North Island Tour. December 2015

Just completed an excellent 14 day tour of the North Island starting in Rotorua and finishing in Wellington. There were only four of us and so we took along the Subaru and the newly fitted out trailer.

Had a little light rain for starters but that just made the tracks a little  more lively.

The Rotorua Enduro event was on which meant that some of the tracks were not in use and so we took on a couple of the grade 5 tracks and survived.

Enjoyed an outdoor evening meal at the ‘Air Stream Cafe’ which replaced those burnt calories.

The following day we headed out west to Whirinaki Forest for some remote riding. Warmed up on arrival with a loop of the ‘Waterfall Track’ with some nice technical sections of bush single track.

The next day was a big ride on the Moerangi Track, probably the best remote ride in New Zealand as stated by those ‘been everywhere’ Kennett Brothers. This ride passes three huts each with their own character and perfect places to take a rest and gaze at the scenery. The weather was great and lots of photos were taken …

Finished the ride mid afternoon and headed off to Taupo but not before passing by a local hot-pool just off the side of the road at Waiotapu to soak those weary muscles.RMBA NI 100

Had ourselves a rest day at Taupo.

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Then we took on a few of the Great Lake Trails; the Orakau track to Kawakawa Bay and on to Kinloch via the K2K track, there we had some lunch and for desert we took the classic W2K track up around the Headland Loop and back for a few rounds of Kubb. (explanation later) 40 km of cruisy Taupo single track under our belt.

Rested and ready to go the following morning we departed for The Timber Trail in Pureora Forest, one of New Zealand’s “Great Rides”.  This is a two day ride and on this occasion we stayed at Black Fern Lodge half way along the trail a great location miles from anywhere. Following pictures cover the two days and the nights stay…

And here is the Kubb mentioned earlier, basically you throw sticks at lumps of wood until someone wins!

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The following morning we continued on for the second leg which takes in some amazing suspension bridges purpose built for this trail, the longest being 141m long and 53m above the stream below.

And for the last section of the track there is a spiral that the old railway used to lose height, now part of the cycle-way…

Moving on from the depths of Pureora Forest to the ski-town of Ohakune we had a cruise along the Old Coach Road for a easy day which included some ‘bike-art’

and the required games of Kubb…

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before tackling The Bridge to Nowhere, a long time classic NZ ride now part of the New Zealand ‘Great Rides’ trails and a section of the Mountains to Sea trail. Another gloriously sunny day with excessive photo shoots!

The Guy from Mountain Bike Station Shuttles told us of a side track to a waterfall but he said we wouldn’t get our bikes along there and so this shot is for him!

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The last section of the track is the most scenic with some huge bluffs and

finally The Bridge…

And after the Bridge a return trip of 32 km in a Jet Boat with Wanganui River Adventures down the Wanganui River to Pipiriki, a great finish to a great day.

We then finished off the trip with 3 days of riding around some of Wellingtons finest trails, starting with a visit to Makara Peak and some excellent hand built trails

Followed by an evening ride with The Hutt Valley MTB Club from ‘City to Sea’ taking in the tracks from Aro Valley through to Red Rocks out on the South Coast, with a very scenic spot to repair a puncture or two…

And saving the best until last (maybe?) a local ride for me from beach to back-country riding out of our base here on The Kapiti Coast and up into the hills onto the remote ‘Co-op’ track and  back along the beach tracks to home. And all this on Christmas Eve before saying farewell  to our Swiss guests, Daniella and Roli on Christmas Day after an NZ Champagne breakfast.

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