If you ever happen to ride a bicycle through the forgotten world highway make sure you stay on top of the tahora saddle. Where Annie and Rob run a wonderful little campsite, and you wake up with this view in the morning.
described by a local as ‘a bit upsy downsy’ the road is build through hilly landscape, and apart from the scenery,
and the 180 meter long Moki Tunnel,
There are 35 bridges,including 8 large suspension bridges (the longest being 141 metres). Fun to ride over, although I found myself looking straight ahead and not down..
It’s recommended to ride this trail North to South, but I happened to be at the south end.
It was late in the day when I set off so when the sun set I pitched my tent at the site of the ‘single mens camp’.
I figured that would be a great spot.
No single men for miles around though.
Not so strange as this was when the timber was being logged… about 90 years ago.
It was mentioned that this was the coldest camp along the tracks.
So it didn’t surprise me a layer of frost covered everything in the morning.
After making a mental note to invest in a jumper or ‘something warm’ I jumped back on my bike.
Ready for a long day on this wonderful track. Not quiet realizing how long it would turn out to be…
As I was making my way through the forest and over the many suspension bridges I got to the one official campsite around lunchtime. So I decided, like the day before, to just ride up the next hill and find a spot there. But there was no spot, the second part of the trail (for many the first as it is recommended to ride north to south) Is much rougher then the first. Steeper climbs, native bush and no flat space. I had noticed a hut on my map. Around sunset I found the turnoff, but my idea to ‘just push my bike through’ didn’t work out all too well. This track was nothing like the well manicured tracks of NZ great walks…
It was overgrown and strewn with trees and boulders. So I left my bike and walked. But after a good while and no hut in sight I figured I better get back to my bicycle and just keep on riding.
So that I did. With my torch in my hand downhill through the bush avoiding collisions with trees, possums and rocks I managed to reach Pureora around 9pm… And had the best sleep!
Lucky I still had some time in the forest the next day so I could actually see what I rode through. Before catching up with Dan to attempt another hike.
Or tramp as they call them in New Zealand.
With no real plan or idea, but a few days up our sleeve and a sunny day we showed up at Whakapapa on a saturday and instantly decided to walk around Mt Ngauruhoe.
The Tongariro circuit is one of NZ ‘Great walks‘ There are 9 of them around the country. Although one of them is actually a canoe-trip.
The walk was indeed great. We didn’t have massive amounts of time since Dan is one of those people with a job and responsibilities. Unlike some :-p
So we tramped to a hut where we woke the next morning to clear skies. With rain predicted this was a wonderful surprise. We got walking bright and early and were amazed at the changing of scenery. From valleys with streams to forest to columns of lava standing up in an out of this world landscape.
And up to the actual Tongariro crossing with its emerald lakes and spectacular views in all directions.
This is New Zealand’s oldest national park (1887).
Its only been a year-and-a-bit since the volcano last erupted.
That’s why part of the track is still closed off. And you want to watch your step…
It was only a short ride for me to Kerry’s place the next morning. It would’ve been even shorter had I not got lost in Turangi…
With only 3500 inhabitants not a massive town, but a real sneaky road that takes you right around and back where you started without even noticing you’re going around in circles..
Up ’till now the weather has been just too good. So I did expect rain any day now.
Lucky Kerry has got a very comfortable house where I could do things you do when you don’t ride a bicycle. Like making apple pies, looking at houses to rent and doing a personality test.
You know, the usual.
Riding along lake Taupo and towards Rotorua along some back roads I ran out of day. Again. It seems to happen regularly that the day is finished before I am. That’s with the sun setting at 17.30.
So I called in at Jason & Olivia’s place.
A lovely busy household with 4 young boys. They were riding their cross-motors through the paddock when I showed up, and reckoned I could do with an engine on my bike too:-)
A good night sleep, a warm meal and a million questions later I was back on the road. (Thank you guys!)
One of the wonderful thing about riding this time of year are the awesome Autumn colours.
When you get closer to Rotorua you notice a bit of difference in the country, it’s getting a little steamy as this is the heart of volcanic activity.
I rode past a boiling creek. There are geysers, mud pools, crater lakes and sulphur vents.
The smell of sulphur lingers around town.
It seemed like a nice place and I was lucky with all the rain that fell while I was there. It means that rain will not fall on my road I also found that jumper I was looking for to keep me warm, $1.- in the op-shop! yay. Love a bargain.
Off I went heading to what I’ve heard described as ‘the wild west of New Zealand’ even though it’s in the east.
It was still a bit wet and miserable when I decided to find some food in a little cafe. But instead of a pie and some hot chips, the standard, I was surprised to get a fresh mushroom soup and some seriously good coffee thanks to Christine at her Dipherent Cafe in Murupara.
Look her up if you’re in the area, promise you’ll love it!
The wet dirt road to Lake Waikaremoana winds itself through Te Urewera National Park.
Passing a lot of native bush and some small settlements along the way.
This is Maori land. Originally the Tūhoe tribe lived here, also known as ‘The children of the mist‘.
The translation for Te Urewera is ‘Burned Penis‘. The story goes a chief layed down a little too close to the fire and fatally burned himself in the genitals. So here I find myself cycling through ‘Burned Penis National Park’.
And it was beautiful
Famous for its lakes. The road hugs Lake Waikaremoana while around the other side you find another one of those 9 Great Walks.
It’s a Great Ride as well.
And, if you feel so inclined, you can take a hike up to Lake Waikareiti. It has a lake on an island in the lake on an Island…. Confused yet?
From here I steered my bike in a slightly different direction.
Will tell you next time.