearly 1800ft in old money, with a few washouts along the way!
Past the hut comes the Southern Waiotauru River crossing which can be pretty interesting to cross after recent rain and would turn you back if it was in flood. There used to be an old bridge across the river that was full of holes but with care you could keep your feet dry but as is the way of things the authorities came in and knocked it down in case someone managed to fall off of it.
Having lost all that height and gained the company of the river the rest of the ride follows the river all the way out to Otaki Forks, meandering up and down along the true right bank to start with before crossing the swing bring at the confluence of the Southern and Eastern Waiotauru Rivers,
Waiotauru Forks which is where the real bike–n-hike begins along the true left bank, rooty and narrow but still with rideable sections over the next 4km. Steep country along this section prone to major landslips in two or three places.
Thanks to the many accompanying riders over the years that helped to make every ride a memorable one:
John Rowland, Graeme Silcock, Dirk Naish, Dave Mann, Gordon Macdonald, Grant Atkin, Ian McCabe, Steve Strain, Mike Dalton, Andrew Duncan, Jeremy Patterson, Mike Beaumont, Bill Brierley, Don Heron, Brett Irvin, Dale Lopez, members of the Coastal Crew and others who came and conquered ‘The Loop’ and lived to tell the tale…