New Zealand, the land of volcanoes and earthquakes. I hope neither occur during our trip, but today we were riding under the smoking eye of Mt Ruapehu, the largest active volcano in New Zealand, as well as the highest point of North Island (2797m). It’s last eruption was in September 2007.
We had a delayed departure from Taupo due to a stuff up at the hotel with breakfast. We made the decision to ‘give up’ on waiting, and ride into town to find food. The Coffee Club sorted us out with a great omlette and large coffee, setting us up well for the day ahead.
Leaving Taupo skirting around the lake edge provided many scenic vistas, but we were reluctant to stop as the traffic was becoming increasingly heavy with holiday makers.
Good old Ride with GPS had a few little ‘treats’ for us today. With the first, we decided to accept the challenge as it took us off the busy highway. This is what we found.
Amazing how hard it is to lift a fully laden bike over such barriers. The road appeared to be an old forestry road, and for most, was quite rideable.
We raced through this section, mouth closed, as the hives were very active, bees swarming. We also did all our zips up, just for good measure.
It was not all easy riding on the old road. There were a few sections like this!
At the other end of the track we noted this sign. Oh, and there was another barrier to climb over.
I loved this sign pointing back to where we had ridden. Deforested barren area named Earthquake Gully Road. Awesome name!! I did ponder as I rode on as to how it gained that name.
Back onto the highway, concentration to the max, as the traffic seemed even heavier. Caravans, boats, 4WD with mountain bikes all screaming past. I guess many people finished work yesterday and were heading off to their Christmas holiday destinations.
At about the 55 km point we arrived in Turangi. I knew a great little cafe there to stop at called the Pink Cadillac. Sue and I stopped there in January, quite cold, and rugged up with their crocheted blankets. Today, the blankets were out, but not needed as it was about 27 degrees.
We got chatting to a Swiss couple from Zurich. He was a keen cyclist and they were visiting their daughter….we swapped stories as I have a son living in Basel, Switzerland.
The Pink Cadillac have the best iced coffees! A bit decadent and over the top but I knew what lay ahead! I was going to work that off well and truly.
What lay ahead? This graph reveals all. Check out the slope and climb from 55 km….yeah, it climbs a bit.
The climb was ok, with a mixture of headwind and still air and I was glad to get to the top of the climb. Here I am a little further on.
Ride with GPS had a second surprise and took us onto another trail to the intake tunnel of a hydro power scheme. It was a dead end, but it was a pretty spot to stop and refuel with a banana. We could not sit down there as the ground was littered with swan feathers and dung.
Back onto the main road and it was a slog. For the rest of the ride we were buffeted by a strong headwind, slowing down progress and making us work that bit harder,
We were both glad to arrive in the village named National Park, stopping firstly at the local store/service station for an icy pole….and quite possibly a large block of Whittaker’s Fruit and Nut! 😬🤷♀️
Both of the next pictures are looking back at where we had just ridden from.
My dear friend Noelene is a wonderful supporter and encourager of my blogs. She was born in New Zealand and has incredible memories and stories. This is what she wrote last night about her memories of the mountain.
” We used to belong to a Lodge up on Ruapehu. ….we would all come in off the mountain totalled as there were no ski lifts then…sunrise looking up at the mountain was amazing. Having also climbed up in the summer to the crater lake. Bit silly when of course it can erupt and does any time. But in those times you never thought about such things. I remember in National Park there were hot springs and in a little village a dairy that sold amazing icecream. We would go down there to soak in steaming mineral water and eat these delicious ice creams…young life of many years gone.”
Thankyou Noelene xx
So another day, with today riding 105 km, and we have now been riding for seven consecutive days. Tomorrow more adventures lay ahead as we hit the Forgotten Highway, with a mixture of gravel and bitumen. We can even have our passport stamped, but I will leave that story for tomorrow.